Sundance 2008

Chris Pine on Playing Captain Kirk

We caught up with the actor at Sundance, where he talked about his movie with Alan Rickman and that little sci-fi project he's doing, ''Star Trek''

Chris Pine | CHRIS PINE ''I think the biggest mistake I could ever do would be to try to re-create what Mr. Shatner did.''
Image credit: Andrew Marks/Retna
CHRIS PINE ''I think the biggest mistake I could ever do would be to try to re-create what Mr. Shatner did.''

In the based-on-a-true story Sundance movie Bottle Shock, Chris Pine stars opposite Bill Pullman as one half of a California wine-making duo whose ''perfect'' Chardonnay impressed the merde out of the French at a 1976 blind tasting. The day after the film's premiere, we cornered young Mr. Pine in the EW photo lounge to chat about his first Sundance experience, as well as some other movie he's in whose title rhymes with ''Far Schmeck.''

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Are you enjoying Sundance?
CHRIS PINE: I'm only here for a very short time, so I'm going to cram in as much fun as possible. I have to hop on a plane tonight and go back home, unfortunately.

Because you're shooting some small movie, right?
Yes, it's a small independent back in Los Angeles. It's kind of like Star Wars and Spaceballs combined. I think they're calling it Star Trek. It's going very well. We're having a lot of fun. It comes out later this year, sometime near Christmastime. I think people will really enjoy it.

You wear a wig in your Sundance movie. Do you wear a wig as Captain Kirk?
Uh, I do not wear a wig in Star Trek like I did in Bottle Shock, thank God. Bottle Shock will be the last wig movie I ever do.

It's a pretty funny wig. I have to say, it reminded me of Garth's.
Well, I don't know whether to thank you or not. I definitely don't think that's a compliment.

No, it was fun. It didn't take away from your performance, which I enjoyed.
That's good.

Well, I have to ask you about Star Trek, even though I know you're not going to tell me anything.
Not a thing.

Are you feeling any pressure to evoke William Shatner?
I actually feel the exact opposite. I think the biggest mistake I could ever do would be to try to re-create what Mr. Shatner did. There are certain qualities that Kirk has that are vital for someone who is a leader of men. And those qualities, I definitely wanted to take from what Mr. Shatner did in the original series. But my job is to take something new, to take that and build upon it, really do my own thing. I just feel no pressure when it comes to that.

Is the pressure coming more from the fanboys and their off-the-charts expectations?
Yeah, sure, the Internet is not my friend in this case. Best to stay away. I can understand, I don't have that many credits and people are very worried that their Kirk is going to be destroyed. But I can only say that we're having a great time. J.J. [Abrams, the director] has been wonderful and the cast is phenomenal. I think what we're doing is very special.

Have you talked with Shatner?
I have not talked to Shatner. I wrote him a letter early on in the process and corresponded that way. I got a letter back from him, which is very nice. And I've met Mr. Nimoy a couple of times. He's been on set and we have a couple of scenes in the film, which will be nice, and I'm excited for those.

Okay, so back to Bottle Shock. How was it, working with heavyweights like Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman?
Pretty great. I mean, you said it: Heavyweights is right. The chance to work with Bill and Alan, two actors that I admired growing up, was a great privilege. Especially to work as closely as I did with Bill, I was very fortunate. We just clicked immediately. He reminds me a lot of my own father.

You play Bo Barrett. Did you talk to the real Bo much when you were preparing?
I did — I got a chance to sit down with him in the beginning of the experience. Much like what I'm doing with Kirk, where you're carrying on a tradition of someone who's already portrayed the character, you're trying to get the essence of the person, but infuse it with what you have. Bo is a very unique personality. So it was very helpful to sit down with him to learn about the nuances of wine-making and his character. The rest I just kind of filled in. And the rest is just movie magic.

Originally posted Jan 21, 2008
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