Before they reunited for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek 2 (technically, the twelfth Trek film overall), Chris Pine and Alex Kurtzman joined forces on the latter’s directorial debut, People Like Us.
Naturally, the pair has been peppered with questions about Trek 2 while promoting People (which hits theaters this month). Among the issues the Star Trek actor and screenwriter/producer have touched are: the decision to shoot portions of the project in the IMAX format – as Paramount officially confirmed, nearly four months after the news initially leaked (moving on…) – and the importance of the film’s villain (being played by Benedict Cumberbatch).
“They [IMAX cameras] are big cameras. They are big, loud cameras! And the things take forever to reload. It’s literally 20 minutes to reload a camera. I think the first thing that I saw on IMAX was ‘The Avengers’. The scope and the size of it are pretty neat, I will say that. I think J.J. did a good job of knowing which scenes to marry with the IMAX and which scenes would really pop, like they did with [‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’]. When Tom [Cruise] is on that huge building, it made all the sense in the world to do it in IMAX.”
Mission: Impossible 4 and Avengers have served as strong arguments in favor of IMAX; next month’s The Dark Knight Rises should only further bolster the argument that the big, big screen format is best for grand-scale blockbusters. An opportunity to see the main deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise – and big set pieces involving spaceship battles and exotic alien landscapes in IMAX, is something that many Trek fans will surely treasure (to say nothing of the general moviegoing community).
Pine also spoke about how the Trek sequel will strike a balance between spectacle and thematic substance:
“With J.J. and company – [screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof] – what they’re really, really good at and what sets them apart is that they know how to do the action, and they know that if you don’t give them the small character-driven drama, you can blow up anything you want and no one cares. People will leave the theater because we’ve all seen it, a million ways. With the second one, people will find that it’s the mythic structure, done really well. The character journeys are just perfect mythic structures. They do it so well. The journeys with the characters will be really great, and the explosions and set pieces are going to knock people out of their seats.”
Judging by Kurtzman/Orci’s collective resume (Mission: Impossible 3, the first Transformers and Star Trek) – in combination with Lindelof’s work (Prometheus), there’s reason to believe their script for Trek 2 will deliver the mix of character drama and visceral action that Pine promised. That was even the case with the trio’s most recent writing collaboration, Cowboys & Aliens – though, of course, quality (not content) was the issue there. Still, there’s good reason to suspect Star Trek 2 will mark a return-to-form for the writers.
“He’s a genius.There are certain actors who have the ability to take a line of dialogue and add a ring to it that you didn’t even know you put into the dialogue, into the line. And he’s one of those really brilliant actors. Just listening to him talk…you could enjoy him reading the phone book.”
As to how pivotal Cumberbatch’s character will be to the success of the film:
“Sequels are about your bad guy. Because your first movie is always about the becoming of [the hero] and your bad guy has to test that hero in a very significant way. And he’s an incredibly formidable presence. He’s amazing. Are you going to be scared of him? S**t yeah!”
There’s very little (if any) reason to doubt Cumberbatch’s abilities to play a convincing intimidating figure in the Trek sequel (we’ll just assume for now that he’s NOT Khan). The actor’s involvement should only bolster the overall quality of the project, regardless of how everything else turns out – though, as mentioned before, early signs are encouraging on that front.
Star Trek 2 begins a theatrical release in the U.S. on May 17th, 2013.