Simon Pegg is most definitely one of the biggest names in geekdom, and an accomplished actor, writer and producer - that's a serious hat trick! Now, he's involved in the writing for Star Trek 3 (in which he also plays Scotty), which should permanently engrave his name on the Nerdy Walk Of Fame.
At the press day for his latest film Kill Me Three Times, (a comedy thriller about a jaded hit-man) Pegg spoke at length about working on Star Trek, and from the sounds of it, he's the perfect man to add to the writing team...
On How It All Happened
Me and Bryan Burk, who’s one of the producers at Bad Robot, have worked together on a bunch of stuff. Bryan and I would just sit around and talk, and we’d get excited. And then, Bryan was like, “Do you want to write it then?” It was a difficult decision. I hemmed and hawed about it, a little bit, because it felt like a big responsibility. I owe J.J. [Abrams] and Bryan an awful amount. I love those guys. I want to do right by them, so I felt like I should man up and do it.
Hearing this, I can only dream of being a fly on the wall during a conversation like that - the geek-o-meter would be off the charts! It's also incredible to know that this isn't something that Pegg asked to do, it's something that arose as he was chatting about all the ideas that he had. That's probably the best way to add a writer to a team, because at that point, it's not about ego, wanting their name attached, wanting the prestige - it's honestly about having the ideas to make it happen.
On The Pressure Of Such A Huge Franchise
I was a bit, “No. I don’t want to – it’s too much pressure!”
No kidding! There is a lot of expectations to live up to with the new Star Trek movies (and the new Star Wars movie, but that's neither here nor there) and a lot of fans to impress. (We all know that the original line is wrong, and in fact, hell hath no fury like an angry nerd on the internet!) Acting in them is one thing, but being part of the creative team is absolutely huge, and Pegg is right to be just a little bit terrified.
On set, sometimes, there’s room for improvisation, especially for someone like Scotty who’s Scottish, but never anything more than little dialogue tweaks, here and there. Now it’s like, “Okay, now you’ve got to write the dialogue.” It’s scary!
On Living Up To The Spirit Of The Original
I’m walking into a realm that doesn’t belong to me, and I have to treat it with a degree of respect. Obviously, I always treat things with respect, by I have to abide by certain rules and do right by the original series, and not be too post-modern with it and not be too aware of itself. I have to try to take on the spirit of the show, rather than fill it with stuff that people will just go, “Oh, yeah, that’s from episode something or other.” It’s more than that.
While I definitely enjoy nods to hardcore fans and Easter Eggs, it's really nice to be reassured that the movie won't get too caught up in the idea of self-referential geekiness. Given that it is a reboot that began by altering the existing timeline, there is room to play and create a new world, and it's one I'm really excited to see. As long we get more Tribbles in this world. Obviously.
Of course, at the same time it's incredibly important to figure out what makes the series and the original movies as wonderful as they were, and keep that at the center of the new films. As a card-carrying nerd, Pegg should be able to tap into that heart of the Trekkie world, and it sounds like he understands where that comes from.
But I think we just want to take it forward with the spirit of the TV show. And it’s a story about frontierism and adventure and optimism and fun, and that’s where we want to take it, you know. Where no man has gone before – where no one has gone before, sensibly corrected for a slighter more enlightened generation. But yeah, that’s the mood at the moment.
On Getting It Finished In Time
The timeframe we’re working in is extremely tight. It means we’re having to come up with the goods. We can’t be lazy about it. We can’t procrastinate. We have to come up with the stuff because the production is hammering on the door.
Come hell or high water, June. I’m busy writing it. It’s an ongoing thing. I’m sure we’ll be finessing it, right through the shoot. You never really, truly start writing a movie until the edit.
Given that [Star Trek 3](movie:817262) already has a release date in July 2016, and Pegg previously mentioned in these interviews that they took the screenplay back to the drawing board before bringing him on, it's no wonder that they are dealing with a little pressure to get it done in time! But I have faith that they'll hit that release date with another amazing movie.
I really do feel that with Pegg's addition, we may have found the ultimate dream-team for the rebooted Trek movies - action films with a truly nerdy heart and the kind of FX that the originals could only dream of! The first two movies have set the scene perfectly - the first, re-setting the timeline and introducing us to our new crew, and the second giving us an idea of what else to expect (plus a little character development as everyone settles in onboard the starship). Now, it's time to really get going with the biggest film yet, and I'm just not sure I can wait a whole year for it to come out!
Star Trek 3 comes to theaters July 2016