For the past several months getting any information out of the always enthusiastically secretive J.J. Abrams camp about his re-launch of the classic Star Trek series for the big screen has been about as easy as getting light out of a black hole.
But when ComingSoon.net cornered Abrams at a big Hollywood event this week, we were surprised that he seemed finally ready to reveal a few tiny, tantalizing hints about his version of the final frontier, as well as his feeling about the franchise and his film’s old school standard bearer and we didn’t even have to pull a phaser on him.
CS: You’ve said that you didn’t start out as an uber-fan of “Star Trek,” but you quickly became a fan. Can you talk in general terms about what you fell in love with about the whole franchise?
Abrams: I fell in love with the relationships between the characters. I fell in love with the characters. The idea of it’s so funny because you hear something so often and it loses it’s meaning. But “space, the final frontier” if you actually consider space as uncharted territory there’s something about the idea of these people, because any ship flying by isn’t going to get you excited. It’s who’s on the ship that matters. I feel like these characters actually going out into that nothingness and finding something is great. Having lived with it now and gotten to know the characters and worked with amazing actors who portrayed them, it made me fall in love with that notion, that idea that for some reason never struck me the way that “Twilight Zone” did.
CS: Are you ready to talk about the Jennifer Morrison character? There’s been a lot of speculation and confusion as to exactly who she’s playing.
Abrams: She is so great. I’ll just say that she plays Kirk’s mother. She’s awesome. Great.
CS: Does the film feature many flashback sequences? We also know that Winona Ryder is playing Spock’s mother.
Abrams: Yeah, most of the movie is not – I wouldn’t call them flashbacks, but she’s in a great sequence and is so good. I love her.
CS: What can you say about about working with Leonard Nimoy?
Abrams: It was really just a dream experience, working with him. He is everything you want him to be. He’s funny and incredibly thoughtful and was surprisingly open and receptive to direction. He’s just got an amazing wife and family and working with him was literally… Like the other day we were doing some ADR and he was there and because we weren’t shooting anymore I was standing there and I just looked at him while he was doing his thing. I wanted to burn it into my head. It was so great to get to work with that guy. He’s just an amazing man and is terrific in the movie.
CS: Is he a major presence in the film?
Abrams: Yeah. I think he’s a major presence in any scene he’s in. He’s terrific.
Star Trek opens in theaters on May 8, 2009.