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Feature: Star Trek: Nemesis

Stewart’s Inquiries

Happy days are here again?

Has Star Trek met its Nemesis with its latest, tenth, film?

It’s over 15 years since Patrick Stewart took on the mantel of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise in what was considered by some a risk venture, the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. But so successful was the series that it helped launch three other Star Trek programmes and brilliantly took over the movie franchise when the crew from the original series finally bowed out. Now back with Nemesis, Stewart returns to Star Trek, expecting the latest adventure to be the biggest yet.

Much has been made of the fact that John Logan, the Oscar-nominated co-writer of Gladiator, was brought on board to tap out the Nemesis script, which Stewart has gone on record as saying is “terrific”.

“I was not as involved as closely in the writing process as I was on the previous two movies,” he adds. “Of course, I did spend a lot of time talking to John Logan about Jean-Luc’s story-line and the kinds of things John was looking to do with the character. I was just looking for freshness, more than anything, and, if possible, somebody who would be able to take Picard seriously and, at the same time, permit him to have some fun. What we ended up with I was very pleased with.”

Director Stuart Baird is best known as an editor, but had directed Executive Decision and the admittedly coolly received US Marshals before assuming the director’s chair for Nemesis. The question to ask is, considering that the new director is an outsider, how much pushing and pulling was there as the cast has played these characters for over a decade and a half?

“Stuart did come from completely outside the franchise,” Patrick says, “whereas John [Logan] was at least a fan. Stuart, I suspect, knew nothing about [the TV series] The Next Generation. That meant that his approach to it was not in any sense reverent… he wanted to make the best action movie he could with these existing characters. Unlike any of the other directors we’ve had on the films, Stuart was not familiar with some of the details of Star Trek. So, from time to time he would ask for something or want something that couldn’t be given because of the personality a character had or for technological reasons. But those instances were few and far between.”

The buzz is that this movie almost didn’t happen over matters of money, that several of the other cast members were offended by the offers made by Paramount and that Stewart nearly walked away from the table.

“That’s entirely true,” he says bluntly. “I’ve never made a secret about it. Yes, indeed. I think [the film coming together] is partly a result of the cast’s dedication to this script as it was developing and to Rick [Berman, executive producer] and John Logan and Stuart Baird and [Paramount’s] willingness to be flexible in negotiating this. But, at times, it was extremely unpleasant. And that was disappointing after 15 or 16 years.”

by Ian Spelling

Read more about Nemesis in
Film Review (Jan)

Photo © Ian Spelling
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Film Review (Jan), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Jan)
#626, January 2003
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