February 24th, 2009
10:55 AM ET

A chat with the new Captain Kirk

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.”

- Douglas Hyde, CNN Entertainment Producer

Filed under: movies • television

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soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Outsider

    Oh, the agony... society is collapsing. There's no creativity anymore... not like when they made stuff like "West Side Story" or "My Fair Lady". Now THOSE were originals...

    Oh wait. "West Side Story" (by Rodgers and Hammerstein, those hacks!) was a "re-imagining" of "Romeo & Juliet". And "My Fair Lady" was the Greek story of Pygmalion made into a play by George Bernard Shaw (another plaigarizing hack) then set to music.

    Never mind. Somehow society and American culture will endure. Thanks J.J. Abrams for bringing a fresh look to an iconic favorite.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mark

    I'll see the movie and compare them whether I mean to or not. They will seem different and uncomfortable at first. The only thing that will save the movie for me at that point will be if the actors make the characters their own and not poor copies of the originals.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Emerson

    Sometimes a totally re-imagined remake of a show works well. As someone pointed out earlier, look at Battlestar Galactica. Yeah, I liked the show when it came out in the 70's, but watch it now after watching some post 2003 Galactica, and I have to ask myself, "What was I THINKING?!"

    I remember the screaming, nay, the OUTRAGE, when it was revealed that Starbuck would be a woman. "Zomg, death of Galactica!" shouted the fans. "Don't watch this, remember the original! Long live Lorne Greene!" etc. Those fans haven't said much since the first season... I wonder why? Maybe because the new show KICKS A**!

    So yeah, a new Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and everyone. Well, it might suck. It might not. There's really no point in speculating until we've seen it.

    Look at it this way: At least Spock and McCoy are still guys! Imagine the fan outrage if they weren't! 😀

    March 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Syler-Spock

    I can't believe it, new Spock is Syler (the serial killer of Heroes) but he seems to fit well to be a Vulcan.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. faa

    My favorite character is SPOCK-i can do the vulcan salute on both hands. My favorite episode was AMOK TIME in which Mr. Spock went into "heat" for the lack of better word. How exciting...can't wait to see the film.

    March 5, 2009 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Randy

    It is good to see that Star Trek still is a symbol of exploration of things to come in our near and possible distant future. Also be reminded that some of todays break throughs have come from Star Trek.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill Niswander

    I have been a fan for years, good and bad.
    How can anyone not be excited about a change ,after all the franchise has been in turmoil for a while now. Next Generation got everyone excited for a while and I admit it got me back.
    But now we need some new blood. I loved the original series and I am looking forward to a new take on my favorite trek folks!

    March 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RGK

    I am a fan of TOS..as well as others (cannot connect Enterprise but watched it anyways). My children under age of 11 love watching Star Trek and most of them are safe episodes. Saw the trailer, it could be interesting but some sex scenes, my kids will not watch it. I enjoyed ST movies but not "Generations". nor the fifth movie which includes laughing vulcan. The original characters will always be number one!

    March 2, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Erin

    Good luck, or better, best of luck in NOT replicating the pompous, self-aggrandising Shatner whose on-screen persona hid an ego the size of Manhatten. Having working on Star Trek III and endured his overbloated, narcassistic image of himself on and off stage, you have your real challenge in not being a metaphor for that sad piece of flab, but reinventing the role as an engaging, articulate, responsible and insightful individual of the small universe of the Enterprise, but never forgetting your larger responsibility to the universe beyond.

    March 2, 2009 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. mikewoodphoto

    I am looking forward to the movie, mainly to have some new Trek around, but at the same time I am a little skeptical about re-doing TOS characters. I would have preferred that they make an Enterprise ( the series) based movie. That show was just building a good head of steam when it was canceled. So much more potential there. Or a Q movie which could bring lots of characters from different series together. Might be too niche for mainstream production, but could still hold its own as a movie amongst Trekkers.

    At any rate, in a couple of months we will know if JJ Abrams got it right or if it gets torn apart by the nitpickers. 🙂

    March 1, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rodney

    Can't we all just get along? For the children?

    March 1, 2009 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kemo

    Ok, has anyone else picked up on the part where the "young" James Kirk character is asked "What is your name?" and he responds "James Ciberus Kirk". Not sure on spelling of his middle name in the script, but that's what it sounds like in the trailers I've seen so far. Officially it has always been Tiberus as his middle name. Sure we'll all find more of these as the film goes live in May.

    February 28, 2009 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. danuff1

    I have been a fan of the series since I first saw it as a child and love the original cast, but I am keeping an open mind too. Like others has said, at least the Enterprise looks awsome.

    February 28, 2009 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Lynda. S.

    I totally agree with Denizen!

    February 27, 2009 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Diana

    I started with the Original Series – Star Trek and every incarnation since that time. I haven't always liked all the shows – Voyager and Enterprise but I watched them nonetheless (and The Final Frontier, my least favorite movie). I have always kept an open mind and enjoyed seeing Trek on the tube and screen. I really get disheartened by the hard-core Trekkers that bash something they haven't even seen and are so into canon that they get so bogged down with their own rhetoric. I am all for a reboot and can't wait to see this movie. I had always hoped that J. Michael Stracynski would have helmed the reboot as Babylon 5 was excellent, but I am willing to see what J.J. Abrams can do and wish him all the best and to the new cast. So far, what I have seen in the trailers only excites me and the month of May seems so far away, but I will be there barring death!

    February 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Chris

    I just wanna know if they are gonna make another TV series out of this.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  17. SCAR

    It's great that we can see on the big screen, Kirk and co kicking ass once again!!!

    February 25, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  18. GreenWoman

    I have been a fan since watching the first episode of TOS on its original air date. In many ways, TOS changed my life (for the better). I found Next Generation boring, Deep Space Nine as enjoyable as the original, for many of the same reasons, Voyager boring, and Enterprise had a promise it never lived up to. I loved two of the films, but found the rest so-so, and didn't even bother to see the last three, being based on TNG.

    However, I am eagerly anticipating the new film. The trailers have looked wonderful. I don't mind a new take and new actors playing younger versions of the characters I love; if done poorly it will, of course, be a disappointment, but I'm not condemning the film on principle! I prefer keeping an open and anticipatory mind.

    In fact, how can you honor Roddenberry's memory and *not* have an open mind!

    February 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  19. dr. jim

    I was there in the beginning.
    The 1960's were not unlike now.
    I can't think of a better time for this movie to come out.
    I think when I see this I am going to be like a kid again and I will probably cry.

    February 25, 2009 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  20. Lisa

    Part of what made McCoy was his bravery despite his vulnerability, and while I was skeptical a guy built like Karl Urban could pull off the vulnerable part, I'll remain hopeful. From what I've read he really is a fan and wanted the part.

    February 25, 2009 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  21. Lisa

    McCoy and Spock, to me, were what made Star Trek special. Looking back on the original series there was a lot of goofiness, but the basic ideas and the relationship between those two overcame that.

    The Next Generation was OK but sterile in comparison.

    February 25, 2009 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  22. Shane McGuire

    I think this film is going to do the entire series, both TV and Film real justice. There has never been a Star Trek film like this.

    I have the entire collection at home TV and Film, there is no "Beginning" to the series as to where our famed characters really came from. That even includes Captain Jean Luc Pikard, Captain Janeway or Benjamin Cisco. Though I cannot expect the others to have their "beginnings" explained, I think its important that this be the true beginning to the Roddenberry Genre. The fact of the matter is that this is territory that has never been covered with the development of Star Fleet.

    Sure there was an aspect of this touched on in First Contact, but its never been really a subject that has been of much discussion. In some respects I liken this move to Sci-Fi Channel's remaking of Battlestar Galactica. It was nice to see the individual chracter flashbacks to their Academy Days in training. It makes the chracters seem more realistic and human. Having said that, it likens each one of us to our High School, College Years or for some our years spent at Trade Schools then on to our own professional training to do the jobs we are charged with doing every day. Basically it makes the characters more tangible.

    One point I hope they do show in thie film is the Kobiyashi Maru Scenerio that has been mentioned in several instances. this was supposedly one of Kirks greatest moments, and mistakes in his Academy years. Again, merely for the human aspect of the content.

    In any event, I enjoyed Abrams last Star Trek film Nemesis. Sometimes the Enterprise just needs a new paint job and rebuild. nothing like the production of a little space junk to promote that rebuild.

    In closing, making space adventures seem more real was the mission of the Firefly series then movie Serenity. How could I compare these two aspects? It was a series that the chracters were actually tangeable and believeable in their design. That is exactly what Joss Weadon was able to bring to his series.

    "Second star to the right, and straight on until morning." James T. Kirk, Captain USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A, (Undiscovered Country).

    February 25, 2009 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  23. Cody Frogness

    Cant wait intell this movie comes out im only 16 but i loved the original series

    Im a docter not a bricklayer

    February 25, 2009 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  24. stormy1one

    I am proud to be a Trekkie and supporter of the original Star Trek series. Captain Kirk will always be my hero. I am excited and can't wait to see the film. I hope this movie does justice to our friends. No one can replace the original cast and crew, but I love the fact that the legacy continues. Good luck to the cast and crew of this film. p.s. my favorite other series was Star Trek Voyager...

    February 25, 2009 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  25. Scott

    You grumblers are complaining about the "same ole" coming out of Hollywood, the world's falling apart, blah, blah, blah. But yet none of you seem to come up with any solutions, but all of you sure have enough to b!tch about. Go away and let the rest of us enjoy the movie.

    February 24, 2009 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Jimmy

    Chris Pine is going to be a great Kirk. Actually, I like the whole cast, even Simon's side kick, Chris Doohan

    February 24, 2009 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Steve

    I worked with Betty Jo (Bjo) Trimble on the Save Star Trek Campaign (SST). Although there were ups and downs in the history of the Star Trek property, I was glad that "Star Trek Lives".

    Star Trek, the soap opera, adult space yarn, can never die because it is what We strive to be, utopia and all. Space is our destiny and Star Trek is the voice of our hopes and dreams.

    I’ve been on the JJ Abrams set. It is going to be a great ride. See ya in May.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Liz

    I agree that originality is important, and sometimes in short supply. But a re-make doen't mean a thing isn't original.

    ("Huh?" I hear you say?)

    Take a look at Battlestar Galactica. Based on a cheesy 70s kids show. I was a kid. I loved it.

    And the 21st century version is about living in a post 9-11 world, where everything is dangerous, especially the possibility that we will destroy what is good about us in an effort to stay alive. Now I'm an adult, and these are the issues I worry about.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Berto

    My biggest fear with this film is that they will go for sensationalism (over the top action, sex, etc) instead of going for making a quality film. The trailers and interviews leads me to believe that they may be just a tad too eager to garner new fans rather that just deliver a quality picture. The last couple ST:TNG films suffered from similar issues.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  30. nola


    February 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  31. nola


    February 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  32. nola


    February 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Denizen Kate

    Nothing is sacred, nor should it be. I agree that Hollywood couldn't find a new idea with ten hands and the world's biggest magnifying glass, however, sometimes it's fun to view updated versions of characters that one enjoyed long ago. There have been times when I was horrified at the news of an impending remake, then pleasingly suprised at the result. I'm keeping an open mind.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  34. John C. Roberts

    Deven is exactly right, Star Trek, Which I saw from the very first episode, even OUT of order like they showed them originally, was just that ORIGINAL, gave us Hope on our way to the Moon. Not like that in America Now is it. No Hope, No future, Just the same old stuff OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

    PS. THis is a REMAKE, there is only name and Roddenberry's Idea to be the anchor for this Movie. I can't wait until DVD when I ceaselessly tear it apart for non_continuity or loss of entertainment value.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Leslye

    I'm with Johnny and Deven. There are too many remakes/reboots or whatever you want to call them. There is nothing about this film so far that I've heard that has made me feel like I want to see it or have any desire to see anybody else playing those legendary parts. Also whatever happened to the axiom of leave them wanting more? Why is it necessary to cover every stage of a character life? It would be so much better to cover new ground in the Star Trek universe with new characters.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  36. jeff

    I, too, am an original Trekie., as I was eight when the original series premiered. The perfect age to take in this vision of the future with awe and admiration. While all the of shows in the series relied on characters to play an important role (humorous, bold, romantic, etc) the original cast set the bar at the highest level for the others to follow. I am looking forward to the film, as I have each new film or series. But tackling the characters of Kirk, Spock and McCoy will be a challange. One I hope they succeed at.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Jeff

    Wow Devon.....you.......just.......don't......get it!

    February 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Lucy

    Megan – Maybe you should look up the definition of doppleganger. it doesn't mean "opposite."


    February 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  39. oasisbraves

    I understand if they didn't have a real "fit in the script" to have William Shatner in the movie....but what would the harm have been to at least have him around the movie as a consultant or adviser?

    February 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Richard Miller

    Dr. McCoy: "Dammit Jim, I'm a gynecologist, not a miracle worker!"

    Spock: "Dr. McCoy, this isn't the first time I've put my a** on the line for the Enterprise."

    February 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Sherry

    I am so glad Trek is Back. I have been a fan since the first episode was broadcast. I watched it in black and white with lots of interference fuzziness but still it was wonderful. I was able to watch the 70 revival in color and have enjoyed each and every one of the following adventures even Enterprise. A movie showing the young Kirk is a very much needed addition to the story.

    February 24, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Deven

    What made the original Star Trek so enticing was it's ORIGINALITY. Something this "modern world of today" obviously is lacking...

    Welcome to the "Age Of Remakes and Covers"....a true low point for humanity....

    Going where the whole world has gone before....repeatedly....over and over and over and over and over....

    If this current creative climate existed in the 1960's when Star Trek first appeared, the Enterprise would have looked like a flying Clipper Ship and the theme song would have been performed by Beyonce singing a cover of David Bowie....

    And we wonder why the whole country is collapsing?

    It isn't necesarily the Economy as the greater problem of our seeming Inabiltiy to Refresh our Old Ideas into the Future....

    February 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Johnny

    Nobody will ever replace the old Captain Kirk, Scotty, Spok and McCoy, nor should they!

    February 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  44. woeybash

    Feb... March.... April....aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! then MAY! 4 months of waiting! aaaaaaaaaagh! CAN'T HARDLY WAIT!

    February 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Rod

    I have bee a fan for many years but I sincerely hope that the fans will look at this new movie as a "different vision" rather than a continuance of Gene Roddenberry's saga. As I look back on Trek, The Next Generation was good but became too heavily steeped in technobabble and phaser fights, DS9 was a dark view but a breath of fresh air in a sterile future, Voyager showed promise but never lived up to its potential. Enterprise, while showing glimpses of hope didn't hook me until the fourth season and by that time the franchise was DOA. Let's all be open minded about the new forthcoming Trek.

    February 24, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  46. vel

    I'm a Trekkie and proud of it! One of my favorite Kirk/Spock/McCoy "moments was the whole episode of "The Empath". I do hope they get it right. At least the Enterprise looks great!

    February 24, 2009 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  47. Megan

    Excuse me? "[Urban] is such a leading man and to take on this classic character role … he is like the doppleganger of DeForest Kelley"? Lest anyone forget, De Kelley played a lot more roles than just a space doctor, and that craggy charm was substantial. Sure, Shatner and Nimoy were supposed to be the sex appeal, but Kelley got a heck of a lot of fan mail from women. Pine could have phrased that a lot better, especially if he's claiming to understand old skool Trek.

    February 24, 2009 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  48. Steven

    I too have been building Star Trek toys since a young age and enjoyed reading your article on the new Kirk. I have watched the few previews that have been released and am impressed with what I have seen to date! I am very interested in seeing how they bring out the relationshop between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. I just wish that May would hurry up and get here so we can see the great work that J.J. Abrams has created.

    February 24, 2009 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |

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