Only at a party to celebrate the release of the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray/DVD could you find yourself standing at the California Science Center beneath the wings of the awe-inspiring Space Shuttle Endeavour, as an obvious reminder of the human race’s enduring fascination with space and its exploration. Along with being invited to attend the glamorous shindig, Collider was also given a spot on the white carpet to do interviews and get updates on where things stand with the Star Trek franchise.
Before heading into the party, J.J. Abrams (who will still be a producer on the third film, even though he’ll be too busy to direct with his attention focused on Star Wars: Episode VII) talked about why he enjoys including extensive behind-the-scenes footage on home entertainment releases, the daunting task of putting your own stamp on a much-loved franchise, how important it is for him to stay involved creatively (he’s already giving input as screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci break the story), and how the next director needs to be someone who’s going to bring their own sensibility and not just do what they think he would want. Actor Simon Pegg (“Scotty”) talked about how strange it will be not to have J.J. Abrams directing the next film, that he thinks a new director can only be good for the story, as long as it’s the right person, and how he’d love to see Scotty more involved in the action. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
Collider: A movie like this is obviously movie magic at its finest. When you put out a Blu-ray that reveals some of those secrets, do you have to really think about what you want to reveal and what you don’t?
J.J. ABRAMS: I don’t like behind the scenes happening too much before a movie comes out, which a lot of filmmakers do, and to great success, of course. But to me, I feel like, if I’m watching a movie and I’ve seen in the aggregate, half an hour of how they did a sequence, I feel like it’s pulling back the curtain prematurely. Once it’s on a Blu-ray, I always think about, if I had behind the scenes stuff when I was a kid, which I never did, it would have been so much more illuminating, as to the process, how it works and why it works. So, it’s really for people who are interested in filmmaking, and people who are curious about the process. To give them that access, to me, is one of the opportunities that we have. It’s a fun thing for us to do. And it celebrates the crew that often doesn’t get any of the accolades, and deserves so much of it.
People just don’t realize how much goes into a movie, especially one like this, until they see that behind the scenes stuff.
ABRAMS: Oh, my god, yeah! Really, it’s an incredible thing.
How much can you approach a Star Trek film like it’s your own thing that you can put your own stamp on, and how much do you always have to think about the fact that you’re working in the Star Trek universe?
ABRAMS: I think you have to have people who know it and love it work alongside you to remind you, “You can’t do this. You shouldn’t do that.” But, you always have to follow your own gut, of what is an interesting story, what feels fun and what feels exciting, and then go that way. So for me, the experience of working on Star Trek is acknowledging and being grateful for everything you’ve been given. I really feel like we’ve temporarily moved into this house that was built. Yeah, we’re going to remodel it a little bit and make some adjustments, but we’re gonna keep it and hopefully it will leave in better shape than we got it, for the next people who move in. And that’s not to say that we can ever improve upon what Gene Roddenberry did, but it is to say that we want to try to do something that people will be proud of and that will hopefully stand the test of time.
SIMON PEGG: In great deference to James Doohan, I always feel like I’m looking after Scotty for him. It’s a character that I’ve inherited, and I never forget or lose sight of who it came from. I will always be the first person to say that he is the best Scotty. So, he’s now my responsibility, but I’ll never not be aware of his roots, which is very much in Mr. D.
As a fan of Star Trek, how often did you have pinch-me moments on set?
PEGG: Every day! Every time I walk onto the bridge, or I put on my uniform, or I put my badge on, it’s like, “Oh, god, I’m in Star Trek!” It’s exciting! And I love the fact that it fills me with that kind of joy. I’d hate to walk on set and be like, “Yeah, whatever. It’s just a job.” It’s not a job. It’s Star Trek. It strikes me as a privilege to be a part of it.
J.J., how important was it for you to stay involved with the franchise, even though you won’t be available to direct the next film? Does it feel a bit like you’re sending your baby away to college?
ABRAMS: It’s a little bittersweet. But, I will say that I’m going to be producing the movie. Whomever it is that directs the film will be someone we all know is going to keep the cast and crew in good hands. I feel very lucky to have been part of it, and it definitely feels like the right time to let someone come in and do their own thing. I certainly don’t want someone to come in and try to do what I would have done. We want to hire someone who’s gonna come in and bring their own sensibility. I’m very excited to see what comes next, despite feeling jealous of whomever that person is.
Are you already giving creative input, as Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci are breaking the story?
ABRAMS: Yeah, we’re working on the story now.
Simon, are you a little nervous, at all, not to have J.J. Abrams there to direct the third film, or is it just its own thing now, regardless of who is at the helm?
PEGG: It’s gonna be strange because J.J. is such a part of it, but his stamp will be very much on it. And whoever he gets to direct it will be someone he trusts implicitly. We’ve also got each other, as well. The whole cast is very united. It will be interesting. It will be fun to get a different take on it. We’ve gotta keep evolving it. I guess it can only be good for the story, as long as it’s the right person.
PEGG: We’re gonna give him noogies and wedgies, and all the other things. No, I don’t know. We’ll be very nice. It’s gonna be daunting for that person. It’s like being a stepdad or a stepmother to a gigantic family. It’s gonna be strange for them, so it’s up to us to make them feel as comfortable and as at ease as possible, so that they can do their job.
What would you like to see for Scotty, in the third film? Are you pulling for him to get more involved in the action?
PEGG: I really enjoyed doing all the stuff in Into Darkness. It was fun to be hanging off stuff and running around. I’d love to do more of that. I realize my duties are in the engine room, and I should really stay there and stop leaving them to do it. But, it’s irresistible to run up and down a space hanger.
Star Trek Into Darkness is now available on Blu-ray/DVD.