JJ Abrams Talks Working With Nimoy on Star Trek and Fringe at Paley Fest Fringe Event

Back home from his global tour promoting Star Trek, JJ Abrams came to the Paley Festival in LA tonight to talk about his TV show Fringe, and he brought along his fellow Star Trek/Fringe team of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Bryan Burk, along with show stars Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson. One of the subjects of the Q&A was Leonard Nimoy. [FRINGE spoilers below]



Abrams and Stars talk about Nimoy on Fringe
As we reported earlier in the month, Leonard Nimoy will be appearing in the finale for Fringe "There’s More Than One of Everything" which airs May 12th. He will be playing William Bell, a mysterious character from Walter’s past who runs the even more mysterious Massive Dynamic Corporation.

During the panel, the moderator asked Abrams if casting Leonard Nimoy would ‘paint them into a corner’ because it would not be expected for Nimoy to become a show regular. Abrams didn’t agree, noting that they expected to have the veteran actor back next year. Here is a transcript of what Abrams had to say about bringing Nimoy onto Fringe and how it ties into Star Trek.

Abrams: First of all he hasn’t just signed up for one episode, I wont say how many. The thing about working with Mr. Nimoy on Star Trek is that it was an insane honor. In the first meeting with him we pitched him the story for Star Trek and he didn’t commit to the movie, but he was thoughtful about it. We were very lucky and working with him was intimidating and wonderful. And I tend to work with the same people again and again and again [Bob interjects ‘thank god1’] But honestly it didn’t even occur to me that we would get to work with him again…So we were thinking about who would play William Bell and then one day Bryan Burk emailed us and said "what about Leonard" and it was one of those moments — it was such an impossible dream that this legend would work wtih us on the show. I called him up and talked, he was interested, it was the same kind of thing as Star Trek, so we sent him the script and suddenly we were shooting the scene and we are honored
to have him. Not necessarily a regular, but part of the cast.

Fringe showrunner Jeff Pinker chimed in on Nimoy’s portrayal of Bell:

On top of which he does the role and he talked about and he does these things, and you are like "now I get it…now I get why he and Walter were lab partners." He does it in way that is kind of unexpected and you go "oh my god I know see why these two men simpatico", even though one went in an insane asylum and one went on to be one of the richest men in America.

The actors also chimed in. John Noble revealed that he did not have the chance to work with Nimoy in the finale, but was working forward to working with him next year. Anna Torv (Olivia) did reveal that she had a scene with Nimoy and she said she was "really nervous" meeting him.

NOTE: I will add a couple of images from the event when I get back home, until there check out this crappy one I took with my iPhone

Nimoy has already ‘appeared’ on Fringe
Leonad Nimoy is slated to appear in the finale, but in this week’s epsidoe "Bad Dreams" there was a small cameo from Nimoy, if you listened closely. At the end of the episode Walter watched a video and you can hear the voice of his former lab partner William Bell, which was clearly the voice of Leonard Nimoy. Here is a recap of the episode, skip to 3:43 to hear it.


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Fringe is awesome I can’t wait to see Nimoy in it!

Glad to see Nimoy return to the small screen

Nimoy sounds like an evil devil as William Bell at the end of “Bad Dreams”- sure to be exciting for these puzzle pieces to come together; also how dark of a character Nimoy will be delving into.

This post is first not. Ha ha!

Fringe is one of my favorite shows on tv right now and I think I’m about to like it a little bit more.

wow first love it

Since we’re on the subject of TV shows, I just noticed something pretty interesting. Last weeks episode of South Park ,Pinewood Derby, kinda pokes fun at Star Trek without actually using the term “Star Trek in the episode at all. I thought it was pretty funny, but when I tried to watch it online there’s a message that reads – “Due to pre-existing contractual obligations, we cannot stream this episode until 5-16-2009.”

You don’t think that has anything to do with the release of the movie the weekend before, do you? (do you catch the sarcasm also?)

@7 Watched this episode nearly a week or two ago at southparkstudios.com
Looks like they first streamed it and then got like “Uh oh… damn there’s a new movie coming!”

@ 7

when the ship lands the news reporter asks will this be like star trek first contact or contact with jodi foster

Man, I am really loving Fringe. The first 6 episode were tough to get through, but it just got better and better…

It’s filled the void X-files left for this genre…cause ‘Supernatural’ sucks….


ok, now I remember. Lol!

I still think Fringe is missing to much mystery. Everything is explaineble, and yet, for a sci-fi series like this it’s good to leave some mysteries no one can solve, otherwise it will be boring eventually.

The power of the x-files was the constant confusion anf the plot which became deeper and deeper (but when Mulder leaved, it sucked..) This is also the case with Lost.

Also, the science in Fringe is just a bit to much science fiction. Much doesn’t make sense and is just to unreal. The only mystery are the bald dudes which are hypersensitive. But with the kid episode a lot is answered and I can see where JJ is going. Which is to bad, since it’s again another mystery about to be solved.

Whoa! Nimoy sounds really creepy!

He’s the MAN!!!

i might watch Fringe for the first time now.

in that south park episode The aliens that come to visit southpark say they’re from the united federation of planets.

They test humanity first.. but greed ends up getting earth banned from the rest of the universe. So the “federation” puts a “cage” type thing around earth.
It was pretty funny.

Cant understand why they would want SP guys to wait to stream it. Oh well

An awesome casting coup. Kudos to J.J. and the crew for recruiting Leonard Nimoy! Now, maybe they can get the Shat to play his attorney!!

Wonder if they will get him into Transformers 2 in the end? … for a retired dude he’s getting awfully busy … and good for him.

@ 13. Yea, his voice in the latest Fringe episode was EXTREMELY FREAKY. I think he’s going to make a fine edition to this already freaky amazing show. As Captain Sulu said in Star Trek : The undiscovered country …. ”nice to see you in action on more time…. ”

Did anyone else notice the big “47” on the crazy guy’s collage?

Fringe is one of the best shows on TV currently, IMO. It’s awesome.

To “Dannydeman”: there are still many unresolved mysteries on Fringe, if you’ve watched from the beginning. Olivia’s whole back story is a mystery, “The Observer” is a mystery, Massive Dynamic is a HUGE mystery, Peter’s back story… There are others.

Also, regarding the science being “too much science fiction”…that’s the whole reason the show is called “Fringe”! It’s about “fringe science”.

I like Fringe.

Fringe should be called Junk because it’s junk science, not fringe science. It’s not science fiction to have some gizmo that scans a retina of a corpse to see the last thing a dead person saw. That’s not even fringe science, it’s crap.

I mean who’s their science advisor? The folks who run the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY.?

I’m surprised Harvard hasn’t slapped a cease and desist order on them. Walter’s basement lab really makes a mockery of real science, learning and the institution.

I’ll watch it for Mr. Nimoy, though. :)

@14. Jake2k –

Yeah, South Park’s take on first contact was pretty funny and, I fear, probably a more accurate representation of what would happen than we saw in Star Trek.

The cube, Tholian web thingee was a nice touch.

Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!

I read about them casting Nimoy a couple of weeks ago and I was totally excited and hearing his voice at the end of this past Tues episode was awesome and creepy! Fringe is just an amazing show and with Nimoy guest-starring on it now it will only get better!!! BTW-I met Anna Torv in March on the set of Fringe and she’s just THE COOLEST!!!



I was thinking the same thing. Not TOO retired is he?

I cant wait to see the first interview with Nimoy where he talks in detail about what interested him about Fringe and the character of William Bell.
I I love the show and I just want to hear his thoughts on it.

I know, seriously. :D AWESOME.

I started flipping out of my mind when I heard Nimoy’s voice during that last minute of Fringe. It was crazy, yo.

JJ’s movies and tv shows completely suck, unless you’re (1) a fifteen year old boy, (2) an adult male who’s reached the age of majority but you live with your mother , most likely in the basement of her house, or (3) a community college grad who never achieved beyond a ‘C’ in upper-level English. JJ, show some range, write a sophisticated adult drama and grow up. Stop working the fryer at McDonalds cinema. You have real talent – use it.

Having said that, his wife Katie is the hottest thing on the planet. How you landed her is the movie I’d like to see.

Yeah man, how did you come up with such an inventive name? I mean J.J. Sucks, that’s brillant you really showed him. Considering your here angrily posting on a message board and J.J. Abrams is making movies, I would guess that he might be a bit more intelligent than you.