Kurtzman Talks Trek’s Audience Appeal

In a new interview Star Trek co-writer and exec. producer Alex Kurtzman talks about how he and his fellow film makers approached the ‘sacred cow’ that is the Star Trek franchise and how they are trying to make the film appeal to as many people as possible, but he knows that you "can’t please everybody."  


Excerpts from Paste Magazine interview

Paste: You’ve done things like Zorro and Transformers and Mission Impossible. Those are things that people felt strongly about. How do you transfer that to a modern-day film without losing the integrity, the innocence that was there when they were originally done?

Kurtzman: I guess the honest answer is that if you’re taking on something like Mission Impossible or Transformers or Star Trek, it’s not yours. And yet, you have to make it yours. You really have to find the balance. You have to stay true to what everyone loved about those beloved things. And why they worked. And why they connected with people. And that you’re not somehow going against the grain of that. And at the same time finding a way to tell those stories in a new way.

Paste: And you’re doing the biggest sacred cow, which we’re not really supposed to talk about, that’s coming up.

Kurtzman: (laughing) I can certainly talk about process on that particular sacred cow. Star Trek is obviously such a beloved, beloved thing, not just in television but the movies and even in the books. That one is particularly not ours. So, it felt like because we were such enormous fans of it as kids, for us it was getting back to the spirit of that.

Paste: Do you have to think, “Okay, how’s this going to fit today’s audience?” Or do you just go ahead and try to fit what you like today?

Kurtzman: My partner, Bob [Orci] and I, we’ve been writing together for 17 years, and we always look at the work from the place of what do we want to see as an audience member. So, hopefully, until we get out of date, our tastes will dovetail with what audiences are wanting to see. Obviously, you can’t please everybody. But, we definitely grew up on Trek, love Trek and have been studying it since we were little kids. So, as scary as it was taking the leap to inheriting that mantle I think we also felt that between us and J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk, it was a team that really put that movie together. We knew that there was safety in numbers and that, in a way, each of us represented a different perspective what Trek is, and that, between the five of us, we probably had most of our bases covered.

For more from Kurtzman on Eagle Eye, Fringe and more, goto PasteMagazine.com.

Kurtzman with producer Patrick Crowley at the Eagle Eye Premiere in Hollywood (WireImage)

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Here’s hoping that it’s a home run.


1, agreed. It sounds as if they know what they’re doing and I also hope that this film is a huge success!

This is article is new than the one about the trailer coming out in November. So, how come it is listed below it? Is it because the trailer article is more important?

Relax, Alex, I am totally confident that you guys did what you could to find the right mix between canon, fan-expactations (Nacelles! Uniforms! Communicators!) and state-of-the-art entertainment. And with an ultra-geek like Damon aboard, that ship cannot sink!


#3 SilverExpress57



That is the first thing I noticed.
However, I guess it is big news!
If I get to see the Enterprise, I’ll be very excited.
I remember the feeling TMP gave me with the first shots of the ship.

Brett Campbell

This is Mr. Kurtzman in the photo? I always thought it was Mr. Orci who wore the glasses. Guess I was wrong?

Brett Campbell

#3 – I was wondering the same thing, and I would say your hypothesis of Anthony anc Co. wanting to give greater attention to the upcoming trailer release is a logical assumption. Or it could also be a computer gaffe.

blake powers

was this posted out of order???

Brett Campbell

#9 – Been have seems to of.


I hope it wil remain faithful.



That’s the relative term of the year, isn’t it?

The problem is, that may very well mean something different to every fan.

Blake powers

10. You sound like yoda…. Wrong board…. Ha!

Brett Campbell

13 – Just having fun with the out of order thing. Uh… my whole life is out of order. Sigh …

Michael Adams

Right, Bob Orci isn’t the ugly one. Just kidding. Star Trek will be just fine, and I think we fans are really going to like what has been done, but this will be the last Star Trek movie for a long long time if ever, it won’t do too great at the box office and we all know that is what counts.( Nemesis ) Paramount doesn’t care who likes it, as long as they buy tickets. Anyway, without getting into all that stuff that makes Anthony angry with me, it will be a good movie, but it won’t do enough for Paramount, and apart from ST 2 with Abrahms ( or not ) that will be it. Sorry,


#15—That remains to be seen.

This movie has more potential for crossover value than any film since TVH.

Nemesis was a TNG movie. Those movies never had any crossover appeal. It was strictly “geeks only” in the theaters. The characters in the original films did. 5 of the 6 films featuring Kirk/Spock/McCoy did well, and 3 of them had mainstream crossover appeal.

Even after TMP did not do what Paramount wanted it to (bring in SW-type numbers), all the studio did was lower the budget that Star Trek films would be allowed (up until now). As a result, they were very profitable at the second tier level.
Standards for the performance of films at the box-office have changed greatly since the last time Star Trek was given a big budget (1979). All this movie needs to do is dominate its opening week and maintain a respectable showing for the next few weeks.
Even if it is without the massive budget afforded for this movie, it is hard to imagine there not being at least two sequels.

Michael Adams



Can’t wait to see the first poster. I wonder if it will have the TOS series Enterprise on it?


im glad star trek is getting a rebirth- it doesnt erase what came before just gives us something else, new & different.
these geeks have a good chance of delivering it healthy and strong.


I have an eensie-weensie bit of concern about this film, mostly due to Transformers.

Transformers threw me out of the film as soon as the robots began speaking to one another via speakers. And not only in English, but in snazzy youth-of-today “internet-downloaded” US English speech patterns. I never watched the old shows or collected the products, so this was a first go for me, a TOS Trekker born in 1964.

I only hope Trek XI is not “dumbed down” for a new demographic. Better to “dumb it up,” and maintain Trek’s rep as the pop-culture sci-fi franchise for thinking children of all ages.

Messrs Orci and Kurtzman: You two know exactly what I’m talking about!

Make it great…


Well;, In Transformers they explained that the Transformers hacked into the web, and that’s how they learned how to speak.

sad fan

Supossedly ,Berman,Moore,and Bragga were unoficially consulted during some of the very early brainstorming sessions before Orci and Kurtzman finallly decided what direction they wanted to go in on their own.

I have no way of knowing how true that is, but if it is true then it shows that Kurtzman and Orci and Abrams were really leaving no stone unturned as far as investigating the essence of Trek before finally feeling comfortable enough to do their own spin on it.



[22] well, sad fan, all I can hope for is that not a nanosecond of this movie is tainted by the Deadly Years of BermanBragas rule. That is like having a talk with Rummy and Wolfowitz before invading the next country.

Ron Moore is cool, though.