As we discussed a few months back, Lost and Alias creator J.J. Abrams is currently preparing to direct the upcoming Star Trek feature film. It will be the 11th Trek movie and Abrams reportedly intends to return to Star Trek’s roots and the early days of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Though Matt Damon has frequently been mentioned as the frontrunner to play Kirk (and has said he would be interested), the role has yet to be locked down. One actor who apparently won’t be in the film is the original Kirk, William Shatner.
Many months ago, Shatner had a meeting with Abrams to discuss the possibly of his being involved with the new film in some way. Admittedly this could cause some story continuity problems since Kirk was killed in the 1994 movie Star Trek: Generations. This fact didn’t dampen Shatner’s interest and he teased convention attendees, “Something is in the wind. Something exciting.”
In a recent interview Shatner claims he will not be part of the film but that his longtime costar Leonard Nimoy will. Shatner says that he called Nimoy and asked his friend if he’d heard any news on the movie. Nimoy replied that he’d read the script, liked it, and hesitantly admitted that he (Nimoy) was part of it but that Shatner was not.
The interviewer asked Shatner, “Why didn’t Leonard say ‘if Bill’s not in it, I am not going to be in it’?” Shatner jokingly replied, “Because we are not that good friends [laughs]. I mean the man needs the money. Leonard loves to benefit the whole stargazing thing at the planetarium.”
Now, keep in mind that this is all subject to change and not official. Nimoy’s representative says that a comment would be premature at this point and, of course, Paramount (who owns Star Trek) has a policy of not commenting on rumors.
Though now retired from movies, Nimoy has previously said that he would be open to playing Spock in Star Trek XI, “if I thought they had a project of merit.” He is also open to playing Spock’s father, Sarek (a role originally played by the late Mark Lenard).
If Nimoy actually has a part in the film, it would likely be in one of three roles: as the father of a young Spock; as an older Spock recounting his first adventures with Kirk; or perhaps in a cameo playing a different character.
As to Shatner’s involvement, it may still happen. Trek screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman certainly want Shatner to be part of the project. Responding to Shatner’s rumored upset, Kurtzman said, “We were very surprised about that.” Ori continued, “We’re certainly hoping to include him in the shoot, because we have nothing but reverence and awe for the man.”
Production is underway but filming isn’t scheduled to actually begin until November 2007. Abrams is expected to announce casting at San Diego’s Comic-Con International later this month. The film is scheduled to be released on Christmas 2008 so there’s still time for new developments and, as Spock would say, “There are always possibilities.” Stay tuned!