STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME and Leonard Nimoy Kick off Hero Complex Film Festival in Los Angeles

     June 11, 2010

Leonard Nimoy slice Hero Complex Film Festival

Friday night in Hollywood, the first ever Hero Complex Film Festival kicked off with a screening of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home followed by a Q&A with star, director and legend Leonard Nimoy.  The Voyage Home is simply known as “the one with the whales” for most Trek fans, but certainly holds a special place in their heart.  Not being a major Trek fan myself, I enjoyed rewatching the film simply with the question in my head, “If I was a Star Trek fan in 1986, desperate for a new film, what would I have thought if I was presented with THAT?”  Long story short, I probably would have been taken back.  But today, it stands as a very entertaining, almost screwball environmental comedy.

Saturday, the festival features Insomnia and The Dark Knight with special guest Christopher Nolan and Sunday is Alien and Blade Runner and with Ridley Scott.  Check back then for a recap of those Q&A.  But for now, hit the jump for the bullet points of the one hour plus Nimoy Q&A.

Leonard Nimoy image

  • After the movie ended, Nimoy didn’t come right out and some fans were wondering if he was going to beam in.
  • He was caught by surprise by the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, specifically, the final shots of Spock’s coffin, because it wasn’t in the script. In telling the story he did a William Shatner impression.
  • Nimoy used his leverage from that to get the directing gig for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock but felt, because it was his first feature, he was on a tight leash. Paramount was so impressed with his work though, they asked him back for IV before III was released.
  • He feels the 2009 film really “got it” and told the story about first meeting Zachary Quinto. He had dinner with him last week.
  • Nimoy felt Quinto’s delivery of “Live long and prosper” to the council on Vulcan was the first “Fuck You” delivery of the line ever. He visualized it by flipping off the audience, which got a big laugh.
  • Since shooting the first pilot episode for Star Trek in 1964, he hasn’t had to worry about work since.
  • After the finished the series, he had something of an identity crisis, especially in playing dictators on Mission: Impossible.
  • Star Trek truly took off during its reruns and it was weird because there wasn’t anything being produced at the time.
  • Told a story about how he got the title of his book “I Am Not Spock.” It was because a little boy couldn’t distinguish the actor and character in an airport. He called the title a “big mistake.”
  • This will piss off Trek fans. Nimoy credits GEORGE LUCAS with reenergizing the franchise. He told the story of seeing Star Wars while he was performing Equus on Broadway in 1977 and thinking Paramount would soon restart the franchise.
  • Joked about the first film and how they wanted to make it more like 2001 but it ended up that not much happened.
  • He was a pain on the set of the series because at times he would complain that the scripts weren’t “intelligent and meaningful.”Leonard Nimoy image Spock
  • Talked about being on Fringe and how he did it because of the great job everyone did on the new Trek movie, but was ultimately dissatisfied with his first 3 episode arc. Because of that, Nimoy refused to come back until JJ Abrams ultimately called and asked. He ended up happy with his arc and felt it ended much like Wrath of Kahn.
  • Decided he wanted to direct Trek movies because he was jealous of how good Kahn came out and really felt like he knew more about Trek than anyone else at the time. He met with Michael Eisner, pitched his case, and got it.
  • Was shown the script to the first Next Generation movie, wasn’t happy with it, offered to help rewrite it, but Paramount refused and that’s why he wasn’t a part of it.
  • After Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, he didn’t feel closure with the character. He didn’t really feel that until he teared up in a pitch meeting the writers of the new film had with him.
  • He was optimistic the whole time through the new movie, even so far as calling the head of Paramount and letting him know he had a hit on his hands.
  • Recently, he bumped into William Shatner at the Hollywood Bowl and that lead to a discussion of how fast a picture of that got online and how that’s the way things are now.
  • Told the now infamous story of the Alamo Drafthouse screening of Wrath of Kahn where the film “broke” and he delivered the new film.
  • He recently drove out of his way to visit a town called Vulcan in Canada which was named that in 1915. Said it was really weird but great.
  • Talked about how the news of his retirement broke on that same trip.
  • Nimoy has a his first ever solo photo exhibit opening in Massachusetts next month called “Secret Cells” and he described what it was all about. (It sounded a lot like the Hedwig and the Angry Inch song ‘The Origin of Love’). Said there is a great guy in a Superman cape featured in the exhibit.
  • Though he has been taking photos since he was 12, he only took ONE photo while on set of a film. It was a movie called Catlow in 1971 and after he took it, he felt it invaded the privacy of the actors and never did it again.
  • Riffing off that, he discussed how photos from the new Trek film made it online so quick.
  • Next year is the 60th anniversary of his acting career and he talked a bit about how that started, some of his early movies, and how his role in Kid Monk Baroni garnered good enough reviews to give him confidence to struggle for 10 years doing odd jobs before landing Trek.
  • An audience member asked if the world would be a better place if everyone were like Vulcans. This led Nimoy to discuss how President Obama was compared to Spock and how when he first met him, Obama did the Vulcan greeting. He then went off on a bunch of political issues before answering, “yes.”
  • He told the story of how on a trip to Cleveland he saw a beautiful girl give him the Vulcan greeting days after it first appeared on TV. Later that night, he met Jimi Hendrix and still has the photo in his house.  He was in Cleveland recording an album, which got a laugh, then he went off about he has recorded six albums which is way more than the Bilbo Baggins song.
  • The rest were all audience questions –
  • He’s comfortable that his legacy will be as Spock
  • He would support, but not be involved in, a new Trek TV show if it ever happened.
  • He believes visual effects now are incredible but that the story is most important. He cited how The Hurt Locker ended up beating Avatar at the Oscars this year and then mentioned Michael Bay, which got a big laugh. He added that Bay is his wife’s cousin but has never asked him to be in a movie.
  • Devin Faraci from CHUD asked about Eddie Murphy possibly being in Trek IV, which was true. Eddie was a big Trek fan and met with Nimoy to discuss the possibility, it just never ended up working right in the script. He was going to play a San Francisco radio DJ who believed in aliens and followed around the crew.
  • He’s happy that he has helped create a fictional race that so many people love, however, his one big regret with all the Trek films he’s been involved in is that they never explained in detail what made the Klingons the way they were.
  • A fan asked how he felt when he read that young Spock had a romance with Uhura. He made a face the said that he didn’t remember it on the page but when he saw it in the movie he was jealous.
  • Finally, someone asked if he felt the way the new movie changed the time line erased everything he had done. He said no because it gave them room to be creative.

Leonard Nimoy image

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