Opening this week in UK cinemas, Star Trek Into Darkness is set to be one of the summer’s biggest films. Last week, the cast and crew were in town to promote the film, and writer Scott Davis reports from the London press conference….
After a four year hiatus, the wait is almost over to see the sequel to 2009’s hugely successful Star Trek, the prequel/reboot/reimagining from director J.J. Abrams. Said sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, has all the hallmarks of a great follow-up: bigger, bolder, funnier and better than the original, it takes you on a rollercoaster ride with its relentless energy and action, as well as introducing us to John Harrison, terrorist alpha who is hell bent on destroying Starfleet and those he holds responsible for their wrong doings.
Last week, we were lucky enough to be invited to the UK press conference of the film, in London’s beautiful City Hall, where the cast and crew gave their views and thoughts on the sequel.
The biggest challenge that lay ahead for both cast and crew was topping the first film and making a successful sequel. “Working with Chris Pine!” said Karl Urban who returns here as Bones. “Seriously, it was to come into this and not repeat ourselves…to deliver something that was better, more dynamic and more character driven and to be truthful to them.” Zoe Saldana (Uhura) added “Waiting four years was the biggest challenge to come back.”
Into Darkness villain, the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch, as a newbie to the franchise said “Deciding how to do my hair! Long, with bangs, in a ponytail… No, it was a ball of excitement, and part of the journey was getting (John Harrison) right.” J.J. Abrams, returning as director continued: “The biggest challenge was Benedict’s hair! The day-to-day challenge was the tone, balancing the epic scale, the action, with the intimacy, the comedy and the emotion.”
Speaking of the newbie, villain John Harrison, Cumberbatch and Abrams spoke at length about whom he was and what he was after. “There’s a lot of motivation and reasoning behind what he does, and he has a moral core, but he just has a method that is pretty brutal. One’s man terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and I think there’s an ability to sympathise with his cause, but maybe not his means.” Abrams adds: “I’m grateful to Damon Lindelof for telling me to check out Sherlock, which I had not done. It was the perfect medicine as we were struggling to find out who was going to inspire us in the way we needed, and I saw Sherlock and was of course blown away.”
Simon Pegg, ever the funny man, was criticised a little on the first movie for his weak Scottish accent. In the sequel, it’s much better and a much more rounded rendition. Pegg was asked about this and he said “Half my family’s Scottish as is my wife. I worked hard on the accent for the second film, harder in fact. The Scottish reaction has been lovely and the people who say it’s not very good are usually English!”
Abrams, soon to jet off to another space adventure with Star Wars: Episode VII, finished by discussing his thoughts on what Star Trek has meant to him as a director, producer and as a fan of films: “I was very intrigued by creating a version of Star Trek that would appeal to me and to fans of adventure and fans of movies; it was just among the most fun professional experiences ever.”
Released in cinemas nationwide this Thursday, May 9th, Star Trek Into Darkness, directed by J.J Abrams and written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof, stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood and Peter Weller. Check out our ★★★★★ review here.