Chris Pine
Chris Pine © Paramount Pictures

It’s the movie Star Trek fans have been patiently waiting for, JJ Abrams’ take on the origins of the Starship Enterprise crew as they meet each other for the first time.

Casting the younger versions of such iconic characters was not easy, and perhaps the hardest role to fill was Captain James Kirk, but Chris Pine does a superb job…

JJ has said that he gave the actors liberty to recreate the characters, what qualities about William Shatner did you try to encompass?

I used the script that Alex Kurtzmen and Bob Orci wrote as kind of my bible, and that gave me my back story in the sense of who this guy was and why he was who he was.

I did go back and watch the series, and what appealed to me about William Shatner’s performance, and what I could use without hitting people over the head with a bad impression, were little physical characteristics, the way he moved about the deck of the ship, he’s got a very theatrical quality that made me smile every time I watched it.

Were you a fan of Star Trek?

I was not a fan growing up, I knew the series through my grandmother who’s a big William Shatner fan, but I was more of a Star Wars kid and only gained a greater appreciation for Star Trek once I started watching the series after I got the part.

What were the physical challenges playing the role?

It was very scary doing a fight scene with Eric Bana [who plays Nero, the villain in the movie] when he’s running at you at full speed and promising you beforehand that nothing bad will happen, but the fight or flight kicks in quite quickly. I was not prepared for it at all.

It’s one thing to read the script and skim through the pages and say, ‘Oh, that’s a fight sequence, let’s get back to the scenes,’ failing to realize that those four or five pages take about a month and a half to actually shoot.

Do you feel the pressure waiting for the reaction of the Trekkers to see you in the role?

Chris Pine © Paramount Pictures
Chris Pine © Paramount Pictures

I have no control over what people think, and if I were to spend energy on that I would be a lifeless deadened human being. I hope that they like it, but I just simply have no control when it’s in the can, we’ve done a good job I think.

I’m proud of it, I hope that they’ll accept these changes to their cannon that they hold so dear, which are definitely changes, but I don’t think do anything other than tell a great story differently.

Have you met William Shatner yet?

I saw him last night for the first time in the flesh and shook hands with him. It was a charity event for him, he raises money for all these wonderful children’s charities, so I was there more to support him in the great work he does.

But it was great to finally meet him, and I hope to have a chance to sit down with him for a longer period and talk to him about his experiences.

by Judy Sloane

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.