Entertainment Weekly recently sat down with Heroes star Zachary Quinto and asked him about the honor of being named the new Spock.
Also on hand were the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy and the man who will direct the next Star Trek movie, J.J. Abrams...
LEONARD NIMOY: None of those. I've been away from Star Trek for a number of years. The first thing I heard was that J.J. Abrams was doing this. I have a lot of respect for him, so I thought, ''This is something to consider.'' Then the script came along — that was the second major step. And then J.J. sent me some footage of Zach. I looked at him, and I'll tell you exactly what I said to J.J.: ''He looks exactly right.'' What's more, he has an interior life, which is vital to the character. With all of those elements in place, I'm very comfortable with this new Star Trek.
With this casting, Leonard, you're officially ceding this role to a new actor. How do you feel about this?
NIMOY: Strange. It is strange...but very comforting. I feel like the character is being put in very, very good hands.
Zach, how did the trek into Star Trek begin for you?
ZACHARY QUNTO: It began last December for me, when I got an e-mail from a friend saying they were doing another Star Trek movie and that young Spock would be a character. It was right about the time my character started to emerge on Heroes. So I started to talk about it a lot — in interviews, with anyone. I sort of thought, ''If I could generate attention to it, it would materialize.'' Then one day, we got the call for an audition. It's been a definite fast train for me.
Leonard, have you seen Zach in Heroes?
NIMOY: I've seen some footage. Scary.
How do you feel about having the guy who plays a brain-eating serial killer filling the shoes of Spock?
NIMOY: It's going to be a change of character. But he's a good character actor, and that's what he's supposed to do.
J.J., since this is a ''reboot'' of Star Trek focusing on young Spock and young Kirk, why did you feel that it was important for Leonard to be in the movie?
ABRAMS: The story needed his participation for a number of reasons. One, the plot. In many ways, the story revolves around the character of Spock. Two, I think it's critical if we're going to look at reintroducing these characters — I didn't want to disrespect what had come before, for those who care about that. But we're making this movie for people who don't care about Star Trek too. This isn't about pleasing the fans, this is about making a great film.
And to do that, you have to both please the fans and please the people who've never seen Star Trek. So having Leonard in the film shows that this film exists in a continuum of Trek history, as opposed to an absolute, page 1 reinvention. [Pause] Would you like longer answers? I'm unbelievable. I never stop talking.
NIMOY: They're long answers, but full respect.
ABRAMS: Now we're talking about my talking! Unbelievable!
ABRAMS: We don't want to give anything away right now. But the reason I felt compelled to direct the movie was that it had such heart and the characters are spectacularly written. It's a character-first story. It's like, almost despite being Star Trek, or regardless of being Star Trek, it's a movie I want to go see.
Any advice for Zach on how to wear the ears?
NIMOY: There could be many ear jokes. For the first couple years on the show, any mention of Spock had to do with the ears — ''Spock, the pointy-eared character'' — and there were many ear jokes, including some phallic ones that I won't go into. But they went away over time. The character accumulated enough nuance and layering over the years that it went away. So it's important to remember it's not the essence of Spock. What's important is nurturing the internal life.
How's this going to affect your participation with Heroes?
QUINTO: We're all in the process of working it out. We have the support of Tim and the show and network. It's going to be a big undertaking. I'll be with the show until I have to leave to do the movie in November, and my ideal is to be back on the show when I'm done.