What lured Leonard Nimoy back to 'Fringe?'
May 11th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

What lured Leonard Nimoy back to 'Fringe?'

Two years ago we spoke to Leonard Nimoy about what was to be his final acting role on "Fringe."

Just over a year ago, Nimoy returned to voice the role of William Bell in a partially-animated episode of the cult sci-fi series.

One "Transformers" movie and one "Big Bang Theory" episode later (both voice roles as well, mind you), viewers were stunned to see Nimoy return once again to "Fringe" in his first appearance on-screen in two years. So what brought him back?

"I think 'Fringe' is a wildly imaginative show," he told reporters on Thursday. "The writers and the creators of the show, the producers, are very bright and very theatrical. All the characters are fleshed out wonderfully and the chemistry amongst the cast is terrific. I wanted to be part of this project."

Nimoy - who noted that he had to keep his "Fringe" appearance a secret for a few months - was also attracted to the "challenges" of the new William Bell, who is a lot more sinister in this new universe of season four.

"It was explained to me that we’re opening up a whole world and a whole new can of peas, so to speak, and William Bell is being recreated as something else," said Nimoy, "That intrigued me, and I was excited to go back to work."

Nimoy - best known, of course, for "Star Trek" - had some very high praise indeed for the cast, including John Noble, whose Walter Bishop is an old colleague of "Bellie's."

"I told the company when I finished shooting on this particular episode a few weeks ago, I said, 'You are superior company. I have never worked with a better company in my entire 60-year career.'"

Nimoy also sees the parallels between "Fringe" and "Trek."

"I can tell you that when 'Star Trek' was put on a Friday night, which is a date night, not a good night for a show like this, it did very, very poorly," he said. "'Fringe' has the same kind of audience, a very intense audience, a small audience, but very intense and very committed. I think it’s commendable that the people at Fox decided to honor that commitment."

When CNN's Jason Carroll caught up with Nimoy recently at the final flight of the space shuttle Enterprise, Nimoy told him "we're talking," when asked about doing more "Star Trek." Nimoy later tweeted that he talks to "Trek" director (and "Fringe" executive producer) J.J. Abrams and actor Zachary Quinto all the time, as they have grown to be friends.

"They’ve got a great company of people replacing all of us [in the 2009 'Star Trek,' where Nimoy appeared, and next year's sequel, which just wrapped]. I don’t think they need me, frankly. It’s flattering to be talked about, but I just don’t think they need me," he said, praising the performances of Quinto and "Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch who has a major role in the sequel.

On the other hand, Nimoy said he is possibly open to reprising his "Fringe" role during its final season. And what about more acting?

"The door is not completely closed. Obviously, I said a couple of years ago that I was retiring and here I am talking about a performance that I just gave. There are certain special situations that come along that can intrigue me. This one did. It’s nice to get off the couch and throw the clothes on and a little makeup and go back to work every once in a while. I still enjoy it."


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