Venturing into the Star Trek Universe with Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Looking ahead to next summer, there is an exciting line-up of geek-driven films, from Wolverine to Transformers to Terminator to Harry Potter to Star Trek. While I've been keeping my eye on all of them, Star Trek is one that I'm particularly interested in seeing. As a big fan of "The Next Generation" series and J.J. Abrams (separately), I've been tremendously excited to see what Abrams has done with such a beloved franchise. Although there are still quite a few more months left, and we still haven't even seen a real trailer, I'm still excited to bring you any news we can. Wired recently caught up with writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and tackled some tough questions surrounding the movie.
Orci and Kurtzman have become quickly become two of the next biggest writers in Hollywood. After penning the screenplay for Michael Bay's Transformers last year and Mission: Impossible III before that, the two went on to produce Eagle Eye and write scripts for "Fringe", Transformers 2, and of course, Star Trek. When they were first given the opportunity to write a reboot of the Star Trek franchise, they were both quite hesitant. "This was not something you go into lightly, unless you feel you really have something serious to contribute because we really grew up on Star Trek… It became more about: Are we worthy? And we came to the conclusion, well, this is our chosen profession! We might as well go for it."
Both Orci and Kurtzman are Trekkie's at heart and "insist that their screenplay sticks to the rules in a way that should satisfy even nit-picking defenders of the faith." Orci grew up using a Starship Enterprise phone and Kurtzman became a fan after seeing Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan in 1982. Now they're singlehandedly deciding the fate of the franchise next summer. So what's their plan? Well the first step was coming up with an idea. "We agreed it was going to be the original crew, and the minute we did that, it limited the scope of where we'd be looking for story." And the second is sprinkling in some Star Wars. "It's controversial to even mention Star Wars and Star Trek in the same sentence, but Alex said, 'We have to bring more Star Wars into Star Trek.'" The third and final step was convincing J.J. Abrams to direct.
"What we get from J.J. directing Trek is 100% translation from script to scene. An epic space adventure is something not a lot of directors can handle. You need someone who understands genre and the spirit of Trek to accomplish a movie of this scope, which is bigger than anything Trek's ever been before. Yet hopefully it's also intimate." I definitely think Orci and Kurtzman nailed the choice of director, since Abrams has continued to impress all of us consistently since Mission: Impossible III. Their confidence in him only proves even more that the genuine classic Star Trek feeling that these two Trekkies put into the script will shine through in the finish product. And we haven't even mentioned the perfect cast yet.
So with all this discussion about Orci and Kurtzman being the perfect Trekkies to write the script and Abrams being the perfect director, it all comes down to the story. "It's about how the original crew came together, which was never covered in its entirety by either the show or any of the movies. No one has ever told the story of how the Enterprise set sail." For a triumphant return of this caliber, that kind of plot sounds like one of the last few good ones left in the entire Star Trek universe. "There are details in canon where the characters refer to their past but there are wide areas of interpretations and sort of blank spots where you go, 'Wait, I understand this, but how did they get from here to there before they got to that point?'" Unfortunately we've got to wait until May 8th next year to find out the answer.
Thanks again to Wired for the fantastic interview with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.