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Star Trek Into Darkness – Simon Pegg interview

Star Trek Into Darkness

Interview by Rob Carnevale

SIMON Pegg talks about reprising the role of Scotty in Star Trek Into Darkness and perfecting his Scottish accent.

He also talks about his own experience of landing the role for the first time and what he likes most about his character, as well as Scotty’s view on the prospect of Scottish independence. He was speaking at a UK press conference.

Q. What was the biggest challenge for you in making Star Trek Into Darkness? You seem to have had a lot of running to do…
Simon Pegg: As the oldest member of the crew, it was just remembering to take my Arthritis pills and insert and remove my catheter. Fortunately, I had an ally in Alice [Eve]. No, but yeah, it’s a physically demanding job and I am 34 now. So, it sucks but I got through it and I think it shows on-screen.

Q. What was the first thing you did when found out you were doing Star Trek?
Simon Pegg: I sat down because I got an email from JJ… I’d just landed from a flight to New York and I opened my phone and the first email that popped up was from JJ and it just said: “Do you want to play Scotty?” I was totally aware of the project and was very excited about it and I thought it would be great. I didn’t for a second expect to be involved. So, when I got that very straight forward and blunt kind of request I literally sat down and asked the plane to take off again so I could think about it. To be honest, I was like: “What do I say? I can’t just say ‘yes’. It feels like we should have some kind of romance… can I be on tape or something or maybe we could go out for dinner and have a movie and then I might say ‘yes’, you never know?” I felt like kind of a slut just saying ‘yes’. So, I took three days of pretending to think about it… I was like, this is such a huge commitment and I asked whether we’d be doing it for a long time. But JJ said: “The worst thing that could happen is that every couple of years we’d get to spend some time together and have a lot of fun.”

Q. Was there a prop you kept?
Simon Pegg: I smuggled back the entire Enterprise piece by piece and rebuilt it in my garden. On the first film, every day we’d hand back our badge and my Starfleet ring and communicator phaser. You’d hand it in to an armed man at the end of the day before you could leave the set. This one, I stole my badge. What are you going to do [laughs]? It was on my costume when I got back to the trailer. It’s a beautiful little brass thing. I’ll bring it back to the next one. But I put it in my bag. The production design on this film is extraordinary. It’s so detailed and beautiful. Every prop is like a wonderful toy. I got to carry a phaser this time and that was like a dream come true and if I could have stolen that I would have. But I was wrestled to the ground by a large woman.

Q. What kind of feedback did you get on the accent the first time and this time around?
Simon Pegg: Half my family are Scottish and I married a Glaswegian in Glasgow, so I have a huge critical band of Scots – and Maureen was on the set of the first one as well. But I worked hard on the accent, well harder, for the second one. I managed to get the phrase “Haud oan wee man”, which was especially for my wife, which I say to Chekov. My father in law gave me that book The Patter, which is full of those great phrases like, ‘you wee scunner’ and that kind of stuff. Although JJ would sometimes say things to quell those urges which were completely understandable to anyone that wasn’t from East Kilbride. So, it’s something that I want to get right. Actually, the Scottish reaction to it has been lovely, and the people who say it’s not very good are usually English, so that’s telling.

Q. And where would Scotty stand on the imminent subject of Scottish independence? Would he vote ‘no’ or would he say ‘we should boldly go’?
Simon Pegg: Scotty would absolutely boldly go. Why should Scotland suffer under a government that England has voted for? I think it’s ridiculous. For years, Scotland, which is a predominantly a Labour voting country, has had to languish under Conservative governments, which they didn’t vote for and didn’t ask for, so ‘INDEPENDENCE NOW’!!

Q. What trait do you like about your character?
Simon Pegg: Scottty is like a fiercely intelligent mechanic. I think n a perfect world he’d just tinker with the warp core all day. So, when things get crazy he always reacts like: “What the f???” He’s always shocked and amazed when everything… he doesn’t really take it in his stride and I like playing that because that’s how you would react to a Klingon on your starboard bow. It’s fun to be the everyman of the crew. Scotty is always amazed by his predicaments and that’s fun to play.

Read our review of Star Trek Into Darkness