Exclusive: Cumberbatch, Pine, Quinto, Urban & Cho Talk ‘Into Darkness’ And Future Star Treks

At the Bad Robot press day, TrekMovie had time to quickly chat with some of the stars of Star Trek Into Darkness. Find out what Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and John Cho had to say about the movie. I also asked all the regular crew if they will stick around past the three contracted movies.



At the Bad Robot cocktail party earlier this week I tried to work the room as much as possible and slip in some real Star Trek talk in with the other (off the record) small talk and banter. It was an informal setting and so these were not strict interviews, but I had various amounts of time to chat with some of the stars of the movie and here are the relevant bits related to Star Trek.

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH on how John Harrison is a ‘Baddass’ & more

TrekMovie.com: When you did your now famous iPhone audition tape, had you read the script?

Benedict Cumberbatch: No. JJ talked me through the whole thing, but I hadn’t read the whole script.

TrekMovie.com: From the time you got the part to your first day on set there were just a few weeks, what did you do to prepare?

Benedict Cumberbatch: I asked to see the rest of the script! It was frightening. I remember someone actually came with the script, and had to wait while I read it.

TrekMovie.com: Did you go through any of the old shows or movies to get into it?

Benedict Cumberbatch: No I didn’t want to do that, purposefully, because of all the changes that Star Trek had with JJ but also because I had seen enough of the old. It’s not that I wasn’t familiar with it. I had seen a lot of the series and the movies, but I couldn’t tell you everything about every single one, but it was very much in my head and something I was very much aware of since I was growing up. I knew what JJ was doing with it and what it was, so I thought the best way was not to go back, but rather I have got to get something from the source material, the script and JJ [Abrams]. I just trust him and [Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof] and their knowledge. They know the world better than I can ever have, so I just sort of looked at the logistics of finding somewhere to live, training, I fly around a lot and fight people and that’s fun so I had get pretty baddass and get into physical shape.

Cumberbatch says John Harrison is a ‘baddass’ in ‘Into Darkness’

CHRIS PINE on his new fans & if he will do more than 3 Trek movies

TrekMovie.com: Do you know you have the most ardent fan base? I get all sorts of links and emails and tweets from your super fans. Like with the trailer and that scene with the hands on the glass. I got these messages from your fans who knew it was you, including a site dedicated to your hands called, seriously The Chris Pine Hand Porn Spectacular.

Chris Pine: Seriously? Oh my god! I can’t believe that! [at this point Chris publicist whipped out her phone to do a search saying "I have got to see this!"]

TrekMovie.com: What kind of reactions to Star Trek to you get from people, do you get both old Trek fans and new fans?

Chris Pine: Both. I’ve had a lot of people come up to me – a lot of women come up to me – and say "I never liked Star Trek, but now…" It’s exciting. Its fun.

TrekMovie.com: Watching that preview and seeing the reactions from the last movie, do you think those reactions are because you made Star Trek cool again for some people?

Chris Pine: Yeah Trek is new and cool again, but we also have people like Bob [Orci] and Damon [Lindelof] in the creative group behind it. There are just enough people who were never fans and just enough who were die-hard fans and we just the right balance…The same in the cast like with Karl [Urban] and Simon [Pegg].

TrekMovie.com: I know you guys are signed up for three Star Treks, could you see going beyond three?

Chris Pine: I do love everybody involved. I would say I’m open to anything. If the story is good and just as much fun as the second. I don’t think any of us want to overstay our welcome. If the material isn’t as good – I don’t think anyone of us want to do that. I really can tell you I enjoy working with everyone and that is really to JJ’s credit to build this kind of community that is kind of a family. He has done a really good job at that.

Chris Pine keeps getting beat up in Trek – but he is ready for more

ZACHARY QUINTO on volcano suit, why he grows Spock hair, ‘crazy journeys’ & more

TrekMovie.com: Did you just see the first nine-minute preview for the first time?

Zachary Quinto: Yeah. It was amazing. It really takes it all to the next level in this one.

TrekMovie.com: For this movie do you see yourself continuing Spock’s arc towards where we saw him on the original series? Alex [Kurtzman] has talked about how the crew in the new film are still not yet the crew you see on the original series.

Zachary Quinto: Yeah…we all go on crazy journeys.  We are still forming – still cooking.

TrekMovie.com: What was it like wearing that volcano suit, it was like 50 pounds?

Zachary Quinto: It was 70 pounds, let’s be clear. It was really fun to work in it – I was in it for about four days. I had to hang – be suspended in it – and fall and do all that stuff in the volcano. It was so crazy I can’t believe they got away with it. They had embers and they would go under parts of it….I had a fan and a cooling suit underneath it. They were really – with these ember machines and real flames – to lay in the reality closer to me.

TrekMovie.com: Earlier we talked to the makeup team and they went through the painstaking details of laying in your eyebrows after you shaved your own and how you use your own hair. Why don’t you just wear a wig and cover up your own brows.

Zachary Quinto: It is easier and more natural. Because I have to apply a lot of things to become the character and so the fewer things I have to apply the better. The more that we can have be real – that is why I shave my eyebrows and that is why I cut my hair that way.

TrekMovie.com: You are pretty busy these days producing and acting in indie movies, doing American Horror Stories, doing a play I believe. After a third Star Trek movie could you see continuing on with the role or do you think you would move on? 

Zachary Quinto: I really don’t know. I’m committed to three films. We are really excited about this one. I tend to be more in the present. I want to do good work with good people. And if an opportunity to do more than just the third movie comes of course I would take that seriously. If JJ is behind it and this crew of actors is on board then yeah. I love my Star Trek life.

Quinto shaves his eyebrows and grows Spock hair to immerse himself into the character

KARL URBAN on honoring DeForest Kelley, how they are just getting started & more

TrekMovie: Did you just see the footage for the first time?

Karl Urban:  Yeah. It is always one thing when you are making a film and things seem small and intimate and 2D and you see that and go "Whoa!"

TrekMovie:  You know I see a lot of fan feedback and while most liked the first movie, not all did, but there seems to be universal agreement on your performance. Even with those who say "I hated the movie, but Karl Urban was great."

Karl Urban: Ahhh, that’s lovely. 

TrekMovie:  We did a poll a while back on what fans wanted to see more of in the sequel and I think the top two things were Klingons and McCoy.

Karl Urban:  You need to go have that conversation with JJ and Bryan [Burk]…he’s right over there [points to Bryan].

TrekMovie: I’m sure they know. Bob [Orci] is a Trekkie (like yourself) and regular reader of the site.

Karl Urban: I kind of feel like the lunatics have taken over the asylum. There are a few of us in there who grew up watching it.

TrekMovie:  When you are on the set it must be a different experience for you than some of the others, spotting little details and references back to classic Trek

Karl Urban:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally, God yeah! It feels so bizarre and surreal for me at times – it really does.

TrekMovie:  As a fan when you are reading the script and come on something like the Enterprise under water do you go "oh my god, I can’t believe they are doing that!"?

Karl Urban:  Of course. There is always a part of me going "you can’t do that! That’s sacrilegious" But you have to put that aside because you know what they are intending to do which is to make it accessible to the widest possible audience – wider than it has ever been before.

TrekMovie: In the last Trek a lot of fans felt that you – especially with your voice – were trying to honor and pay homage to the performance of DeForest Kelley. In this one do you move it more to your own take – like say how Simon [Pegg] seems to be more of his own Scotty.

Karl Urban: In the first one it was important for me that the audience can recognize and identify with the character that they have loved. For me it some sense it is important for me to maintain some sense of that, but also I have to explore on my own. It is a fine balance – with cherry picking your moments.

TrekMovie: And JJ gives you that flexibility

Karl Urban: Oh my god yeah, JJ gives you incredible flexibility. He trusts you. He hires you to do a job and lets you do it.

TrekMovie: Could you see yourself doing more than three Star Trek movies?

Karl Urban:  I still feel this is just the beginning. Where we end up here is just the beginning. So I feel like there is still more to come. You get a flavor of it – a hint of it – but me being a long term Trek fan, it is just the beginning.

TrekMovie:  Could you see yourself doing more than three Star Trek movies?

Karl Urban: Yeah I probably could for sure. For me the creative force behind this is JJ. If JJ is involved then yes. 

TrekMovie: What if he weren’t directing?

Karl Urban: It would depend. I would hope he would still be involved. I do what I do to entertain. So as long as these movies entertain people and people want to see them, then I would more than happy to continue.

Urban (running behind Pine in ‘Into Darkness’) is trying to pay homage to DeForest Kelley’s McCoy

JOHN CHO on Sulu’s arc, ‘Into Darkness’ being more ‘substantive’ & more

TrekMovie.com: When we last spoke, way back at the junket in 2009, you said that in the sequel you wanted to do something different with Sulu…

John Cho: ..something more internal?..

TrekMovie.com: Exactly!

John Cho: Actually wow, yeah. And yeah it is. Maybe they saw that wow. I would also say the movie is also more thoughtful than the first one. Maybe the movie feels more substantive to me because they didn’t have to roll out the characters again. We are there – on the bridge. So in a way there is more story than last time.

TrekMovie.com: The villain seems to be more important in this one.

John Cho: Actually even the scope of villainy itself seems to be broader in this one…I’ve said to much I think [Cho then looks nervously at JJ Abrams standing close by]

TrekMovie.com: Don’t worry it’s not like you said who the villain was or who gets killed or anything.

John Cho: You see that guy [Abrams] could have me killed

TrekMovie.com: You guys really do fear JJ’s shroud of secrecy

John Cho: It’s ironic because he is the nicest guy in the world, but I do fear him.

TrekMovie.com: Could you see yourself going beyond 3 Star Trek movies?

John Cho: I actually could yeah. It was fun. First of all I love the reunion aspect of it. It is a good gang. So I’m assuming everyone is back and I’m not the only one. But I would hope so. If everyone came back it would be really fun.

TrekMovie.com: I could see that it might be hard to get the whole band back together. Some may have different priorities and of course there are busy scheduling issues.

John Cho: I tell you though, we have a great time together and that may be the biggest pull. It is a good group. We get together on our own and it’s fun.

John Cho says ‘Into Darkness’ feels more ‘substantive’ than 2009’s ‘Star Trek’

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It never stopped being cool, Chris.

Wow zq leaves much to the imaginstion about the future


Chris Pine. Eye candy for the ladies….

Loose translation on the more then three movies question….If my career isn’t sucking and I need the money, yeah.

New timeline, new rules. This being said, there are no set guidelines as to how Deltans age… yet…perhaps they could get Ilia in next film? Plus, here, in nuTrek, Chekov is 17. (well, 18 by Into Darkness). I’d be interested in seeing who The Supreme Court would get to play Ilia if they did. Also Nurse Chapel and Rand would be cool to see. Maybe an earlier, younger Saavik. SUPREME COURT– Work on a role, if she wants it, for Whoopi Goldberg to appear as Guinan. :)

This being said, I like this new cast and I hope they stay on for more than 3 films.

Great job with these interviews, Anthony. You really balanced the casual nature of the setting well with the types of questions you asked. Love that you were able to ask everyone about their involvement beyond the third film. It is cool to get some sense of whether they are even thinking along those lines.

Thank you to you and your team for the work you do on this site too. It’s always a fun read.

P.S. Any sign of Anton Yelchin or mention of him around bad robot?

It sounds like none of them die, if they are all more or less open to doing more, but that could be a misdirection too. (I doubt it though. I’m guessing Pike dies, or maybe the villain “redeems” himself and then dies.)

I have a suspicion that Anthony knows more than he’s allowed to say. He said “Don’t worry it’s not like you said who the villain was”, when we already supposedly know who the villain is. (Sort of.) So, does Anthony know for a fact that there is more to the villain than “Random nobody we’ve never heard of”? Perhaps even something we’d immediately recognize? Hmmm…

I really hope they making more than three Star Trek Movies:-)

I bet Cumberbatch is more of a Whovian than a Trekkie. Hehe. And yes, not going back to TOS/ past movies just screams original character. Or not. But yeah. Original character.

So each and every one of them said they’re open to more than three.

Poor haters.

Does anyone remember something about a rumor of one of the writers showing off an iPad with a female actress with photoshopped Vulcan ears? I think it was back during preproduction of STID. With Carol Marcus confirmed in the film I wonder if they’re also holding back that we’ll see Saavik in some form.

13 – if we follow the writer/fan folklore/soft canon about Saavik, then we’d need the actress playing her to be an adolescent or teenager at this point in time.

These people are awesome. They deserve our support as fans of Trek.

I think the prospect of multiple Trek movies from this core crew is great. I think they know they’ve got a good thing going, and if this new movie works, I’d tend to be surprised if they *didn’t* go past three movies.

Good times for Trek. Good, fun times.

So Harrison can fly and Spock had one of us under his suit :p

THANKS Anthony!!!!… I loved it!!!!

Oh the publicist of Chris Pine should know how much some of us fans of CP are “accused” of being his PR … LOL … Keachick not true? … are you out there?

;-) :-)

Wow Anthony, you either have the world’s greatest memory, can write really fast or was carrying a tape recorder!

I don’t will get more than 4, probably 5 outings from them…I sincerely hope they will shoot the next two back-to-back for the 50th anniversary though. It should involve the Borg (being lured to the quadrant by Narada’s Borg enhancements) and the Doomsday Machine, which was originally designed to fight the Borg according to Peter David’s novel “Vendetta”…It could even include V’Ger or the Guardian of Forever…

This could be the zenit and then maybe one more for old time’s sake in 2019…a little bit more lighthearted send-off featuring Tribbles, Mudd and lots of TOS memories…

Then reboot NextGen based on the new timeline, with a completely different take on the 24th century that will be even more apart from the original than NuTrek is from TOS…

@13. Why is that an issue, Spock has been bumping uglies with Uhura in this timeline….

I don’t blame any of the actors that did not yell out “Yeah! As many Trek’s as they can film, I’ll be there.” Even if they would love to do it, putting being pigeon-holed aside, it’s a negotiation with the studio. Kind of like buying a home. If you’re jumping up and down saying “I love this place!” you don’t have much room for negotiation on price. I mean, look what happened to the Ghostbusters when they were buying that fire house. ;-)

I’d like to know more about ‘Lens Flares’. Has it been toned down any compared to the 2009 movie? (preferably removed entirely)

@24 I think they need more lens flares! I want to be blinded darn it! All jokes aside, I hoped they toned them down this time too.

I’m glad there was a shout out to Archer in ST09. Season 3/4 of Ent were some of my favorites. I know there are plenty of haters out there. Plenty of canon/continuity sticklers out there too (EVERY series violated so-called canon, just look it up on YouTube). But just about every ST series took a few seasons to warm up. ENT had numerous things going against it which have been discussed in length. That being said, I’d like to see another ENT shout out in this one though the haters had an issue with the Scotty/Beagle incident. I still wish there would be some sort of filming done with the Earth/Romulan war which supposed future ENT seasons and a possible movie were going to be done pre JJ. Maybe an older T’pol? IDK.

I’d like Cumberbatch to develop into the beginnings of Khan by the end of the 2nd film and then come back for the 3rd in full Khan mode

Hey Anthony. Great Article. it seems like everyone will be back for more then 3 movies. I just hope they make the next Trek Movie a little faster then they did with the time frame between 2009 and 2013.

#17 – I am very disappointed not to’ve been one of the fans in ZQ’s Volcano Suit ….. Like many here I really hope the cast & crew can do more than three STs together. YES!! I would LOVE to see tribbles, Harry Mudd, Cyrano Jones, troublesome Tellarites, mysterious Andorians, the alluring and dedicated Romulan Commander, more humor (Uhura doing translation as Kirk tries to negotiate with cranky ambassadors & Spock giving intercultural pointers to Kirk & McCoy just seems like movie gold to me)! And how is the new Vulcan settlement going? It would be just lovely to have a new ST movie every 2-3 years, and maybe they could do two back to back or close to it. And y’know what? It would be really fun to see Scotty walking around with Archer’s beagle – maybe the Admiral gave it to him for being a hero in the Nero incident … just another fannish wish list, boborci :-) Rock on!! …. and Anthony, thanks for the casual interviews. I loved learning of Cho’s “fear” of JJ, ZQ’s hair & eyebrows (really, no kidding, this stuff fascinates me & I loved the details)! And thanx for posing the More Than Three question.

#18 Yes indeed, we are *accused* of being his publicists. Actually I am surprised that Chris Pine’s publicist did not know about all the stuff about Chris on tumblr including the Chris Pine Hand P-rn Spectacular….hmmm.

Anthony – Had not the villain’s name been officially released at that stage, ie when you were at the cocktail party? I am not sure why John Cho would be hesitant about saying the John Harrison name.

THIS IS WHY I keep this page loaded at the top of my favorites list!
Good questions, cool answers and fantastic information!
I know I have said it before, and I’m sorry if you are tired of me posting this, but THANK YOU ANTHONY for all your hard work.

#1, #4:

Cool = relevant. It pains me to say, but Trek lost it’s relevance for a while. I’d say that, if “Darkness” exceeds “2009” in both quality and box office, that Trek is *both* cool and relevant again.

thank you.

I’m really starting to worry about Chekov. I don’t think that I’ve seen any publicity involving Anton Yelchin, or even heard much mention of him.

These reports are awesome, thanks AP for bringing them to us.

Of course Pegg did his own think with Scotty, its because he’s a weak actor. Urban, on the other hand, is an awesome actor and is able to BE McCoy.

So Pine basically admitted it is his hand on the glass?

He’s got a shatner-ish look in the Japanese footage! :)

Great stuff.

Thanks Anthony!

Awesome!!..saw the 9 minutes last night in IMAX of course and it was spectacular. Juts the simple things like seeing the stardate in 3-D was really cool!.. I agree that we have not seen Anton Yelchin at all?? anyway we know he is the movie…. as for more that 3 movies??? well if it takes 4 years for each to come out …ST3 in 2017 …ST4in 2021…ST5 in 2025…well you begin to see that they will have to speed up the process a bit…I’m really hating the year to wait for the next Hobbit!
As for being cool..it is and it wasn’t for a while. Enterprise really tried..but most the TNG movies failed completely!…

I think future ST Movies should have a different director, producer, writer(s),cast, storyline, different uniforms, different bridge,etc., to appeal to a new and younger and appealing and and hotter and sexier generation/version to Star Trek fans! And I also think they should revive the 5-year mission of the TV show to the movies to appeal to both older and younger audiences.

What the heck are Lens Flares?

I see the more obnoxious elements of the fanbase won’t be able to type their “third and final” horseshit anymore.

Although, there was always something about seeing it that gave me the giggles.

I want to present the following symbol as the element whose quantity is in direct proportion to the likelihood that each of the cast will and want to return for a fourth film.


Now, in particular, if Chris hits it out of the ball park in the Clancy franchise, he will probably demand a fair amount for a fourth stint as Kirk, and the beancounters at Paramount will have a fit as beancounters are wont to do. But as long as said element, described above, is found in sufficient quantities as a result of the second and third movies, then I think we will see Pine in the command chair for at least the fourth movie.

Let’s not get a head of ourselfs JJ fans. In Hollywood, a lot can change quickly. That and Hollywood is obsessed with trilogies. Yes, the powers that be may keep things in the JJ-verse, but that does not mean there will be a fourth film with JJ and Co, or his crappy JJ-TOS.

You never know when some hot shot executive wil decide to bring the franchise back to the Prime universe, or re-boot the re-boot and create another alternate universe. We’ll have to wait and see.

I am seeing it so much just have to ask.. why are some people saying
the “Hey, Johnny” character is Kirk’s brother and not just showing off
to a friend? What have I missed?

-46. You got that right Jason. We need a new Trek reboot with a newer, younger, crew and a new Enterprise.

3 and they’re gone