So it seems that the cast is complete for J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek film, due out next Christmas. Shooting is supposed to begin next month, and the final piece of the puzzle seems to be confirmed, as the new James Tiberius Kirk has apparently been cast. Here are the cast comparisons between The Original Series (TOS) and The New Movie (TNM).
THE ORIGINAL SERIES
(L-R), William Shatner as James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy, James Doohan as Montgomery Scott, Nichelle Nichols as Uhura, George Takei as Hikaru Sulu, and Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov.
THE NEW MOVIE(L-R) Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin.
Here’s a rundown of the characters and new actors:
Captain James T. Kirk – Chris Pine
Pine, 27, is best known for his roles in Smokin’ Aces and Just My Luck (opposite Lindsay Lohan). He’s pretty much a newcomer without too much screen experience. He’s fairly in line with the fans’ original choice for Kirk, Matt Damon.
Lt. Cmdr. Spock – Zachary Quinto
His claim to fame among the geek set is his portrayal of the villain Sylar on Heroes. The 30-year old actor also had a recurring role in Season 5 of 24, among other TV credits. He was the first actor confirmed for the new Star Trek and seems a relatively logical choice (heh). The fans originally wanted Adrien Brody, and it will be interesting to see Quinto act alongside the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, as the two Spocks will work together in the film.
Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy – Karl Urban
The biggest “movie star” in the cast, the 35 year-old Urban is no stranger to sci-fi/fantasy roles, having appeared in two of The Lord of the Rings movies (The Two Towers, Return of the King), The Chronicles of Riddick, and Doom. He’s also appeared in both Xena: Warrior Princess (as Julius Caesar) and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (as Cupid and Julius Caesar), and starred in Pathfinder and The Bourne Supremacy. The New Zealand native is bit of a surprise for the role that fans clamored for Gary Sinise to take.
Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott – Simon Pegg
The oldest cast member at 37, Simon Pegg has a cult following from his movies Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. You may also recognize him from a bit role in Mission: Impossible III (directed by new Star Trek director J.J. Abrams). Another interesting cast choice, at least they’re getting closer to casting an appropriate actor to play the Scottish engineer: the original Scotty, James Doohan, was Canadian; Pegg is British.
Lt. Uhura – Zoe Saldana
29 year-old Saldana’s biggest roles to date have been parts in Pirates of the Carribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (small role as a pirate) and as the love interests in Guess Who? (with Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac) and Drumline. A solid choice for the role of Uhura, she’ll be a fanboy favorite if Star Trek and the project she’s currently filming, James Cameron’s Avatar, are both as big as they are anticipated to be. In a curious bit of television crossover, the original Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, recently joined the cast of Heroes (alongside original Sulu, George Takei). FYI, I didn’t forget Uhura’s full name; she has no official first name.
Lt. Hikaru Sulu – John Cho
You probably know him best as “Harold” from his comedy hit with Kal Penn, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. The 35 year-old is also starring in the Harold and Kumar sequel due next year, has had roles in the similarly goofy American Pie and American Wedding, and has appeared in various TV shows (the most recent being an episode of Ugly Betty airing October 18). Cho was also one of the stars of the Asian-American movie Better Luck Tomorrow (which you should see if you haven’t already). Cho is of Korean descent, unlike original cast member George Takei, who matches Sulu’s Japanese heritage. Some are puzzled by Cho’s casting, probably due to his H&K days.
Ensign Pavel Chekov – Anton Yelchin
Matching Chekov’s Russian heritage, as well as his youth (Yelchin just turned 18), Anton Yelchin is best recognized from his role in Alpha Dog (with Justin Timberlake), but has also starred in the movie Charlie Barlett and has appeared in numerous TV shows (ER, Judging Amy, The Practice, Without a Trace, Curb Your Enthusiasm, NYPD Blue) dating back to when he was 11. Yelchin was the second confirmed cast member, with most people not really knowing what to expect from him.
As for the villain in the film, Aussie actor Eric Bana has been cast, reportedly as a Romulan named Nero. The 39 year-old Bana has previously starred in Munich, Troy, Hulk, and Blackhawk Down and was most recently seen in Lucky You with Drew Barrymore.
No announcement has been made about a possible cameo character, Captain Christopher Pike, the original captain of the starship Enterprise. Rumors are that Abrams was looking for Tom Cruise to fill the role. The character of Pike was the ship’s captain in the original TV pilot which was never aired. The footage was mixed into a later episode of the series, “The Menagerie.” FYI, for you geeks out there, in order to celebrate the release of ST:TOS on HD-DVD, there will be special showings of “The Menagerie” at movie theaters across the country on November 13. Go to www.fathomevents.com for more information. I’ve already got my tickets. =)