Over the course of his career, Chris Pine has played an impressively wide variety of characters. He’s been an intergalactic spaceman, a CIA analyst, a post-apocalyptic heartthrob, a reluctant rock god and a mid-century Coast Guard officer. Ask the 35-year-old Pine which role has made him happiest, though, and he’ll inform you that given his druthers, he’d always prefer to sport a hairpiece.
“Anytime I get offered a chance to wear a wig, I will do it,” Pine says one sunny Los Angeles morning, referencing his shaggy, bedraggled character on the Netflix original series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. “I really love doing comedy. It’s just not a bad way to spend the day.”
Of course, any day that Pine, who also moonlights as the face of Armani Code, finds himself on camera seems to be a good day—at least for moviegoers. And in the coming months, we’re poised to see plenty of him: first in the dramatic Disney offering The Finest Hours, out now, and then reprising his role as Captain James Kirk in this summer’s Star Trek: Beyond, his third film in the franchise.
In Hours, a 1950s period piece based on the true story of a heroic Coast Guard rescue, Pine plays Bernie Webber, who is sent out in a blizzard to rescue a crew stranded on a sinking oil tanker off the coast of Massachusetts. Reader, if you’re prone to seasickness do not see this film in 3-D. Despite the rocky waters, Pine disappears into his role completely, offering a strong and memorable performance that showcases his dramatic chops and adds significantly to the film’s heart. This is a harrowing story—and it’s one Pine didn’t take lightly.
“If the Coast Guard crew was tasked with doing the same mission the next night and the night after that, they would have done it,” Pine says with reverence. “That’s their job, but they don’t have their names engraved in stone and they don’t take a selfie of the moment. I think that it moves us as artists to remind and re-remind our community that being selfless is something that should be done because it’s the right and good and human thing to do.”
That basic principle is also at the forefront of the big-screen adaptation of Wonder Woman, which Pine is currently filming in London and is slated to premiere in 2017. In the film, Pine plays Steve Trevor, whom he describes as Wonder Woman’s “partner in crime… who falls in love with her.” And despite his history as a leading man in action movies, Pine says he’s just fine playing sidekick to Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s fearsome female lead.
“Action is so synonymous with violence and revenge and eye-for-an-eye; the masculine footprint in the world is so violent and obviously it hasn’t really gotten us anywhere,” Pine says. “A woman at the forefront naturally leads with this compassion, and [is about] giving life instead of taking life. To have a strong woman who represents those qualities, I think we can start injecting this world with a little bit more of the ideology of compassion, love and positive moral strength rather than something destructive.”
It’s a positive energy that Pine’s not only hoping to bring to this world, but to other galaxies as well. Discussing his role in Star Trek, he notes that as the franchise creeps toward its 10th birthday, it’s become an increasingly comfortable gig. “It’s gotten so much better and so much easier,” he says. “This family we built has gotten tighter, stronger and stranger; we fight more and we make up more. It’s a great marriage—we understand each other and what we all do best… And now that J.J. Abrams has left, the kids have taken over the asylum.”
As for what will come next—and whether it’ll involve a wig—Pine says he’s not quite sure, and he isn’t rushing to make any decisions.
“When I was a younger actor, I meditated and marinated over the effect on the long-term and the short-term, the this and the that,” he says. “I thought myself out of so many things I could have done. Now, if a couple of things pop to me, if my internal speedometer is going in that direction, then I say yeah. Let’s rock ‘n’ roll.”