Star Trek Into Darkness Cast on Friendship and More
By: Lynn Barker
After having met and been tossed into adventure in the first relaunched Star Trek film, the cast is reunited and faces edge-of-your-seat challenges both in their relationships and as members of Starfleet in the new Trek movie Star Trek Into Darkness.
Zachary Quinto and Chis Pine are back as Spock and Kirk, Zoe Saldana is again Uhura, Karl Urban and Simon Pegg return as Dr. “Bones” McCoy and Scotty and Anton Yelchin is the young Russian Chekov. Cool Brit actor Benedict Cumberbatch who has played a hot and amazing Sherlock Holmes on TV, joins the cast as “baddie” John Harrison.
Check out what the gang recently told press:
On the cast reuniting for the second film…
- Zac Quinto: We enjoy one another; all of us and coming back felt like a reunion, like going back to school after summer holiday.
- Chris Pine: Or coming back to the set of “Friends”.
- Zac: Um hum.
- Zoe Saldana: It was so exciting and I felt so much joy because we did get along very, very well the first time we met and we also sustained a very beautiful friendship throughout the years that culminated in us coming back together again. It felt like we were on this long, extensive vacation and we were finally reunited with our favorite teacher. Playing the same character, you just felt safe to try anything because you would be guided well (by J.J. Abrams).
- Simon Pegg: It was a joy because we became such good friends on the first one. It was an ensemble and we were working on something that was very important and it forged a bond between us that we maintained through the whole four years (in between movies). Even though we weren’t hanging out, we were e-mailing each other and occasionally we’d see each other and suddenly we were all together again as that family unit with added new people as well which was nice.
- Karl Urban: J.J. is good at getting people together that he knows are going to work well together. It was great.
On each other as actors…
- Zac: I think Chris is really intelligent as an actor and makes really smart choices. I trust his instincts. I’m confident in his perspective and his process and I think his Kirk reflects that. He’s enormously talented and an incredibly hard-working actor. He’s generous to work with and easy to communicate with. Because we’re friends and have a history, there’s shorthand that comes into play that allows us to understand where each other might be at any given moment and what each other might need to do the best work that we can do.
- Chris: (To play) Spock requires a tremendously confident person to go into a character like that who, by the definition of the character, can’t express himself the way that he wants to. There’s a certain level of trust in your (acting) ability that I don’t think I would have and Zachery has in spades that’s quite incredible to watch.
- There’s a comedic moment that I remember in particular where Kirk is desperate for Spock to say “You’re my friend”. All he wants to hear is “You’re my friend too”. Zac has this beautiful moment and it’s not much, just a tilt of the head and he’s about to say something and he doesn’t. It’s great fun to watch him play with his character and use that economy of movement; that stillness, to his benefit.
- Chris: (On acting with Benedict) The scene that pops into my head immediately is his monologue and he took this information and stood up straighter and his back was straight and he’d tilt his head in precise angles. He was just so much fun to watch. He went at it with a scalpel. His performance is so precise.
- Zac: Zoe is such an angel. She’s got such an openness and such a vulnerability on camera and yet such a strength. She can kick ass with the best of them but she can soften and open up in a way that is magnetizing whether you are here opposite her or watching it on screen. I love her. We’ve known each other for years and it’s great to come back to that kind of familiarity especially when you’re working with such intimacy.
- Simon: Karl was an inspired choice for his role. The minute I first heard him being Bones, I got chills because it was a rare moment.
- Karl: I think J.J. cast Simon because he fit the costume (laughter). No, Simon’s fantastic. He has this wonderful sense of humor that he brings to the character and there are moments of sheer comedic genius that just have me and the audience in stitches. At the same time, what I really enjoy about Simon’s Scotty is that he has this firm moral center and he stands up for what he believes in and he is another voice of conscience for Kirk. Simon balances out the more serious tones of Montgomery Scott and the comedy just knocks it out of the park.
On their characters….
- Zac: It’s an honor for me to play Spock, a character who is so widely regarded as a beacon of intelligence and logic and compassion. I think Spock teaches me every time I come into contact with him whether it’s through playing him or through my interactions with Leonard. I learned that integrity is one of the things that is most important as we go through our lives and I think being a part of the Star Trek franchise has taught me a lot about integrity and a lot about its value and power.
- Chris: Spock is the man of logic and cold reason and Kirk is a man of passion and emotion that follows his gut whether it’s right or wrong or moral or immoral. Kirk, in the beginning, displays an incredible amount of selflessness but there is a self-serving quality. He wants to prove he’s the best and needs to win. Neither character can really exist without the other. A great story is about selflessness, teaching people to look outside of themselves to others.
- Simon: (Both Karl and I) play characters who could be mistaken for comedic characters and they’re not. They’re serious characters but they both have it in them to be funny in their own way and that’s an interesting balance for both of us and I hope we pull it off. (Looking to Karl) I know you do.
- Benedict Cumberbatch: (Harrison) might be a heavy, psychological character but at the heart of it is the 10-year-old inside me going “Yes!” You run through plates of glass, you’re jumping at things and flying through the air because you’re on a rig that’s taking you up on a wire and doing these stunt scenes to sell the punches and kicks. It’s a whole new skill set for me and so enjoyable to try and perfect with a really expert group of filmmakers. There is real jeopardy and excitement. There are also themes we can relate to about family and loyalty and friendship.
- Harrison has a very ambiguous relationship to what is generically a “bad guy”. Yes, he’s kick-ass, yes he’s powerful. He’s manipulative and very devious and extraordinarily adept at doing what he does. But, when you discover his motivations, hopefully you should have an empathy shift. He’s got a moral core and a real purpose and it kind of marries Kirk’s purpose in many ways.
And Zoe on action and how Uhura has grown since the last film….
- Zoe: I had to train a little with the stunt team and learn some choreography that they had established for my character and it was great. It felt it was a very natural trajectory for Uhura. The first time you see her she’s graduating from (Starfleet) Academy. She’s having a romantic little relationship thing with one of her teachers and she’s very shy but she’s eager to try her best. So, this time around she feels much more comfortable in her own skin; so much so that if anybody needs an extra hand, she does feel prepared and confident to fill in their shoes.
On watching the film in 3-D and IMAX…
- Zac: I’ve walked out of so many movies going “Why was that in 3-D? I don’t get it” but I can’t think of very many worlds that support the technology the way the Star Trek’s universe does and I think it’s spectacular actually. I saw the movie in 3-D IMAX and it’s mind-boggling how dynamic and immersive the experience is as a result of those additional technologies that weren’t applied to the first movie.
- Benedict: I’m always uncomfortable viewing my work but, with this, there is so much going on around you. Even though your imagination has to go there on the (shooting) day to trying to (absorb) your environment and how to respond to that as an actor, there is a lot of “real”, live action there on the ship which is a huge set or on various other locations. But, you don’t know how brilliant and sophisticated and rich and beautiful the imagery is going to be. It just blew me away.
- Even the scenes where I (was concerned about my performance) I could really distract myself by getting lost in space. Earth’s never looked so good as well in 3-D IMAX. It is the way to see the film. It’s a cumbersome thing to do on set but it’s up there on the screen and worth every moment of patience on the day.
On the story….
- Anton Yelchin: I think this one, if not better than the first one, is just as involving in terms of how much you care about what’s happening with these people. It’s a film that’s really about one man’s journey (Kirk’s) to understand what it means to be responsible for everyone’s lives and the meaning of being able to lose but winning in the long run even if it means you suffer. (It’s about) a man’s ego vs. what’s really right. There are a lot of key themes that you’ve seen repeated throughout literature and in film and they are plugged into this universe very elegantly and with a great deal of humor and intelligence.
- The crew is trying do so a kind of (secret) rescue operation on this planet and they end up kind of blowing it, saving the planet but revealing themselves and that sort of starts Kirk’s journey in terms of his self-awareness. He’s a man who doesn’t believe in no-win scenarios. He can never lose and he has to come to terms with how to win in a no win scenario and how to take the losses and understand what you hold valuable. We meet them at the beginning of the journey for Kirk.
Zac on working with effects vs. “real” on-set props…
- Zac: It’s the emphasis J.J. puts on humanity and character. There are incredible environments for us, as actors, to play in and be supported by; the ships and the volcano set they built out of nothing. You can compare it to fabric. How much fabric do we have to stitch together our performances and understanding of the world that we’re in. When you’re in a sci-fi story and so much is left to the imagination, the more practical, tangible things on set we have to work with the more beneficial.
Must you be a fan to enjoy the movie?
- Zoe: Whether you’re a fan or not, you go to the movies to be swept away into an amazing adventure. This film has the complete package because the plot is so suspenseful and these characters are so rich and what they’re going through is so deep that you go through it with them. You kind of have a film that caters to all of your senses.
Why is this new Trek franchise so popular?
- Karl: I think audiences enjoy spending time with these characters. This film has a lot of heart and it’s about trust and friendship and loyalty and sacrifice and there’s nothing that these characters wouldn’t do for each other. They’d lay down their lives for each other and I think that’s ultimately what makes this so accessible because it’s not just about the science fiction or the effects or the action. It’s about these characters and that’s what Roddenberry’s original vision for “Star Trek” was.