One of the weirdest studio projects kicking-around has been the Star Trek movie developed by Quentin Tarantino and screenwriter Mark L. Smith (The Revenant). The project was gestating at the same time as the fourth movie that had S.J. Clarkson attached to direct with the idea that they’d bring back the time-travel element with Chris Hemsworth’s George Kirk teaming-up with his son James played by Chris Pine.
Due to contract talks breaking down the project eventually fell apart and S.J. Clarkson decided to direct the new Game of Thrones prequel pilot titled Bloodmoon for HBO, the fourth film seemingly stuck in limbo.
With Quentin now on the press tour for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, he has been talking about the project in more detail, recently suggesting if he ended up directing it that it could end up becoming his final feature film.
Speaking with Deadline, Quentin gives more insight into his connections to the original series/franchise along with some of the reasoning behind the R-rating.
TARANTINO: “I’m a big fan of the show Star Trek. I really like it a lot, but my portal into that show is William Shatner. I love William Shatner on Star Trek. I love his performance as James T. Kirk. That is my connection. That is my umbilical cord. It’s why I like Star Trek more than Star Wars because William Shatner’s not in Star Wars. I think it’s one of the greatest performances in the history of episodic television, of a series lead, and rightly so, because very few series leads have ever gotten the opportunity to play all the different wild, crazy things. ‘The Enemy Within’ alone…”
Quentin also reveals why he’s really into the cast that JJ Abrams put together, which might tease that he could end up using the current cast in his project.
TARANTINO: “So, that’s why I actually really was so taken with JJ Abrams’ first reboot and how fantastic I thought Chris Pine channeled William Shatner. He didn’t go a serious actor-y way. He said, well no, I’m going to do my own thing. He’s playing the William Shatner version of Kirk and he’s doing a fantastic job at it. I mean perfect, frankly. And [Zachary] Quinto is perfect as Spock. Those two guys, they fucking got it.”
One of the biggest talking points about the upcoming Trek film from Tarantino would be that it would move past the franchise’s normal PG/PG-13 rating heading towards an R-rating. Quentin explains a bit about the reasoning behind that and why he’s not considering going with a studio friendly PG-13.
TARANTINO: “I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal but if I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it my way. If you’ve seen my nine movies, you kind of know my way is an R-rated way and a way that is without certain restrictions. So that goes part and parcel. I think it would be more controversial if I said I’m going to do a PG movie and it’s going to fit exactly in the universe. It’s not me. What the fuck am I doing? I mean I didn’t even do that when I did that CSI episode.”
“The thing is, when I talked to JJ about it, it’s not that radical. We’re just not worrying about stuff like that. JJ said, ‘Quentin, I love this idea because I think with Star Trek we can go any way we want to’. Look, I’ve got a situation. As long as Paramount likes the idea and the script they almost got nothing to lose right now when it comes to Star Trek.”
He compares the project to Deadpool and violent western The Wild Bunch.
TARANTINO: “Deadpool showed that you can rethink these things, do them in a different way. So really, even before JJ knew what the idea was, his feeling was, if it wants to be an R rating, fine. If it wants to be the Wild Bunch in space, fine.”
Quentin also seemingly is still on the fence about directing it but revealed he really likes Smith’s script and suggests he might give notes or do rewrites on it.
TARANTINO: “I will say one thing about Star Trek that I’ve been waiting for someone to bring up. I don’t know if I’ll do it or not. I’ve got to figure it out, but Mark wrote a really cool script. I like it a lot. There’s some things I need to work on but I really, really liked it.
Simon Pegg co-wrote Star Trek Beyond and plays Scotty in the franchise, so I assume he feels like some sort of gatekeeper. This led to Pegg talking about the Tarantino film in press interviews as if he knew what they were planning on doing with it which annoyed Quentin, given he didn’t have any first-hand insight but pretended to know what he was talking about.
TARANTINO: “I get annoyed at Simon Pegg. He doesn’t know anything about what’s going on and he keeps making all these comments as if he knows about stuff. One of the comments he said, he’s like ‘Well, look, it’s not going to be Pulp Fiction in space’. Yes, it is! [laughs hard]. If I do it, that’s exactly what it’ll be. It’ll be Pulp Fiction in space. That Pulp Fiction-y aspect, when I read the script, I felt, I have never read a science fiction movie that has this shit in it, ever. There’s no science fiction movie that has this in it. And they said, I know, that’s why we want to make it. It’s, at the very least, unique in that regard.”
DEADLINE: The original Alien is a classic because it wasn’t predictable. You didn’t know what was going to happen. You were like oh, my God, you’re allowed to do that? And that was R.
TARANTINO: “But there is a gangster element to what we’re doing with the Star Trek thing that works out pretty good.”
I guess we’ll have to wait for a little bit before we ultimately hear if he’ll direct it or not.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is set for release on July 26th.