What's New July 2011
Voices/Remembering Mark Lenard
On Twitter Leonard Nimoy wrote "And...Mark Lenard.."Dad" in memory LLAP". Mark Lenard remembers working with Mr. Nimoy as a director and a conversation with Jane Wyatt about "sonny" in this Starlog interview.
"You always need directing," Lenard asserts. "A director is sometimes called the Third Eye, another eye looking at you, and every actor needs that."
"Leonard certainly didn't have to tell me about the role. In Star Trek III, he didn't say anything at all. I thought I would be starting my scenes with something simple, but I started where Sarek comes to Kirk's place and performs the mindmeld. The only things Leonard said were during that mindmeld. When they were doing a close-up of Bill Shatner's eye, Leonard stopped. It had been going very well. Bill is very good to work with and play off of; He gets down to business and works very hard, which is fun. But Leonard stopped us because I had my finger pulling away the skin from the eye and you just saw the white of Bill's eye.
"Then, the other time, he did say, 'Speak my lines - the ones about the needs of the many - once, the ways Spock said it in Star Trek II.' I did it one time as if it were Leonard's voice coming out of me, low and throaty. It was an interesting idea. We did it three or four different ways."
"One good thing about Leonard Nimoy, after every take he would say, 'Good. That was good. Once more.' He was always encouraging, and actors need that. They're Particularly sensitive and vulnerable beings. No matter how good they feel they are, you get some little jerk out there who says, 'I didn't like it.' You begin to wonder. It doesn't take much.
"When Leonard and I did our scene together in Star Trek IV - we play well together - we did the master shot and people applauded and it went very well. Then we started doing close-ups. That got a little tricky. We got to Leonard's close-up and he was wearing two different shoes - actor and director. When the concentration wavers, it doesn't feel as good as it should, and in the middle there, he says something, then finishes and announces, 'Cut, let's pick up.' The pick-up is when Spock says, 'They are my friends.' He said it in a way that was uncharacteristic of Spock so he redid it and censored himself, directed himself and did it in a way that was more in keeping with Spock."
Sometime after we finished shooting the movie [ST IV], I was at the airport and who should I run into but Jane Wyatt. She said, 'Hi Dad!' Leonard Nimoy greets me as 'Pop' - I'm becoming everyone's father. Anyway, she said, ''What did you think of sonny boy? She asked me that question because in her scene with him, she thought his eyes were darting around a little bit when the camera was on her. It was a little distracting. When the camera was on Leonard for his close-ups, he was very concentrated. I said, 'All things considered, it went very well.''
"I asked Leonard how it felt keeping the two jobs separate. he said, 'Before the camera rolls, I am the director and taking charge of production. When I step in front of the camera, there's Dad and we work.' He is blessed for having such a good concentration."
"We had a reading of the script at Leonard's house. In the last scene, there is the meeting with T'Lar to perform the ancient ritual of Fal-tor-pan. T'Lar says to Sarek that this is not logical. In the original script, Sarek says, 'Forgive me, T'Lar. My logic fails me where my son is concerned.'
'Bill Shatner thought that line was not consistent with Vulcan philosophy, and I agreed with him. Harve Bennett, who wrote it, and Leonard Nimoy thought it was fine. We had this discussion where it was Harve and Leonard against Bill and me. Leonard said, 'I do know a little something about the Vulcans.' I said, 'Yes, but who taught you everything you know?'
"Harve, who is the great compromiser, came up with, 'My logic is uncertain where my son is concerned.' Both Bill and I could live with that, so that's what we shot."
Source: Starlog Yearbook Vol. 8, 1991.
Some Vulcan "family" pictures are here.
Voices/Remembering Jane Wyatt
As she tells us in this Starlog interview, she only did a handful of conventions ever and also remarks on her cameo in Star Trek IV.
Of course, the TV guest shot for which she's most frequently remembered was as Amanda, wife of Vulcan ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard) and mother to Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in the classic Star Trek episode "Journey to Babel." "My agent called up and said. 'Do you want to be on Star Trek and I said, 'What is it?' I had a look and they sent a script, and I thought it would be fun. I went there the first time thinking. 'Well. we'll all have a good laugh over this,' but not at all. Everybody in makeup, having their ears put on and everything else, was so serious. That's what made it so good—they were dead serious."
Although that serious attitude was maintained on the set, Wyatt enjoyed the Star Trek experience and liked working with other members of the cast. "Oh, it was great fun. Mark Lenard [Sarek] was very good—I see he's in the new TV series [The Next Generation], he's now over 200 years old, but they've killed Amanda off - she was human. Mark is so good looking when he gets his Star Trek clothes on, and his ears are so good! And I think my 'son' [Nimoy] is better looking with his ears, too—I think all men ought to wear pointed ears, they're very becoming. aren't they?"
Wyatt is no Trek fan: She hasn't seen "Journey to Babel" since it was first aired, she couldn't tell you the first thing about the current state of Vulcan-Klingon race relations, and she didn't even know that her name was Amanda in the show until fans started yelling it at her at a Trek convention. "No. I'm no Trekker, but I have a grandson who is, so if I ever have any doubt about anything I call him up and he tells me over the phone."
She enjoyed working with series regulars Nimoy and William Shatner. "Shatner, I had seen in New York in several plays, and he was a very nice, light comedian, and very good. I don't know how good he is now in it, but he was a very good actor on the stage and he had been trained in classical things. He did light comedy very well—it was the time of the drawing room comedy, and he was really entertaining. I had great fun with him on the set. My 'son'—he was more dour. I've gotten to know Leonard since then and like him very much, but at that time, he didn't really talk much. He was always busy on the telephone with a new deal!"
Wyatt reprised her role in 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. "[Producer] Harve Bennett called me up to ask me to do Star Trek IV—they called it a cameo and I called it a bit, but never mind. I said, 'Oh, I would love to.' But then, it turned out they wanted me to do it at the time that I was going with my husband fishing at Christmas Island in the Pacific, and I said. 'I'm sorry, I couldn't.' Harve said, 'Oh, no, no, we can rearrange it'—which they did. And when I walked on the set after coming back from Christmas Island, Harve Bennett wasn't there, but I had a telegram from him that said, 'Welcome Home, Mommie Dearest!'"
Her cameo in Star Trek IV reunited Wyatt with Nimoy, who was directing the film as well as co-starring. "I liked Leonard very much on that, he was an extremely good director and I thought the picture was good. But I don't really like acting with somebody who's also directing, because you're talking to them and in your close-up, he's looking to make sure the lights are all right, etc., and he's not concentrated. When he did his close
shots, he did it with so much more intensity; if I had known he was going to do it like that, I would have done mine a little differently. But he was thinking about other things. I think that's always true if you're directing and acting in the darn thing, unless you have a stand-in who acts for you." Wyatt worked only two days on Star Trek IV: the first day on the scene in which Amanda is reunited with Spock and the second, a silent shot of Amanda and Saavik (Robin Curtis) waving goodbye as the Enterprise crew heads back toward Earth.
More recently, Wyatt has attended a pair of Star Trek conventions; not being a Trek buff, one has to wonder if she really enjoyed the offbeat experience. "Not very much," she smiles apologetically. "I did them because the young fellow who runs these things was so nice on the telephone. I've only been associated with Star Trek twice and I honestly don't understand what's going on! Leonard was with me at one out here, and when we stood up together, the place went wild, absolutely wild. He has a whole script—he reads his script and he reads his poems, and he has a whole routine that has been written for him to do. I just get out there and the fans ask these questions and so forth. The question they asked me in New York really threw me for a loop: 'What is it like making love to a Vulcan?' Oh, I just didn't know what I was going to say, and then suddenly, I heard myself answering, 'Well, I'm not the kind of girl that kisses and tells!' They know everything, those people! The convention was jam-packed, it was really extraordinary! But I doubt that I would ever do another one."
Source: Starlog Yearbook Vol. 8, 1991.
Snapshot of Leonard Nimoy by Tim Boxer at 15 Minutes Magazine.
THE sexy sixties, swinging seventies and dissipated eighties brought the glamorous superstars of Hollywood and Vine to Babylon by the Hudson. Tim Boxer was on the scene to interview and photograph the icons of an era of sex, drugs and rock and roll. As assistant and ghostwriter to fabled New York Post gossip columnist Earl Wilson, Tim covered the glitterati at film premieres, Broadway opening nights and a sophisticated nightclub landscape that is now history.
Tim was armed with a notebook and two cameras. With his Nikon he photographed the major showbiz names, which were published in Time, Newsweek, People, Life, and books and magazines around the globe. He captured Mafioso Joe Gallo cutting his wedding cake, a world exclusive shot that appeared on the front page of The New York Times, New York Post and Daily News—on the same day!
With a Polaroid he made instant candids of celebrities. And all readily signed their one-of-a-kind portraits.
Leonard Nimoy: Betrayed By Those He Worshipped (Nov. 1968). While I'm filing this concoction under "Interviews", it reads more like someone took a quote or two from other magazines and constructed a tale around them, using well known and publicized bits of data about Mr. Nimoy at that time period. Below are the two passages that might have been taken from real conversations.
Voices/Remembering DeForest Kelley
Mr. Nimoy certainly acted on his principles carrying weight as a producer on Star Trek VI when he made sure DeForest Kelley didn't need to worry about financial security once their era was over with the last film starring the original crew.
Certainly, the actors had not reaped the huge rewards that the franchise and Paramount did. Kelley fully supported Shatner five years before, when he kicked until he was paid $1 million for Star Trek IV. For V Kelley himself dug in and insisted on some recognition of his value. What a minuscule percentage that was, considering the benefits his labors returned. For Star Trek VI, Kelley gleefully rhymed, "For I never thought that I'd see the day—When Spock would control my movie pay—Even so, I'll never get rich—Because of that green-blooded son of a bitch!" Really, with Nimoy as executive producer on Star Trek VI, it was agreed in 1990 that Kelley was to be paid $1 million, a stunning amount of money for two elderly folks on Greenleaf. Under Nimoy's reign, Kelley was assured a comfortable old age come hell or high water.
Source: From Sawdust to Stardust. The Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek's Dr. McCoy. Terry Lee Rioux. Pocket Books, 2005, p. 297-298.
Mr. Nimoy also remembered DeForest Kelley in a recent tweet in the wake of announcing the last conventions he is going to do. "De Kelley. Another steadfast friend. Warmly remembered in our hearts. LLAP"
Leonard Nimoy lauds DeForest Kelley when he gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1991).
Star Trek IV Delayed by William Shatner's Salary Demands
WITHER STAR TREK IV?
As reported in Daily Variety, preproduction on Star Trek IV has been halted in the wake of William Shatner's two million dollar salary demand for doing the film. Leonard Nimoy, who had been signed as director, was already on the lot working on the film, but upon Shatner's salary demand, Leonard's office was closed and he was moved off the lot. Leonard Nimoy's contract stipulates that his acting fee on the film will be the same as whatever William Shatner receives. Negotiations are reportedly underway even if the film isn't.
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock had grossed 75 million dollars by Summer's end, making it the fourth largest grossing Summer release.
Source: Enterprise Incidents, January 1985
Eye on Emmy: How Fringe's Anna Torv Finds the Reality Amid the Unreal. Anna Torv about the third season of Fringe.
TVLINE | This season, you played Olivia, “Bolivia,” Bolivia-as-Olivia, and Olivia as… Leonard Nimoy. How did that work out for you?
This season was my favorite so far. You do a show, and there are things you do every episode – like, we always have a crime scene – so to all of a sudden throw it in the air and be given the chance to play a whole lot of different stuff is fun.
TVLINE | Talk about how you worked with John Noble to nail down what was basically an impersonation of an in absentia Leonard Nimoy.
I was not excited when that script came out. I was fearful. So what do you do? You call the people that are much better than you and say, “Help!” [Laughs] John had worked with Leonard, plus I was so, so nervous, I wanted to make sure that when I went to set to do it for the first time there was at least one person that I could look at who I had done it with before and trusted. It offered an element of comfort.
TVLINE | Did you ever get a note from Mr. Nimoy?
I did! I got an email saying, “I’ve been hearing good things about your impersonation of me.” I wrote back, “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry. Why they didn’t give it to Josh [Jackson] or John, I don’t know.” He was so darling, he wrote back, “It wouldn’t have been as charming.”
In a piece about the upcoming movie Cowboys and Aliens The Wall Street Journal takes a look at "Hollywood Frontiers: Outer Space and the Wild West" in which they cite Star Trek, and of course Firefly, as being heavily influenced by Western concepts.
Hollywood Frontiers: Outer Space and the Wild West
On TV, Westerns had a similar rise and fall and eventual blast into space. In 1959, the three networks had 30 Westerns on their weekly schedule. When Gene Roddenberry pitched the idea for "Star Trek" to TV executives in 1964, he helped them understand by calling it "'Wagon Train' to the stars." The series "Wagon Train" featured a group of post-Civil War settlers headed west, encountering new dangers (and guest stars) in each episode.
"It's all about frontier, isn't it?" recalls actor Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on "Star Trek." "The westerns were about that frontier, and our show was about the final frontier."
Virtually all of Star Trek's creators and actors had worked in TV westerns. Mr. Roddenberry wrote for "Have Gun Will Travel." Mr. Nimoy had worked on "Rawhide," "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza"—most of the time playing Indians.
"Naturally when I got into science-fiction, I had to play an alien," says Mr. Nimoy, who grew up Jewish in mostly Catholic Boston: "I felt like the other."
In one "Trek" episode, the crew is transported to Tombstone, Ariz., on Oct. 26, 1881 for a reenactment of the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral. But Mr. Nimoy recalls a different episode that he believes was key in the Space-Western continuum: "The Enemy Within," in which Kirk's character is split into two people, a good guy and a bad guy.
"The writers had written 'Spock comes up behind the bad guy and hits him over the head with the butt of his phaser.' I said 'I don't think so. I think that would be appropriate in "Gunsmoke."' And that's when I created this neck pinch that would knock him out just by pinching him with my fingers. That's a metaphor right there for the crossover from western to science fiction."
Leonard Nimoy Announces Retirement from Convention Circuit
In an official statement from Creation Conventions published at Trek Movie they say that Mr. Nimoy's appearance in Las Vegas and Chicago will be his last for them. Sandwiched in between those he has one more con scheduled at Dragon Con at the beginning of September. (See also Twitter.) Edit: he later cancelled Dragon Con.
Robin Curtis - ST III
When Robin first auditioned for the movie, she had no idea what was in store for her. In fact, she didn't even know she was being considered for the role of Saavik.
"I went out an an audition — and I did many at that time — for the casting people at Paramount. And, lo and behold, it seems that meeting went so well they felt I ought to meet Leonard Nimoy. I went back to Paramount and I had a lovely one-on-one meeting with Leonard, which is a rare thing.
"It was very relaxed. Normally these kind of meetings are very pressured and tense, and anxiety-ridden, and you feel like your whole life is riding an whatever you do or say. This was quite the opposite; it was very warm, and Leonard was an easy person to talk to. He suggested that we read a little bit from the script, and that went well. At that point, he shook my hand and said he didn't have any doubt I could play the part, but now it was up to the big machinery It was one of those meetings where someone gave you a nod as you were going, versus how you normally leave, which is not knowing how the heck you did or what impression you made."
"I think what was loveliest about all of that was that no one made me feel like I was filling her [[Kirsty Alley's]] shoes. No one, not any of the actors, not Harve Bennett [producer], not Nimoy, no one. The perspective at the time was that this was the beginning; this was new and fresh, and Saavik was starting all over again. That was really lovely and very generous of them, and I think it was a very smart choice to make. I don't know that any actor is going to do half as well trying to repeat what someone else has done, rather than starting on their own and seeing what kind of stab they take at it."
Robin feels that this new beginning was particularly appropriate because STAR TREK III was being directed by Leonard Nimoy himself, the world expert on Vulcans. It was clear to her that he had very strong ideas about the character, and that accordingly this Saavik would be subtly different to the one portrayed in the previous film.
"It seems to me that Leonard had a much stricter, Vulcan view of the character. He guided me very carefully, very cautiously, almost to the minutiae of where I breathed; and any kind of emotion that was inflected was immediately excised. He was pretty determined that it was to be a Vulcan portrayal, which was fine with me. I thought, `Who better to guide me?'
Robin was signed up to play Saavik in several movies, but in the end she only appeared in STAR TREK III and IV.
"I had no previous knowledge of STAR TREK; certainly not to the extent that I was even remotely equipped to teLl him what I thought Saavik ought to be doing. I just put myself in his hands. I like to think of myself as a blank sheet of paper upon which he wrote. That was my goal. I don't know that I achieved that necessarily, but that's what I was trying desperately to do."
John Schuck - ST III
Partly thanks to his ex-wife, a friend of Leonard Nimoy's, Schuck was called in to read for the part of the Klingon Ambassador. "Leonard Nimoy took the interview with me, and the first thing he said when I walked into the office was, 'I don't think this is going to work.' That always makes one feel very much at ease. When I asked him why not, he said it was because I was too young.
"I said, 'Well, I played Daddy Warbucks in Annie on Broadway without anything except straight makeup, and he was in his 60s and I was 39 at the time.' I happened to notice a drawing on the desk. 'That's a beautiful rendering,' I said. 'Who did it?' He said it was Bob Fletcher, the costume designer."
Schuck grins broadly, something the good-natured actor does often. "I told him I had worked with Fletcher at ACT, and asked to see it. Leonard said that it was, in fact, the part I was up for. Bob had shown an awful lot of facial hair; the Ambassador had a beard that was white with grey. My immediate response was, 'Leonard, my sixyear-old boy could get dressed up in this and look the right age. I would really like to try it.' I ended up reading—and I ended up getting the part. Now that was very, very nice."
"I used a very vocal approach to the Ambassador, and felt that I did do him as a very stentorian orator, extremely skilled andshrewd in how he chose his words, and he loved doing it. There was that sense of being on stage about the character," says Schuck. "I don't know whether I took the scene—I wasn't trying to—but I certainly felt that I commanded attention as someone of stature, and that was primarily all I wanted to do for that small amount of time. And Leonard went along with all that. As a director, he was very, very supportive.
Source: Starlog January 1989
Mr. Nimoy twittered a link to this article on Screened "Mr. Spock, Space Wizard. An exploration of how the concept of the wizard translates into science fiction television and films with your friend Mr. Spock from Star Trek."
Pioneers of Television
The PBS documentary Pioneers of Television is nominated for an Emmy and producers Mike Trinklein and Steve Boettcher talk about how becoming a well known entity in the entertainment industry heped them getting the interviews they wanted.
"Networks are actually coming up to us and asking what we're working on," said Boettcher.
And such notoriety helps them get into the door when seeking interviews. When they started producing "Pioneers," they had a lot of rejections, said Trinklein.
"But now that the show is a brand and we're becoming known in Hollywood, a lot more doors are opening," he said. "For instance, this time around, Leonard Nimoy told us to come over to his house. We were sort of wandering around Leonard Nimoy's house!
"It was fascinating, and I use that word measuredly because it's his favorite word. I expected him to be polite but direct. But he was so chatty I thought he'd invite us for dinner."
Mr. Nimoy is writing poetry again and has created a domain for that purpose. Read Irish Eyes at www.leonardnimoypoetry.com.
Leonard Nimoy - Memories of a Boston Boy. In May Mr. Nimoy spoke at Boston University and in a video for the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center he "reflects on his childhood growing up in the West End of Boston."
In a recent interview for MTV director Michael Bay talked a bit about how he got Leonard Nimoy to voice the character of Sentinel Prime and some of the Star Trek references in the movie he attributes to script writer Ehren Kruger. (Found by Grace.)
"He's actually related to me. He married Susan Bay [the director's cousin]," Bay said. "I was scared to ask him to voice. I saw him at Thanksgiving, and my mom was like, 'Ask him! Ask him!' I'm like, 'No, Mom, no!' "
1. When Sam (Shia LaBeouf) meets girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) at work and is introduced to her boss, Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey), he marvels at their workplace: "It's a beautiful building you guys have. Like the Starship Enterprise in here."
2. Refugee robots Brains and Wheelie, who are hiding out in Carly and Sam's apartment, watch an episode of "Trek," during which one of them says, "Hey, I like this episode. It's the one where Spock turns evil" — which also provides for a nice bit of tongue-in-cheek foreshadowing.
3. At one point, Sentinel Prime defends certain motivations with a fun little reverse quote of Spock's wise words to Captain Kirk in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." "Dark of the Moon" quote: "The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many." Original: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."