Chris Pine: Star Trek Film Franchise “Feels Like It’s Cursed”

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Image: Paramount Pictures

The Star Trek film franchise “feels like it’s cursed.” Chris Pine, who’s best known for his role as James T. Kirk in the new Star Trek movies, made the comment in a new interview with Esquire regarding his acting career, which naturally included the topic of Star Trek but, perhaps, not in the positive light that fans might have expected. Pine seems to think that modern Star Trek movies are taking much too long to get made, and while he’s set to star in a fourth one following 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, he still has no idea what it’s going to be about despite the February 2022 announcement. Other frustrations that the actor brought up is how there’s a pressure for Star Trek films to hit Marvel numbers.

From an Esquire article:

Pine’s first Star Trek came out a year after the first Iron Man; Beyond was released in 2016, after Marvel’s interlocking mega-franchises had moved the goalposts for what constitutes a hit. Beyond’s gross—nearly $344 million globally—was good money, but not Avengers good. “I’m not sure Star Trek was ever built to do that kind of business,” Pine says. “I always thought, Why aren’t we just appealing to this really rabid fan group and making the movie for a good price and going on our merry way, instead of trying to compete with the Marvels of the world?” He’d like to span more years as Kirk but wouldn’t be surprised if Beyond was the end of it. “After the last one came out and didn’t do the $1 billion that everybody wanted it to do, and then Anton”—Yelchin, who played Chekov—“passed away, I don’t know, it just seemed . . .” He pauses, looks out the window at the view Star Trek bought.

He doesn’t finish the thought but a few minutes later suggests that the franchise “feels like it’s cursed”—it shouldn’t be this hard to figure out how to do another Star Trek movie, yet it’s taken six years. Pine and crew’s return to the screen was announced in February 2022; when I speak to producer J. J. Abrams by phone, the search for a director is ongoing. Abrams is elliptical about the film, even by J. J. Abrams standards. “I will say it’s the first time [since the original reboot] that we have a story that feels as compelling as the first one.”

Even this is news to Pine. “I don’t know anything,” he says. Which is apparently pretty standard: “In Star Trek land, the actors are usually the last people to find out anything. I know costume designers that have read scripts before the actors.” Is it weird, I ask, to be the captain and know so little about what you’re signing on to?

“I would say it’s frustrating,” Pine says. “It doesn’t really foster the greatest sense of partnership, but it’s how it’s always been. I love the character. I love the people. I love the franchise. But to try to change the system in which things are created—I just can’t do it. I don’t have the energy.”

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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