How did Zachary Quinto prepare for his role as Spock in the new Star Trek? Apparently he learned more by hanging out with the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, than he did watching the Original Series episodes. In a new interview with Wizard Universe, the actor talks about his prep, working with Nimoy, and what it was like meeting other Original Series stars.
Excerpts from WizardUniverse Interview
Wizard Universe: When you were preparing to play Spock, was there any sort of verbal or physical shorthand you specifically used to key into the character?
Zachary Quinto: Well, it’s interesting, I did not really watch a lot of old "Star Trek" in preparation for the movie. I prepared in other ways and then started watching episodes once we were already filming, so my entry point for the character was much more rooted in my relationship with Leonard [Nimoy], personally, and the opportunity that I had to talk to him about it and really get to know the psychology of the character. There are certain physicalities that Spock manifests that are truly connected to that character, like the way he carries himself and the way he relates to the world. And so there were certain things that over time, I think, emerged that were echoes of the way Leonard carried himself, but I wouldn’t consider that any of them were entry points for me. I found my entry points elsewhere.
Wizard: Were there times when you were talking with him that you thought, "Holy crap–I’m hanging out with Leonard Nimoy!?"
Zachary Quinto: Yeah. I mean, I just have such an affinity for him and I really enjoy him. I don’t really think of him as anyone other than the man that I’ve come to know. He doesn’t want to be seen any other way than who he is and how he lives his life—and he’s got a really rich and full life, his art collection and his photography and his traveling…I could spend, like, a day just looking at his art. I just think he’s just so rad. I feel really honored that he’s in my life.
Wizard: Do you think the experience of playing such an iconic character as Spock at a young age will prepare you for, in 40 years, when they redo "Heroes" and recast Sylar with a younger actor?
Zachary Quinto: [Laughs] I’ll be happy to hand the torch as he was. I think it’s taught me a lot about grace, just watching Leonard and the other [classic "Star Trek"] cast members as well—all of whom I’ve had an opportunity to meet—look back on their experience. There was a particular experience I had with them which was at the Scream Awards last year. I had the honor of presenting them with the 25th anniversary of "[Star Trek II:] The Wrath of Khan" and the surviving cast all came and accepted the award. And I was there with "Heroes" as well: Hayden, Milo, Dania, Kristen Bell and myself were all there. Just watching the five of them walk out on stage and being there with my castmates, there was definitely a parallel of how grateful I am to have these people in my life and how much I consider my "Heroes" castmates truly my working family. I had this epic, crazy, life-changing experience doing this movie and one of the really great things has been to come back to this world which is so familiar and so supportive and so comfortable. It’s been really nice to bring all those lessons, all those discoveries that I made when I was doing the movie, back here and to share them with my castmates and to share them with the work, you know?
Read the full WizardUniverse Interview for more from Quinto on Star Trek and Heroes.
Video from Scream 2007
If you haven’t seen it, here is what Quinto was talking about from Spike’s 2007 Scream Awards.