Sunday, January 14, 2007

CASTING CALL: The Star Trek Prequel: Is it Time for Star Trek to Boldly Go Away?

If you are a Trek fan you have probably heard about the rumblings from the Paramount Lot about a recharge of the Original Star Trek series. J.J. Abrams, director of Mission Impossible 3 and creator and co-creator of Alias and Lost is gearing up to take the helm. Honestly after the disappointment that was the TV series Enterprise, I pretty much thought this franchise was DOA. The rumors are flying that the writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, are going back to the original cast. Opting to do what MGM/Sony has done with the Bond franchise, go back to where it all started, except the writers seem to want to keep with the current continuity. There are obvious problems when a popular franchise does this, like when 20th Century Fox tried to recapture the success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with a half assed pre-quel starring that curly haired goofball from Greatest American Hero and Tom Berenger. But I think that there can be some interesting things to explore if it is done properly.

So they want to show how Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty all met each other in Starfleet Academy. At first, honestly I groaned a heavy sigh of frustration. This is going to be cheesy and painful to watch, what is the story here? So I started to look into this thing a little bit and I have heard some pretty crazy rumors, some good others--well, could very interesting. Some of the strangest casting ideas were for the same character. There were two competing rumors that Greg Grunberg (Alias and Heroes) was in the running for a young Montgomery Scott the engineer of the Enterprise. I like Greg Grunberg but he's a little hefty. Scotty didn't start getting big until the movies, so I'm hoping that one ain't true. The other possible casting for Scotty was another Alias Alum Kevin Weisman, who played Marshall. Again, it's an odd casting but I would love to see both of those actors in this film, just not as Scotty. For Kirk there are rumors that it could be Matt Damon. I'm intrigued, I really like that idea. He would bring something a little different to the character than Shatner, but retain the overt machismo that Shatner made a staple for the character. For a young Spock the rumor mill has named Zachary Quinto. He's the dude that plays the creepy Silar on Heroes. He could work, maybe.

But the big question is should this happen in the first place? I think that they have one of the best creators in TV and Film to take this head on, so that's a huge first start. Also the fact that he understands that good Trek is determined by the tri-fecta of characters that is Spock, McCoy and Kirk. If these three are not fully developed then this project will not work. I read in an interview not long ago that J.J. Abrams wanted to explore a bunch of different themes like Faith vs. Logic, science vs. emotion and us vs. them. The film Serenity proved again that Star Trek themes are still relevant to our current society if done correctly. (Yes I know Serenity didn't break the box office but there is a huge cult following, and it was an excellent movie to boot, people just didn't see it.) Anyway I've tried to think long and hard about the casting for the next Star Trek and I’ve listed a couple prospects, see what you think.

Captain James T. Kirk - Yeah, I just think he's a great choice. He's got the man's man attitude. He also doesn't strike me as being timid when it comes to the green skinned chicks. We know he can kick ass from the Bourne films, what more do you need. Matty's got my vote.

Spock - I hear people say that Zachary Quinto would be a good choice, but I don't know, he's okay I guess. I would prefer Tobias Menzies (Rome), for one he looks like a Vulcan already. You don't have to do much with the hair or eyebrows. His role as Brutus is calculated and logical, good traits for the non-emotional science officer, and I think he would bring a lot of depth to a young Mr. Spock.

Leonard McCoy - This one was difficult. At first I really thought Josh Lucas would be great, he's got a good southern accent and he's a good actor, but he might be a bit old for the part or at least look too old. So then I thought about Wes Bentley, he's the right age. Although for continuity sake he is supposed to be a little older than Kirk. Anyway, McCoy always had a sarcastic sense of humor and often he had to project crazy eyes (y'know cause he was possessed or stressed or something). Wes Bentley has already proven from American Beauty and maybe even from the upcoming Ghost Rider that he can pull off this weird quirk in the character.

Montgomery "Scotty" Scott - I think Johnny Lee Miller would fit pretty well in this role. He can pull of the Scottish accent we know cause of Trainspotting. He's proven that he can be a tough SOB if he wanted to in Dead Man's Walk as the young Corporal Woodrow Call. If you watched the original show before James Doohan, the original Scotty, became a beached whale, Scotty was always looking for a reason to punch someone's lights out. He had a temper and the guy liked to drink. So my case of Scotch is on Johnny Lee snagging the role.

Carol Marcus - Of course you have to have a pretty girl and the only girl that fits into the continuity well enough is Carol Marcus who appears in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan played by Bibi Besch. Now I just found an interesting piece of information that Samantha Mathis is the daughter of Bibi Besch. Why not, she already looks the part and I know she can play smart since she was in American President.

So we'll see if any of my choices come true. If any of you have a better cast in mind, let me know.


Captain Mike said...

Since when did Bones have a Southern accent?

C'mon, Speck. Get your cousin to spill the casting beans!

Personally, I think it is time for Star Trek to boldly go away. It's a new millenium. Time for new franchises.

G.I. Jeff said...

If you watched the show and some of the movies. McCoy makes many references to his southern upbringing. Plus he sounds like he's from Tennessee.

It could be hit or miss but I think Abrams would do a good job re-vitalizing the series.

Speck said...

My EXTREMELY distant cousin...who I havent been able to get in touch with at all...

Well, I am going to make a couple guesses...1) He no longer has ANYTHING to with Star Trek. I think Paramount took it from him more or less. and 2) I do not believe he houses his production company at Paramount anymore. Last time I tried to call (yesterday as it were) there was a fowarding number with an 818 prefix...So, who know.

Speck said...

Star Trek should have indeed taken a break for a few more years.

And I dont know what I think about Abrahams young original cast...

I always wanted to see a TV show about Star Fleet Academy. It would have been simple, easy, and made a good transition to future movies. A new cast for a new generation.

Anonymous said...

For me Tobias Menzies (Brutus in HBO's Rome) would be ideal for Spock. He looks the part and is an excellent actor but in particular is brilliant at comedy and drama. While not that important he's also great fun, very popular with cast members and very approachable with fans which I for one like. Nothing worse than a miserable guy who hates sci fi fans coming onto them.

There are some clips on You tube :

Anonymous said...

The role of Scotty as a young man seems to appeal to James Doohan's son Chris who wants to be considered for the role. I say why the heck not.
- Stranger.