Pine and Quinto Talk About Their New Kirk and Spock

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.


[minor spoilers]


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

Zachary Quinto as Spock in ‘Star Trek’

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We need some new pictures. Im getting sick of the same ones

Kirk also has his characteristic movements… I hope Pine picked up on those like Quinto did of Nimoy’s Spock.

Quinto got to hang out with Nimoy and watch Trek episodes… analyzing Spock. That sounds like the most fun few hours EVER… imagine what that would be like!

Can’t WAIT til May!

#2:”Kirk also has his characteristic movements…”

I’m not sure that dropping his pants and getting horizontal with the babe-of-the-week is *exactly” a “characteristic movement.”

cool, looks promising again. Kirk drunk what happened to synthehol?

We need some new complaints. I’m getting sick of the same ones.

Chris Pine, I’ve got two words for ya buddy: James Cawley™.

However, that is a massive stool softener that you are packing midsection and I commend thee. You know what, I like the “Captain James T. Jerk” angle too.




best post ever

5 – Synthehol is a 24th Century consumable.

After all, Scotty drunk some invaders from Andromeda under the table, half of Kirk got sloshed and tried to have his way with Rand.

And of course, we all know why Romulan Ale is illegal ;-)

sb – LOL !!!

5. Scott Xavier –
“cool, looks promising again. Kirk drunk what happened to synthehol?”

Synthehol didn’t exist until Picard’s day. Remember in TNG’s “Relics” when it had to be explained to Scotty?

Yes, A new pic for this article would have been nice. I am stiil a little concerened about Pines words concerning Kirk.

Paperpabacks “they” sell?

Now that’s some fine reporting.

I like how these actors admit they are not Star Trek fans. It’s so funny to hear trek actors talk about it as if they have been fans all of their lives…when actually it’s just something their manager tells them to say to feed the fan boys.

Kirk drunk?? That’s not c—

Ah, just kidding. This movie is for a 2009 audience. We have to have characters who act a certain way. Be grateful Kirk isn’t being done as Bogie-Kirk or DeNiro-Kirk or Dean-Kirk. All are possible in Hollywood’s limited scope.
It would still be nice to think, though, that this Trek breaks new ground. I think that’s always possible in movies, and I’m hoping for the best. Just saw Serenity for the first time. Liked it well enough, though I’m not a fanatic like some. I’m wondering whether the fx in this Trek will be groundbreaking, or on a par with Serenity. (Will panels come flying off the E in battle sequences?)
Anyway… at least we’re in the same calendar year now with the release.

#7: I take it you’ve never worn pants? They bunch up and fold in the crotch area when you sit down. You might want to try it sometime.

#12: If Pine had said “Paperbacks we sell” people would have jumped all over him for “arrogantly” insinuating himself into Trek’s production history. He’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

His reference to the story being material covered in the old paperback Trek novels is encouraging. That’s “true” Trek to me, not the overacted, cheesy-effects, dumbed-down-for-movie-audiences screen crap. Shatner is no more Kirk than Viggo Mortensen is Aragorn.

Chris Pine seems to get it. I especially like the “If you are a clear cut leader from the beginning, you don’t have anywhere to go” line.

NOT CANNON! The stars in the spock view screen image move contrary to the velocity vector of the ship in warp-transit configuration, and this is against Roddenberry canonical rules

I am optomistic hearing that this movie is so optomistic!

When Kirk has his hangover the next day, I wonder if he finds an orange traffic cone in his bed and says “Don’t give me any of this Star Trek (blank) it’s too early in the morning!”

#8 & #10 –

“does Arlene Martel-style Vulcan blush*

I am honored.

MikeJones — I thought Roddenberry’s rules for stellar vectoring went through reform in what came to be known as Genesis II. That’s also why we get hymns in English instead of Vulcan, right?

#6 sb

“We need some new complaints. I’m getting sick of the same ones.”

Oh my God, I nearly choked when I read this because I was laughing so hard!


6. sb – January 5, 2009

” We need some new complaints. I’m getting sick of the same ones.”

Absolutely best post since the new movie announced. I’m sick of the same people with the same complaints. We get it. Just stay away from the movie if you’ve already made up your mind.

#22 —

No, no, no… I’m trying to kill the canonbawlers, not the reasonable people… ;)

18. MikeJones – January 5, 2009

“NOT CANNON! The stars in the spock view screen image move contrary to the velocity vector of the ship in warp-transit configuration, and this is against Roddenberry canonical rules”

Are you serious or is your comment a joke? If serious, then you need to get a life.

So the novels provide a basis for this movie? Interesting, what books do you think are involved?


Agreed, that would be surreal as hell, watching a younger Nimoy on screen while the older one sits next to you and discusses his performance. lol

RE: Trek novels
Bob Orci has often spoken about how the Trek novels influenced him and Alex as they wrote the script. We are planning a series of special ‘reviews’ of the books that bob has identified


MikeJones is absolutely right: As he astutely observed in his recent posting, the picture in question does not, in fact, depict a cannon, but instead Spock standing in front of a viewscreen. Thanks to his gentle reminder, no more will the unwashed masses continue to mistake Zachary Quinto’s Spock for a large projectile weapon common in the 18th and 19th centuries. Thank you!

(I’m not quite sure, however, what a “warp transit configuration” and the rest of Mr. Jones’s text has to do with the problem at hand [i.e people mistaking Zachary Quinto for a cannon]…perhaps “vector velocity” and the like have to do with the cannon’s targeting systems?)

I just finished “Prime Directive” and “Spock’s World” – I highly reccommend them! The thing about Prime Directive is that it tells a lot about the civilian world of 23rd century Earth and I think that is what we will be seeing translated to the film.
I know Bob has read them – did Chris and Zachary or any of the other cast?

Pine also should have spent some time at Marine Corps Basic School, Annapolis, at sea on an aircraft carrier (they haven’t decomissioned the Enterprise yet!), and with some returning Iraq platoon commanders. Just the right age group, and definitely the type of guys that I, Gene L. Coon, was thinking of when molding the Kirk character back in the day. If he didn’t, that’s OK, plenty of time to catch up before the sequel!!

#6 sb: Good thing I wasn’t drinking something when I read that, or I’d be cleaning a laptop now. :-)

#1, forget new pictures, bring on the movie already. With my luck a comet will hit the Earth a day before the movie opens.

looks like he missed the part in “the dark knight” where the prisoner threw the detonator out the window. that was a very trek-like moment of optimism.

“Quinto got to hang out with Nimoy and watch Trek episodes… analyzing Spock. That sounds like the most fun few hours EVER… imagine what that would be like!”

It would be mind-blowing. How great for Quinto.

Kirk’s physicality:

Walks with balled fists.
Able to leap great distances.
Kung Fu chop.
Leans head down to speak to women with bedroom eyes.
Bursts out of any shirt.
Bleeds, but blood dries immediately on contact with air.

I don’t think anyone’s pointed this out, but the relative heights of Kirk, Spock and McCoy are the same as the original cast: Spock is taller than McCoy, who is taller than Kirk.

I really hope there’s at least ONE Kung Fu chop. That’s all I ask.

Slightly OT but I mean while The Dark Knight wasn’t Charlie and Chocolate Factory and lacked Star Trek’s egalitarianism and hope for humanity. I think that TDK with its climax on the ferries proves Batman’s faith in people of Gothem verses Joker’s view of human nature. I think that speaks well of humanity. While I get the point Pine was trying to make. It’s not totally accurate. Or maybe I have just watched TDK to much since it hit Blu-Ray :D

I thought the ferry/detonator sequence in TDK was very Trek-like. Maybe too Trek-like… >;>}

#6 – …and I would hope that would include all the excessive canonite bashing…or is hoping for too much? >;>}

37 – Don’t forget the famous Kirk Dropkick.

“Pine: Kirk is still a little elusive to me.”
I hope that doesn’t impair his performance.

Man cant we all get along! i thought thats what Genes idea of the future get along! Alot of people are complaining about this movie and they havent seen it yet! Give this new crew a chance to show their talents yeah its not William Shater and Lenard Nimoy but they may suprise us all! I definately am going to see this movie with a opened mind because thats what trek is all about is the adventure of it all and seriously if it wasnt for this movie Star trek probably would have died after the last movie which didnt do too hot at the box office! This is just my opinion and i dont mean to offend anyone but i have been a trekkie all my life since 1974 and i love the idea of new and fresh ideas because it opens the door for more opertunities!

#42 – Little bits like that might make the movie worth watching. >;>}

#34 You are thinking 2012. Better start making more Trek films. Time is running out.

#6 – Right on. Whee!

#27 – First book that comes to mind is the first one — “The Entropy Effect” by Vonda McIntre (at least for the basic plotline) – my personal favorite

#39, #40 – Not sure if TDK spoke all that well about Humanity, but your point is well considered.

And, fwiw, I’m looking forward to the film, if only to see these ‘iconic’ characters being portrayed as real people — real individuals — warts ‘n’ all…


Im guessing the following:

Prime Directive
Spocks World
Final Frontier
Best Destiny
Enterprise The First Adventure
Vulcans Glory
The Kobiashi Maru
the Movie ties ins..(original films)

oh and the Unification tie in

“Pine: Kirk is still a little elusive to me.”

Poor guy. Of course this Kirk is elusive to him. He was denied the backstory to the character that we have known for all our lives. He’s not playing Kirk; he’s Bizarro Kirk.

The new team’s re-imagining doesn’t seem to have panned out, at least for their lead actor.

I bet he’s still pretty good.