‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Behind The Scenes: Makeup, Music & Fantastic Footage

Published 2 years ago by , Updated December 15th, 2012 at 6:36 am,

bad robot star trek 2 Star Trek Into Darkness Behind The Scenes: Makeup, Music & Fantastic Footage

This past weekend, Screen Rant was one of a handful of media outlets invited to J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions for a Star Trek into Darkness preview event. For a sense of what the opening minutes of the film are like, you can check out our spoiler-free thoughts on the 9 minute Star Trek 2 preview that will be ahead of IMAX prints of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

For a more in-depth look at what we learned on the visit, read on.

New Footage

In addition to the IMAX preview footage, those in attendance had the opportunity to see about 10 more minutes from Into Darkness, particularly a scene that takes place about 2/3 into the movie. While we can’t tell you exactly what was in that footage, what I can tell you is that while I thought the opening minutes of the film were very good, the additional footage that was screened was amazing.

All I can say about the segment is that it does establish that Benedict Cumberbatch (the villain of the film) is called John Harrison – and that what we saw was extremely exciting and suspenseful, while also including some humor by Simon Pegg, who seems to officially be the comic relief of the new franchise. Also, we get to see a more mature Captain Kirk played by Chris Pine – one who demonstrates both humility and a sense of self-sacrifice.


Bad Robot Productions

The Bad Robot facility is a movie geek’s dream come true. The entire place is currently dedicated to Star Trek into Darkness, and we were taken through a number of areas related to different aspects of the film’s production – including make-up, digital visual effects, props, costumes and music.

I was struck by the fact that everyone involved is really into getting all the little details right – there was no “short cut” attitude visible by any of the folks we talked to. Also, there are cool props and memorabilia all about – some set decoratively on shelves, while other items from previous films are just laying about on shelves in various rooms. It was odd seeing so many movie props that one could definitely consider collectible just laying about – but for the staff it’s just part of their stock in trade.


Makeup Effects

quinto spock trek 2 Star Trek Into Darkness Behind The Scenes: Makeup, Music & Fantastic Footage

David LeRoy Anderson (head of makeup effects onInto Darkness) gave us some insight into his department’s work on the film. He personally applied Zachary Quinto’s Spock eyebrows every morning – one hair at a time. It took 30-45 minutes to apply them every day (side note: at one point it began to take longer and longer to get it done – it turns out Zachary was shaving a bit more of his eyebrows every morning, causing more to have to be filled in).

One cool bit of information Anderson shared is that there will be Klingons in the film – and we will get to see them without the helmets they wore in the deleted scenes from the first movie. One of the challenges they faced was having the actors’ features come through, so they all didn’t look the same. And yes, they DO have ridges along the top of their skulls, and there is an interesting twist on the ridges, which I won’t give away.



michael giacchino star trek Star Trek Into Darkness Behind The Scenes: Makeup, Music & Fantastic Footage

We also met with composer Michael Giacchino (who did the music for the last movie). He gave some fascinating insight into how he scores a film. He is scoring Into Darkness in chronological order – in other words, he doesn’t jump to the end, write the music for that, and then jump around to various scenes. He scores the film as it transpires, so that he can match the feeling of what develops in the film to what the audience will be experiencing as it happens. The music reflects the overall essence of a scene; even if there is some humor, if a character is in danger off-screen, that undertone of music continues to carry through the humorous part of the scene. Also, the music reflects what is in the characters’ heart at any given moment, not necessarily what they are saying. It was quite a fascinating look into how the music for a film is created.

In our next article, we’ll discuss visual effects, props and costumes. Stay tuned.

Star Trek into Darkness opens on May 17, 2013.

Photo of Michael Giacchino and J.J. Abrams from ScoringSessions.com

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  1. What I really liked about the latest film was the score, it was very catchy. Great to hear news on it. IMO that was one of the biggest things about the Original movies, the score. Especially the time when Kirk and his crew were intro/reintroduced to the Enterprise in both 1st films. It truly captured the emotion of their amazement.

  2. I wish Abrams had chosen another composer to do Star Trek. While I’ve heard some lovely music from Giacchino (his John Carter score is actually phenomenal), the score to Star Trek was not effective. I found it tedious and often terribly misplaced in the context of the film.

    The music to Star Trek was the one thing that detracted from the experience for me. It was grating and annoying.

    I will hope that he does better with the 2nd film. He’s obviously capable of far batter, as demonstrated in John Carter, Speed Racer, Up, and even Super-8 (although that last film does suffer from the same defect as Star Trek’s score – an overabundance of repetition, just to a lesser degree).

    I am VERY much looking forward to Star Trek 2. I did enjoy the first film immensely, despite the score. I’m certain I will enjoy the 2nd film as well. Hopefully, not despite the score. I’m hoping that he blows me away with his new score and turns my low expectations on their head.

    • More Beastie boys.

    • “I wish Abrams had chosen another composer to do Star Trek….”
      LOL. If I had a nickel…

  3. Finally we can put the gary mitchell and khan crap to rest

    • ^^^Yes, Please!! Agree 100%!!

  4. Is Abrams-Giacchino the new Spielberg-Williams?

    • I think that title may go to Nolan-Zimmer. But you could be right.

  5. KLINGONS!!!!! YESSSS!!!!!

  6. So, we get teased by a headline that specifically states “fantastic footage,” then the article goes on to tell us that they can’t tell us what it was. This site is getting more pathetic all the time with it’s use of misleading headlines. Maybe they should write for FOX news while they are at it.

    • Sorry you feel that way. We (and other outlets) are under a VERY strict non-disclosure agreement. What I wanted to convey is that the footage was great. I was honest in my description of the opening 9 minutes of footage, saying I thought it was good, and I’m sure works within the context of the film – but this footage was amazing even as a stand alone sequence.

      At least you know that it was great and not lame.


      • I think most of us understood that you withheld information for good reasons. I assumed confidentiality by the way you worded the article. If you had a big spoiler you could share, it seems to me that you have established a reputation for sharing that spoiler, with adequate warning. This was not false advertising, but rather the best you could offer to us. Tragic as it is that Mindok wasted a mouse click, and will forever be bitter about your cruel deception, I enjoyed the article and appreciate the update. Lots of people could say the same. Thanks for sharing what you could with us, you lucky bastard! Any chance you could tell us if the details you witnessed were compelling trek lore, as versus just good movie footage? I know the movie will be fun, but I really want to know if it will reward me for decades of fandom… Maybe think on that non-disclosure fine print, and see if there is any more vague assurances you can float our way? Probably not, but I had to ask.

  7. http://comicbook.com/blog/2012/12/14/star-trek-into-darkness-prologue-detailed-description-and-review/

    They never called Benedict’s character John Harrison

    He gets asked who is he and he only smiles

  8. http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2012/12/14/six-suspects-for-the-true-identity-of-the-star-trek-into-darkness-villain/

    This is an excerpt from the article

    The film’s screenplay was written by Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindeloff. In interviews, Orci has said the villain is not a new character but rather someone who exists in established Star Trek canon. No character named John Harrison appears in any episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Perhaps our villain uses an alias, or maybe the name “John Harrison” is simply a placeholder until Abrams and his crew are ready to reveal the man’s true identity.

    The official premise of the film is that an “unstoppable force for terror” is found within Starfleet, resulting in Captain James T. Kirk leading “a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.” Assuming Orci wasn’t fibbing when he said our villain has appeared in Star Trek: TOS, here are some potential suspects that some fans have brought up.

    • Um, I saw footage they didn’t, and his name WAS used.

  9. I think we will get the answers we seek when the prequel comic “Countdown to Darkness” is released next month

  10. Now I get it…There was 10 extra minutes certain people got to see.