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Chris Pine on the growth of Captain Kirk in Star Trek Beyond

06.22.2016
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Chris Pine Anton Yelchin Star Trek Beyond

James T. Kirk has always seemed like a confident fellow, but Chris Pine's take on the character in both STAR TREK and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS pumped up Kirk's bravado to new extremes. Taking place several years into the U.S.S. Enterprise's five-year mission, the upcoming STAR TREK BEYOND will feature a Kirk who has had time to mellow into someone more like the character we knew from the original television series. While speaking with SFX (via TrekCore), Chris Pine discussed the growth of Captain Kirk in STAR TREK BEYOND.

What I really enjoy about this part of Kirk’s arc is that he’s relieved of all the onus of trying to live up to his father and the anger of never having met his father, all the stuff that drove the first films. I think it was very important, especially for the first film, to [see Kirk being a young maverick]. There were fans that were dismayed that he had so much bravado – but there’s no place for the character to go if you don’t start somewhere. And that guy is certainly still in there. Now he’s an older guy, not a young man anymore… he’s a leader and his priorities and motivations have changed. He’s thinking to himself, “Now that I don’t need [to be like my dad], what else is there?”

STAR TREK BEYOND initially had Roberto Orci set to direct the film as well as pen the screenplay with Patrick McKay and John D. Payne. A fair amount of work had already been done once Orci departed the project and Simon Pegg and Doug Jung stepped in to craft a new script. Paramount held firm on keeping their release date, which put a lot of pressure on everyone involved, including new director Justin Lin, but John Cho told SFX that despite being under the gun, Lin quickly went into "independent director mode" and leaned on his "gut instincts" to hopefully craft "something special." For the actors, that rushed schedule unfortunately meant that they didn't get the time they hoped to fully prepare, but as Chris Pine says, sometimes you just have to dive in headfirst and see what happens.

The actors are usually the last people to find out anything; we have no control… they tell me when to show up. You can bemoan the fact that you’re getting the script so late… you can either dive headfirst into that or you can struggle against it. I decided to dive headfirst into it. I’ve done enough of these [films] to know that, strangely enough, the more money that’s put into a project the more free-form it can be. Simon [Pegg] and Doug [Jung] have come up with a great story, and Justin [Lin] is a master navigator [of these] big-budget film waters, so I trusted these people. My job is just to bring it to life, and be open on the day for anything to happen.

Although both Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are contracted for a fourth film, there's no guarantee that it will happen, but if it does, Chris Pine says that he would like it to be "a slower film. That’d be kind of fun. Kirk and team land on a planet and go explore. It’s not going to happen, but it would be fun to make the Merchant Ivory version; a slow, talky film." In the same interview, Chris Pine had commented that "you can't make a cerebral Star Trek film in 2016," and while I understand where he's coming from, I have to hope that if a great thought-provoking Star Trek story was made with this cast which put action on the back-burner, people would still show up.

STAR TREK BEYOND will hit theaters on July 22, 2016.

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Extra Tidbit: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home featured little to no action, especially when compared to the recent Star Trek flicks, but it's still one of the more successful entries in the franchise. If Chris Pine and company got the chance to tackle a Star Trek film with a similar tone (an original story please, we don't need an awkward George and Gracie reveal in the middle), do you think that it would fly with today's audiences?

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8:24AM on 06/23/2016
One thing I've always said in favor of The Voyage Home, despite having some goofy comedy elements, the core story was very Star Trek because, like the best original series episodes, it was old-school sci-fi short story material, much like the best Outer Limits or Twilight Zone episodes - you have a great concept with an ironic twist that the story is built around, and a lot of big budget sci-fi movies these days simply don't have that classic sci-fi core. Interstellar had it and was a much
One thing I've always said in favor of The Voyage Home, despite having some goofy comedy elements, the core story was very Star Trek because, like the best original series episodes, it was old-school sci-fi short story material, much like the best Outer Limits or Twilight Zone episodes - you have a great concept with an ironic twist that the story is built around, and a lot of big budget sci-fi movies these days simply don't have that classic sci-fi core. Interstellar had it and was a much better film for it. I wouldn't say either of the two recent Trek films have had that element sufficiently, even though I've enjoyed them both, there hasn't been a great oldskool sci-fi concept in them - Kirk's origins in the Trek reboot was as close as we got and still feels like the strongest aspect of the reboot. Second to that was the opening action from Into Darkness with the primitive aliens and the volcano. It's like they remember they need something like this, but the main plot of each movie, whilst entertaining, has been big bad guy bent on destruction who must be stopped - there's no real sci-fi core to that despite the futuristic setting and technology.
So cerebral is always a worthy addition, but what they really need is the 'moment of realisation' and to a degree a 'moral' to the story that was a key aspect to the best Trek episodes, because the best classic sci-fi is never just about the technology, weapons or action - it's about relatable issues and coming to an understanding that to act the right way makes a difference, dressed up in futuristic garb - it sounds corny, but that's the key to the best sci-fi stories ever written, and The Voyage Home has that in spades.
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