Star Trek Magazine #19, which just arrived on newsstands, is full of behind the scenes details from the new Star Trek movie. STM has provided TrekMovie with extracts (below) from composer Michael Giacchino, stunt coordinator Joe Box, and director of photography Daniel Mindel. Plus we have a look at the previews exclusive cover.
Excerpts from Star Trek Magazine #19
Excerpt of Interview with composer Michael Giacchino
Your approach to the score is very different from the John Williams template from Star Wars…
Quite honestly, that was the first direction we went in, and I had written several themes that were in that space opera kind of vein, somewhere between what Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams did, in that language of what we’ve all come to know as "space music." On every one of them, it felt right for a big space movie, but it didn’t feel like our movie. Again it goes back to the idea that we were trying to do something that wasn’t exactly what you had seen or heard before. We wanted to do something that was a little different space movies don’t have to have this sound.
J.J. always wanted to make it about the character he’d say that the theme for this movie can’t be polished, it can’t be soaring, it has to have an almost-unfinished feel in the way that Kirk is almost an unfinished character. He’s not a finished person he’s getting there but he’s not there. He’s a little rough around the edges. J.J. wanted something that was somewhat sad, somewhat brooding. That is clearly not what Star Trek has been in the past, or Star Wars, or anything that would normally go in that direction.
I think he was absolutely right to say what he said and it really took the music in a different direction. We are dealing with the start of the relationships with these characters that we know so well. It’s a tough beginning for them, not an easy one. Any time we did try to be too heroic or too traditional, it felt wrong, and not true to what was going on emotionally in the story. Musically, had we gone in a direction that it had gone before, it might have felt hollow. It wouldn’t have felt like we were taking it anywhere different. I feel like it really needed to be treated differently than it has been the last 10 years.
Giacchino with director JJ Abrams during scoring session for "Star Trek"
Excerpt of interview with stunt coordinator Joey Box
The skydiving sequence, as Kirk, Sulu and Olsen head for the drilling platform above Vulcan, is one of the movie’s highlights, and Box admits, was the biggest challenge on the film. "There were a lot of unknowns. That was all stunts, with a little bit of visual effects," he says proudly. "Our fantastic visual effects director, Roger Guyett, added to it tremendously.
We didn’t do any practical skydiving though. That made it a bit more difficult, because if the photographer is skydiving alongside people falling through space, there’s a lot more opportunity as far as movement goes. When you start putting wires on people, you can lose the natural body movement that you get in space. However, by shooting it as little set pieces, it did evolve a little bit, and at the end of the day we got a realistic sequence.
I didn’t feel that we were going from seeing a stuntman skydiving to an actor you never break out of the sequence for the whole time, from the moment they leave the shuttle. "The first thing we did was mock up the landing," he continues. "Then we took the actors and put them on wires. We got them into position and then started to train them. We got their brains and eyes used to being 30-40 feet up in the air, then got them into flight position and took them through it. At the end of the day, you want your actors to do as much as possible, otherwise you’re seeing half-profiles and heads turning away unnaturally.
I’d say that on that sequence 80-85 per cent of everything was done by the actors. They didn’t do the very dangerous landing, but even so, we were dragging Chris Pine across the platform of the drill. He was a real sport he’s a tough guy. All of them were fantastic you couldn’t have got a better group of actors. Chris and John Cho were in there the whole time."
Pine and Cho did much of their own stunt work on the drilling rig scene
Except of interview with Director of Photography Dan Mindel
What were your first thoughts in terms of what the look of the film should be?
I assumed that it was going to be visually based upon the films and the TV series that ran before it, but it became obvious very quickly that J.J. didn’t want to do that. He said to us that we should really not refer to anything other than the overall feel of the series, not the movies, and then we would come up with our own interpretation of that, which we did.
My first thought as always was that I wanted to photograph it anamorphically to give it a big-screen feel. I saw the other movies through my lifetime and didn’t really think that they had escaped the TV feel. Just by nature, they were dated, and we wanted to contemporize Star Trek in such a way that the youngsters who had never seen or heard of it would be engaged. J.J. is a master at that. His contemporization of these monolithic enterprises is fantastic. He’s one of the directors out there with his finger on the pulse of the popular zeitgeist. He can interpret what younger people are looking for. I’m confident all these new kids are going to see Star Trek and go nuts.
We started from a very open pallet, and zeroed in. It took a while to get to how we were going to make this look but once we had shot film tests, it became obvious straightaway. I had persuaded J.J. to shoot widescreen for Mission: Impossible, and when we started this movie I said it really should be shot the same way, and done analog, not digitally. He said, "Prove it," so that’s what we did. It becomes about an esthetic, as opposed to the technical side of things. We were able to show him the esthetic."
Mindel on set with director JJ Abrams
Much more in Star Trek Magazine on sale now
Issue 19 of the official Star Trek Magazine goes went on sale this week in the US, and goes on sale in the UK (as Issue #146) July 9th.
The magazine is just starting to show up and can be ordered from TFAW.
May Souvenir Issue still available
The Previews exclusive cover version of the special May movie souvenir issue of Star Trek Magazine (STM #18) is still available from TFAW (discounted from $9.99 to $8.99). [See TM preview of that issue]
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