If you told anyone that he would play Captain Kirk and Jack Ryan, two of the greatest fictional men’s men ever created, before he was even out of his 30s, he’d consider that a pretty decent life return. But Los Angeles native Chris Pine isn’t content with just evading tractor beams and bringing down international spy rings. Oh no. Before seeing if the snug Enterprise uniforms still fit next year for JJ Abrams’ Star Trek sequel and rebooting Tom Clancy’s CIA badass on the big screen for the first time in eight years (working title: Moscow), the 30-year-old has joined forces with Hollywood royalty Denzel Washington and director Tony ‘Top Gun’ Scott to add ‘stopping an out-of-control, toxic cargo-carrying freight train’ to his CV. The big show-off.
Unstoppable looks an insurance company’s nightmare – how many stunts did you take on yourself? As many as I could. There’s a point where I’m riding between two cars in a pretty precarious position, and I was proud that I actually said yes to that. It was a thrill – it’s certainly pretty scary looking at a two-tonne train that’s going 40mph and realising that, even if the director yells ‘Cut!’, it’s doing its own thing.
Did they let you drive a real train?
No, thank God. LA is so crowded, I’d be worried I’d be the breaking story on the news.
Did Denzel show you which lever did what?
I tried to soak in as much as I could. You know, I have the best job in the world because I get paid to go to graduate acting school, and this was like having a seminar with one of the best. Is the US as full of train nerds as the UK? I’m not sure it’s as big as in the UK – I actually lived in Leeds in my year abroad at university. I lived on Brudenell Road and loved getting fat off pints of bitter – but there is definitely a ‘trainspotter’ community in the US.
What was your childhood obsession?
I told Tony [Scott] this, I was like six or seven when Top Gun came out and all I ever wanted to do was be a fighter pilot. I read books about aircraft carriers, knew the payload of a Tomcat… all sorts of stuff. But I’ve never been in a plane. My publicist told me that one of her other clients got a chance to fly with the Blue Angels and he puked everywhere. I don’t know if I’d have the balls to do it. But I have flown in a simulator when I was much younger.
Is there any update on the Star Trek sequel other than ‘sometime next year’?
I wish I had news – I feel like I’ll be the last person to know, given the amount of secrecy that JJ and company like to shroud their projects in. Us actors are low on the totem pole of information. All of us go through mini email bursts – something will happen and we’ll mail one another for a little bit, then go incommunicado. I stayed in touch with Simon [Pegg], but we haven’t talked in a while.
You’re still young, but do you have any plans outside Hollywood?
Yeah, the presidency… or maybe running Nato for a bit… or maybe just going back to school. I have a lot of respect for what James Franco did [he starts an English PhD at Yale this year]. Just because you’re successful in one thing doesn’t mean you can’t do something else.
What are you doing in the meantime?
This week I have rehearsals with guns and stunt guys [for upcoming action rom-com This Means War], I’m just working on prolonging childhood for as long as possible. I’m really excited as I’m starring with Tom Hardy, who is a rare talent. I loved him in Inception. My competitive edge is at an all-time high, it’s going to be an acting-off. And then I get to do some brain ninja moves and get my Jack Ryan on. I’ve always loved spy fiction, so to get a chance to play one of my favourite characters is a dream come true.
As, presumably, was going gun-crazy in Smokin’ Aces?
That was, and always will be, one of my favourite experiences. Our tech guy was former SAS, and a fucking blast. I got to use a World War II greaser gun, a machete – I wish my nine-year-old self got to do the stuff I get to do now.
Speaking of which, we are obsessed here with Victoria’s Secret models, are you a fan of their work?
Oh God! I think that’s a rhetorical question… Yes I am. Big, big, loving fan. I’ve never been invited to any of their parties, though, so can you get me an invite?
We’ll see what we can do. As an appreciator of the female form, if you were editing FHM, what girl would you put on the cover?
Good question. I’m a huge Jessica Biel fan, but I don’t want to offend Justin [Timberlake], who I know. He’s a hell of a good guy, but goddamn if his girlfriend isn’t beautiful. I think we all should be in agreement on that one.
- Jan 18, 2011
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