Brazilian website Omelete did an interview with JJ Abrams when they had a press event to show the first 30 minutes. In the interview, he talked about the tradition of Star Trek, the greatest challenges of the film, also secrecy surrounding it and Roddenberry’s legacy.
First, I have to say: thanks for the brilliant first movie, like a Trekker.
JJ Abrams: Thank you.
And I’m really looking forward to this movie.
The first movie was about joining the crew. What is “Beyond the Darkness – Star Trek”?
JJA: “Beyond the Darkness” is about this, now, family being tested like never before. And in the first film, the character played by Chris Pine … gets the captain’s chair. In this film, he does it deserving. And it’s really about this group being thrown into this crazy and intense adventure that takes them not only elsewhere, but on Earth as well.
And what do you think of keeping the “Star Trek” tradition alive for new generations?
JJA: It’s funny because I’ve never been a Star Trek fan. So for me … I did not feel the emotional connection that many of my friends felt as they grew up. So it did not seem sacrilegious to mess with this story. Having said that, I am very grateful not only to what Gene Roddenberry has created but to what the fans have carried for so many years and I feel very excited to continue to play in this world that is incredibly imaginative and precious in terms of possibilities and scope.
Do you feel accepted by the Star Trek community?
JJA: I think there are a lot of “Star Trek” fans who got involved, loved what we did, and had a lot of fun, and there were others who called themselves purists, who thought it was not the original series and for this reason. The irony for me is: if you really are a fan of “Star Trek” … It’s about going where no one else has gone. So the idea that people say, “This is not what I know.” “I don’t like.” I feel … I understand, but I also feel it is a bit of a contradiction, that the fun of watching it continue, which Leonard Nimoy liked so much of what we did in the first movie. It’s part of letting your imagination go and see what happens, being inspired by what Gene Roddenberry has created. So, I am grateful to anyone who likes the movie, being an original fan of “Star Trek” or not.
What were the biggest challenges to making this movie?
JJA: This movie is so much bigger than the first one we did. It’s a huge size. So one of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to do it. And I did not want to film most things on green or blue screens. I … It always drives me crazy. So part of it was figuring out what we had to build, where we were filming it, how we were going to do it, and that was important. Part of it was making sure that all the characters had a new introduction. We can not assume that people know or like or identify with the characters. Many sequences begin already assuming that you love the characters. And for me, it’s important to say, “This is a completely new movie.” If you saw the first movie, great, fantastic, but you do not have to. So part of the challenge was to reintroduce all the characters, establishing who they are, making sure everyone had an important role in the film. If any of the characters were not needed, the movie would not work. So it was really … There were a lot of characters, and the writers and I, we worked together for over a year, just to make sure the script was one that we all loved.
You obviously like to give tips and pay a little homage to …
JJA: Of course.
… original classic series. But, also, you like to leave everything in the mystery. You do not like to reveal everything. Was this something you learned from “Lost”? How to keep things a secret?
JJA: Honestly, when we were doing “Lost” or the last “Star Trek” movie or when I was doing “Alias”, we always wanted people to be surprised at things. It was always part of the fun. It’s like I was going to watch movies when I was a kid. And I would not know spoilers, would not have read several magazine articles and would not have seen behind-the-scenes featurettes and … You’ll often watch a movie and you’ve already seen half an hour of video footage about “behind the scenes”, you read the biggest spoilers, you know which actors are playing which characters. So when you go to the movies and sit down, before the first picture pops up, you think, “I know how it will be.” And then you watch and think, “Yes, it was as I expected.” or “
Ended? Right. Do I have one last question or is it over? Right.
JJA: Is that it?