The M Interview: Quinto made a friend of old Spock
Zachary Quinto speaks fondly of Leonard Nimoy, the original actor to play Spock
When J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek franchise, casting was crucial in pleasing the rabid fans.
Zachary Quinto won the role of iconic character Spock and even got the nod from original actor Leonard Nimoy.
For Quinto, not only was this a career-making opportunity, he formed a firm friendship with Nimoy that lasted until the latter's death at age 83 in February last year, just as Star Trek Beyond went into preproduction.
"I would say he lived an incredible life," the 39-year-old US actor said of Nimoy.
"I miss him all the time. I am constantly inspired by our conversations or experiences that we had together and by the work that he left behind, not only as an actor but as a director, writer, poet and art collector.
"It was Spock that brought us together. But our relationship evolved beyond that.
"By the end of his life, I would say it was only a small corner of what we connected about, how we knew and loved each other, and we became more like family than anything else.
"Leonard lived as fully as anyone could ever hope to live. And by the time he died, I feel like there was nothing left unsaid to the people he loved and I was grateful to be one of them."
Of Spock's trajectory in this latest story, he says: "I think he's at a real crossroads in a lot of ways.
"His relationship with Uhura (played by Zoe Saldana) is one of them.
"I think he is struggling between his commitment to Starfleet and his Federation and his desire to be of service to rebuilding the Vulcan race.
"The connections between these characters is something that fans really thrive on, but this movie fractures the crew and splits them apart in unexpected pairings, and I think that is a source of a lot of humour and a lot of heart, something that people will respond to for sure."
Of course, we had to talk about the signature Spock eyebrows.
"I still shave them," said Quinto with a laugh.
"That's a part of the role, as long as I play it, I think I have to.
"But I think it has certainly improved in the amount of time it takes. It took about three hours in the first film and we got it down to under two now. So that's cool."
NEW ADVENTURE: Zachary Quinto as Spock and Karl Urban as Bones in Star Trek Beyond. PHOTO: UIP
He also stopped complaining when he saw co-stars Idris Elba, who plays villainous alien military commander Krall, and Sofia Boutella, who plays white-skinned alien warrior Jaylah, spend over five hours in the make-up chair.
"This is the first of the three movies where I had to wear a wig. My hair wasn't long enough when we started shooting to actually cut it into the iconic hairstyle, so that was kind of a blessing and a curse at the same time," said Quinto.
"Using my own hair is much easier when we are filming, but then I have to walk around with that haircut for five months, so that's not ideal."
We asked Quinto, who is openly gay, to weigh in on Star Trek Beyond revealing that Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu (John Cho) is gay - something that did not sit well with the original Sulu, 79-year-old US actor George Takei, who is also openly gay.
Takei was quoted as saying it was a "twisting of (Gene Roddenberry's) creation to which he put in so much thought".
Quinto, however, did not agree.
"In terms of the Sulu revelation, I would say that the LGBT community has long advocated for representation in the Star Trek universe," he said.
"I certainly feel very proud that I could be a part of the franchise that was able to provide them that.
"I think it's been perplexing to me that so much attention has been paid to this very subtle aspect of the film.
"It's basically one shot that tells a great story, one that I think is inspiring and heartening to many, especially young people, who can see themselves reflected in a positive, normalised, integrated way. And I think only good can come from that."