Justin Lin Talks STAR TREK 3, Exploring New Worlds and Borrowing Money from MC Hammer

     June 4, 2015


The story of director Justin Lin’s rise to stardom is one with humble beginnings, bold-bordering-on-reckless financial choices, and hugely successful returns. But it’s those early days that Lin tries to keep in mind whenever he’s working on a film, be it his 80s throwback passion project Hollywood Adventures or the next chapter in the iconic pop culture sci-fi series, Star Trek 3.

Yahoo! was able to chat with Lin while the director was preparing to place his hands in wet cement outside of TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood in celebration of the landmark’s 88th anniversary. Their conversation ranged from Lin’s childhood, to his maxing out 10 credit cards in an attempt to fund his debut film, to a fortuitous meeting with MC Hammer that secured the necessary capital for Lin when his own money ran short (that’s a story worth following the Yahoo! link for in and of itself). Lin also talked about the impetus behind his role as producer in the Chinese-language comedy, Hollywood Adventures, another tale worth checking out. We’ll focus here on his comments regarding Star Trek 3.


Image via Universal Pictures

Lin’s familiarity with Star Trek started about as early as you can get. He recalls watching episodes of the TV series with his parents late at night after their long working days were done.

“I thought about how much a part of my life Star Trek was,” Lin said. “Growing up, my parents had this little fish and chips restaurant in Anaheim in the shadows of Disneyland, and they didn’t close until 9 PM. As a family, we didn’t eat dinner until 10 PM, and we would watch the original Star Trek every night at 11. My dad worked 364 days a year, only took Thanksgiving off, and from age 8 to 18, the only time I could hang out with my parents was by staying late. And every night, it was Star Trek on Channel 13 in L.A. That was my childhood. All my friends were Star Wars kids but I didn’t go to the movies, so I was the Star Trek kid. Thinking about this, it became a very personal and very emotional decision.”

So when Lin got the call from J.J. Abrams last December encouraging him to boldly go for the empty director’s chair on Star Trek 3, Lin did just that. And rather than simply inherit another franchise (though that worked out pretty well for both Lin and Universal with Fast & Furious), he plans to go above and beyond:

“As great as JJ’s films were, there’s still a lot to be mined from these characters,” Lin said. “They haven’t really gone on their five-year mission, so what we experienced in the TV show hasn’t been touched on yet. That sets up an opportunity for exploration and the deeper you go, the more you are examining humanity. Those are the things that I absorbed as a kid and hope to tap into and embrace and celebrate. By the time this movie comes out, Star Trek will have been around for 50 years.”

As for his take on the material, “It’s all new and fresh. The Klingons, Romulans and other species are great, but it’s time to go further. It has been fun to focus on creating whole new worlds and species.” So for fans of the franchise who have been waiting for this new generation to actually head off planet and into space on a grand adventure, Lin’s Star Trek 3 may be just what you’ve been hoping for. And you have MC Hammer to thank for it.


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