In addition to JJ Abrams (see previous story), writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were also on hand at the Paramount Home Video press day. The pair took a lot of questions about the Star Trek sequel as well as their other projects, and we have full details on all of it below. Plus there is some late breaking news that the pair are producing a new Hawaii Five-0.
Q&A WITH ROBERT ORCI AND ALEX KURTZMAN`
Bob and Alex on Star Trek sequel
Question: For the Star Trek sequel, is it more interesting to you to come up with a brand new adventure for this characters, or to reinterpret and revisit a previous episode or a previous situation? What would be more rewarding for you?
Alex Kurtzman: Every franchise has a different need, so you have to look at them differently, based on whatever the mandate is there. In the case of Transformers it was very important for us to have a sequel idea that stood on its own. You need to be able to not have seen the first movie to appreciate the second one. But, I think for us, it’s always about going back to the sequels that we loved as kids and asking ourselves why we loved them. So, Empire Strikes Back, Superman 2, Aliens, Terminator 2, Star Trek 2. What do all those movies have in common? Well, they’re amazing stories, all on their own. You didn’t have to see the first movie, and there was some incredible, emotional test of character in all of those movies. Superman has to give up his powers for love. The Spock and Kirk relationship being tested by Khan. Ripley finding a daughter. All of those things are such big ideas in and of themselves, and you really can’t tell those stories in
movie one, because movie one is very much about establishing a world.
Bob Orci: How would you classify the first movie? As an original or as a riff on an old story?… We’d want some kind of similar balance with the second one.
Question: Are there any concepts or notions, things you wanted to squeeze into the first Star Trek that you couldn’t, that you would like to revisit for the sequel?
Bob: We had a few characters in early drafts, [Nurse Christine] Chapel, maybe some friends at the Academy. But in terms of big concepts, there is nothing where it was "oh, we are not going to be able to fit that in."
Alex: We kind of threw it all in, in the first one.
Question: Is there anything from Enterprise or Next Generation or Deep Space or elements, like the Borg, Cardassians, Bajorans, anything on the top of your list that you might want to throw in to the next movie?
Bob: I think we’d think about it, just because we do love The Next Generation…I think our instinct would be to first look at The Original Series, before we considered that. But, all that is on the table.
Question: It has been reported that there is an idea of doing the 2 and 3 Star Trek movies back-to-back? Is there any possibility of that?
Alex: It’s very, very important to us to make sure that each movie is good, not “Hey, let’s do as many as possible,” but make sure they’re good. We feel like we’ve inherited this incredible honor and this mantle of Star Trek, and the most important thing is to make sure that we’re protecting that first. So, if the studio wants more than one, great. But, our thinking is going to be very much about the story and whether the story prescribes that there will be more than one. Part of what is great about Star Trek is that it’s a continuing adventure, so you naturally think that there will be many, hopefully, but we only focus on what comes next, and then build off of that. Right now, we’re not thinking specifically about making 2 and 3. It may come up, but it’s not where our heads are at right now.
Question: Recently Bob, you and JJ talked about allegory for the sequel and going back to that Original Series notion doing an allegory. I think you alluded to torture. How are you going to balance the allegory and still keep the positive future.
Bob: The torture thing was just a for instance. Someone asked, “Modern day issues like torture?,” and we said, “Yeah, sure, modern day issues,” but, we’re not doing a story about Gitmo as I read on some site that it was going to be about Guantanamo Bay. But, now that we’ve established the characters, we can have a more philosophical allegory, where what’s happening in the future represents our world, like the best versions of it in the ’60’s did, representing women’s rights, racial equality, progressive issues.
Question: And can you give a status update on where you are with the story and the script, etc.
Bob: We’re still just brainstorming, internally and are going to get together soon and bust our riffs out and see what happens, and start putting it together.
Question: So, you haven’t figured out a story yet?
Question: As fans of The Original Series and mythology, have you given any thought as to how you could incorporate Khan?
Alex: Where we’re starting is, “Okay, where are our characters now? What are interesting complications that we can put in their lives? What feels like an organic emotional place for us to get to? How do we want to test them?” And then, you look at everything and start asking, “Who would be the best foe?”
Bob: There are mental exercises we play. You can’t be a fan of this and not sit around and wonder.
Alex: But, the short answer is that we haven’t landed on anybody yet.
Question: Have you guys decided how much time will have passed between the first Star Trek film and the sequel? Are they still going to be new on the job, or will they have some experience?
Bob: We’re actually debating that.
Alex: We don’t have an answer yet.
Bob and Alex on writing process and other projects
Question: Now that Cowboys and Aliens script is a go, how is that film developing and how is it to work with Jon Favreau?
Alex: It’s the greatest.
Bob: We just started and we’re getting along really well. We’ve sent ourselves back to school and we’re watching Westerns together and analyzing them. We’re just getting into it.
Question: Have you found any good references?
Alex: Oh, yeah.
Bob: We just watched The Searchers last.
Alex: We had a lot of these Westerns in our head, but Jon is an incredible fountain of Western knowledge.
Bob: And, Star Trek was originally pitched as a space Western, anyway, so it was a nice lead up to this, for us.
Alex: I think Jon also comes from a very similar emotional place and, because he’s an actor, he knows what plays and what doesn’t play very quickly. We’re having an unbelievably good time working with him.
Question: What is your involvement with Fringe this season?
Bob: We come in about once a week, and then we’ll oversee two or three episodes during the season, where we work with another writer. We all divvy up overseeing part of the staff, to generate episodes. We all sat around for weeks, early on in this year, to figure out what the overall season would be, and then we check in once or twice a week and oversee a couple episodes.
Question: Does JJ Abrams have the same schedule?
Bob: Yeah. We switch off. He’ll check in and oversee another episode when we’re not around. That way, there’s a constant stream of us consulting and helping the great showrunners that we have, Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman.
Alex: The credit really goes to them, honestly. Jeff and Joel are carrying the show right now, in an amazing way. They’re in there seven days a week. They’re there all the time, 24 hours a day.
Question: Do you have an update on the View-Master film
Alex: We’ve read a lot of the wildly cynical response to that. What I’ll say is that some toys should be movies and some toys should not be movies, and I’d like to believe we know the difference between those things. The movies that work, work when there’s a story there that you could take the toy out of, but then, when you put the toy in, it becomes an even more amazing experience, for whatever reason. Brad Kane, who was a writer for us on Fringe, came to us with an amazing idea, that had absolutely nothing to do with View-Master. We loved it and thought it was fantastic.
Bob: But, we said, “It’s missing one thing. I don’t know what that thing could be.”
Alex: And, along came View-Master, and it sounded like the perfect marriage of ideas. But, it’s because we started with a story that felt like it could be told, all on its own, before that came along. So, it’s like, “Bring it on!” If you want to be cynical about View-Master, great ’cause we’re so confidence in where it’s going to end up going that we feel like there’s nowhere to go, but up.
Bob: Spielberg actually told us once that his first draft story of E.T. didn’t have an alien in it. It was a family drama about a kid missing his father, and E.T. was born from that. And, that’s always stuck in our minds. You’ve got to be able to take out the thing.
Question: Because you are involved in so many projects at one time, how do you structure your time?
Bob: Fist of all there are two of us, and that is how we structure our time. And we have kind that we are never breaking the soul of the story at the same time. You can’t do two roadmaps simultaneously.
Alex: Television taught us a lot about muti-tasking. You are breaking a story while you are writing an outline, while you are writing a script, while you shooting a show, while you are posting a show, five episodes all at once. So you learn the discipline of figuring out how to focus on each thing as you go. In our partnership, one of the things we foundearly on, is is that one of the things we really liked is the energy that comes of of doing many things at once. You can step away from a problem and put your brain in something else, and come back half an hour later and have a fresh perspective. The other thing is to let as many voices into the process as possible, you want a sense of checks and balances. You never want to be dictatorial. It is a very open dialog, especial for something like Star Trek or Transformers, there are so many voices in that process, you have to let it in and let it be a part of what you do.
Question: You guys and JJ like surprises in your movies. What surprises you in the movies?
Alex: I was very surprised by District 9. I was surprised by it for a number of reasons. It was not the movie that was marketed, and I thought that was very bold. If I had read that script, I would have said there is no way this is going to work. Where it goes, it is going to be impossible to execute, and yet it was executed so brilliantly and so emotionally and I think that was my studio notes training, because a studio would never have allowed that movie to exist the way that it did. Yet, it became this massive success. I think that those kind of break-outs are truly surprising because they give you hope that you still be doing something different and be doing genre. It was an incredibly bold and great movie.
Book em’ Dano: Bob and Alex producing Hawaii Five-0 reboot
In late-breaking news, tonight Variety reported that Bob and Alex are going to reboot another classic franchise, this time the 70s cop show Hawaii Five-O for CBS. A script is currently being developed for the pilot by Peter Lenkov (CSI: NY) under Kurtzman and Orci’s supervision, with Lenkov serving as showrunner (if picked up).
More to come
Look for more coverage on the Star Trek home video releases coming November 17th. You can pre-order your copy or copies below.
|Star Trek 2009||3-disk set
3-disk set w/ replica
3-disk set w/ badges