It’s safe to say that director J.J. Abrams’ sequel Star Trek Into Darkness is one of the most highly anticipated films of the coming year, and fans have been eager to learn more about the project essentially ever since it was officially announced. Despite Abrams’ secretive nature, we’ve seen a bounty of Into Darkness goodies over the past month or so, and just recently we got a look at the Star Trek covers for Empire Magazine. Now some excerpts from the magazine’s cover story have been released online, providing some tidbits about the film via a lively interview with Trek newcomers Benedict Cumberbatch and Alice Eve. Hit the jump to see what kind of details they spilled.
For those unaware, Cumberbatch plays the villain in the film, a character by the name of John Harrison. Yes, the name is likely a red herring, and given the back-and-forth over the past two years I’m inclined to believe that we’ll be debating whether or not the villain is Khan right up until the film’s release. Eve plays a Trek canon character, Carol Marcus. The character had a romantic relationship with Kirk in Wrath of Khan, but it’s unknown how she’ll be used in Into Darkness.
During an interview with Empire, Cumberbatch and Eve spoke about the film in relation to a couple of a new images and screengrabs from the trailer. With regards to a shot of Chris Pine’s Kirk, the actors seemed to hint that Into Darkness is very much Kirk’s story:
Cumberbatch: The boy – sorry, the man – was so tired carrying that film, I’ve got to say. He’s brilliant in it, I’m really excited to see his performance.
Eve: A lot of us in the film, especially Spock and Bones, serve as Kirk’s alter egos of logic and morality, but I do think in this film, after winning the captaincy in the previous movie, we see him earn it… spiritually, really, and sort of philosophically. Other ways than the practical earning of it.
Cumberbatch: It’s like he’s the son in the first and the father in the second, almost, don’t you think? Not as an actual father, though, that’s not a storyline at all, but I mean that he’s become a father to his crew
When an image appeared online showing Cumberbatch’s villain character seemingly locked up aboard the Enterprise, many fans noted that its similarities to the same plot device of “villain gets captured but it’s all part of the plan” that was used in The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and Skyfall. Cumberbatch admitted that he’s very aware of the comparisons:
Empire: With your character locked up in this way, do you feel that people will naturally draw comparisons to The Avengers, or The Dark Knight, or Skyfall?
Cumberbatch: Yep, all three of those films, and I’m quite worried about it – though they are great films, with great villains – but so what if they do? Not all of those bad guys had Enterprise costumes on, and that’s what matters. But it’s very exciting, that scene, that was a great sequence to film.
Cumberbatch also talked about the danger of trying to appease fans of such a well-loved property:
Cumberbatch: If you have an over preoccupation with perception and trying to please people’s expectations, then you can go mad. We’ve got J.J. Abrams, and he’s already beautifully cracked that nut in the first film, and I think it pleased a lot of the varying camps: people who were coming to the franchise for the first time, the J.J. Abrams fans and the Star Trek fans, so that was a big comfort to me.
It’s always a compact between me and the writers and the directors – the people who are hiring me to do the job – and if I’m making them happy, I can trust that it’ll make fans happy as well… You know, ‘Sherlockies’ – as they’re probably known now, after Trekkies – have a long history. Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone are huge icons, playing a character that’s been taken on by different people over 70 times – you know, it’s the most played fictional character of all time – so having done two series of that and being reasonably confident we’re doing all right with it, and I’m doing all right with him, I’m not… overly confident about this, but I’m just saying it’s something you don’t let preoccupy yourself.
Given the high-profile nature of the film, the role of Carol Marcus was understandably a coveted one. Eve revealed what her audition process was like:
Eve: Mine was actually completely different to Benedict’s – mine happened over a longer period of time, much earlier on in the process. (Turning to Benedict) You were finding out at the end of December 2011, for me it was at the end of September, October I think it was…
All very civilised, really. I met J.J. a couple of times, read for him, met with him, spoke with him, and then he called me up! I was driving when he called and I got shaky, I thought I was going to crash, so had to pull over into this little car park. He kept saying all these things to me in his rather charming way and I didn’t really know what he was getting at, and this went on for, like, 10 minutes before I said, “J.J. I’m so sorry, I just have to clarify, are you offering me the job? Because before I say that I’d lay my life on the line, I will eat real live frogs for you, Sir J.J. Of Abrams, I need to know if I’d be doing it for the benefit of the job…” He goes, “Yep, I’m giving you the job. I think that’s what happening, yes.” So I said, “That’s wonderful, thank you, I’d love to do it!”
Head on over to Empire to read the full interview, which includes tidbits on Simon Pegg’s Mars Bars addiction, working with the rest of the cast, and Cumberbatch’s reaction to seeing the various memes created using the candid cast photos that Pegg and Zachary Quinto shared from a night out in San Francisco. Star Trek Into Darkness opens on May 17th.