Life + Arts

Film not just for Trekkies

Star Trek is slated for a May 8 release, and fans have lots of questions surrounding the movie by J.J. Abrams, producer of TV shows Lost and Alias. While Abrams denies being a ‘Trekkie’ himself, he said this gives him the advantage at creating a movie that appeals to die-hard fans and newbies alike.

‘I wasn’t a huge fan of (Star Trek to) begin with,’ Abrams said. ‘I wasn’t familiar with the series, but part of the fun was playing with baggage we inherited.’

Abrams is known for producing shows that seem to run against the grain, but in reality he enjoys playing by the rules.

‘Whenever anyone has said, ‘You can do anything you want,’ I tend to find it much more difficult to respond,’ Abrams said. ‘There are no walls to bounce off of.’

‘When someone calls me and says, ‘I want do a TV show about people in a plane crash,’ immediately I’m like, ‘This is awesome,’ because I have a set standard of limits or rules. Once you have rules, you can go anywhere and do anything.’

Abrams found Star Trek particularly enjoyable because of the boundaries set by such a well-loved television series.

Star Trek was a wonderful thing because it gave us a playground and we could go nuts,’ Abrams said.’

Hollywood has seen the cash in re-fashioning old television favorites into high tech, effect-rich new films and series.’ Abrams says he wants to avoid these pitfalls.

‘I knew that this would be a different thing than what I’d seen certainly in Star Trek and other re-imagined movies,’ Abrams said. ‘I knew it would be defining itself based on what the story required. I knew there would be things to avoid, but we took in everything around us and asked, ‘How do we not do that?”

Critics have already begun weighing in on Abrams’ Star Trek, but he feels the man on the street offers much more insight into his work.

‘When someone who doesn’t have an agenda makes a comment, I find it much more valuable,’ Abrams said. ‘There’s a beauty in the freedom of the Internet and what people can say, but it’s also an important thing to never surround yourself with ‘yes’ people. You want to hear critical voices always.’

Though Abrams’ Star Trek may be sleeker and sexier than the original, he sought to keep what he felt was Gene Roddenberry’s original message intact.

‘To me, it was important to preserve the spirit of Star Trek, Abrams said. ‘I love the optimism of the world Roddenberry created. It’s a vision of our future in which we’re alive, we’re collaborating across racial and political lines and there’s an optimism that some would call naive, but I call refreshing.”

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