Zachary Quinto Talks R-Rated Tarantino Star Trek And How It Might Be His Last Time As Spock

Zachary Quinto in 'In Search Of' (History)

While promoting tonight’s premiere of his In Search Of reboot, Star Trek star Zachary Quinto again talked about upcoming Star Trek movie projects.

Excited for R-rated Tarantino Trek

Talking to USA Today, Quinto was asked what he knew about the two Star Trek films in development, and specifically about the one pitched by, and potentially directed by, Quentin Tarantino. The actor again indicated that he would be involved in the Tarantino project and seems to have confirmed reports that it would be R-rated, saying:

We’re waiting on specifics. I’m thrilled that we might have the opportunity to work with him and see what he would do with us in this universe. It’s going to be an R-rated version of “Star Trek,” which would be the first (in) the movies, and that’s exciting. I’ve been a fan of his for years, and I’m really inspired by his originality. Take that originality and mix it with this world full of incredible ideology and colorful characters, and the result could be pretty thrilling.

Zachary Quinto as Spock in Star Trek Into Darkness

Tarantino Trek might be Quinto’s last time as Spock

When asked by USA Today how long he sees himself playing the role of Spock, the actor implied he may retire his ears after his fifth film, saying:

I don’t know. I’m really honored to be carrying the mantle of this character, so as long as we’re having fun and the stories feel interesting, I’m open to it.  If we make a fourth one and then we do a film with Quentin, that feels like an incredibly complete experience.

Zachary Quinto plays Spock in Star Trek Beyond

Simon Pegg meets with Star Trek 4 director

The more imminent of the two Trek projects is Star Trek 4, the follow-up to Star Trek Beyond. The film does not yet have a release date, but it picked up director S.J. Clarkson in April and more recently was reported to be already starting the process of casting some new roles.

Recently Quinto revealed he has already met with Clarkson about the project and last week the director was spotted in London with Scotty actor Simon Pegg, together at the UK premiere of Mission: Impossible – Fallout. The tweet from Pegg’s official Twitter account included the message “talking about the future…” with the inclusion of a Vulcan salute emoji to emphasize the Trek point.

Quinto’s In Search Of premieres tonight

The History channel has rebooted the paranormal investigation series In Search Of, which is hosted by Zachary Quinto, again stepping into the shoes of the late Leonard Nimoy. The new show premieres tonight, July 20th, at 10 pm. For more, visit the official site and check out the preview below.

Keep up with all news on both Star Trek 4 and the Tarantino Trek project at TrekMovie’s upcoming films category.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I suspect that with Paramount under new leadership across the board that the R rating may be bumped down to a more family friendly PG-13. An R may generate a lot of buzz but it may not generate a lot of revenue and will likely result in an older skewing demo for this film, keeping revenue down. A lot of the focus will be on what made the movie an R and not necessarily what the movie was actually about.

Buzz surrounding a film can ultimately be a distraction.

An ‘R’ Rating certainly didn’t hurt Deadpool or Logan’s bottom line. I’m all for it

Wasn’t Deadpool an R rating but still did well? They might be trying to copy that. Beyond was a pretty safe Star Trek film and did not preform as well as the other two.

That’s what I was thinking, they may be following the Deadpool example…or maybe QT is demanding it be rated R or refuse to do it?

Deadpool was always marketed as an R rated film and ran with it like a badge of honor. It wasn’t a shift in strategy for an existing franchise with decades of history behind it, it was a starting point for a tonally different superhero film.

Beyond suffered from a healthy amount of behind the scenes drama at Paramount, studio neglect and bad marketing. It many ways Beyond had to fend for itself yet still managed to be Paramount’s highest grossing film that year.

True about Deadpool but the X-Men films have always been PG-13 until Logan and that ended up being the biggest Wolverine film in that franchise. Of course it was really good too.

I think people are really over thinking the R rating though. No one ever said the film WOULD be R rated, simply that its at least an option. It could be R rated, it could also be PG 13.

Regardless its so weird to me how movies seem like they are being suicidal if they decide to make a film R rated and YET in most cable and streaming shows, at least the really popular ones, they are essentially R rated affair. GOT would probably be a hard R if it was on the big screen and that show is huge. Most shows at least use much harder language then you will find in a movie theater. In fact its Discovery that was the first Trek product to even use the F word so the QT film won’t be breaking any new ground there lol.

Right, but these shows are established as R or TVMA from the start. Star Trek has always been TVPG fare and geared toward families and the feature films, unlike Discovery, reach far more people casual viewers. But I agree, there’s speculation of an R but no one said it was actually going to be an R.

As for dropping the F bomb in Discovery, it really added nothing to the scene. It was amusing but ultimately a throwaway without any emotional weight behind it.


Unlike JJ Trek movies where the cost is around $150- $185 million, Deadpool’s budget was just $58 million.

And with a relatively low budget for such a film they could afford to the roll the dice. The marketing for that film was spot on and they got a huge return on their investment.

Having Tarentino behind the project and having it be R will draw in a lot of audiences who many not typically go see a Star Trek film.

Maybe the R rating isn’t what Paramount wants but Tarentino will bring in his audiences even if they are not star trek fans

But I think that there’s a misconception that an R rating draws audiences. It would be about Tarentino pulling in audiences, not an R rating.

If John Waters can deliver a PG film and David Lynch a G, Tarentino can definitely deliver a PG-13 on Star Trek.

It would be a mistake to assume that ‘A Film by Quintin Tarentino’ by itself is going to draw additional box office. He’s not the kind of director who’s going to deliver box office north of the 750MM that’s expected for franchise films these days.

But none of these Kelvin films has ever made north of $750 million. The biggest one in fact, STID, didn’t even make 2/3rds of that. It made around $470 million. And they still made another one after that.

My guess is Paramount has resigned to the fact these films aren’t going to be the next Marvel or Harry Potter. You have that now infamous quote from Simon Pegg saying they wanted these movies to make money like Avengers but after Beyond tanked I think reality has hit them its never going to be a top tier money maker but can probably stay a solid middle tier money maker which frankly all Star Trek films has always been since TMP. Basically $4-500 million for today’s box office.

I think if the QT one happens they will simply have a lowered budget which seems to be what most of the R rated films do now to justify the rating but I don’t think anyone expect any director to make a billion dollar Trek film anymore.

@ Tiger2 – If Paramount gets 200MM out of a QT Trek film with a 70MM budget I suspect they’ll be happy.

What’s funny is that they tried trimming the budget for Beyond by moving production out of the U.S. athey still managed to drop $185 million to produce it. Someone at Paramount basically has to say, “Look, $150 million and that’s it. Make it work.”

Smaller budget with a higher rate of return ensures that the franchise keeps going.

Sorta happened that way with WoK. I’ve heard a couple of versions. One was Bennett said he could make a better Trek movie than TMP and for less money. Another was Paramount wanted to try again but went to a TV guy to do it thinking he would know how to stretch every dollar.

True Denny C but I think in fairness the costs added up with pre-production of Orci’s film and then the delays for months after that. And Justin Lin said they worked over time getting the effects in place and everyone knows how expensive CGI can get when you rush through it. Most heavy FX movies usually get 6 months of post production for this reason.

But yeah I have literally been saying since STID that a future Trek film honestly shouldn’t cost more than $120-130 million tops. These movies make around $400 million. Maybe they can break the barrier and do over $500 million but keeping a lower budget just ensures more films get made even if they under-perform.

Re: now infamous quote

I recently came across his story here:

of what he was going through at the time that gives a new twist to those events.

@Dan — I wouldn’t assume that QT’s audiences are that different from a Trek audience. Regardless, his films generally have had budgets typically well under $100MM. Indeed perhaps his highest profile film INGLORIOUS BAST*RDS with huge box office star Brad Pitt, cost $70MM to make and only grossed $321MM. DJANGO UNCHAINED cost $100MM and barely made $425MM despite an all-star cast — and those are Trek numbers at almost half the budget. THE HATEFUL EIGHT barely earned 1/3 of that previous box office, even at a $44MM budget.

But my guess like yours is he will simply make a lower budgeted film. Its not impossible, they did it for Logan and Hugh Jackman was making probably the same amount of money the top three or four Kelvin actors makes combined.

TMP went from $35 million (although it was rumored to be up to $45 million) to $12 million with TWOK. Clearly you can’t go too cheap today but my guess is they can probably make a $100 million Trek film no problem.

Beyond only cost so much because of the delays and then trying to finish the film on time before opening. My guess is that budget was suppose to be much cheaper and why the production was moved out of L.A. in the first place, to save money.

TMP also had the cost of the failed Phase II show included.

That pretty much nails it.

I’d be surprised if Paramount give QT more then 100MM to play with….

Wasn’t Deadpool an R rating but still did well? They might be trying to copy that. Beyond was a pretty safe Star Trek film and did not preform as well as the other two.

DEADPOOL 2 cost $110 Million, not including any marketing costs, and made roughly the same boxoffice as the original DEADPOOL which cost $58 million (not including marketing costs).

But more importantly, it stars one of the biggest box office draws in film today — Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds celebrity alone likely reduced the marketing costs substantially.

Star Trek has no such star drawing power, and typically spends $40 to $127 million more than the DEADPOOL movies. And they earn nowhere near the almost $800 million worldwide box office that DEADPOOL does, and likely have substantially higher marketing costs since Trek does not have the same built-in star power.

Now, if QT builds his film around an A list actor, then maybe he can drop the budget and ensure that the film will still pull the kinds of boxoffice profits that DEADPOOL has with an R rating. But that seems highly unlikely, and it’s not really the kind of film Trek fans want. QT alone is not enough to guarantee that kind of success. Moreover, Paramount is not in the financial position to take that kind of gamble with one of their crown jewels.

Spot on analysis.

Yes. There will be some fake controversy about them possibly giving it an R-rating for publicity’s sake, but in the end it will be PG-13 of course.

Film the R-rated scenes two ways. Release the PG-13 version to theaters, and make both versions available for home video. “Special R-rated Director’s Edition”.

Paramount will want to reach the widest audience possible. Studios will spend north of $100 million on an R rated film but no studio has dropped $180 million+ on an R rated film. An R rating essentially ensures limited returns on a film that skews older and parents can’t or won’t take their children to.

Can they do an R rated Star Trek? Sure. Will the economic of reality of an R rated Star Trek movie impact Paramount’s final decision? You can count on it.

My thoughts exactly. I imagine the R-rated DVD sales would be in excess of the previous releases, even if only for the wrong reasons. Having two versions would cover both family and adult markets with one stone. A win-win all round.

I’m not 100% convinced the film will get an R just because of QT. It might but there are still way too many unknowns at this point. We don’t know if we are going to get McCoy dropping F-bombs around sickbay or if will a squib fest or what. Perhaps none of those. There is a very real possibility QT may not feel it necessary to make that film like his others. He knows it’s Trek and perhaps is only going to take things so far. Just spitballing here.

Agree. It doesn’t even seem like QT will be directing. He might just pen the script and then hand it over like he did for True Romance, with no control over the final film.

They already hired another writer to pen the script based on Tarantino’s idea. So if Tarantino doesn’t direct his involvement will be pretty small.

Tarantino has said he will direct 10 films and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood will be number 9. I doubt he’d use up his final one on ST. So very likely it will be his idea and perhaps a producer credit then.

By itself, an ‘R’ rating isn’t the kiss of death. Trek has typically steered a very wide path around the tension that in inherent in many of the stories the franchise has told through the years, so if he taps into that it’s not hard to get an ‘R’ rating out of something. Given Tarintino’s MO, his outing will end up with a look and feel more like an ‘Alien’ movie then a Trek movie, though.

It isn’t but it can limit box office which is why you’ll often see headlines like “highest opening for an R rated film” and things of that sort.

Won’t be an issue with a budget less then 100MM, unless QT’s effort is of Grindhouse quality.

The only purpose for an R rating is gore and language and nudity, none of those things will draw anyone to a Star trek movie. It doesn’t need it

Quinto did NOT say he might be done with Spock. It was a very roundabout answer, but it would be closer to say that if the next two films were all he was asked to do as Spock, he’d be content. That’s a long way from what you’re implying.

Yeah, I thought it was a very Nimoy-ish response. Throw a good script and lots of money at him and he’ll sign on.

He didn’t say “two more and out”. Gotta keep your options open.

How is that even a ‘Nimoy’ thing? Every actor says this, ie, yeah they are interested in doing another one, it just depends on the story blah, blah, blah. And we all know it comes down to money nearly every time since most actors sign up for multiple sequels before a story is even written lol. He and Chris Pine were already contracted to do a fourth one long ago. The story doesn’t matter, they are contractually obligated to do it no matter what ends up in the next script.

Unless you’re someone like Tom Cruise and have a direct say in the script majority of actors usually sign on to these franchises blind after the first film.

Yeah. The headline seems like it’s intentionally misleading, in a tabloid kind of way. I’m disappointed in Trek Movie for trying to stir up trouble where there is none.

I have mixed feelings about the reboot movies, but I think we could do a LOT worse than Quinto, and I’m glad his close and warm relationship with Leonard Nimoy has made him understand how important Spock is to a lot of people.

If they keep making Trek movies in the Kelvin timeline then Quinto could be playing Spock for the rest of his career. It is his signature role, as it was for Leonard Nimoy.

If we make a fourth one….

Boy, it still sounds like we’re waiting on Paramount to make a decision. And it looks like they aren’t in a hurry.

It sounds like they are still keeping coy on the starting date but obviously things are now in motion. The director has already met with Peg in London and Quinto has confirmed he met with her too. My guess is she has met most of the cast now. Phil, maybe I’m wrong but every post of yours seem like you DON’T want a movie lol. Of course I’m not saying you can’t have doubts one would happen but it does seem like you just don’t want anymore Kelvin films as every post you are constantly laying doubts about more films.

Or am I wrong? And if you don’t that’s fine of course. I know a lot of fans feel that way but its pretty clear Paramount wants more Kelvin movies or they wouldn’t have a script, director and cast all in place now. If it were two years ago when no one could even confirm Paramount was considering another one, thats different but clearly that’s changed.

I don’t know about actual pre-production meetings with actors. But I have read that Quinto spoke about knowing her from working with her on Heroes. And it seems that Pegg just saw her at his MI premiere. Does the article mention they had an actual meeting? If it did I missed it.

No I don’t think they had any formal meetings, at least none thats been reported. I was under the impression with Pegg though that they were actually meeting for the film but yes I guess you shouldn’t make too many assumptions off a tweet lol.


No one is doubting that Paramount will eventually make another Trek movie. Only that they have pulled themselves together enough to rush another one through at this precise moment.

But I guess I’m having trouble with the idea if they are not sure another film is being made, why hire a director until AFTER you made that decision?

Thats what I don’t get? I don’t pretend to know exactly how these things works but I’m saavy enough to know most studios isn’t going to hire a director until they at least decide they want to make a movie first.

Now sure, they have hired directors and movies have been cancelled. But the intent was to make the movie.

So that’s why I’m kind of sure they want to get one off the ground sooner than later. If that wasn’t the case they wouldn’t be scrambling to get everything in place. But no its not to say its a guarantee either.


Re: … why hire a director until AFTER you made that decision?

For me, the easy answer would be because they knew the bad Amy Powell PR was coming down the pike and they need some news to buffer its impact?

What still seems to be getting lost in the ‘irrational exuberance’ that Paramount wants to make more Trek, is that it wasn’t that long ago that Paramount was teetering on the edge of insolvency. Throw in that the franchise has been treading water financially for the last five features, and what we have actually seen is the studio approaching this in a very risk adverse fashion. Of course, they are interested in further developing the franchise, but their commitment so far has been to limit their risk to hashing out a script, and to identify a director who as agreed to make the movie (if, as Quinto said, its done at all) and to put out some feelers for on screen talent. There is little exposure to financial risk at this point if they don’t proceed, and if they do, well, we’ll have another movie in two years. We know the studio wants to make more Trek.

Again, I’ve never said it wasn’t going to happen. My concern has been about when, and there just hasn’t been enough activity going on to get excited about anything prior to Xmas 2020 as a release date.

It’s happening but it’s not happening until there’s an official announcement so that’s where we are right now.


I agree. There’s no way to parse that hedge as “We are currently ramping up production on STAR TREK 4.” as certain parties keep claiming.”

I would guess they wouldn’t need the budget of a Beyond to do a Tarantino Trek, because they wouldn’t need so many tedious CGI action set pieces. And thus they could better justify an R rating. (Tarantino might care more about story as opposed to sliding down a bloody flipping ship saucer.)

I was thinking the exact same thing. QT leans more towards characterization and exposition than holographic motorcycle riding (with the occasional blood splatter purely for effect).

Nit: The motorcycle in Beyond wasn’t holographic.

Thorny – actually I hesitated before writing that, and checked what Memory Alpha had to say about it – “To increase the confusion, several holographic replicas of himself and the vehicle were created, all headed in different directions…” so, I went with it. Of course the motorcycle itself was real, as they found it on the Franklin.

Damn! I forgot about that!

Just because directors are known for a specific tone of film does not mean they are incapable of doing something different. Sam Raimi completely abandoned his over the top style when he made A Simple Plan, for example. He even dialed it back when he made the Spider-Man films. (Save one OR sequence in 2)

@Mirror Galt — that may work for Tarantino, but it’s not likely to work for Bad Robot, nor Paramount, for a Summer tentpole movie aimed at China, and other large foreign markets to recoup their costs, without the presence of a major A list actor as a box office draw. Right now, between Paramount and Skydance, they don’t have nearly the kind of money they need to finance one major film, much less two.

Some rumors that I’ve seen in the last couple weeks:

A female villain, a new female hero (most likely TWD’s Danai Gurira)
Production being in early 2019, London and Atlanta are possible filming locations.

The Danai Gurira’s part is the only news that has been reported by the trades.

Sounds like the Sarcastic Trek I mentioned some time ago is what’s actually going to happen…. what a shame…

It might be a good idea to NOT be so secretive with plot details. The last movie, while not bad, was very underwhelming as a story. It was just a bloated TV episode, which was bad for a movie and a 50th anniversary.

I rather think a Tarantino Star Trek V on the horizon might run the risk of overshadowing Star Trek IV. I’ll watch IV on video, but I’d definitely go to see a Tarantino Trek. If it’s a hard R (UK 18) it might mean a somewhat lower budget, emphasising plot and dialogue over epic space battles.

Quinto’s only high-paying gig is Star Trek. If they keep providing him large checks, he will keep playing Spock. His career is simply not as successful as Zaldana’s, Pine’s or Pegg’s. Nothing wrong with that though…it is what it is.

I hope there are at least 6 movies like the Shatner series. Canceling after only 5 seems a mistake, unless they keep losing money like Beyond.