Simon Pegg & John Cho Provide Comic Relief on the Enterprise
In 2009, the USS Enterprise embarked on a new journey to explore the far corners of the universe in a successful reboot that grossed $385 million in worldwide box office. Simply titled "Star Trek," the film introduced a budding bromance between Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) to a new generation of movie goers.
For the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, JJ Abrams ("Mission: Impossible III," "Super 8") returns to guide the Enterprise through a new adventure, one that has the Enterprise crew saving a civilization from destruction; and encountering their most dangerous foe to date: a galactic terrorist, John Harrison, played with intense precision by Benedict Cumberbatch.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" reunites Captain Kirk and Spock with their diverse crew comprised of Dr Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban), Hikaru Sulu (John Cho), Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (Simon Pegg) and Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin). New to the mix is Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) as a weapon expert to the mix.
Plenty of action
Impressive sets and massive action sequences have come to be expected in a "Star Trek" movie, and there is plenty in this sequel. From the opening scene in the red volcanic planet Nibiru to the devastating post apocalyptic planet of Kronos, this is a movie propelled by action. It also includes imaginative, futuristic visions of San Francisco and London, as well as their destruction as created with the latest CGI technology.
Critics’ responses have been warm. Scott Foundas of Variety writes: " ’Into Darkness’ is a beautifully modulated and sustained piece of work across the board, with visual effects that seamlessly meld live-action and computer-animated elements, given further texture by old-fashioned celluloid lensing." Todd McCarthy claims that "JJ Abrams’s second entry in his reboot of the eternal franchise, has been engineered rather than directed, calibrated to deliver sensation on cue and stocked with just enough new character twists to keep fans rapt." While it has been reported that JJ Abrams will beam over to direct the new "Star Wars" sequel, most critics and fans alike are curious on the direction the next sequel will take.
’The Office’ in space
As in the previous "Star Trek" movie, the impassioned movie is peppered with one-liners that that adds much needed comic relief, be it Scotty’s perpetual state of disbelief whenever the Enterprise’s performance limits are pushed, to Sulu’s deadpan reaction to the most chaotic happenings on the Bridge including a chance to pilot the Enterprise, the script cleverly injects humor to make "Into Darkness" a fun and enjoyable journey.
The humor in the film is pronounced that in reviewing the film in the New York Times critic A.O. Scott wrote: "’Star Trek’ is essentially ’The Office’ in space: an endless workplace comedy with bittersweet moments and secondary characters who spring vividly out of the background. (Here is the place to mention the scene-stealing Simon Pegg as Scotty; Anton Yelchin as Chekov; John Cho as Sulu; and Alice Eve as Carol, whose character’s last name counts as a minor spoiler.) Or it would be a sitcom without the galvanizing presence of evil, arriving this time in the person of Benedict Cumberbatch."
EDGE chats with British actor Simon Pegg ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") and American John Cho ("Harold & Kumar," "30 Rock") about their roles and having fun on the set.
EDGE: How does this sequel build on the JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot four years ago?
Simon Pegg: It is definitely an evolution from the first one, isn’t it? I do not think JJ is the kind of guy who would sit back and rest on his laurels. He always wants to push things forward. So everything is up the ante, the danger, the sets, the locations. In this instance, less is not more.
John Cho: There is also, we do not have to introduce the characters again. There is a lot more happening, a lot more plot.
EDGE: How have your characters evolved from the previous film?
Simon Pegg: They have all been on the ship for a while. Sulu knows how to take the brakes off before he pulls out of the garage and Scotty is kind of like, he has put his stuff out down in engineering. He has got his little picture of his friends and his gunk on his desk. All his pens are in order.
John Cho: They feel closer. They have been through a lot together at this point and I guess it might mirror us as a cast; we got to know one another a little better so it was easy coming back.
Simon Pegg: I think there is definitely a parallel there. We first met as a group on the first film. On this one, it was like coming back after a long summer break. It was a reunion.
Bonding on the set
EDGE: While on the set, what are the opportunities for you guys to bond?
Simon Pegg: We play racquetball. There is a racquetball court. We played a lot of ’Words with Friends.’
John Cho: We wrestle. With canola oil.
Simon Pegg: Mixed martial arts.
EDGE: Who is best in ’Words with Friends?’
Simon Pegg: I am probably the best in the world! That was a no brainer over the rest of you.
John Cho: No, there was a girl named Aisha.
Simon Pegg: I beat Aisha once.
John Cho: Really?
Simon Pegg: Then she stopped playing with me. A sore loser. She is one of our crew. That is another thing about getting back together. We had exactly the same crew in terms of supporting artists. As you know, the Enterprise bridge has a lot of personnel. It felt like we never went away. It was kind of odd. It was like four years never happened.
John Cho: We literally just continued conversations that were put on pause.
Simon Pegg: We were talking about something, weren’t we? At the end of the last film, and then we just picked up the same conversation. It was about personal hygiene probably. You know this one... (looks at John)
John Cho: (laughs)
EDGE: Your characters provide some comic relief for the movie. How do you see this as being important for the tone of the film?
Simon Pegg: I think ’Star Trek Into Darkness,’ the ’darkness’ here is not kind of a misplaced sense of seriousness. The "darkness," I think, is really about Kirk’s confusion about how to be a captain. He is in the dark for a lot, does not know what to do. So it is a bit of a misnomer in a way because the film still light. It is still very entertaining and fun. I think it is important to punctuate action of this intensity, because it does get your heart rate going. You need a little bit of humor now and again to stop you from getting an attack.
John Cho: I think it is realistic too. People in moments of crisis have to relieve the tension somehow. I do that, with a joke, often misplaced.
The next generation
EDGE: How do you see your characters will evolve over the next few films?
Simon Pegg: I will get fatter. (John laughs) I am going to grow a moustache. What about you, John? (laughs)
John Cho: Sexier. I think the sexy quotient goes way up.
Simon Pegg: Impossible!
EDGE: This is JJ Abrams’ last Star Trek movie for now. What are you thoughts when you hear about this?
Simon Pegg: There is no way that JJ will not be involved in the next film or the next series of films, even if he is off directing the other Star film (Star Wars series), he will not leave sight of this film because it means a lot to him.
John Cho: I think so. I would agree with that. I do not see him abandoning us. If he does not direct, he would choose someone who is just right.
Simon Pegg: Yes, me.
Star Trek Into Darkness is in theaters.