In two separate interviews, the Wall Street Journal talked with the stars of 2009’s Star Trek, Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock). In the interviews, the actors discuss their approach to the roles, the differences between their portrayals and those of the original actors, and their thoughts on the characters. Excerpts below.
The Wall Street Journal asked both actors some of the same questions, including why they think Kirk and Spock are mythic:
Pine: Kirk is still a little elusive to me. But what I think is so unique about this story is that, unlike other genre movies, "Star Trek" has always represented an incredible amount of optimism. In the late ’60s, in a time of unrest, it represented this utopian world. As opposed to "The Dark Knight," which I enjoyed, but was so bleak and didn’t speak kindly of humanity. Kirk is so iconic because he’s the head of this fantastical utopian team. They aren’t superheroes, they’re men and women trying to achieve something good.
Quinto: In this archetypal way, people respond to someone who’s able to contain himself. He operates from a place of logic, but always with the betterment of others in mind. He’s able to endure things and experience things from a place of balance.
…and on what was kept and what is different with their new portrayals of these characters
Pine: There’s a lot of humor, arrogance and decisiveness. I tried to bring in these qualities, but with this new element of a young man coming into his own — he’s a leader who doesn’t know he’s a leader yet. But the speech pattern? Absolutely not. In that territory it becomes an impersonation. I can only do my version of it.
Quinto: Especially with Spock, more so than Kirk, there are characteristic movements. It’s established in the mythology, this stillness and economy of movement. There are ways one holds oneself, such as the hands behind the back.
Chris Pine as Kirk in ‘Star Trek’
Pine was also asked how the film ‘freshens’ the story of Star Trek (and what might ‘rattle’ the Trek fans).
Pine: I’m not well-versed in the Trek canon, but we’re venturing into territory that’s only been covered in these paperback novels they sell. It’s definitely not going to please everyone. There’s a scene where my character is in a bar and he’s definitely inebriated and under the influence of his own arrogance. It’s him becoming the Kirk everyone knows. In my book that makes the journey a little more interesting. If he’s a clear-cut leader from the beginning, you don’t have anywhere to go.
Quinto was also asked what advise original Spock actor Leonard Nimoy gave him to better understand the character.
Quinto: It’s been such an indelible mark on his life and he’s metabolized it so gracefully. We spent some time watching episodes but it was an all encompassing experience. We’d go to his house. We’d meet sometimes at Paramount. I’m seeing him before the holidays. He’s an advanced mind and heart and I want to hang out with him as much as possible.
Much more from Pine and Quinto at WSJ.com
Zachary Quinto as Spock in ‘Star Trek’