Exclusive Video Interview: Nick Meyer Talks Star Trek, Sequel, Opera and More

Over the weekend TrekMovie sponsored an American Cinematheque Star Trek Marathon in Santa Monica. On Saturday writer/director Nick Meyer participated in a panel to talk about his time with Trek. After the event TrekMovie had a moment to chat with the director about the new Star Trek movie, a possible Star Trek opera and if he was interested in taking the Trek director’s chair again..

 

Nick Meyer Interview
Nicholas Meyer director of Star Trek II and Star Trek VI. and co-writer of Star Trek IV. From TrekMovie Event December 5th.

Highlights

  • Meyer has previously commented that he has twice had to come in to ‘save’ the Star Trek franchise (with ST II after TMP and ST VI after ST V), says he "understood the position [JJ Abrams] found himself" when he set out to revive the franchise with Star Trek 2009
  • On the new Star Trek 2009, Meyer says "I thought it was spectacular"
  • Meyer (a family friend to JJ Abrams father) does not remember the event Abrams described at a recent press conference, but does remember giving him the "Annotated  Sherlock Holmes" for his Bar Mitzvah (Abrams recently told Meyer his son was reading it)
  •  Meyers, a Holmes buff, notes that "he is not a Sherlock Holmes movie fan" but "hopes he has a good time" at the new Sherlock Holmes movie
  • On if he would direct the Star Trek sequel Meyer notes "it depends on the script", joking that the movie he would like to make is "a good one"
  • Meyer says that he and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country composer Cliff Eidelman are still trying to "get permission from Paramount" do do an opera based on the movie
  • Meyer says he "loved" the Robot Chicken gag of an opera for Star Trek II (see below), and feels Star Trek II could work as an opera, but he is "more intrigued by the possibilities of VI" as an opera
  • Meyer’s most recent project is writing a script for a Johnny Depp film called The Crook Factory, which is now looking for a director. His recent George Washington script seems to be in development hell 

Tomorrow TrekMovie will have video from the panel discussion with Meyer from the Star Trek Movie Marathon.

And if you haven’t seen "Le Wrath di Khan" from Robot Chicken, here it is

And for more from Nick Meyer and his time with Star Trek, pick up his new memoir "The View From The Bridge – Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood" available now.


Available at Amazon

 

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Lord Garth, Formerly of Izar

NICK!!!!!

The Next Trek Director!!!!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!

And Jeremy Brett is and always will be the only Celluloid Holmes although General Chang was pretty good in the Jack The Ripper Holmes film which I own on DVD

Love to see him make a Holmes bigscreen outing based on the Canary Trainer or West End Horror NOT with Robert Downey

Ran

Meyer book is a must for any Trek fan. The man knows how to write.

PJ

A quick thanks to Anthony for this insane website. I pretty much check it every day on base when my work hours end. Keep us all filled in on what’s coming up next with the Trek world, because I’m definitely going to need to get my fix when I’m stuck in Afganistan on this upcoming deployment. Wish me luck.

Oorah!

PJ

*Afghanistan* Oh yeah, and uh, Nick Meyer needs to have his hand in the next movie. It would take it to a whole new “Empire Strikes Back” (and other awesome sequels) kinda level.

CmdrR

“George Washington, Teen Vampire!” (wooden fangs)

I would love to see Nic Meyer and ST join forces again… any way he sees fit. He has a great sense of pacing, humor, and action that ST needs. And he’s not so into lens flares. Just sayin’.

The Weary Professor

RE: 1.

Lord Garth, I beg to differ. I found Jeremy Brett’s performance as Holmes somewhat inconsistent, although this may have been a function of his declining health at the time. He added so many over-the-top touches (like the scarf wrapped about his head, his flights of yelling dialogue for no apparent reason, etc.) that he often seemed more like an actor playing Holmes than he did Holmes.

Although I admit both of Brett’s Watsons were better, I prefer Basil Rathbone as my definitive Holmes.

Anyone that disagrees might as well be sent to the facility on Elba II. Oh, wait a minute Lord Garth–you were.

CmdrR

“although General Chang was pretty good in the Jack The Ripper Holmes film which I own on DVD”

Great, totally forgotten film. I think James Mason played Watson. Lord, I saw it when it came out, but haven’t thought about it in decades.

Capt Mike of the Terran Empire

Nick for the next Direstor YES!!!!! Nick for the next Director. YES!!!!!!! Ok. Would love to see an opera based on Trek 2 ot 6. Now that would be worth seeing. Nick is a great Direstor and he knows his stuff. Weather it be all out Nuclear war.(The Day After) to Star Trek. He knows how to Direct.

Jason

Not much of an opera fan, but if there’s one based on either II or VI, I might check it out. Plus, the hint that Meyer would be open to taking the reigns if Abrams decides not to direct the Star Trek sequel, would be f—ing awesome! Also, his book is simply must read for anyone who’s a fan of the films he’s done.

TJ Trek

Thanks for the interview…. I noticed that Nick Myer can say a lot if he wants to he can also say absolutly nothing, very articulatly. He is great that way. It looked like he was very glad to do the interview, but had nothing much to say really….. Oh well. I enjoy anything that comes from the brain of Nick Myer

Valar1

I have been waiting years and years for a decent Washington movie, he’s right that his life story would be a fantastic action movie – the guy was all about action. In the past he’s been played by light weights like Barry Bostwick, chewing scenery on a bunch of soundstages, I’d give anything to see a real actor with a real budget and real location shooting.

I guess people are afraid of touching it because he had slaves, meted out corporal punishment , and fought hard to keep slavery alive. Although on his death bed he freed his slaves, that’d still be a tough nut to crack for a 2010 audience, but if anybody could write it it’d be Nick Meyer.

davidfuchs

I think Meyer’s a writer at heart, not a speaker, but I can’t knock genius either way.

Meyer would bring a sharp wit and ear for dialogue to a new Trek film–and frankly, ST09 was lacking in great dialogue.

Anthony Thompson

1.

Heartily disagree. Rathbone owns Holmes. Brett, however, was fine on television.

The Revisionator

I would love to see a George Washington film — as long as it’s not revisionist history trying to make him look like a terrorist or something stupid like that.

The Revisionator

Abrams isn’t going to dump Orci and Kurtzman. THEY are, in part, the new saviors of Star Trek. I just can’t see them being pushed aside for Nick…as excellent a writer as he is. Director? Maybe…I’d love to see that. And I’d love to see him write another Trek as well…but not at the expense of Orci and Kurtzman. They deserve a shot at the next film.

That’s just my fifty cents.

The Riddler

Nick, please direct the next movie!

SPB

#13 –

WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree. The performances were good, but I honestly didn’t “hear” the characters we know & love.

Will_H

The TWOK opera is one of the best things to hit Robot Chicken, ever.

Thomas Jensen

My gosh, the man looks like Mark Lenard! He’s even got the gray hair thing going on. Yes, Nick Meyer is Spock’s father…

Ashley

Nick Meyer directing the sequel and an ST6 opera both sound like awesome ideas! :D

Kirk's Revenge

#3

PJ,

Thank you for your service, and good luck over there.
Stay safe and God bless.

jas_montreal

@ 11 (anthony)

I think your questions were not as intriguing though.

Kirk's Revenge

Anthony, as the Italians say, “Giù la testa!”
(Keep your head down)

Ceti Alpha 5

@13 & @18

I totally disagree and I’ll leave it at that.

Nick Meyer for directing STXII, hell yeah.
Writing no.

Now if JJ reduced the lens flares by 50%….then yeah.

Bill Peters

I like what JJ did, He Basically saved Trek and Brought it new life and new fans, I love what Nick Meyer did for Star Trek II and Star Trek 6 but I think we need to let JJ play in his universe, Old fans need to understand for Trek to survive we must get new fans and a growing fan base! Now I am not against Nick Meyer helping with the next film but I think Star Trek 2009 was Awesome and one of the best Trek Movies ever and the best Marked one ever, it brought in non fans and made them fans! I have friends who never liked Star Trek in the past that now love it! Nick Meyer is a cool guy but Trek needs new blood every once in a while. Nick Meyer can help JJ but I don’t want him to make JJ step Aside!

davidfuchs

#27

I’m all for converting new fans. But it bothers me that JJ’s solution was to essentially dumb down Star Trek and genericize it. I think ST09 had good aspects, particularly acting and effects, but was brought down by the sheer conventional elements of it (in particular, subpar writing. Orci and Kurtz. aren’t Meyer or Bennett, simply put.) I don’t believe in attracting people through a product that appeals to a low denominator.

Buzz Cagney

All hail Nick Meyer!

Penhall99

Nick Meyer is a genius, one of if not the best Trek directors of all time. I’d love to see him involved in Trek again.

Capes

Ok……is it me or does Nick look like Gary Seven? I am just saying……..

@ 28

I think it’s sad that some equate action with dumbed down. The new Star Trek was certainly not dumbed down for anyone.

The story was great and the opening sequence with George Kirk sacrificing his life as James Kirk is born is unequalled in Star Trek writing.

Nick Meyer is of course a great writer and director. I think his involvement with the current team would be gold.

Rastaman

“Nick Meyer can help JJ but I don’t want him to make JJ step Aside!”

I don’t think Nick Meyer could ever “make” JJ step aside. It is entirely JJ’s decision. But if Abrams decide not to direct, I would be thrilled to see Meyer do it. He’s the only other one out there I know I could trust. How he would work within the new mega-budget Star Treks is an interesting question.

Valar1

“I think it’s sad that some equate action with dumbed down. The new Star Trek was certainly not dumbed down for anyone. ”

I’d like to butt in. I think the dialog of the new movie was fairly pedestrian, not what most Trekkies are used to in Trek, and the plot had a few large holes in it- like the universe ending supernova or the string of coincedences.

But Orci and Kurtz do know how to write characters. In particular I’d like to point out the scene where young Spock hopes his mother won’t be offended by him seeking out the Kolinar ceremony. Other points like Scotty complaining about being underfed- foreshadowing Doohan’s ballooning girth, or the deftness with which Pike instantly formulates a plan to disable the drill while turning himself over to Nero- showing us why he is the captain of a starship- touches like that IMO overshadow deficiences in the dialog or plot.

In fact, if I recall most of the Voyager episodes and ENT episodes- most of them suffered from the opposite problem- they were made to exacting dialog and plot standards but the characters were superflous- interchangeable ciphers for whatever plot the writer wanted to tell that week. IMO, Orci and Kurtz have brought Trek back by focusing on the characters and that is ultimately the only thing that people care about- no one gives a hoot that V’ger is actually Voyager 6, no one gives a rats ass about Khan- they care about Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and that’s the way it should’ve been on the later shows- focus on the characters and forget the bullshit psuedoscience- “I’m remodulating the nadion field and the graviton emitters to fire a 1 nanosecond burst of antileptons”

#32: “I think it’s sad that some equate action with dumbed down.”

It’s got nothing to do with the action. Lots of high-action genre films are wall-to-wall excitement and manage to please audiences _without_ being dumbed down. There’s nothing dumbed-down about the Spider-Man films, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Terminator 2 or Dark Knight (etc, etc, etc) …

But if ST09 were any dumber it’d be a rock, and not even a regular rock, but a rock with knuckles, just so it could drag them.

Darren

I’d really like Meyer to direct the next movie. Nothing against Abrams, but I’d just like to see how Meyer would tackle a Trek film today, considering the previous 3 he was involved with are regarded as the best.

@ 35, like dumber than Data getting his emotion chip and subsequent scenes?the killing off of a major character by dropping him off of a cliff? creating an earlier version of data named b-4? dumber than insurrection? as poorly written as nemesis?

Even first contact was not on the same calibre story wise as the new Trek.

As for character development that was always the problem with the next gen crew. Poorly developed characters. Imagine a race of beings who’s entire culture was founded upon honor, do you really think they would only have one word to describe it? Yet that was all Worf could say.

Thank God the bar has been raised on Star Trek movies.

crazydaystrom

#34-
“…Scotty complaining about being underfed – foreshadowing Doohan’s ballooning girth…”

LOL! Didn’t make the connection. Subtly brilliant!

Pat D.

Imagine. Nick Meyer directing Kirk and Spock . . . again.

davidfuchs

#37

No one here who’s critical of Abrams would argue that there weren’t issues with Trek long before him. I do agree that The Next Generation (movies, at least) simply weren’t as good as the TOS cast; why that was is an interesting question (in regards to your complaint about First Contact, I thought the story was in itself much more closed and consistent than ST09 [only one glaring plot hole that they managed to gloss over pretty well, being the Borg Queen] and that complaints about its characters have to be taken with a grain of salt considering it was purposefully designed without any sort of character intro seen in many of the other films. You can still criticize the lack of character time, I’m just pointing that out.)

What we *are* saying is that by and large the plot of ST09 was pedestrian, as was the dialog. I have nothing against the characters, I didn’t expect the actors to try and ape the old cast, and I thought they did a good to very good job.

However, what if we stripped out the effects sequences of ST09? Forced it to be made on the same budget of $11 million as TWOK? (that’s roughly $24 million and change with inflation). Would you honestly say that it would be a better movie than TWOK? That, to me, is the ultimate determinate.

20. Thomas Jensen – December 9, 2009
My gosh, the man looks like Mark Lenard! He’s even got the gray hair thing going on. Yes, Nick Meyer is Spock’s father

Exactly my very first thought, I wondered if anyone else would notice…!!

Nicholas Meyer, this is your chance to get back on the saddle.
Sad that you had to Waite many years to express your version.
Now you can feel what felt khan being maroon…

McCoys Gall Bladder

JJ doesnt need me to defend him (I hate the lens flares too)

BUT: if you listened to the DVD commentary, that was part of the “alternate universe” experience they were trying to convey.

One thing I didnt get about the movie: if the shuttle bay of the Kelvin was above the primary hull, why did Rabau’s elevator descend to the deck?

And yes the choppy editing of Kirk in the Romulan ship and the phaser/ disruptor jumps. also annoying.

Nick Meyer was the one who wanted Spock dead, remember? Covered in so much blood Nimoy had a breakdown on set. Read I Am Spock. I wish I still had the Starlog with Jack Soward’s interview in it. “The Man who Killed Spock”

McCoys Gall Bladder

For the record, the reason the even numbered Trek films were gold and the odd ones were lame is Meyer (even) not Meyer (odd)

#37: “like dumber than Data getting his emotion chip and subsequent scenes?the killing off of a major character by dropping him off of a cliff? creating an earlier version of data named b-4?”

No, not quite _that_ dumb. The filmmakers made such a roaring chorus about this being a film for general cinema audiences that I took it upon myself to compare it to genre films in general.

It honestly never occurred to me to give it coddling special treatment by grading it on a franchise-specific curve. You’ve opened my eyes.

“dumber than insurrection? as poorly written as nemesis?”

I wouldn’t know. There were trailers to warn me off. I may yet watch Insurrection on video someday, but I’m (obviously) not in a hurry. I see no reason at all to even consider watching Nemesis.

BillyJames

Imagine JJ producing and Nick directing. Star Trek dream team for sure.

"Check the Circuit!"

I thought that was a picture of Mark Lenard!

JohnSmallberries

Trek opera – As long as it’s not too self-indulgent, in other words if it’s more Gilbert & Sullivan, boy what fun that would be…

JohnSmallberries

BTW, Nick looks more like Gary Seven than Sarek.

Nathan

I have a lot of respect for Nick Meyer; his “era” of Trek films is the absolute best in terms of sustained quality, and two out of my favorite three Trek films are the those he directed (II and VI).
I absolutely love the “nautical,” Horatio Hornblower feel he brought to Trek, his ear for dialog, character, and humor, his operatic sense of drama (very well suited to the big screen, even if it would never work for a TV series), and his use of great literature and classical motifs. Having him direct the Star Trek sequel would be absolutely amazing. What he would bring would really fill in everything that was missing in the last film.

Oh, and Jeremy Brett simply *is* Sherlock Holmes to me; every time I read one of the stories, his mannerisms, inflection, etc are all there. Judging him by the very late works, when he was basically dying, is very unfair though; as his health declined, so too did the quality of the show in general, and of his acting. But his earlier Sherlock Holmes stories, up until the last season or two, are perfection.

Not to mention that that series’s Watson is practically the only one to do justice to the original character…