The Final Frontier . . . Expanded
This summer director J.J. Abrams takes "Star Trek Into Darkness" as the young officers of The U.S.S. Enterprise set course for their most epic journey yet. Abrams reunites with the team that created the fun, the humor, and the spirit of 2009’s acclaimed hit reboot of the beloved franchise. On this second voyage, they’ve amped the action, raised the emotional stakes and launched the Enterprise into a high-wire, life-or-death game of chess with an unstoppable force of destruction. With everything the men and women of The Enterprise believe on the line, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn and sacrifices must be made for the only family Captain Kirk has left: the crew he commands.
It begins with a homecoming, as The Enterprise returns to earth in the wake of a controversial galactic incident, its brash Captain still itching to head back into the stars on a longer mission of peace and exploration. But all is not well on the Blue Planet. A devastating act of terror has exposed an alarming reality: Star Fleet is being attacked from within and the fall-out will leave the entire world in crisis. Captain Kirk leads the Enterprise on a mission like no other spanning from the Klingon homeworld to the San Francisco Bay. Aboard The Enterprise the enemy among them has a shocking talent for destruction. Kirk will lead them into a shadowy mirror-realm of doubts where they’ve never gone before – navigating the razor-thin lines between friends and enemies, revenge and justice, all-out war and the infinite potential of a united future.
Returning to The Enterprise is the crew that brought it so viscerally to life in Abrams’ "Star Trek": Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto as First Officer Spock, Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, Simon Pegg as Chief Engineer "Scotty" Scott, Zoe Saldana as Communications Officer Uhura, John Cho as Helmsman Hikaru Sulu, Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov and Bruce Greenwood as Admiral Christopher Pike. Joining the cast is Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of the mysterious intergalactic terrorist John Harrison, Alice Eve as ship newcomer Carol Marcus and Peter Weller as the Star Fleet Admiral who comes into conflict with the Enterprise.
Shot with extremely high resolution IMAX® cameras and presented in an expansively detailed 3D conversion that pushes the technology, the film gives audiences a glimpse into the Star Trek universe as it hasn’t been seen before.
Paramount Pictures and Skydance present a Bad Robot production of a J.J. Abrams film, "Star Trek Into Darkness." The film is written by Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof based upon Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry. The producers are Abrams, Bryan Burk, Lindelof, Orci and Kurtzman and the executive producers are Jeffrey Chernov, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Paul Schwake. The reuniting behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Dan Mindel, production designer Scott Chambliss, costume designer Michael Kaplan, editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey and composer Michael Giacchino – and the film’s interstellar visual effects and animations have once again been forged by the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic, under the aegis of Roger Guyett, who was Oscar®-nominated for his work on "Star Trek."
Space: Confronting The Darkness
In a legacy that has sparked four television series, 11 motion pictures and countless galactic dreams, this marks the first time audiences will experience Star Trek 8-stories high and in three dimensions, in 2009's "Star Trek," a group of undeniably promising but mischief-prone spacefarers, fresh out of the Academy, set out on an enthralling maiden voyage to the stars. It was the first major test of their smarts, their skills and the loyalties lying just beneath their clashing personalities, but it was also just the beginning. Now, as they come into their own, the novice crew of The U.S.S. Enterprise must head both further into the vast darkness -- and back to 23rd Century Earth, as sinister forces of war threaten both the sanctity of home and worlds yet unseen.
With "Star Trek Into Darkness," J.J. Abrams returns to his human vision of the Star Trek universe – one that pays affectionate homage to an iconic piece of pop culture while hurtling it into uncharted territory.
The first film won accolades for merging the irreverent humor, charismatic characters and boundless imagination of the humble 1960s television series with 21st Century pacing and action– and, in the process, forging a fresh, emotional origins story. Echoing Gene Roddenberry's core premise, Abrams' "Star Trek" seemed to speak to the stargazer in everyone, and to make infinite possibility feel palpably real.
On the heels of that film's success, Abrams had no intention of resting on those laurels. Following the Star Trek dictum, for their second journey, he knew every aspect of the film would have to go deeper, to probe more boldly than ever before into what makes the Star Trek characters tick and why their mission is so compelling. This meant an incredible new array of challenges for the filmmakers. The Enterprise would expand beyond anything anyone has yet seen. Entire new worlds would be imagined, then built. And to take the story into yet another frontier, Abrams made the decision to shoot the film in a hybrid mix of IMAX® and anamorphic 35mm, and to present it in 3D.
And yet the biggest changes of all are those faced by Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Bones, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov. When Starfleet is shattered by a terrifying attack, they must not only face the shadow side of Starfleet and a fearsomely brilliant new enemy, but they will question the only thing they will ever be able to rely on in such an unpredictable universe: each other.
"This movie goes further than the first movie in every way – there are volcanic planets, wild spaceship chases and massive special effects, but there is also a more nuanced story," says Abrams. "The Enterprise crew is up against a lot more this time in terms of their personal and moral dilemmas as they face questions of trust, loyalty and what happens to your principles when you are put to the most extreme test? The goal we had was to keep all the comedy, humanity and buoyancy while going into more complex and darker territory. For Captain Kirk, what begins as a mission of revenge becomes a quest for what it really means to be worthy of being captain."
Abrams goes on: "For the story to move forward, this had to be a more ambitious movie than the first. The action and the scale are light years ahead. Bringing IMAX® and 3D technology in will give audiences yet another level of excitement and fun to be had. But at the same time, no matter the scale or the format, the thing that still mattered most to everyone was to tell the most exciting and emotional story yet."
That story was once again tackled by screenwriters and producers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, along with Damon Lindelof, who turned the writing process into a near-constant brainstorming session. "I can't even tell you how many story meetings we had," muses Abrams. "We were constantly collaborating, making adjustments, figuring out what needed to be set up. I felt really lucky to be working with Bob, Alex and Damon again. They were tireless, and they created a story in which, at one point or another, each of the main characters has their life and their ideals on the line."
Producer and Bad Robot co-founder Bryan Burk notes that another foundation for the script was the idea that the Star Trek crewmembers are developing into an inseparable, if sometimes unruly, band of friends. He explains: "The script for 'Into Darkness' started with one question: how can we put The Enterprise team into the greatest jeopardy and conflict? We felt that if the first film was about how this team came together then this story had to be about them really growing up and how they are becoming adults. That idea had tremendous energy and possibility."
To take the film's intensified dramatic energy to the next visual level, Abrams used IMAX® and a painstaking post-production conversion to 3D to blow past previous expectations. It was not a decision the director took lightly, for his bottom line is to keep things authentic, even in the most fantastical story. But after looking closely the most cutting-edge 3D and IMAX® films of the last few years and working with director Brad Bird, who used IMAX® on "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," Abrams became convinced the time was right to marry the scope-broadening technology to Star Trek's wide-open storytelling.
"When a film is shot in IMAX®, it's like nothing else out there," says the director. "The resolution is insane and you are swallowed into the movie. But I'd yet to see a space adventure presented in this way. Christopher Nolan was incredibly sweet and screened for me the portion of 'The Dark Knight Rises' using IMAX®. Watching that incredible footage, it made me realize if we had an opportunity to shoot some of this movie in IMAX®, we'd be crazy not to."
As production began, the results proved to be worth the brain-racking logistical challenges. "We are finally able to convey the story's vast scale, not just in space but on earth and the starships. I think that is going to be insanely exciting," Abrams says.
Adds Roger Guyett, the Industrial Light & Magic visual supervisor who returns to the team as well: "With a concept that is almost like 'Lawrence of Arabia' in space, IMAX® was a magnificent way for J.J. to reveal the grand vistas that the Enterprise experiences."
Using IMAX® photography for a percentage of the film also served its own creative purposes. "A number of our sets are more vertical then horizontal, and IMAX makes the scale feel even bigger," explains Abrams. "We used it for the volcanic jungle planet Nibiru in the beginning of the film, the Klingon planet Kronos, and especially at the end where there's an incredible chase through San Francisco. It became a rule that when the action was outdoors, we shot using IMAX®, and when we were indoors, we used anamorphic 35."
When it came to creating a 3D experience to match the spark and immediacy of the Star Trek world, Abrams and his team pushed the envelope even further. At first the filmmakers were reticent to use it at all, until they realized they could do it in a way that would match their visual ambitions. "We've never done 3D on any of our films before," Burk notes. "But when we looked at what 'Star Trek' is all about – epic battles, sweeping planet vistas and nail-biting action -- we thought, if 'Star Trek' isn't worthy of 3D, then what movie is? The bottom line for us was that if we were going to embrace 3D for the first time, we wanted to make it special and different."
That process started with the premise that simply adding 3D to the mix is not enough – it has to be used to heighten the storytelling, or in "Star Trek's" case to bring unseen worlds alive. "James Cameron really raised the bar with 'Avatar' and showed us something we've never seen before. But just shooting a movie in 3D doesn't make it 'Avatar,' as we've seen with many releases that came after," Burk continues. "We knew if we did this, we wanted to really go for it."
To do that, they brought in stereographer Corey Turner, who has worked on some of the biggest 3D movies of the last few years . . . and then spurred him to take his techniques for forging depth and immersive detail into territory audiences have not yet seen. "The process was both extremely laborious and more precise than we ever imagined," says Burk. "Along with Corey, we literally went through the film frame by frame, pushing every aspect of the 3D that was possible – really making objects feel as if they are coming out from the screen. We would routinely say to Corey 'let's push it further' and he would say, 'this is as far as anyone could possibly go' and we would say 'Go further! Go further!' and then he would. We hope that the combination of the IMAX® and 3D will be unlike anything audiences have seen."
Visual magic also came to fore in Abrams' collaboration with cinematographer Dan Mindel, whose innovative use of lenses, lighting design and angles set the course for 2009's "Star Trek." Says Abrams of Mindel: "He's one of the best directors of photography out there, and he shot this movie in a way that lends a tactile emotional texture to every scene. Dan uses the photography to give the story guts and reality, to allow the characters to be accessible and the world to breathe."
For all of the film's visual fantasy and imagination, Abrams still prefers to create everything he possibly can in-camera. He uses green-screens and CG only when necessary to take audiences into galaxies no one has ever seen, but he likes the action and drama more gritty and intimate, making for a rich contrast. "Obviously, you can't do a movie called 'Star Trek' and not have green screen elements," the director remarks, "but one of the things we've continued from the first movie in "Into Darkness" is the idea of finding locations or building sets whenever we could to create a world that isn't synthetic or sterile, but feels very, very real."
Notes executive producer Jeffrey Chernov: "Even though this movie takes you into deep space, there's always something down to earth about J.J.'s story telling. He understands that if emotion drives your action and effect, that makes even the most wide-ranging story personal."
Abrams notes that in taking Star Trek into new visual and emotional territory, he felt a bit like Captain Kirk heading into a cosmos where you never know what's coming next . . . and yet you better be ready for it. "On a film like this, you're being tested every single day on every single level to do better than you have before," he explains. "But a lot like Kirk does in this story, I've come to really appreciate the opportunity of that."
Concludes Burk: "With the first film we really wanted to defy expectations of what Star Trek could be. Now, I think J.J. has gone to the next step of complexity, so that people might leave the theatre after this one asking, 'wow, that was a Star Trek film?'"
Back to The Bridge: The Crew Reunites
As "Star Trek Into Darkness" begins, Captain James T. Kirk is at a crossroads. He has developed into a consummate commander who will defy the rules to do what he believes is right. But his cheeky audacity and willingness to fly in the face of protocol continues to put him in conflict with Star Fleet – even as Star Fleet is faced with the most overwhelming danger to its mission yet.
Reprising the role of Kirk as he comes to grips with both his power and his vulnerability is Chris Pine, who will next be seen in the title role of Kenneth Branagh's "Jack Ryan." Excited as he was to return to The Enterprise, Pine notes that setting off on a second wild ride was rife with anxiety and expectations. "The first day on the set was a lot like your first day back at school," he laughs, "seeing everyone again, feeling so excited about what's ahead, yet wanting to do a great job for them. But once I got back into the rhythm of the character, things picked right back up."
Only this time, Pine would put a new spin on those rhythms as Kirk goes through the most intense shake-up of his career, facing loss, doubt and big questions about what matters most to him.
Pine was particularly fascinated by how the script for "Star Trek Into Darkness" explores the intricate yin-and-yang developing between Kirk and Spock as they get to know each other better and struggle with both their glaring differences and their incontestable connection.
"There's always been a sense that neither character would be the same without the other," he observes. "And this story seems to follow a necessary journey for both. Kirk loves to flout the rules but when, in the beginning of this story, Captain Pine sits him down and says 'you can be great, but you're not yet,' that becomes a crack in his armor. Kirk has always had that insouciant, razzle-dazzle charm but in the course of this mission, he's wracked with doubts. I found it to be a really wonderful story for both characters."
He continues: "You couldn't come up with two guys whose DNA is more completely at odds, but they find their own synthesis as friends."
While the themes of "Into Darkness" take Kirk into starkly emotional realms, he notes that Abrams seems to instinctually know how to balance darkness with color and light. "J.J. knows the power of having fun," observes Pine, "and he knows the power of letting the audience really care about the characters. And no matter how fantastical or incredible the events he's shooting, he knows how to connect the audience to the story. There are incredible action sequences this time, but at the heart of it all is that kernel of human experience."
Kirk is not the only one who must face his inner demons in outer space – his First Officer, Spock, is also compelled to look at himself as he never has before in "Into Darkness." Returning as the half-Vulcan, half-human who grapples to keep his logical side on top of his peskier emotions is Zachary Quinto, most recently seen as an investment banker in "Margin Call," which he also produced. "Into Darkness" takes Spock, and Quinto, in many new directions, equally in terms of drama, action and romance.
From the opening moments of the film, Spock is wrestling with his ideals of duty, adherence to the rules and selfless sacrifice – and with Kirk's more passionate but troublesome way of engaging with the world. "I think for Spock this movie is about understanding what it is to be emotionally available and what it is to be a friend," Quinto observes. "In the beginning of the film, Kirk, true to form, makes some cavalier decisions that come back to bite him in the ass, but the basic set-up is that Spock is willing to die in order to obey the law, and Kirk is not willing to let his friend die just because of some rules. That really sets them at odds early on and it becomes a recurring theme throughout the film. But then, there comes a moment when Spock really gets what best friends are for, when he admits to himself how deeply he can feel for people. It's a moment when you realize he's probably more human than he ever thought."
Quinto notes that the film also required more physical intensity from Spock than any other incarnation of the character– from leaping into a fiery volcano to fierce hand-to-hand combat. "There was a lot running, a lot of physicality and I did a lot of training getting myself ready for the film," he says. "But that was also one of the biggest rewards of the film because it allowed me to connect with Spock in a completely different way, which was a lot of fun."
Also fun was further exploring the unlikely romance between Spock and Uhura, a relationship that has a tendency to reveal Spock's inner world far more than he would like. "There's a really nice moment in this film between Uhura and Spock, where she lets out why she's so upset with him about his being willing to die, and he comes back at her saying 'You think I make this choice lightly, but I promise you I don't.' So you get some real glimpses into Spock's psyche in this that we haven't seen yet. That was really powerful for me."
He adds: "Working with Zoe Saldana as Uhura is amazing. She has such openness and such vulnerability and yet such strength. She can kick ass with the best of them and then she can soften and open up in a way that is magnetizing. We've known each other for years and it's great to come back to that kind of familiarity, especially when you're working with such intimacy."
Throughout all this change for Spock, Quinto says he fully trusted Abrams to take the characters in new directions. "What sets J.J. apart is the emphasis he puts on humanity and character. He doesn't do things by the book and he certainly hasn't with Star Trek. He also never let us take the first movie for granted. He made it clear we were resetting with a completely new kind of story and not just starting from where we left off," he says.
One thing that did remain the same for Quinto was the daily makeup ritual that transforms his features into the classic Vulcan silhouette. But this time out, there were also new challenges. Early in the film, Spock dons a special volcano suit that allows him to descend into the Nibiru planet's raging core of fire and rock – the building of which Quinto says became a process unto itself. "The suit was custom-made based on laser computer designs of my body so there were a lot of fittings," he explains. "The suit was incredibly restrictive and uncomfortable, but it does look stunning. Working inside it became an exercise in meditation for me. I wore the suit for 6 days of filming the volcano sequences, and it was pretty challenging."
Most of all though, Quinto was exhilarated by the chance to more fully reveal a character who has fascinated millions with his never-ending contradictions and search for a unified self. "It's a huge honor for me to have this chance to inhabit a character who is so widely regarded as a beacon of intelligence, logic and compassion," he concludes. "Spock teaches me every time I come into contact with him – and one of the things he teaches me about is integrity."
Zoe Saldana also relished the chance to show new sides of Uhura, the ravishing, no-nonsense xenolinguist who puts her skills for listening and interpreting to vital use as the Enterprise's Communications Officer. Like Quinto, Saldana was intrigued by the idea of pushing Spock and Uhura's relationship to the next level – and into turmoil. "I think their relationship in the first movie surprised everybody, but the only way to move on was to go even further," she comments. "If they're going to be together then they will have to go through tests to their relationship – and the way it happens in this movie is one of those great twists that you love J.J. for."
Once the sole woman on The Enterprise's Bridge – joined on this new mission by Carol Marcus – Uhura occupies a distinct place between Kirk and Spock, sought after by both as an ally. "She's drawn more to someone like Spock, because she's more a person who lives by the book. But there's a wildness to Kirk that she admires and she knows his heart is always in a good place," Saldana says. "She's in a unique position because her authority is so respected by both of them."
That position gave Saldana a front row seat from which to watch Kirk and Spock confound and confide in each other in new ways. "It's been wonderful seeing Chris and Zach continue to build these characters, respecting their essences but adding their own twists," she observes. "I think they've only gotten better and I loved watching them banter on this film. When they go back and forth, you see underneath the beautiful, respectful friendship that Chris and Zach really have."
Like Kirk and Spock, Uhura also undergoes major changes in "Into Darkness." "The crew is shifting into adulthood, taking on bigger responsibilities and learning to accept the paths they each have chosen," Saldana says. "You see them becoming more comfortable in their own skins – and Uhura is very much doing that. She is asking herself do I have what it takes to sacrifice my life for my team, for my ship, for the principles that I believe in? Those are exciting questions for her."
Especially exciting for Saldana was a chance to display for the first time Uhura's talent for fluent Klingon – which meant picking up a new, albeit entirely fictional, language with its own strange grammar and structure. "Klingon is a lot of fun," she muses. "It was really interesting to explore the pronunciations and what every word means and then try to incorporate all that into the drama and tension of the scene. On the set, when I was with the Klingon actors with their cattails in the air, my imagination was really sparked to see how far we could take it. I love doing things like that, things that are so new and rare and challenging."
Abrams was exhilarated by the way Saldana took on the Klingon encounters. "She has an ability, no matter what language she is speaking, to deliver lines in an emotionally compelling way," he says. "Zoe brought it and made it real, so it became something cool and fun, not rubbery and silly. It can be a fine line in this movie and she was amazing."
Bones, Scotty, Chekov and Sulu:
The ship's Old School Medical Officer, Leonard "Bones" McCoy, is also in a questioning phase -- questioning the very direction that Star Fleet is taking. "He has a great degree of concern about this mission they are going on because it is more of a military mission and he believes Starfleet is at its best when it's about peace and exploration," explains Karl Urban, the action star who returns to the role after recently playing the futuristic title character of "Dredd."Bones' salty sense of humor has already become a useful tool on The Enterprise for keeping Kirk and Spock from taking things, or each other, too seriously. But now, he really has his work cut out for him in that department as conflicts come to a head all over the Enterprise. For Urban, this was all part of the fun. "To me, the core of Star Trek has always been that it's about a group of people who aren't necessarily geared to get along perfectly with each other -- but who always overcome their differences to defeat a common adversary," he explains. "I see Bones as being at the opposite extreme of Spock. If Spock is logic, then Bones is humanism . . . and Kirk has to find the middle ground between the two to be a great captain. In "Star Trek Into Darkness" you get to see a critical juncture in that relationship as they each try to hash out how to respond to this mission."
The ship's boisterous engineer, Scotty, is also at a juncture in "Star Trek Into Darkness," which thrilled English actor and comedian Simon Pegg as he returned to the role. "It was exciting to play Scotty again, because The Enterprise is becoming a real crew now. In the first film, we were just meeting up and finding our way together. Now, Scotty knows everyone better – although they're still working out their relationships. He still calls Chekov 'wee man,' for example," Pegg laughs.
But the man on The Enterprise Scotty knows best is his friend, Kirk, and the fact that he's now a powerful ship's captain doesn't keep the outspoken engineer from giving him a piece of his mind – at the risk of his job. "Scotty might be chaotic and unruly, but he's disciplined when it comes to his job. He always calls Jim 'Captain,' but he's also pretty honest with him – and in this installment, they come to blows. Scotty tests him at the wrong time and suffers the result," Pegg explains. "At the same time, there's a real bond there. Scotty respects Kirk; he sees him as a brave, talented, intuitive captain and he likes the fact that he is his own person. When they have their big tiff, Scotty's indignant about it . . . but he's also ready to do whatever his captain asks of him."
As it turns out, Scotty's initial worries about the dangers of The Enterprise's new mission prove to be well founded. "Scotty's a bit of a drinker, a bit of a brawler and a bit silly some times, but he's a damn good engineer," remarks Pegg.
Pegg was also happy to reunite with JJ Abrams. "He's the engine that drives this Enterprise with enthusiasm, positivity and an inventiveness that keeps everyone on their toes," he says.
Anton Yelchin, who comes back to Enterprise as the Russian prodigy Pavel Chekov, felt similarly. "What I enjoy about J.J. is that he really cares about this world and about each character's personal journey," he says. "It's fun not just to be directed by J.J. but to watch him direct."
It is Chekov who momentarily replaces Scotty when things go awry with Kirk. "In a heated moment, Kirk and Scotty have a disagreement, and Kirk tells Chekov, 'throw on a red shirt,'" Yelchin explains. "That was exciting. It was exciting even on a purely aesthetic level because I've spent one film wearing one color and now I'm in another color! But more than that it was great to play a moment where Chekov has to prove he's ready and able to stand up and switch jobs."
Yelchin prepared to reprise Chekov by returning to the character's roots. "I watched and rewatched several episodes from the original series that I enjoyed Chekov in," he explains. "I really love this character and I was so excited to be back on The Enterprise. And I love how this movie plugs in this great theme of winning versus doing what's right – a theme that been repeated throughout literature and film history -- into the humor and intelligence of the Star Trek universe."
John Cho who once again plays helmsman Hikaru Sulu echoes that sentiment, saying: "This second movie feels really true to Star Trek's spiritual origins in the way it approaches big ideas and questions through these familiar characters."
For Cho, being back on the Bridge with his compatriots felt organic. "It was as if no time had passed," he muses. "You don't get many times in life where you have a great experience and then you get to do it all over again in an even more exciting way so it felt like a privilege."Carol Marcus, Christopher Pike and The Admiral
The Bridge of The Enterprise welcomes a new member on this voyage: auxiliary Science Officer Carol Marcus, who brings unwitting complications of her own. Taking on the role of the alluring physicist, based on a character introduced in prior Star Trek canon, is Alice Eve, the Oxford-educated English actress seen in "She's Out of My League" and "Sex and the City 2."
"We needed someone who would feel like a different flavor from the rest of the cast yet could fit in with the team in a wonderful way. She needed to be smart and fun. She needed to be sexy but really driven and determined – and Alice brought all that," says Abrams.
Eve was ecstatic to join the crew, especially in such an intrigue-filled way. "Carol comes on to The Enterprise shrouded in secrecy," Eve notes. "She's a weapons specialist with a doctorate in advanced physics, so she is kind of treading on Spock's toes a little bit. Also, Carol and Kirk immediately have a spark and Spock is there to see that, so that maybe threatens him a little."
That troublesome romantic spark was especially fun to explore with Chris Pine as Kirk. "Carol and Kirk have a kind of Hepburn and Tracy vibe," she muses, "with this great back-and-forth rapport. Working with Chris was phenomenal. He's an incredibly generous guy, but I think he also carries the film beautifully."
The Enterprise's mentor and original captain, Christopher Pike, also plays a pivotal role in "Into Darkness," with Bruce Greenwood returning for a moment that changes everything, especially for his young protégé, Captain Kirk. As the film begins, Pike is furious that Kirk has violated the Prime Directive – the inviolable Star Fleet rule that space travelers must not interfere in or do anything that might alter the course of another civilization – and could take away his command. "It's only the fact that Pike loves Kirk like a son," says Greenwood, "that allows him to make a judgment call on behalf of Kirk and Spock, even though what they did is a major transgression."
Pike not only fires Kirk, he lights a fire under him to become a better leader. "Pike tells Kirk when you let your emotions drive your decisions you put people at risk, and you might even change the very evolution of the universe, which is unacceptable," says Greenwood. "He tells him this because Pike knows one day he just might use his skills to save the galaxy."
Another Starfleet commander also enters the fray in "Into Darkness" – but he may not be exactly what he seems. Taking on the dark and mysterious character is actor, filmmaker and art historian Peter Weller, known for intense roles ranging from "Robocop" to the sly serial killer drama "Dexter," and he was intrigued by the chance to take Star Trek into a dangerous new realm of Black Ops, pre-emptive strikes and Starfleet secrets.
Weller wound up being cast for the film by providence. He just happened to be at the Bad Robot production office for a meeting about directing an unrelated television project, when Abrams was struck with inspiration. "As I was talking to him, I kept thinking hmmm, he'd be perfect for the Admiral," recalls the director. "Later, I called him back, pitched him and he said I'm in. It was the weirdest casting accident that I can remember."
Abrams adds: "We were lucky to get him. On the one hand, Peter is methodical and cares about every nuance and detail. On the other hand, he's very intellectual and incredibly smart about why he's saying what he's saying. But he also has great instincts and once he gets comfortable with the mechanics of what he's doing, he forgets about those mechanics and he is incredible to watch."
Weller jumped in with both feet. "The script was fantastic," he says. "Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof gave me a lot of meat and with J.J.'s further honing, I think we were able to create a magnificent character. He is someone with a righteous sense of patriotism who does what he believes is correct for Starfleet. He might seem like he's an antagonist but it's more complex than that."
A Nemesis Uncovered
The inky heart of "Star Trek Into Darkness" comes in the person of a mysterious enemy, an intergalactic terrorist whose destructive instincts seem to know no earthly, or cosmic, bounds. This is John Harrison, a one-man army of doom who becomes Captain Kirk's target.
From the time the filmmakers first began thinking about the man called John Harrison, and his deep connection to Star Trek lore, the search was on for someone with the acting chops to embody him.
After meeting with dozens upon dozens of skilled actors, Abrams decided to take off in a completely unpredictable direction. Going far afield, he looked at Benedict Cumberbatch, the English actor best known for historical and period roles ranging from television's "Sherlock", "War Horse," "Atonement" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" to "The Hobbit" and "Parade's End." Though he might seem to defy expectations, Abrams was sold on Cumberbatch's combo of skill and magnetism.
"In the first film, we had extraordinary actors who took these iconic roles and made them their own, with a spirit that completely validated what they were doing. Benedict did exactly the same thing with his character," Abrams explains. "He came to the table with a whole new attitude, personality, background and strength. But he's such a compelling and powerful actor that it works. He has a wry sophistication to his approach that is so right. To me it nullified any concerns of how he might look. We are not in any way undoing what's come before, but he is our version of this character. It was the right way to go because he was so damn good."
Cumberbatch was already a Trek fan when he read the script. "I'd seen the first one and I thought it was just terrific. It was an amazing witty, intelligent romp at the same time as being faithful to the original. And this script hooked me even deeper," he says. "J.J and I talked a lot about my character, about who is this man and what role has he played in Starfleet?"
It was thrilling for Cumberbatch to come onto the set of The Enterprise in the midst of an already tightly constructed family – even if he plays the ultimate threatening outsider to that family. "J.J. creates an atmosphere on the set that is absurdly good fun," he comments. "He has great respect for actors and their process – so there's always a time and a place for play but also for serious concentration. That's a great mixture of dynamics to have on set."
As he dove into the character's roiling psyche, Cumberbatch also dove into training for the most physically demanding role he's ever taken, chock full of fight scenes and chase sequences. He says both Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto helped him in that department. "Zach and Chris are just brilliant at this stuff, very strong and fast, but they were also really kind and considerate with me," he says. "They were always concerned about safety – but then they just let the emotions rip."
Those high-wire emotions, especially between Pine and Cumberbatch, were viscerally felt by everyone. "I loved watching Chris and Benedict when they were doing scenes together because the sparks would literally fly," says Karl Urban.
Adds Pine: "Benedict went at this character like a scalpel. His performance is so precise, I watched in awe as a fan and a fellow actor. It was chilling and creepy and hands down I think he has created some moments that will stand in the pantheon of great Star Trek moments."
Growing The Enterprise
If "Star Trek Into Darkness" magnifies the action, the scale and even the psyches of its characters, the filmmakers also agreed it was time to expand the view of The Enterprise herself, from the ship's beating heart, the Bridge. They took a leap not only from the cardboard sets of the original series, but from the sets of just a few years ago.
"We wanted to show audiences far more of the ship, and to give it more depth," says Abrams. "On the first film, we worked hard to make the ship feel real and epically large, and for the most part, it worked. The problem though was that the Bridge was on one set, the Transporter Room on another, the Med Bay on another, etcetera. You could never do any kind of continuity. We had the opportunity this time to build a set that was contiguous so that we were able to go from the Bridge down a hallway, into the Turbo Plaza area and go around a corner into the Med Bay. It gives the ship a sense not only of scale, which is a fun by-product, but a real sense of being interconnected. And when the cast and crew come onto a set that's so beautifully designed, it helps them believe in this place. It elevates everything – the performances, the lighting, the camera work. It was helpful in every way; and it gives people a bigger view into this world that we love so much."
Executive producer Jeffrey Chernov puts it succinctly: "The new design gives the audience the opportunity to really live on The Enterprise." He continues: "When I saw the original plans, I thought this is going to be something really unique for Star Trek. No one has ever been able to walk from one end of the ship to the other or run throughout the ship. And then, to top it off, we built the Turbo Plaza, which for the first time, gives a vertical range to the ship."
The actors agree that the new Enterprise set helped bring the reality of space travel home. "On this film, we really had the full playground," says Chris Pine. "The detail work the crew did was just mind-boggling. We had construction guys working 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, just so we could have this totally immersive world to be in. It was awesome."
The designs fell once again to production designer Scott Chambliss, who has been a frequent collaborator with Abrams but did some of the most awe-inspiring work of his career on the first "Star Trek", re-imagining the Enterprise through the prism of our present-day modernist design. Now, he set out to raise the bar on his own work.
Says Abrams: "Scott blew away my every expectation on this film. He did an extraordinary job not just designing amazing sets but building them in a way that elevated the designs. Every element of The Enterprise was remarkable. Everywhere I looked, I was amazed."
Adds Chernov: "Scott had a very tall order on this film: to take audiences further into the future, yet sustain the credibility. When I watched J.J. and Scott work, I saw them agonizing over every detail, over how do we want people to feel about this world and how are we going to take them there? They have a wonderful creative relationship."
The creative process kicked off with Chambliss' ambitious new designs for the full-scale Enterprise. "Once we had the conceptual artwork, we all fell in love with it," recalls production manager Tommy Harper. "And then it became all about how to pull it off, the logistics of how to build it, light it and not break the bank in doing so. What we ended up with was truly a beautiful, gorgeous set. It really opened up this world for J.J. and I think it will do so for the audience as well."
Chambliss notes that his work on both "Star Trek" films owes a debt to one particularly strong influence: the industrial designs of Pierre Cardin, the avant-garde, French designer who became know for his Space Age creations involving bold, mirrored colors and geometric shapes. "What Cardin was doing in industrial design is foundational to every Enterprise set," says Chambliss.
This was especially true of the high-tech holding cell for prisoners. "In designing the prisoner's cell, I was thinking about a beach house that Pierre Cardin built in the 70s," explains the designer, referring to the legendary "Bubble House" just outside Cannes. "It is basically a series of white pods with roundish windows either looking into other rooms or into the sky above. I also looked at some round Italian television sets that were framed top and bottom with molded plastic. Those ultimately became the all-seeing surveillance eye in each cell. It creates this haunting effect where as a prisoner you're kind of trapped in a beautiful storefront window, constantly being observed, with all the emotional and claustrophobic qualities that conveys."
Throughout The Enterprise, Chambliss stayed true to the vision he and Abrams agree governs their view of Star Trek: "The idea was always to have a retro-tech feel that is contemporary but keeps us anchored to the original television series. I love taking sleek, beautiful design elements from early computer technology and letting that be our nod to the old Star Trek. We try to blend retro and futuristic sensibilities in a way that they support each other. Our touchstone continues to be taking Gene Roddenberry's optimism for the future and translating that to our times."
The Enterprise not only grows in this new voyage, it also goes through some of its most wild flight maneuvers yet. At one point, the ship tilts radically as it begins a crash landing, which Abrams chose to physically re-create on Chambliss' sleek set. "It was all done with wires combined with a tilting set, so we were actually, literally running on the walls sideways," explains Simon Pegg. "It was enormous fun to shoot, to constantly be reorienting our sense of what's up and what's down. It was a challenge, too, but Chris and I loved being in the harnesses and getting dragged about and shouting because we knew it was going to be an awesome sequence."
"We called that the 'rollie pollie sequence,'" explains visual supervisor Roger Guyett. "The ship is turning and the artificial gravity is failing and when that happens, people are going to start sliding around. J.J. got very interested in the idea that if you move the camera in certain ways and if people behaved in certain ways, it would really feel like everything on the ship had wrapped around upside down. And he was right. J.J. understands visual magic at the deepest levels of detail."
To Explore Strange New Worlds: Nibiru and Kronos
"Star Trek Into Darkness" also took the filmmakers deeper than ever into the rarified challenges of world-creating – skills that were demanded especially for Nibiru, the volcanic red planet that opens the film with a spectacular action sequence, and for Kronos, the war-torn Klingon home planet. "Nothing could be more incredibly exciting and fun for filmmakers than creating other worlds," Scott Chambliss admits. "You get a rare chance to make the unimaginable real."
For the film's first scenes on the lush but technologically primitive Nibiru, Chambliss had a blast imagining an island-style civilization. "One thing I love about Star Trek is working with so many contrasting environments," he remarks. "Nibiru is the antithesis of the Klingon planet and both are completely different from Earth. Everyone wanted the island planet to have a seductive atmosphere, and one thing that I remembered from my travels in Hawaii is what they call 'lipstick bamboo,' which is dark red and other-worldly, so that made me think, what if this planet was all red? There was something wonderful to that, combined with the deep turquoise blue water and white sand. It was not only a striking color palette but it had that retro vibe which we embrace in our Star Trek story telling. And then we developed a whole cultural atmosphere around that."
Adds Jeffrey Chernov: "The challenges of Nibiru were at times almost overwhelming. Not only were the sets and photography a challenge but we also had to create a whole tribe, which took months to figure out. Many movies would probably just have said, we're gonna do this with CG, but J.J. wanted to bring the planet to life in camera. So we started designing our Nibiru natives, and it took a very long time to come up with their look, working with Neville Page, our creature designer, David Anderson, our special effects makeup designer and Michael Kaplan, our costume designer."
No less challenging was Kronos, and once again, Abrams gave Chambliss complete creative leeway to express the Klingon warrior society in his own original way. "It was clear to me that J.J. wanted Kronos to be an amazing playground -- but what that playground would be took developing approach after approach," Chambliss recalls. "Kronos is a warring culture so we thought it might be interesting to show a part of the planet that is like toxic wasteland, what you would see post-nuclear bomb or environmental disaster, with all the ramifications of that."
He found inspiration in an unusual earthly location. "I found these photos of an abandoned Russian water park – a huge scale thing from the 50s or 60s that fell into complete constructive disrepair and it was so eerie. That was really inspirational to the look," Chambliss explains.
The 40,000-foot set was built on a massive soundstage. "Its scale was monstrous," says Tommy Harper. "J.J. wanted to do a lot in-camera and not just have it be a digital world. We were under the gun, but we completely pulled it off, including the pulsating wall of light that became a character in the set. It's one of those sets you'll remember – and just getting to Kronos is exciting!"
On top of giving Kronos visceral life, Chambliss had the chance to design the interior of a Klingon fighter ship. "It was really fun to give the ship its own cultural identity. This was a three-seater ship so we decided that the three seats would each face a different way. It was a really tight and intricate space and we all love that kind of challenge. All of us kept climbing inside and bumping our heads and knocking into things and we thought, 'this is so beautiful but it's going to be very hard to shoot.' Then J.J. came in and just made the space work with the camera. That was thrilling."
As far the Klingons themselves, Abrams explains: "We were very lucky to have Neville Page,
who's a wonderful creature designer, and David Anderson, who is a terrific special effects and makeup artist, work together on bringing the Klingons to life. We cast some terrific actors in the roles and they did an amazing job. Again, as with the design of the Enterprise, the Klingons in the film are both a nod to what has come before, and their own, original thing."
Returning costume designer Michael Kaplan would also expand his work on "Into Darkness" – work that, unlike most costuming, requires more imagination than research. "Star Trek is like doing a period movie but it's a period movie where nothing exists from the period! You can't go to thrift shops and costume houses and collect clothing," he notes. "On Star Trek, everything has to be made, and if there are script changes or additions, there's not something you can just pull out or have at hand. So an enormous amount of prep work goes into a film like this."
For this new voyage, even the crew's standard uniforms underwent tweaks. "We didn't want to screw around too much with them, but we did want them to feel a bit more sophisticated and sexier," Kaplan explains. "I silk-screened the uniforms with the boomerang pattern which you can see in close-ups. It's a subtle change and the colors also changed a little bit. The red is a little more of a blood red. The blue has a little more green in it. The gold is a little more mustardy. The pants are also a little more fitted and we integrated some practical changes, too, so now the actors didn't have to put their tops on over their heads because there's an invisible zipper."
One of the most exciting outfits this time around was clearly going to be Spock's volcano-exploring suit – and Kaplan took the iconic imagery of the spacesuit in a new direction. "I thought about it for a long time, and I came up with the color copper, which I've never seen in a Sci-Fi movie," he explains. "A spacesuit is always grey, silver, white or maybe even gold. But I just kept thinking about the reflection of the flames and I thought how beautiful it would be."
The costume's beauty however belies a high degree of intricacy. "It is a very extensive costume – and there's a lot of wiring and mechanical engineering that went into it in addition to the look. Zach had to literally be bolted into it, so we added some quick-release mechanisms for him."
Kaplan also handcrafted Starfleet wetsuits for several of the principal actors, including a ruby red number for Zoe Saldana's Uhura. "I think Uhura's wetsuit is one of J.J.'s favorite costumes in the film," says Kaplan. "We really wanted these to look like Star Trek-style wetsuits so I designed something that I thought would be cutting edge and right for Star Trek."
Other new looks include woven metal space suits with illuminated helmets, Starfleet dress uniforms and a cover-all-style Shuttle Suit used for casual travelling. The film also sees the Enterprise crew donning civilian clothes, aboard the Knormian Trade Vessel and on Kronos, which was another exciting element for Kaplan. "I wanted them to wear clothes that would be practical to the kind of conditions that they were going to – so they're rough and ready. But I also really enjoyed working with the idea that each character was in their own self-created uniform," he explains.
Saldana was also excited about her outfit, saying: "I loved the leathery, Mad Max, nomadic clothing that keeps us inconspicuous on Kronos. Michael is as much an artist as he is a storyteller."
On the darker side of things, Kaplan enjoyed coming up with uniforms for the crew of the Vengeance – using a grid-like pattern that plays tricks with the light -- and for Benedict Cumberbatch's villain. "For Benedict, I really liked the idea of long coats, so you see him moving through space with his coattails flying behind. When you first see him on Kronos, he's backlit and J.J. and I thought it would be a good idea if we didn't know who he was at first. You almost mistake his coat for a Klingon coat. Then he leaps down and you're still not sure who it is because he's wearing a hood and a mask and then all that comes off and you have the surprise of seeing Benedict."
For the Klingon costumes, Kaplan utilized designs created for the first film but never seen by audiences. "We used a fabric for their storm trooper coats that looks like rhino or elephant skin," he elucidates. "Their helmets are based on horseshoe crabs, which I thought would make a great design. Then we designed a whole other look for the warriors, which is more practical for fighting."
Another twist for Kaplan was the chance to design not just for unknown worlds but also for our own world – albeit the San Francisco and London of the 23rd century. Once again, he found himself looking both forwards and back in time. "Like the rest of the film, we wanted the designs on earth to be rooted in the 60s -- but a plausibly futuristic version of that. We were inspired by designers like Christian Dior, Rudy Gernreich and Cortége – and then we made it our own."
That, Kaplan says, is the bottom line when working with Abrams. "Everything has to be cool, but most of all it must reflect the emotional truth of the story we're telling," he summarizes.
Where Discovery Happens: Trekking to the National Ignition Facility
Gene Roddenberry once said of Star Trek: "Almost all of this comes out of my feeling that the human future is bright. We're just beginning. We have wonders ahead of us. I don't see how it can be any other way." That spirit, which continues to draw millions to the space travel story he created more than 50 years ago, was inspired most of all by the ceaseless human drive for scientific discovery. Not surprisingly, over the years, the Star Trek philosophy has in turn inspired legions of young scientists, explorers and writers.
In a lovely ode to that cycle of inspiration, J. J. Abrams took "Star Trek Into Darkness" to an especially meaningful location: the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, site of unprecedented research into the future of energy itself. Here, 192 of the world's most intense laser beams are being used to crack the secrets of matter and anti-matter and to explore thermonuclear fusion. The work at NIS could one day result in a world-altering energy revolution, unchaining humanity from polluting, problematic, finite fuels, and even make space travel more viable.
As a classified government facility, NIF generally does not allow film crews . . . but Star Trek was something completely different. The links between Star Trek and the NIF go literally to their cores-- after all, the Enterprise is fueled with deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen also known as "heavy hydrogen, as is the NIF. And many of the scientists who work at NIF admit to having cut their teeth watching Kirk and Spock try to push beyond the current boundaries of human knowledge.
Dr. Edward Moses, Principal Associate Director for NIF and the Photon Science Directorate, says: "For many years we've been waiting for Star Trek to realize they should be here! This is a very futuristic facility . . . and I think we've all been influenced by Star Trek's vision of the future."
For the filmmakers, NIF provided a location that could never be emulated in any other way -- one that gave them an opportunity to delve into the ships unseen nuclear innards that create Star Fleet's most advanced warp drive, allowing for faster-than-light travel. For NIF, it was a chance to see their laboratory interpreted through the eyes of a cinematic storyteller. "It was super exciting to see J.J. Abrams' vision of what we do," notes Moses.
Abrams couldn't help but be moved not only by the technological beauty but by the feeling of being smack in the middle of a place where 21st Century science is leading to the 23rd Century of the film. "We were there just trying to shoot a movie, but all around us, these innovative scientists are working on technologies that will likely help the whole world," he says. "The idea that one day the research at NIF could create clean, limitless energy is so exciting. On the one hand, it was simply a great location for the story. But more importantly, we were really honored to be welcomed there. These people are doing research that could alter the destiny of the planet the way the wheel or the light bulb did. We couldn't even believe they let us in to shoot – and then, they were so excited about having us. So many people told us Star Trek inspired them to get involved in science."
Throughout the production, a wide array of other scientists, artists and public figures flocked to the "Into Darkness" set to get their own personal glimpse at Star Trek in action. Their presence was a constant reminder of how universally alluring, and inspiring, the concept remains.
Summarizes Bryan Burk. "I think what pulls all these different people to Star Trek is the same thing that brings J.J. and our cast and crew: that sense of wonder at what our future might hold when we boldly leave earth to learn from different species and worlds. We're all drawn to that promise of a future where there's no more war on earth and whatever problems we have, we work them out together. That's the Star Trek vision – and that is what is at stake in this story."
Captain James T. Kirk
Chris Pine, who has emerged as one of Hollywood's hottest young actors, is currently shooting "Jack Ryan," slated for a December 2013 release, assuming the mantle of the Tom Clancy action hero previously portrayed on film by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. Most recently, Pine starred opposite Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law in DreamWorks Animation's "Rise of the Guardians"; was seen opposite Michelle Pfeiffer, Elizabeth Banks and Olivia Wilde in the Touchstone Pictures drama "People Like Us"; and co-starred with Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy in the 20th Century Fox action-comedy "This Means War."
Previously, Pine starred opposite Denzel Washington in the 20th Century Fox action film "Unstoppable," directed by Tony Scott. In 2009, Pine starred as James T. Kirk in Paramount's box-office smash-hit feature film "Star Trek" for director J. J. Abrams. He reprises the role for "Star Trek Into Darkness."
Pine's additional feature credits include the Paramount Vantage film "Carriers," the educational animated feature "Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey," "Bottle Shock" for writer/director Randall Miller, the independent feature "Small Town Saturday Night" for writer/director Ryan Craig, Joe Carnahan's gritty ensemble drama "Smokin' Aces" for Working Title Films and Universal Pictures, "Blind Dating" co-starring Eddie Kaye Thomas and Jane Seymour, and the Fox/New Regency romantic comedy "Just My Luck" opposite Lindsay Lohan. Pine made his feature film debut opposite Anne Hathaway in "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement."
On the stage, Pine was most recently seen starring in Martin McDonagh's "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. In March 2011, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle honored him with their Best Lead Performance award for his work in "Inishmore."
Pine also received a 2009 Ovation Award nomination for his performance in the drama "Farragut North" starring opposite Chris Noth at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. His additional stage credits include the Neil LaBute play "Fat Pig," also at the Geffen Playhouse, and "The Atheist," a one-man show performed off-off-Broadway.
Pine graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in English and studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater and University of Leeds in the U.K. His extensive theater work includes performances in productions of "Our Town," "American Buffalo," "No Exit," "Waiting for Godot," and "Orestes."
Pine comes from a performing family. His parents are actors Gwynne Gilford and Robert Pine, and his late grandmother, Anne Gwynne, was a film actress of the '30s and '40s.
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for playing the title role of "Sherlock Holmes" in Steven Moffatt and Mark Gattiss' stunning adaption of the Conan Doyle books. It is a role that has earned him International acclaim and several awards including two BAFTA nominations and a Critic's Choice Award for best actor. Most recently on film he portrayed Major Stewart in Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of "Warhorse" and the part of Peter Guillam alongside Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy And Colin Firth in Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." In 2011 Benedict returned to The National Theatre, alternating the roles of creature and Dr Frankenstein in Danny Boyle's production of "Frankenstein," earning him a Laurence Olivier Award and an Evening Standard Award for Best Actor.
Benedict tudied Drama at Manchester University before training at The London Academy of Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Early TV roles included "Tipping The Velvet," "Silent Witness," "Nathan Barley," "Spooks," "Dunkirk," "To The Emds Of The Earth" and "The Last Enemy." However it was his incredibly powerful portrayal of Stephen Hawking, the Cambridge Cosmologist in the BBC's highly acclaimed drama, "Hawking," which bought him to the attention of an International audience and earned him his first BAFTA nomination. His second BAFTA nomination came in 2010 for his portrayal of Bernard in the BBC adaptation of "Small Island."
Cumberbatch's film work includes "Starter For Ten," "Amazing Grace," "Third Star," "Wreckers," "Stuart: A Life Backward," "The Other Boleyn Girl" and the dastardly Herburt Marshall in Joe Wright's Oscar-nominated "Atonement."
On stage there have been two seasons in Regents park with The New Shakespeare Co, Linsrand in Trevor Nunn's production of "Lady From The Sea," George in Tenessee Williams' "Period Of Adjustment," Teesman in Richard Eyre's stunning West End ensemble Production of "Hedda Gabler," for which he received Olivier and Ian Charleston Award nominations. Berenger in Ionesco's "Rhinocerus," "The Arsonists" and "The City "at the Royal Court and in 2010 he took the role of David Scott Fowler in Thea Sharrock's National theatre, award winning Rattigan revival "After The Dance."
Benedict has recently appeared in the BBC/HBO drama "Parade's End." Last year he filmed the role of the Dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit." He is currently filming Steve McQueen's "August:Osage County." A third series of "Sherlock" will be filmed in 2013.
Zachary Quinto first appeared on television in the short-lived television series "The Others," and appeared as a guest star on shows including "CSI," "Touched by an Angel," "Charmed," "Six Feet Under," Lizzie McGuire" and "L.A. Dragnet." In 2003, he landed a recurring role as computer expert Adam Kaufman on the Fox series "24"; Quinto appeared in 23 episodes of the third season.
In 2006, Quinto played the role of Sasan: the haughty, gay Iranian-American best friend of Tori Spelling on her VH1 series "So NoTORIOUS." Later that year, he joined the cast of Tim Kring's "Heroes" as Gabriel Gray, better known as the serial killer Sylar, for four seasons.
His casting as a young Spock in the J.J. Abrams-directed reboot of the "Star Trek" film franchise was officially announced at the 2007 Comic-Con. Speaking alongside Leonard Nimoy at a press conference to promote the new "Star Trek" film, Quinto revealed that Nimoy had been given casting approval over who would play the role of the young Spock. "For me Leonard's involvement was only liberating, frankly," says Quinto. "I knew that he had approval over the actor that would play young Spock, so when I got the role I knew from the beginning it was with his blessing."
In a September 2008 interview, Abrams said of Quinto's performance as Spock: "Zachary brought a gravity and an incredible sense of humor, which is a wonderful combination because Spock's character is deceivingly complicated. The revelation for me watching the movie, when I finally got to watch the whole thing after working on sequences, was that he is extraordinary. He was doing things I didn't even realize while we were shooting – these amazing things to track his story." Quinto also made references to Star Trek's historical record for diversity and inclusiveness in its casting and storylines, and said that he hoped the looming election of Barack Obama would build that dynamic towards the film's May 2009 release date.
Following "Star Trek," he appeared in the comedy short "Boutonniere." It was a movie written and directed by my former landlady and friend, [actress Coley Sohn]. She called up and said, 'Would you do me a favor and be in my short film?'"
Quinto has joined with Corey Moosa and Neal Dodson to form Before the Door Pictures. The company is working on projects in film, television, new media, and the graphic novel arena. It announced a three-book publishing deal with comic book publisher Archaia at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. The first project from the partnership is expected to be a 100-page graphic novel called Mr. Murder is Dead, created by writer Victor Quinaz. It will be followed by the comic book series LUCID: A Matthew Dee Adventure written by writer/actor Michael McMillian.
Quinto's theatre experience includes roles in a variety of productions, including "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival and Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow at the Old Globe Theatre. Quinto played the lead role of Louis Ironson in an Off-Broadway revival of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America" at the Signature Theatre. For this role, Quinto received the Theatreworld Outstanding Debut Performance award.
In 2010, Quinto's company Before the Door Pictures produced "Margin Call," an independent film about the financial crisis. Quinto played the role of Peter Sullivan in the film, in a cast that included Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Penn Bagdgley and Deni Moore. "Margin Call" premiered in January 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival. In October 2011, Quinto began his recurring role on the FX series "American Horror Story" as Chad, former owner of the house. Quinto returned for the second season in one of the lead roles, as Dr. Oliver Thredson.
Zoe Saldana is the epitome of a true star in Hollywood, and has built her reputation as a versatile and respected actress by choosing roles that she feels passionately about. Saldana well known in her starring role 'Neytiri' in 2009's blockbuster and most talked about film, "Avatar" -- James Cameron's sci-fi thriller co-starring Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington. "Avatar "has quickly become the highest grossing film of all time winning the 2010 Golden Globe for Best Director and Best Picture. Avatar went on to receive a total of nine 2010 Academy Awards® nominations, including Best Picture.
In 2009, Saldana's fame grew to new levels when she starred in J.J. Abram's blockbuster action-sci-fi film "Star Trek," which went on to receive four 2010 Academy Award® nominations. Saldana played 'Nyota Uhura' opposite Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana and Winona Ryder. She reprises the role in "Star Trek Into Darkness."
Saldana's other film credits include "The Losers," "Death At A Funeral," "Vantage Point," "Haven," "Guess Who," "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," "The Terminal," "Dirty Deeds," "Temptation and Constellation," "Get Over It," "Crossroads," "Snipes," "Drumline" and her breakout film role in "Center Stage." Her television credits include appearances on the WB's, "Keeping It Real," and NBC's, "Law & Order."
In 2004, Saldana accepted the Young Hollywood "One to Watch" award presented by Movieline Magazine for her performance in The Terminal. She then went on to grace the cover of Elle in 2009 as one of the magazine's top "Women in Hollywood," as well as the cover of Glamour as one of the magazine's "Women of the Year." To finish off the year, Saldana was named as MaxMara's "Face of the Future," Glamour UK's "Film Actress of the Year" for 2010, and also became the new face of Calvin Klein Underwear and Calvin Klein Envy.
Saldana's recent work includes the starring role in the action film "Colombiana" for Sony Pictures where she plays a young woman, who after witnessing her parents' murders becomes a stone-cold assassin and the drama "The Words" costarring Bradley Cooper, Olivia Wilde and Jeremy Irons released September 2012. Saldana recently finished shooting the independent dramas "Out of the Furnace "with Christian Bale and "Blood Ties" co starring Clive Owen.
Saldana was born and raised in New York. She currently resides in Los Angeles and New York.
As one of today's most exciting actors, John Cho continues to deliver compelling performances in both film and television. Cho first came into the spotlight in the 1999 breakthrough hit comedy "American Pie," in which he popularized the slang term "MILF." Cho recently reprised his role in the latest installment, "American Reunion," which came out earlier this year. Cho achieved near-household name status starring as Harold Lee in the cult comedies, "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" and "A Very Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas."
On the big screen, Cho was last seen in Len Weiseman's remake of the classic, "Total Recall" opposite Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale. This February, Cho will be seen in Seth Gordon's "Identity Thief" opposite Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman. In May, Cho will also reprise his role as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu' in "Star Trek Into The Darkness."
His additional film credits includethe Weitz Bros' "American Dreamz," starring alongside Willem Dafoe and Hugh Grant, "Better Luck Tomorrow;" "Pavilion of Women; Steven Soderbergh's "Solaris;" and the Best Picture Oscar® winner, "American Beauty."
Cho can currently be seen on the NBC hit comedy, "GO ON" in the role of Stephen', Matthew Perry's boss and closest friend. Cho starred as Agent Demitri Noh' inABC'sdrama series "FlashForward" and the Weitz Bros' "Off Centre." In addition to numerous guest-starring roles, he also recurred on the final season of Kitchen Confidential."
Born in Seoul, Korea, and raised in Los Angeles, California, Cho began acting while studying English literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He toured the country with his first show, "The Woman Warrior," an adaptation of the renowned memoir by Maxine Kingston. Other stage roles include Laertes' in the Singapore Repertory Theater's production of "Hamlet" and a variety of shows for East West Players.
Cho currently resides in Los Angeles.
Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
Simon Pegg moved to London in 1993 and gigged on the stand-up comedy circuit. Failing that, he went into television comedy in "Asylum," "Six Pairs of Pants," "Faith in the Future," "Big Train" and "Hippies." From 1998 to 2004, Pegg regularly featured on BBC Radio 4's "The 99p Challenge." In 1999, he created and co-wrote the Channel 4 sitcom "Spaced" with Jessica Stevenson. For this project Pegg brought in Frost, his best friend. For his performance in this series, Pegg was nominated for a British Comedy Award as Best Male Comedy Newcomer. Pegg co-wrote (with Spaced director Edgar Wright) and starred in the "romantic zombie comedy" film (or "RomZomCom") "Shaun of the Dead," released in April 2004. At George A. Romero's invitation, Pegg and Wright made cameo appearances in Romero's film, "Land of the Dead." In 2004 Pegg also starred in a spin-off of the television show "Danger! 50,000 Volts!" called "Danger! 50,000 Zombies!," in which he played a Zombie Hunter named Dr Russel Fell.
Pegg's other credits include the World War II miniseries "Band of Brothers," guest appearances on "Black Books," "Brass Eye Special,"" I'm Alan Partridge," "The Parole Officer" and in the Factory Records story "24 Hour Party People." He also played the mutant bounty hunter Johnny Alpha, the Strontium Dog, in a series of Big Finish Productions audio plays based on the character from British comic "2000 AD" and featured in "Guest House Paradiso," a film based on the sitcom "Bottom," where he played a guest at Richie and Eddie's hotel.
Pegg appeared in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio story Invaders From Mars as Don Chaney, and portrayed the Editor in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Long Game." He also narrated the first series of the documentary series "Doctor Who Confidential."
Upon completion of "Shaun of the Dead," Pegg was questioned on whether he would be abandoning the British film industry for bigger and better things, to which he replied "It's not like I'm going to run off and do 'Mission: Impossible III!'" He then promptly went on to do just that, playing Benji Dunn, an I.M.F. technician who assists Tom Cruise's character, Ethan Hunt. In 2006 he played an American character, Gus, in "Big Nothing" alongside David Schwimmer.
In 2006, Pegg and Wright completed their second film, "Hot Fuzz," released in February 2007. The film is a police-action movie homage and also stars Nick Frost. Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a London policeman who is transferred to rural Sandford, where grisly events take place.
During 2007 Pegg has also starred in "The Good Night" (directed by Jake Paltrow) and "Run, Fat Boy, Run" directed by David Schwimmer and co-starring Thandie Newton and Hank Azaria.
Pegg co-wrote and starred with Nick Frost in a film entitled "Paul." The plot revolves around characters played by Pegg and Frost road tripping across America. Pegg also announced that he and Wright had the idea for "the concluding part in what we are calling our 'Blood and Ice Cream' trilogy" (the first two being "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz"). It is provisionally called "The World Ends." In those films and in "Spaced," Pegg typically plays the leading hero while Frost plays the sidekick. However, he has revealed that Paul will reverse this dynamic. Pegg has also stated that Wright will not direct, "Paul" not being part of their 'Blood and Ice Cream' trilogy. The completed script appeared on the 2008 Black List, a film-industry-compiled list of the best unproduced screenplays. Paul received two votes.
Pegg played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the eleventh "Star Trek" film, released 8 May 2009. He reprises that role in "Star Trek Into Darkness."
In 2010 he also appeared as William Burke in "Burke and Hare," a film directed by John Landis about the Ulster men who were notorious murderers and bodysnatchers in early 19th-century Edinburgh. His likeness was also used for the character of Wee Hughie in the comic book series "The Boys"; while this was done without Pegg's permission, he quickly became a fan of the title, and even wrote the introduction to the first bound volume. He also voiced Reepicheep, the heroic mouse in "Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader."
Pegg reprised the role of Benji Dunn in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," making him the only actor from the film series other than Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames (who portrayed their characters in every film) to appear in more than one of the films.
Since graduating from Oxford, Alive Eve has shown her talent in film, television and theatre. She was last seen in Columbia Pictures' "Men in Black III," in which she plays a 'young Agent Oh.' Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, she starred opposite Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, who reprised their roles in the third film in the series.
Eve was also recently seen in Rogue Pictures' "The Raven," a fictionalized account of the last days of Edgar Allen Poe's life, which the poet is in pursuit of a serial killer whose murders mirror those in his stories. Eve starred as 'Emily,' fiancée of 'Edgar Allen Poe,' played by John Cusack. The film was release by Relativity on March 9, 2012.
She recently wrapped production on "Eye of Winter," a crime drama about a blind career criminal who takes a struggling motel owner and her daughter hostage to help him retrieve his cash package from a corrupt cop. Directed by Tze Chun, the film will also star Bryan Cranston, Logan Marshall-Green and Ursula Parker.
In 2010, Eve was seen in the Dreamworks/Paramount romantic comedy "She's Out of My League." The film also starred Jay Baruchel whose character finally gets to date his dream girl played by Eve but allows his fears and insecurities to threaten the relationship. Eve also appeared in Warner Bros. Pictures' summer box office hit "Sex and the City 2."
In 2008, Eve turned heads on Broadway and in London's West End in the critically acclaimed play "Rock N Roll." Written by Tom Stoppard and directed by Trevor Nunn, Alice starred alongside Rufus Sewell, Brian Cox and Sinead Cusack.
In 2006, Eve starred in "Starter for Ten," opposite James McAvoy and Rebecca Hall. The film was produced by Tom Hanks and is based on the bestselling book by David Nicholls. The story follows a group of students negotiating their way through university in 1980's Bristol. "Starter for Ten" screened at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.
Other film credits include "ATM," "The Decoy Bride," "Crossing Over," "Big Nothing" and "Stage Beauty." Television credits include "The Rotters Club," "Losing Gemma" and "Hawking."
Eve is the daughter of actors Trevor Eve and Sharon Maughn. She went to school in London before going on to study English at Oxford University. At university, Eve took part in many theatre productions, which is where she developed her love of acting. Her roles at University included 'Galactica' in "Scenes from an Execution" and 'Mabel' in "An Ideal Husband."
Eve currently resides in London.
Dr. Leonard McCoy
Karl Urban may be best known for his dynamic turn as the Rohan warrior Eomer in the second and third installments of Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, or for his chilling performance as Kirill in Paul Greengrass' The Bourne Supremacy." Urban recently played Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the 2009 sci-fi blockbuster "Star Trek" and revisits the role in "Star Trek Into Darkness." He also starred in director Tony Kaye's crime drama "Black Water Transit."
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Urban first appeared on television as a child. Throughout his school years he wrote, directed and starred in many film and stage productions. As a young adult, he continued to pursue his acting career by training and working throughout Australia and Asia in theater, film and television.
Urban landed his feature film debut in "Heaven." He garnered two Best Actor nominations at the New Zealand Film Awards for his work in "Via Satellite" and the critically acclaimed indie "The Price of Milk." Recently, Urban won Best Actor at the Quantas Film Awards for his performance as Nick in "Out of the Blue."
Urban resides in New Zealand and is an avid supporter of KIDS CAN, an organization that feeds and clothes more than 30,000 New Zealand children who live in poverty.
Anton Yelchin is one of Hollywood's hottest rising stars. With his highly acclaimed performances in "Like Crazy," "Star Trek," "The Beaver," "Charlie Bartlett" and a slew of starring roles in major films this year Yelchin is quickly becoming a household name.
Yelchin recently wrapped production on "From Up on Poppy Hill," voicing the lead character in the English version of the film. Anton also recently completed work on Jim Jarmusch's upcoming film "Only Lovers Left Alive." Yelchin stars alongside Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska in the highly anticipated project. He will be reprising his role as 'Clumsy Smurf' in Sony's "Smurfs 2," out July 31, 2013, and as 'Pavel Chekov' in "Star Trek Into Darkness." Anton will begin work on "5 To 7" with Diane Kruger next. The film, set in New York, centers on an aspiring novelist who has an affair with the wife of a French diplomat. Victor Levin, co-executive of "Mad Men," is set to write and direct.
Yelchin received critical acclaim for his starring role in Drake Doremus' film "Like Crazy." "Like Crazy" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011 to rave reviews and took home the Grand Jury Prize. Yelchin was honored at the 2011 Aspen Film Festival with the "Artist to Watch" Award and the "Hollywood Spotlight Award" at the 2011 Hollywood Film Festival on behalf of his performance. Yelchin starred opposite newcomer Felicity Jones in the drama about a British college student who falls for an American student, only to be separated from him when she's banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa.
Yelchin recently starred in the Disney/Dreamworks thriller "Fright Night." The film was a remake of the 1985 comedy-horror picture about a teenager who discovers his neighbors are vampires. In the film, Yelchin starred as 'Charley Brewster' opposite Colin Farrell and Toni Collette. Yelchin lent his voice to bring 'Clumsy Smurf' to life in Sony's 2011 summer blockbuster film "The Smurfs." The film boasted an all-star cast including Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Sofia Vergara, Katy Perry and George Lopez. Additionally, Yelchin voiced the character of 'Albino Pirate' in the animated feature, "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" starring Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven.
Yelchin garnered praise from critics for his performance as 'Porter Black' in "The Beaver" co-starring with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, who also directed. The film centers around a man (Gibson) who is depressed and finds solace by wearing a beaver hand puppet. Yelchin played the son of Gibson and Foster. Entertainment Weekly commended Yelchin's exceptional acting ability in its review for the film. "A great live-wire performance from the consistently wonderful Anton Yelchin," wrote Lisa Schwarzbaum,
Yelchin finished the film "Odd Thomas," playing the title character of 'Odd Thomas,' a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities that encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark and threatening forces. He stars alongside Willem Dafoe, Patton Oswalt and Addison Timlin. Yelchin starred as 'Kyle Reese' in "Terminator: Salvation" opposite Christian Bale and Sam Worthington. The film, directed by McG is set in post-apocalyptic 2018. T"erminator: Salvation" grossed $370 million worldwide.
Yelchin also appeared in "Star Trek" as 'Pavel Chekov' with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. The film, directed by J.J. Abrams, received rave reviews.
Yelchin starred in "Charlie Bartlett" as the title character opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Kat Dennings. The film centers around a wealthy teenager (Yelchin) trying to fit in at a new public high school. "Anton Yelchin brings an irresistible mix of suppressed anger and longing, innocence and precocity to his role…" remarked the Los Angeles Time's of his portrayal of 'Charlie Bartlett.' The witty dark comedy received much acclaim by both critics and audiences alike.
Yelchin's other film credits include ALPHA DOG opposite Bruce Willis and Emile Hirsch, "Hearts In Atlantis," which he received a Young Artist Award for "Best Performance in a Feature Film-Leading Young Actor", "Fierce People" with Donald Sutherland, "House of D"with Robin Williams, "Middle of Nowhere" with Susan Sarandon, and "New York, I Love You" which included the all star cast of Ethan Hawke, Robin Wright Penn, Shia LaBeouf, Orlando Bloom, James Caan, Julie Christie, Andy Garcia and Natalie Portman . Yelchin also received the "Explosive Talent Award" at the 2002 Giffoni Film Festival in Italy.
Yelchin has appeared on some of television's most critically acclaimed dramas. He starred opposite Hank Azaria on the critically acclaimed SHOWTIME series "Huff" for two seasons. He also had guest-starring roles on "Criminal Minds" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."
Yelchin currently resides in Los Angeles.
Bruce Greenwood recently starred in the ABC Horror/Drama series "The River" as wildlife explorer and TV personality Emmet Cole who goes looking for magic in the uncharted Amazon and disappears while his family and friends set out on a mysterious and deadly journey to find him. Oren Peli, creator of "Paranormal Activity" and Steven Spielberg are Executive Producers.
He was also seen in the drama "Flight" opposite Denzel Washington for Paramount Pictures, directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film centers on airline pilot Whip (Washington) with substance abuse issues who steers an endangered flight to a crash-landing, saving nearly all passengers. Greenwood plays Charlie, the president of the Pilots' Union who used to fly with Whip and tries to help him through a scandal.
He will next be seen in "Devils' Knot" drawn from the book by the same name opposite Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth for acclaimed Canadian director Atom Egoyan and marks their fourth film together. His 3 previous films include a leading role in "Exotica" as a tax inspector obsessed with a stripper. The film was nominated for the Palm D'Or at Cannes and named Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. He also starred in the drama "The Sweet Hereafter" playing a father of two children killed in a tragic bus accident. The film earned the Jury Grand Prize at Cannes and swept the Genie Awards including Best Motion Picture and also earned him a Genie Award nomination for Best Actor. Additionally he starred in the drama "Ararat."
He reprises his role as Captain Christopher Pike in "Star Trek Into Darkness," having played the role in the 2009 blockbuster.
He recently starred opposite Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in "A Place Beyond the Pines" about a motorcycle stunt rider who considers committing a crime in order to provide for his family, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politican. Greenwood plays Bill Killcullen an Assistant District Attorney. The film is written and directed by Derek Cianfrance.
Earlier he starred opposite Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in the comedy "Dinner for Schmucks" for director Jay Roach. His other credits include Mao's Last Dancer" for director Bruce Beresford. The film is based on the best selling memoir of dancer Li Cunxin, The film premiered as a Special Presentation at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. The Walt Disney action thriller "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" as the President of the United States opposite Nicholas Cage. In 2007, his dual role in the unconventional biopic of legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan "I'm Not There" opposite Cate Blanchette and Richard Gere for writer/director Todd Haynes earned the Independent Spirit Awards inaugural Robert Altman Award.
He is well known for his outstanding portrayal of President John F. Kennedy negotiating the Cuban Missile Crisis and its fallout in the riveting drama "Thirteen Days," opposite Kevin Costner and Steven Culp. The film earned Greenwood a Golden Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2006 he appeared in the thriller "DÃ©jÃ vu" for director Tony Scott alongside Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer. In 2005 he starred opposite Philip Seymour as Truman Capote's partner, writer Jack Dunphy, in "Capote." That performance earned him a Screen Actors Guild Nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
In 2004 he appeared opposite Will Smith in the sci-fi box office hit "I, Robot" in which he played a ruthless CEO of U.S. Robotics who was suspected of murder. That same year he played the dashing paramour of an aging actress (Annette Bening) in the critically- praised "Being Julia." That role earned him a Genie Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 1999 he starred opposite Ashley Judd as a murderous plotting spouse in the suspense thriller "Double Jeopardy," which earned him a Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination for Favorite Supporting Actor.
Greenwood's other film credits include "Meeks Cutoff" opposite Michelle Williams for director Kelly Reichardt, "Barney's Version," "Donovan's Echo" opposite Danny Glover, as well as "Firehouse Dog," "Hollywood Homicide," "The World's Fastest Indian," "Eight Below," "Rules of Engagement," "Racing Stripes," "Here on Earth," "The Lost Son," "Thick as Thieves," "Disturbing Behavior," "Passenger 57" and "Wild Orchid."
Greenwood also enjoys a diverse and successful career in television. In 2009 he performed in the Hallmark Hall of Fame holiday movie "A Dog Named Christmas," based on the Greg Kincaid novel. In 2007 he starred in the David Milch HBO series "John from Cincinnati." Earlier in his career he was a regular as Dr. Seth Griffith on the award-winning series "St. Elsewhere." He also appeared on the critically-acclaimed "Larry Sanders Show." He also starred in the remake of the "Magnificent Ambersons," as well as several movies-of- the week presentations, including "The Riverman," for A&E and "Saving Millie" for CBS.
Bruce and his wife Susan divide their time between their homes in Los Angeles and Vancouver.
Peter Weller noted member of the world's film community, joins the cast of "Star Trek Into Darkness." He and wife, Sheri are parents for the first time with one-year-old son Theodore Mark Gerald Francesco Weller. 5 names-one kid.
Weller is currently a PhD candidate in Italian Renaissance and Ancient Roman Art History at UCLA, speaking French, Italian, German, Spanish, and reading Latin. He received his B.A. from University of North Texas, holds an M.A. in Italian Renaissance Art History from Syracuse University in Florence, Italy where he teaches field trips, as well as his own course as professor, ad hoc, on Hollywood and the Roman Empire. A published art historian (Artibus et Historiae 2012), Weller writes on Italian art and travel for several magazines including Travel Leisure and has presented academic papers on the Renaissance and Antiquity for the RENAISSANCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA and the 16th CENTURY SOCIETY. Weller is scholar/moderator for The History Channel's series "Engineering an Empire."
He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, studied extensively with the great Uta Hagen, and was inducted into Actors Studio by legendary Elia Kazan. Among his New York theatre credits are the original productions of David Rabe's "Sticks and Bones and Streamers" (directed by Mike Nichols), David Mamet's "The Woods," William Inge's "Summer Brave," William Mastrosimone's "The Wool Gatherer," Richard Nelson's "Frank's Home" and Eric Maria Remarque's "Full Circle," directed by Otto Preminger. His many films include, "Shoot the Moon," "RoboCop," "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai," Woody Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite," Michelangelo Antonioni's "Beyond the Clouds," Michael Tolkin's "The New Age" and David Cronenberg's film of William Burroughs seminal, "Naked Lunch."
He was nominated for an Academy Award® for directing the short film "Partners." Among his television directorial credits, his episode of "Hate Crimes for Homicide: Life on the Street," received the Nancy Susan Reynolds Award for Civil Rights, and his recent guest star appearance on the episode "White Tulip" for "Fringe" as well as the 2010 season of "Dexter" received the highest critical acclaim for both shows to date. He currently directs for the FX series "Sons of Anarchy," A & E's "Longmire" and the new series "Mob Doctor" for Fox.
He plays bebop/jazz trumpet with a sextet in Los Angeles.
Peter and his wife, Sheri, were introduced into the cultural realms of Europe and Asia, inclusive of antiquity, history, art, architecture, and cuisine, through personal experience as world travelers and French and Italian residents, particularly on the coast of Campagna where they have lived, part time, for over almost three decades; assisting friends and strangers in the "how, where and why" to travel Europe. Subsequently, Peter and Sheri are currently in production with "GET LOST!" a cultural/culinary travel reality show.
J.J. Abrams is the founder and President of Bad Robot Productions, which he runs with his producing partner Bryan Burk. Formed in 2001, Bad Robot is partnered with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Studios and has produced films and television series such as "Cloverfield," "Star Trek," "Morning Glory," "Super 8," "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," ABC's "Alias" and "Lost," Fox's "Fringe," and CBS's "Person of Interest."
Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, Abrams attended Sarah Lawrence College where he co-wrote a treatment that became the basis for Disney's "Taking Care Of Business." In years following, he wrote or co-wrote such films as "Regarding Henry," "Forever Young," "Armageddon," and "Joy Ride."
In 1998, Abrams co-created his first television series "Felicity" with collaborator and long-time friend Matt Reeves. Abrams served as Executive Producer for the series' four-season run on The WB. Additionally, Abrams created and executive produced "Alias" for ABC, and co-created (with Damon Lindelof) and executive produced ABC's "Lost."
In 2006, Abrams directed his first feature film, "Mission: Impossible 3." His second feature directorial effort "Star Trek" was released in May 2009. "Super 8," written and directed by Abrams and produced by Abrams, Burk and Steven Spielberg, was released in June 2011. His most recent feature, the upcoming "Star Trek" sequel, will be released in 2013.
In 2005, Abrams received Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for the "Lost" pilot as well as Outstanding Drama Series for "Lost." He also received Emmy nominations for his "Alias" and "Lost" pilot scripts. In addition, Abrams composed the theme music for "Alias," "Fringe," "Lost," "Person of Interest," and "Revolution," and he co-wrote the theme song for "Felicity."
Abrams presently serves as Executive Producer of CBS's "Person of Interest," Fox's "Fringe," and NBC's "Revolution."
Abrams and his wife have three children.
ALEX KURTZMAN and ROBERTO ORCI
Together for over eighteen years, creative collaborators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci have established themselves as one of the leading writing/producing teams working in film and television.
The duo is currently in post production on "Ender's Game" and "Now You See Me," both of which will be released by Summit in 2013. In addition to producing and scripting "Star Trek Into Darkness" with Damon Lindelof, they are also scripting "All You Need is Kill," starring Tom Cruise and directed by Doug Liman. Erwin Stoff serves as producer of the film which is set up at Warner Bros. Additionally, they are in pre-production on "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and are set to produce Universal's "The Mummy" and "Van Helsing" reboots. In television, Kurtzman and Orci are working on a "Sleepy Hollow "adaptation for 20th Century Fox, with Len Wiseman on board to direct.
This past June, the duo released "People Like Us" for Disney, which marked the directorial debut of Alex Kurtzman. The film, starring Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pine, was written by Kurtzman & Orci and Jody Lambert. In 2011, Kurtzman & Orci released the comic book adaptation of "Cowboys & Aliens," which they wrote with scribe Damon Lindelof as well as produced. The film is directed by Jon Favreau and stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. That same year, they signed a three-year overall television deal with 20th Century Fox. This latest TV development season has been remarkably busy as the duo have set up pilots at the FOX, CBS, and ABC Networks, adding to their ever-growing television slate, a list that includes CBS's "Hawaii Five-O," Fox's "Fringe," and The Hub's "Transformers: Prime," an original computer-animated series that is currently the highest-rated show on the network.
Kurtzman and Orci are writers behind some of the decade's biggest successes, including "Star Trek," "Transformers," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "Eagle Eye" and "Mission: Impossible III." They also executive-produced the romantic comedy hit, "The Proposal." The duo's writing credits have earned over $1.3 billion worldwide.
Kurtzman and Orci began their career writing for the popular television series "Hercules" and "Xena: Warrior Princess," where they quickly became head writers at the age of 23. Next, they wrote for J.J. Abrams' "Alias," and eventually served as executive producers on the show.
Kurtzman and Orci both live with their families in Los Angeles.
Despite being advised that his brain would rot, Damon Lindelof spent the majority of his childhood watching television. After a brief flirtation with movies by way of a film degree from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Damon hopped in his car and traveled west and eventually took a job as a writer's assistant on Kevin Williamson's ABC Drama "Wasteland." Shortly thereafter, and the show was cancelled. Damon went on to write for "Nash Bridges" and then moved on to NBC's new drama "Crossing Jordan". Then Damon got "Lost." Within twelve weeks of complete insanity, he and co-creator J.J. Abrams managed to make a ridiculously untenable and vastly expensive pilot for ABC that centered on the survivors of a plane crash in the South Pacific. Despite this, "Lost" won a Golden Globe and Emmy Award in its freshman season. Damon concluded "Lost," after six seasons and still doesn't quite understand what it all meant.
A life long Trekker, Damon produced Abrams' "Star Trek" reboot, released in May 2009, and is a writer and producer on "Star Trek Into Darkness." He also wrote and produced the Sir Ridley Scott movie "Prometheus." In his spare time, Damon also wrote this bio.
A graduate of USC's School of Cinema-Television, Bryan Burk began his career working with producers Brad Weston at Columbia Pictures, Ned Tanen at Sony Pictures and John Davis at FOX. In 1995, he joined Gerber Pictures, where he developed TNT's Emmy-nominated "James Dean," and is currently attached to produce "NFL: A Love Story."
He has collaborated with J. J. Abrams frequently and is the co-founder of his production company Bad Robot Production. TV series he's worked with Abrams on include "Alias," "Six Degrees," "What About Brian," "Lost," "Fringe," "Undercovers," "Person of Interest" and "Alcatraz." He has also served as a producer for Abrams' feature films, "Cloverfield," "Star Trek," "Super 8" and "Star Trek Into Darkness."
Jeffrey Chernov has enjoyed a distinguished film career, from his start as a production assistant on Dino De Laurentiis' 1976 hit "King Kong," through several arduous years as an assistant director on such classics as "Body Heat," "Cutter's Way," "The Thing," "Escape from New York" and "Starman," among others. Working his way up the ladder, Chernov subsequently became a production manager, learning an entirely new set of skills on "Ruthless People," "Halloween II" and "Halloween III." Next up came "Clue," "The Dead Zone" and "Richard Pryor: Live in Concert," on which he earned the title of associate producer. From there, he acted as co-producer on "Eddie Murphy Raw" and executive producer of "10 Things I Hate About You," "Sleeping with the Enemy" and "The Replacements." He also produced "A Line in the Sand," "Place of Darkness," "Bad Company" and "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey."
Chernov spent two years as a senior vice president of production at Disney/Touchstone, overseeing such hit films as "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," "Pretty Woman" and "Dead Poets Society," to name a few. In 2001, he moved to Spyglass Entertainment, where he was intimately involved in the making of "Shanghai Knights," "The Recruit," "The Lookout," "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," "The Pacifier," and many other successful films.
He acted as executive producer on the Bad Robot reboot of "Star Trek" in 2009 and takes the same role on "Star Trek Into Darkness."
David Ellison formed Skydance Productions to create and produce elevated event-level commercial entertainment. The company focuses on tent-pole action, adventure, science fiction and fantasy films along with modestly budgeted comedy and genre films. Skydance strives to be filmmaker friendly in a town where it is increasingly difficult to get films made. In 2010, Skydance entered into a four-year production, distribution and finance deal with Paramount Pictures. The first film to be released under the deal was "True Grit," Joel and Ethan Coen's take on the Charles Portis novel, produced by the Coens, Scott Rudin and Steven Spielberg, and starring Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Jeff Bridges. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards®, including Best Picture.
In addition to "Star Trek Into Darkness," Skydance recently produced the Paramount feature "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Brad Bird; and "G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation," starring Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson; "The Guilt Trip," starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen; "Jack Reacher" with Tom Cruise; the forthcoming "Jack Ryan," starring Chris Pine and the Marc Forster thriller "World War Z." The company will also be co-producing "Without Remorse," written by Shawn Ryan. Currently in development is "The Hitman's Bodyguard," written by Tom O'Connor.
Ever the film enthusiast, Ellison grew up in Northern California and attended the University of Southern California's prestigious School of Cinematic Arts. While in school, Ellison produced and starred in the World War I drama "Flyboys," which combined his love of film and aviation. He is an accomplished pilot with over 2000 flying hours, a commercial multi-engine instrument rating and a helicopter rating. In 2003, at 20 years old, Ellison was the youngest airshow pilot performer at the Experimental Aircraft Association's Airventure Show in Oshkosh, WI, where he was one of six pilots performing as the "Stars of Tomorrow." Ellison is actively involved with Conservation International, where he is a member of the Board of Directors and sits on several committees.
Dana Goldberg joined Skydance Productions in 2010 as president of production. She was formerly president of production at Village Roadshow Pictures, where she was involved with the company's entire slate of films including the "Ocean's Eleven" franchise, the "Matrix" trilogy, "Training Day," "Get Smart" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." She also served as executive producer on many of the company's films, including "I Am Legend," "The Brave One" and the Academy Award©-winning animated feature "Happy Feet." Prior to joining Village Roadshow in 1998, Goldberg spent three years with Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein at Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures where she was vice president of production. She began her career in entertainment as an assistant at Hollywood Pictures. Goldberg has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2007.
Goldberg produced through Skydance, the Christopher McQuarrie film "Jack Reacher," with Tom Cruise, set for release on December 21, 2012, the comedy "The Guilt Trip," starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, which is set for release on December 25, 2012, and "G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation," starring Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson, set for release on March 29th, 2013.
Additional films Goldberg is set to executive produce through Skydance include the untitled Jack Ryan project, directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Pine and produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld, the Untitled Star Trek Sequel, starring Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine, set for release on May 16, 2013, and the Marc Forster thriller "World War Z," starring Brad Pitt, which is set for release on June 21, 2013.
Paul is the Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer for Skydance. Paul joined the company in 2009 and was instrumental in securing the co-finance, co-production agreement with Paramount Pictures. Paul secured Skydance's $200 million syndicated credit facility led by JP Morgan and six other banks.
Prior to joining Skydance, Paul partnered with producer Bill Todman, Jr. and real estate banking billionaire Edward Milstein and formed Level 1 Entertainment, where he served as COO. At Level 1, Paul produced the comedies Grandma's Boy and Strange Wilderness with Adam Sandler. He also produced Rendition with Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, and director Gavin Hood. Additionally, Paul led Level 1's television production activities.
Prior to joining Level 1, Paul helped form Spyglass Entertainment Group with producers Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum where he served as CFO for seven years. During his tenure, Spyglass released over 20 films including The Sixth Sense, Bruce Almighty and Seabiscuit.
Previously, Paul served as VP of Finance at Morgan Creek for seven years. During Paul's tenure, Morgan Creek produced and released over 30 films including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Ace Ventura, Last of the Mohicans, True Romance.
Paul also served as an auditor at Price Waterhouse for five years auditing clients in the entertainment industry and worked at Walt Disney Studios in the accounting department for four years.
Director of Photography
Dan Mindel previously worked with J.J. Abrams as director of photography for "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible III." He was born in South Africa and educated in Australia and Britain. He began his career as a cinematographer shooting commercials and working with successful directors, including Ridley Scott, Barry Kinsman, Hugh Johnson and Mike Seresin. His ads for Tony Scott include memorable commercials for such clients as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Miller Coors and Marlboro.
Mindel served as director of photography on Tony Scott's film "Domino," Iain Softley's "The Skeleton Key," "Tooth Fairy," "Stuck on You" and "Shanghai Noon," among many others. He was responsible for the photography on the West Coast unit of" G.I. Jane" and for the additional photography on "The Bourne Identity" and Tony Scott's "The Fan." "Enemy of the State" marked his debut as the sole director of photography on a major motion picture. Mindel also served as director of photography on Kate Hudson's short film "Cutlass." He most recently shot Oliver Stone's "Savages" and Andrew Stanton's "John Carter."
Maryann Brandon first collaborated with director J.J. Abrams on "Alias," for which she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series. Brandon then directed "Alias" for Abrams in seasons three and four, and produced the show in season four. She went on to work with him on "Star Trek," "Mission Impossible: 3" and "Super 8." Her other feature credits include "How to Train Your Dragon," "Grumpier Old Men," "The Jane Austin Book Club," "Born to be Wild," "Race for Glory" and "A Thousand Acres." Most recently she consulted on "Kung Fu Panda 2."
Her other television credits include "Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story," "The Miracle Worker," "Grapevine" and TNT's "The Hunley."
MARY JO MARKEY
Mary Jo Markey previously collaborated with director J.J. Abrams on "Felicity"; "Lost," the pilot of which earned both her and Abrams Emmy Awards; "Alias," for which she also received an Emmy nomination; the features "Star Trek," "Mission: Impossible III" and "Super 8"; and the television drama "Anatomy of Hope."
Her other feature credits include "Killers," "Rhapsody in Bloom," "Dawg" and "Medicine Man." In 2007, Markey received her third Emmy nomination and an A.C.E. Eddie nomination for her work on the HBO movie "Life Support."
Award-winning production designer Scott Chambliss has designed for motion picture, television and theater productions in both New York and Los Angeles.
Chambliss collaborated with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and J.J. Abrams on "Star Trek" and returns for "Star Trek Into Darkness." His work with Abrams spans two decades and includes "Mission: Impossible III," as well as the hit television series "Alias" and "Felicity." Most recenty, Phillips designed "Cowboys and Aliens" and Phillip Noyce's "Salt, starring Angelina Jolie.
For several consecutive years, Chambliss was nominated for both an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction and the Award for Excellence in Production Design by the Art Directors Guild, for his work on Alias. In 2002, he won the Emmy and, in 2003, he won the Guild Award.
Chambliss began his career as an associate designer with Tony Walton on a number of Broadway productions including "Anything Goes," "Macbeth" and "Grand Hotel."
He also wrote and illustrated the graphic novel "Maahvelous!: Princess Puut and Dali Do Venice," a richly exotic tale of two friends' travels abroad. Its sequel, "Fromage d'Amour: Princess Puut in Love," has recently been published on the web at www.princesspuut.com.
From the period costumes of the world of 'Burlesque' and 'Winter's Tale' to the futuristic designs of 'Blade Runner' and 'Star Trek', Michael Kaplan's authentic yet inspired vision flourishes in any era.
After winning a BAFTA Award for his work in Ridley Scott's afore-mentioned groundbreaking sci-fi drama ('Blade Runner'), he ignited a fashion trend for an entire generation with his costume designs in Adrian Lyne's 'Flashdance.'
In addition, his fluency with multiple genres made him the costume designer of choice for director David Fincher on the films 'Fight Club,' 'Panic Room,' 'The Game' and 'Se7en' as well as for Michael Bay on 'Pearl Harbor' and 'Armageddon'. Michael reunited with director Ridley Scott to design the costumes for 'Matchstick Men.'
His designs brought a daring tongue-in-cheek style to Doug Liman's action-comedy hit 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith,' (starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), sophistication and glamour to Michael Mann's actioner 'Miami Vice,' (starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx), vibrant energy to Brad Bird's international smash hit 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' starring Tom Cruise. And just the right note of restraint to Francis Lawrence's sci-fi thriller 'I Am Legend,' (starring Will Smith).
With J.J. Abrams' blockbuster 'Star Trek,' Michael garnered the third of four Costume Designers Guild Award nominations.
Michael's work will be seen next in 'Winter's Tale' for Akiva Goldsman starring Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell as well as J.J. Abrams' anticipated sequel, 'Star Trek Into Darkness.'
At the age of 10, Michael Giacchino began his filmmaking career in his backyard in Edgewater Park, New Jersey, eventually going on to study filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. After college, he landed a marketing job at Disney and began studies in music composition first at Juilliard, and then at UCLA. From marketing, he became a producer in the fledgling Disney Interactive Division where he was able to hire himself to write the music for their video games. When his work was brought to the attention of Steven Spielberg, he said, "I did what anybody in their right mind would do, I signed him up to score Medal of Honor."
It was Michael's work in video game orchestration that grabbed the attention of J.J. Abrams, who contacted him via email about the possibility of writing the score forAlias.They met, he got the job, and a relationship was born that would include the groundbreaking series LOST, for which Michael earned an Emmy.
Michael's feature film composing breakthrough was withThe Incredibles. After that, he went on to score box office hits such as The Family Stone, Mission: Impossible III, Ratatouille, Star Trek, Cars 2, Super 8 and John Carter. His 2009 score for the Pixar hit Up earned him an Oscar, a Golden Globe, the BAFTA, the Broadcast Film Critics' Choice Award and two Grammy Awards.
Michael's upcoming films include J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and Andy and Lana Wachowski's 'Jupiter Ascending'. Michael sits on the Advisory Board of Education Through Music Los Angeles.
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The Star Trek / Mission Continues partnership is a full commitment between Bad Robot and Paramount to an organization that is helping to transform our communities.
About The Mission Continues:
Mission Continues is a community service organization that helps post-9/11 veterans transition from the military to leadership roles at home. The Mission Continues benefits veterans and communities in equal measure. The organization sponsors veterans’ enrollment in a 6-month service and leadership program. These veterans dedicate themselves to serving in their community, volunteering for at least 20 hours a week in community organizations to address issues like homelessness, illiteracy and unemployment. The Mission Continues provides the tools, the direction, and a living stipend to these veterans, while the veterans deploy their experience, their skills, and their desire against our communities' most pressing problems. Since its inception, The Mission Continues has awarded more than 600 fellowships and engaged thousands of volunteers at more than 350 community organizations. For more information, please visit www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Twitter: @missioncontinue
The Mission Continues was founded in 2007 after CEO Eric Greitens returned home from service in Iraq as a Navy SEAL. Upon his return, Eric visited with wounded Marines at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Without exception, each Marine expressed an unwavering desire to continue serving his country, even if he could no longer do so in the military. One young Marine even said this to co-founder Kenneth Harbaugh: “I lost my legs – that is all. I did not lose my desire to serve, or my pride in being an American.” Inspired, Eric used his own combat pay and two friends pitched in their military disability checks to found The Mission Continues.