To seek out new lifeforms and new civilizations… to boldly go where no man has gone before… These words of hopeful, even philosophical cosmic exploration were spoken by William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in the original sci-fi TV opening of Star Trek. For three original broadcast years, then decades of syndicated success, ten theatrical movies and even popular PC and console video games, those words continue to describe the fantastic Star Trek phenomenon. Now Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto enter the Star Trek universe.
As the world prepares for a new cast of Hollywood actors to assume the iconic roles of Star Trek’s intrepid space explorers, two actors above all else will be scrutinized by the public, the media and most importantly of all Star Trek fans. Chris Pine playing Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto as the new Mr. Spock, will have a phaser beam like focus of attention on them. If the movie is the hit Paramount Pictures and director J.J. Abrams (TV’s ‘Lost’) is hoping for, Mr. Pine and Mr. Quinto will indeed be secure in the spotlight. As actors reinterpreting the two most famous space explorer buds of all time, they’ll appear in films for many years to come.
While writing for the spin-off television shows Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, I met fans who would inevitably ask me questions like, “How long can Star Trek last? Which cast or crew do you like best as a Star Trek writer? Could Capt. Picard beat up Capt. Kirk?” So I reflect on the future with a small amount of personal experience relating to what Pine and Quinto must be going through. I was only writing new adventures for Star Trek, not replacing the venerable Leonard Nimoy as Spock or the inimitable William Shatner as Captain Kirk. For these two actors, the pressure is definitely on, but judging from their professional resumes, it’s clear they have the experience to rise to the challenge and make the roles their own.
Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock
Zachary Quinto was born in Pittsburgh, PA on June 2, 1997 and at the age of 31, Quinto is 4 years younger than Leonard Nimoy was when he created the role of Mr. Spock in 1966 at age 35. Even a quick glance at a photo of Zachary Quinto reveals his resemblance to Leonard Nimoy’s ever controlled Vulcan Spock. Before Quinto wore Spock’s trademark pointed ears, he was known to TV audiences in the hit NBC show Heroes.
Playing the murderous Sylar, Quinto carved out a reputation as a favorite bad guy. His skilled performance as the power hungry super villain made him a standout on the series. Before Heroes, Quinto did guest spots in TV shows like 24, Charmed, Crossing Jordan and CSI. What’s perhaps most interesting about him, aside from his resemblance to Leonard Nimoy is that Nimoy also played a few baddies or dark characters before his most famous good guy role.
Chris Pine as Captain Kirk
Chris Pine was born in Los Angeles, CA on August 26, 1980, and at the age of 28, Pine is 7 years younger than William Shatner was when he created the role of Capt. Kirk at age 35. A young William Shatner and Christopher Pine may not look that much alike, however there’s definitely a similar gleam in the eyes of both men, which most likely helped Pine earn the role playing Starfleet’s most honored Starship Captain.
Pine earned an English degree from University of California At Berkeley, and like Quinto cut his teeth on guest television roles, appearing in such big TV shows as Six Feet Under, ER, and CSI Miami. Two of his more prominent movies were Smokin Aces with Ray Liotta and Just My Luck with Lindsay Lohan.
Despite the big budget or buzz over any big Hollywood movie, there’s no definite insurance policy to guarantee financial or critical success. However, it’s a safe bet no matter how well Star Trek does at the box office, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are talented actors who will be pleasing movie and television audiences for years to come.