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May 12, 2009

Until this weekend, not many among the moviegoing public knew the name Chris Pine, unless you happened to be a fan of films like “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement” or the Lindsay Lohan rom-com clunker “Just My Luck.” But his turn as young James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot looks to be a star-making move.

And it’s not just audiences and critics who are raving about Pine’s Kirk and favorably comparing his portrayal to that of original Kirk William Shatner; Hollywood is taking notice too. Count director Kevin Smith among Pine’s growing legion of fans.

“I think what makes that movie work chiefly — aside from, of course, the talents who all came together behind it — is Chris Pine,” Smith said when he stopped by the MTV News offices. “That dude is astounding. To be able to invoke Kirk without doing a Shatner impression? That performance was so electric and so wonderful to watch.

“That dude is an instant movie star,” Smith added. “That dude is gonna work forever. He’s so good and effortless in his delivery.”

Smith is no stranger to breakout stars, having worked with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in early films like “Chasing Amy” and “Dogma,” and Pine reminds Smith of both actors: “He’s kind of a combination between Ben and Matt. You had Ben and Matt in the ’90s, and now you have Chris Pine, who is the combination of those dudes.”

Smith is so enamored of Pine, he’s willing to do almost anything to take in another of the actor’s performances. “I’d watch that dude do anything,” Smith said with a laugh. “I’d watch that dude have sex with my wife at this point. He’s such a good actor.”

But it wasn’t just Pine that had Smith raving about “Trek.” “The opening 10 minutes of that movie are astounding,” he said. “It’s, like, everything could go downhill after that, and you would still leave that movie going, ‘That movie rocked.’ But, luckily, it doesn’t really go downhill. It maintains that energy throughout.”

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