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February 24, 2009

As a guy who’s been a “Star Trek” fan since his 1975, building phasers-with-Legos pre-school days, I’m really looking forward to seeing what J.J. Abrams does this May with his take on the famed franchise. I caught up recently with Chris Pine, who plays Captain Kirk in the film. (Kirk is by far Pine’s biggest role; previous credits include parts in “Smokin’ Aces” and “The Princess Diaries 2.”) I asked him if his version of the character resembles the friendly, fun-loving man of action we’re used to seeing.

“I think that with this Jim Kirk you’ll get the flavor of the old,” Pine said. “I tried to bring my own take to it and do justice to what Mr. [William] Shatner did before, but you get to see the full spectrum of Jim Kirk. There’s the young, bold, brash, cocky [quality] and I think there’s a maturity that happens within the arc of the character in the movie that’s really fun that I think people will respond to.”

But what about Leonard “Bones” McCoy? I’ve always had a fondness for the cantankerous, mint julep-sipping country doctor. For my money, some of the best character moments of the original series involved him and Kirk. I think my favorite is from the episode “The Immunity Syndrome.” (I told you I was a Trek geek!) Spock is in a shuttle craft trying to escape a giant space amoeba. He’s pleading with them to leave him behind and save themselves. Bones replies, “Shut up Spock, we’re rescuing you!” and both he and Kirk give the absent Spock a funny “so take that” nod.

In Abrams’ film, Karl Urban of “Lord of the Rings” and “Bourne Supremacy” fame is assuming the role made famous by the late, great DeForest Kelley. Pine says Urban was up to the task.

“Yeah, Urban is, oh, he’s fantastic. I think when people see what Karl did with the role they’re going to be blown away,” Pine said. “I mean, it was a shock when I found out that he was doing it, he’s such a great-looking guy. He’s such a leading man and to take on this classic character role … he is like the doppleganger of DeForest Kelley. But he brings his own Karl sensibility to it so people will really enjoy it.”


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