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May 08, 2013

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It can’t be just a “gig”, surely, when you’re portraying one of most iconic, muchloved characters in science fiction?
Actually, I didn’t know much about Star Trek previous to the first movie and I learned a lot about it while doing it.

I think the way I deal with it is that I never even think about it. If I fixate on it, I start to have real panic attacks [laughs]… no seriously, I get all choked up around my neck. It happens!

So what can we expect from Star Trek Into Darkness?
If you liked the first, you’re going to go head-over-insane for what JJ has done this time around. It is out of the world.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t even seen the final cut yet, just bits and pieces, but it looks truly insane.

And we’ve got some new blood in Alice Eve and Benedict Cumberbatch, who both bring such an amazing energy.

Benedict, particularly, has some really tough, tough scenes to go through. I was so impressed with his prowess.

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If the first film was an origins story, how would you describe Into Darkness?
We had to spend a lot of our time in the first film establishing these characters in their relationships and where they might go. And in the second film we have more license and freedom to get into the nitty-gritty of these people and where they go. The first one was almost a collective experience of all these people and it was about a family that was about to embark on this journey whereas this one is about individuals going on their own separate journeys.

Spock has his story to tell, I have mine, and Benedict’s character, John Harrison, is really the instigator and it’s like going down this weird psychological rabbit hole that’s like Dante’s Inferno for all of these characters.

What does that mean for Kirk?
Kirk has to face his own demons on this journey. In the first story we established Kirk as a confident, brash, young man whose greatest gift was his gut instinct, his heart and his ability to fight with everything he has, not only for himself but for others, for what he believes is right. But all the confidence that he has in the first film is flipped around and Benedict’s (Cumberbatch) character shows all the cracks in his armour that seemed so secure.

And very soon Kirk is brought to his knees and faced with his own self-doubt: am I worthy of being a leader

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What elements of this story resonated most with you?
What I was most excited about was that, for someone like who Kirk, for someone who you’d expect to be a strong and confident leader, and who, certainly from the first film had that self-assuredness, in this one I got to explore the flip side of that. The flip side is self-doubt and fallibility and this kind of existential crisis about whether or not he’s meant for the captain’s chair and whether or not he’s good enough. To begin a film and to carry the hero, or one of the heroes, from such a place of weakness, I thought that was an interesting challenge and one I looked forward.

Kirk and John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) have a lot of scenes together. Were you at all surprised by just how many scenes the characters shared?
I guess I wasn’t at all that surprised because I knew how important John Harrison was to this story and, at least selfishly, to development of Kirk in this story. Kirk is unhinged. Kirk is filled with self-doubt. Kirk is the little dog barking all too loudly. And you needed to see that. The only way you could see that, really, is when has his fingers put to the fire. That’s in verbal combat with Benedict’s character. We’re separated in a lot of our scenes by a glass partition, and it just goes to show you how powerful his character is, that he can wield the strings like a puppet master over poor Jim Kirk with nothing but a batting of the eye and the inflection of a word.

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