Interview with Star Trek star, Chris Pine
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Chris, how different is "Star Trek Into Darkness" from the first one?
PINE:This one is so much faster. It's like a bullet train. It never stops.
There is a new villain on deck in the second one, right?
Yes. His name is John Harrison, played by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch. His ability to manipulate people brings Kirk to face his own vulnerability and his own feelings of self-doubt about whether he can lead the crew into battle.
This is the second of three planned Star Trek movies. Do you think you could be Captain Kirk for even longer than that?
You know, I do love the franchise. But everything depends on the script, on the story. If it's good, sure, I am in. If you want to do it just to have a third film, then I don't think it's a good idea.
Do you still feel a lot of pressure when you have to slip into the skin of the iconic Captain Kirk?
I have to thank JJ Abrams for being the commander in chief. He is all about the interaction of the characters, and on set you focus on that and not so much on the pressure that might be brought upon from the outside. So, no I didn't feel that pressure while filming.
What is it about Star Trek that fascinates you the most?
Oh, man, there is so much. But I like the utopian vision of different people working together for a common goal of what we can achieve, of what we can be as human beings. It deals with the struggles of being human, but it's not nihilistic. It's bright, it's shiny, like the deck of the Enterprise. It's forward looking.
Is it true that JJ Abrams improvises on the set a lot?
Yes, it is. I remember one day we were about to shoot this huge action sequence. And JJ was walking around the set looking at everything. Then he asked for a 15 minute break and put together a shotlist right there on the spot. I had never seen anything like it. He's just that amazing.
How does it make you feel as an actor to be working with a director who seems to be changing things on the fly?
You need to have a lot of trust in your director. But with a guy like JJ who has such an incredible track record, it was easy. He feels comfortable changing things in the moment. It's frightening for an actor if you want control.
Are you intrigued by space travel?
I am interested in it. I have always been fascinated by it. We will see how technology evolves. Maybe we will all do a press junket up in space one day. That would be pretty radical.
How daunting is it for you to be coming back to this franchise?
The good news is there were four years in between this one and the first one we made. There is a lot of comfort in that the character is bigger than you. And you still have a life outside of this franchise.
Is it true that you think that you are more dashing than William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk?
Those are your words; I wouldn't dare say that (Laughter).
Do you have any influence on the look of your character?
No, not really. Everybody wears very tight clothes. And we had to get in shape to fit into the costumes.
Have you met the original Kirk?
Yes, I met Shatner. He is a very nice man. He did a documentary of all the captains of Star Trek. I found that he's really, really funny. He's got great comedic timing. And most people mistake his humor for shtick. And it's not. We did the documentary, he came in, and he had five napkins in his hand. He had scribbled notes on each one about what he wanted to do. For his age he's still got so much passion.
How would you describe Kirk's relationship with Spock in this film?
They have overcome their obstacles. There is a true friendship here. And it's quite amazing to watch.
How physical was this movie for you?
I am always in pretty good shape. I gained a lot of weight for this. I think it was about 20 pounds of fat. In the first one Kirk was confident and I wanted to give the sense that he was enjoying himself a little too much, and it showed in his physical appearance. Very early on in the film he gets beaten to the ground, and it shows fairly quickly that he is not on top of his game early on.
What surprised you the most?
A scene that takes two pages to read can take two weeks to shoot. I always forget how long it can take to shoot a scene. There were a lot of good action scenes in this film. And they just take so much longer to shoot.