This weekend, Collider got to participate in the press junket for People Like Us, a family dramedy inspired by true events from the life of writer/director Alex Kurtzman. The story follows Sam (Chris Pine), a twenty-something guy who learns that his father has suddenly died, leaving behind a secret 30-year-old daughter (Elizabeth Banks) that Sam never knew about, and he is forced to re-examine his own life and re-think everything he thought he knew about his family.
While we will post what Kurtzman had to say about his feature film debut closer to its June 29th release, we did want to share what he had to say to us about the emotional experience of returning to the Enterprise for the Star Trek sequel, how insane it was to be able to really walk around the ship, how the set was built for the hallways to connect so that director J.J. Abrams could play whole scenes without a cut, and how they’re still in discussion about when the first official images or teaser trailer might be released. He also talked about what made he and business partner Roberto Orci want to sign on to write the sequel for The Amazing Spider-Man, how they just wrapped Ender’s Game (which takes place 70 years after a horrific alien war) and Now You See Me (about FBI agents who track a team of illusionists that pull off bank heists during their performances) as producers, and how excited they are to be rebooting Van Helsing and The Mummy. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
ALEX KURTZMAN: Oh, yeah, for sure! Me and Bob [Orci] and Damon [Lindelof] and J.J. [Abrams] and Bryan Burk all feel very protective of Star Trek. The studio had wanted it a year earlier and we said, “No, we can’t. We’re not going to be ready and we don’t want to rush this.” We felt very fortunate that the first movie was well received, and the last thing that we wanted to do was destroy that by rushing something. It’s very precious to a lot of people. We love our Trek and we just wanted to keep it safe.
At the Prometheus junket, Damon Lindelof told Steve (at Collider) that you guys built the ship so that all the hallways connect and you can leave the bridge and really walk around the Enterprise. How cool was it for you to really walk around the ship?
Did you make sure to film some extra long takes of the cast, walking and talking?
KURTZMAN: That was the point. J.J. was brilliant, in building the sets that way, because what he wanted to do was be able to play whole scenes without a cut, as you were literally moving through this huge, huge ship. Just to walk on the set was incredible. Scott Chambliss, who’s our production designer, built this glorious set.
Do you have any idea when J.J. will release the first official images or the first teaser trailer?
KURTZMAN: Not sure yet. That’s still in discussion.
What made you want to take on the sequel as writers, before The Amazing Spider-Man is even in theaters?
KURTZMAN: Well, we’ve seen the movie. You always go by your gut. That’s the best you can do. You go by what you feel, and you say yes or no based on what it inspires in you. All I can tell you is that, when I saw the movie, I loved the world that (director) Marc [Webb] had created. I think Andrew [Garfield] and Emma [Stone] are incredible in it. They’re amazing! And I love everyone at Sony. Producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad, and everyone there, are so protective of their Spider-Man. I just have so much respect for them. We just saw it and we were excited. When you’re a kid and you’re a superhero lover, the holy trinity is Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, so to be able to take any of those and play with it is a huge joy.
What are you working on beyond that? How many things are you juggling right now?
KURTZMAN: Well, when you’re directing, that’s what you do. There’s only room for one thing. That’s why my partnership with Bob [Orci] has endured for as long as it has. We would never have been able to do everything we were doing, when I was off directing. We just wrapped Ender’s Game, directed and written by Gavin Hood. We also wrapped Now You See Me, directed by Louis Leterrier. We’ve finished Star Trek. We have Hawaii Five-O. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff.
Aren’t you also rebooting Van Helsing and The Mummy?
KURTZMAN: Yeah. It’s cool! There’s been such a tonal shift, in the way audiences go to movies, particularly these big movies. I think a lot of that had to do with The Dark Knight and the success of The Dark Knight. Suddenly, it became about, “We want The Dark Knight version.” But, whether you end up doing The Dark Knight or not, I think what’s cool about that is that it’s only grounded superhero stories, or big mythological stories in more reality. That’s really what The Dark Knight did, and that was the turning point there. We try to do that on Trek. It’s exciting, doing Van Helsing and The Mummy. They’re both exciting, for those reasons.