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Star Trek Into Darkness – Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana interview

Star Trek Into Darkness

Interview by Rob Carnevale

KARL Urban and Zoe Saldana talk about some of the challenges of making Star Trek Into Darkness and what appeals to them about their characters. They also discuss their very different reactions to landing the roles in the first place.

Q. What was the biggest challenge for you in making Star Trek Into Darkness?
Karl Urban: Working with Chris Pine. No, the biggest challenge was to come into this and to not repeat ourselves… to deliver something that was bigger, better, more dynamic and more character driven and to be truthful to those characters.

Q. How about you Zoe, I imagine learning Klingon must have been a bit tricky?
Zoe Saldana: Yes, I think it was learning my lines and saying those big words at “JJ SPEED”! But really, for me it was waiting four years to come back and make something with people that I’ve remained friends with. I was also wondering if we were going to be able to come back because we’re older now [smiles].

Q. What was the first thing you did when found out you were doing Star Trek?
Karl Urban: Well, I found out relatively quickly I guess. I’d met with JJ and I thought the meeting went horribly because JJ asked me: “Do you have any questions?” And I said: “Yeah, what’s the story”? And he said: “I can’t tell you.” So, I said: “Well, I guess I don’t have any more questions.” So, I walked out of our initial meeting thinking: “That was fun but I’m never going to see this guy again.” And then he invited me to test for the role of Bones, so I went into this reading and I read for it. I remember getting halfway through and JJ was laughing and it threw me because I hadn’t done live theatre for quite a while. I was thinking: “What the heck is he laughing at?” But then it clicked. And at the end of the take I remember JJ going: “That’s it. That’s Bones.”

So, I walked out of there with a pretty good sense that it went well. And literally within the space of about an hour and a half we got the call that the role was on offer to me and I remember being completely thrilled, elated and excited and then just the most terrifying horror came over me that, actually, now I was going to have to figure out how to make it work. Unlike many of these cast members, Simon Pegg excluded, I was actually a fan of the original show, so for me I was elated and then absolutely terrified.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Zoe Saldana: I was shooting Avatar and was really into it and then I got this call from my agent saying that JJ wanted me to come in to read for this role because he was going to direct Star Trek and my first reaction was: “Why?” And obviously being of the generation of Star Wars and I’d look at my mum and what Star Trek represented was what old people used to watch. I knew very little about the show. But I read my lines and I remember everybody kept telling me ‘he’s really excited to meet you’. So, that made me very nervous. But I came in, I read my lines and he told me: “I don’t need to hear anything else.” And I was like: “Oh my God, I tanked. He’s going to ask me to leave, security is going to walk me out…” And then two days later, James Cameron told me – I was on set – “I have a surprise for you.” And I look over there on the set and JJ is visiting. I felt so happy and humbled and I thought that I must have booked the part. So, that was the beginning of me sitting down with my mum and picking her brain about what Star Trek really is and what it represented to her and everybody that is devoted to the show. And I gained a lot of respect for people who are so dedicated to the show.

Q. What trait do you like about your characters?
Karl Uban: For me, one is Bones’s altruism. There’s nothing that he wouldn’t do for his friends.

Zoe Saldana: For Uhura, I think it’s how she’s so reliable and responsible and elegant. It kind of reminds me of a horse, like a very beautiful stallion. And that’s what I wish could rub off on me.

Read our review of Star Trek Into Darkness