We Talked to 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Stars Simon Pegg & Alice Eve and They Freaking Rule
(Paramount)Simon Pegg and Alice Eve are old friends who, as Alice explained, can't do interviews together anymore (Simon's too funny). So we had to interview them separately about their new film, Star Trek Into Darkness. They're much different people. Simon's a sci-fi junkie and Alice has never read a comic book besides Archie, but they each talked about having an amazing experience making the big budget J.J. Abrams sequel (shocking, we know).
The two British stars were excited to discuss the film and we know why. It's a spectacular sight that trumps the 2009 reboot in many ways and does what every good sequel should do: It advances the storyline while staying ahead of the curve technically. We talked to both actors about how hard it was to keep Star Trek's secrets in these months leading up to the premiere. We asked Pegg about his favorite sci-fi villains, and questioned Eve about her new career direction (she's now done two huge sci-fi sequels including Men in Black III), but, alas, she still prefers Sex and the City. Check out the full interviews below, starting with Pegg.
Zimbio: I know the significance of appearing in these films isn't lost on you. What's the best part of appearing in Star Trek?
Simon Pegg: God, there are so many things that are good about being in Star Trek. I mean, not least because it's something I've known my entire adult life and most of my childhood as well. So the significance of it, as you say, is not lost on me at all. It's great. I love working with J.J. Abrams. He's a friend and someone I love collaborating with because he's kind of a whirlwind of creative energy. It's infectious being around him. Everybody tends to get swept along which is always fun. It's an amazing cast. It's a really fun group of people to hang out with. There isn't much or anything about this job that isn't great.
A big thing with Abrams is keeping the script tight and not letting anything leak out. Did you find that a challenge?
No, I relish that because I make films as well and I totally concur with his modus operandi when it comes to secrecy because it's all about looking after the audience really. It's not about being coy or mean, you're just trying to look after the experience of the audience. If they walk into the movie theater with the answers then they've been anesthetized to the effect of the film and that's just a disappointment. So it bugs the absolute crap out of me when people want to know before they see it. It's like, "Why? You're an idiot." (Laughs).
What do you think Abrams would do to you if you let something slip out?
He'd just be disappointed and that's worse than being punched in the face by a 6'10" man. J.J. would be disappointed in you? No thanks. He's one of those people whom you just want his love. (Laughs).
I'm a big sci-fi/fantasy villain guy. Can you just talk about some of your favorite villains from sci-fi/fantasy in the past?
Yeah the villains are always fascinating characters especially when they have depth. I think one of my favorite Darth Vader moments is in Return of the Jedi when he meets Luke on Endor and Luke tries to say there's good in you and stuff and he's like, "No there isn't." Luke gets taken off and it just stays on Vader looking out the window and you can see this turmoil of emotion going on and it's just this guy in a suit with a mask on. You can't even see his face, yet, somehow, that communicates massive complexity.
All good villains have that complexity. They're not just evil. In some respects, I prefer John Harrison, Benedict's (Cumberbatch) character in this film a little bit to Nero (from 2009's Star Trek) because Nero is driven by a sort of simplistic rage, almost like a childish petulance. Whereas John Harrison has morality. There's morality to what he does. He's like, I think, the specter of the modern terrorist really. When people are starting to ask why these people do what they do. They're not just evil or stupid, they have a reason. They don't like us for some reason and that has to be something. Similarly, going back to other villains in other things—I love Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor in the original Superman. That was a brilliant character...
Right... Terence Stamp... (from Superman II)
Terence Stamp's Zod, absolutely. Fabulous. It's interesting that they've (the new Man of Steel producers/writers) seemingly separated themselves so much from Richard Donner (and) Richard Lester's Superman II and are still drawing on it. It shows how powerful that film was.
Zimbio: You do some heavy screaming in the movie, and I wondered if this was the most intense filmmaking experience you've had?
Alice Eve: Oh, without a doubt. Especially because you make the movie and somebody else comes in, another team of people come in and add all that stuff you see: the 3D, the special effects, and the edit. So it kind of doubled in intensity when you watch it back because you're not just watching the experience you had, but another kind of three to five month post-production experience that's kind of laid on top. So in all ways it was a very intense experience.
You've done Men in Black 3 and Star Trek 2, is sci-fi going to be your new thing?
I was very lucky to be welcomed into the world of sci-fi. It's a futuristic, kind of weird place to be, but I'm very happy to be there. It's very male the world of sci-fi. I have two brothers and they're into it, but I like Sex and the City.
You were great in that too.
So, growing up sci-fi wasn't big for you at all? You didn't read comics?
No, well, I read the Archie comics, but that's not sci-fi is it?
No, but that counts as comics. I read the Archies.
I collected them. I had a little collection of Archie comics. They gave me a lot of pleasure. They were like my favorite thing for while.
Really? So were you Betty or Veronica?
I wasn't Veronica, I was Betty.
Yeah the blonde right?
Yeah. Veronica had the Spock haircut.
On Star Trek there was a little fraternity of British actors. Was there a friendly rivalry with the Americans on set?
We didn't divide that way. I think we divided into funny and serious and maybe girls and boys. Definitely Simon, John Cho, and J.J. had a little back and forth and Zach (Quinto) kind of floated, but it wasn't like a nationality divided us, no.
So who was the cut up on set? Simon?
I mean he's got funny bones. He can't help being funny. I actually can't do interviews with him because I can't get through them. That's actually true (laughs).
J.J. Abrams is well-known for keeping a tight ship on all his productions. Was it a challenge for you to keep secrets?
"Loose lips sink ships." I'm actually going to tell that to J.J. That's a really good one because we're on the ship. But yeah he's definitely of that school. I think it's good to preserve some innocence for the audience so there's an experience waiting for them rather than like, "I know what's happening in this movie, but I'll go and see it anyway."
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the villain in Star Trek. Was he a scary dude to hang out with?
No, he's not a scary dude to hang out with at all, but maybe on set he took on a heavy vibe, not off set or at the end of the day. If we'd go out to dinner he'd be normal, but maybe on set he kept it a little close to his chest, yeah.
So he didn't go method out at dinner?
(Laughs) No he didn't go method, no, no, no.