00:31:29 on February 26 2002
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By: Alexander Chase
Dept: Star Trek: Nemesis
The latest print edition of the Star Trek Communicator has an update interview with Star Trek producer Rick Berman on all things Trek including the newest Trek feature film NEMESIS and the introduction of Romulans on ENTERPRISE, much sooner than probably many of us expected. The full transcript is available below.
Star Trek Update: The Latest News from Producer Rick Berman
The News on NEMESIS: Wedding Bells, Clones and Familar Faces
STC: Rick, you've been in production on the latest film, STAR TREK: NEMESIS, for almost two months now. How is the shooting going?
Berman: I couldn't be more pleased. Out director, Stuart Baird, is extremely creative and he is doing an exceptional job. It has the look of a huge action film. Stuart is so meticulous. He comes from a very, very remarkable career as an editorial director who comes in and cuts movies when they are in trouble. He has also edited incredible films dating all the way back to the rock opera Tommy, etc... He certainly went to school for Star Trek and learned all the characters. He has got a huge appetite to get everything he can possibly get. He's making an extraordinary film. The stuff I have seen cut together and the dailies have been phenomenal. We have a terrific script that John Logan gave us, so I think we have a very exciting movie. I believe Star Trek fans will be very pleased.
STC: Let's talk about some of the new casting. I understand Ron Perlman from "Beauty and the Beast" fame has been cast in a role?
Berman: Yes, he has. He will be playing out "second villain", so to speak. Our major antagonist in this film is being played by a young English actor named Tom Hardy who is an extremely talented young man. Tom plays a clone of Picard. He also plays the leader of the Reman Empire - the Reman Empire being the sister planet of Romulus. His trusty Viceroy, and right arm and henchman, is being played by Ron Perlman. The Viceroy is also the man who raised him and is a Reman himself. Tom Hardy is a relative newcomer. He has a small but very effective role in Black Hawk Down. These two guys are both terrific. Neither of them has started working yet. We have spent a lot of time with Tom rehearsing, and on costume fittings and make-up and body molds and those sorts of thing. But they don't start shooting for a couple of weeks.
STC: Any other guest stars?
Berman: We've got some cameo appearances. We've got Whoopi Goldberg and Wil Wheaton in the wedding scene. We've got Kate Mulgrew in the film as well.
STC: It was great you could bring back Whoppi and Wil for Riker and Troi's wedding scene. Is Majel Barrett back as well?
Berman: No, because one of the major story points is that this is the first of two weddings - the second one being held on Betazed, although an element of story kinds of gets in the way of that.
STC: Was it you intent to make this movie a sweeping large-scale action film?
Berman: If you are going to make a science fiction Star Trek movie you are obviously not going to make something that is going to open at the Sundance Film Festival. You are looking for a film hat has a lot of visual effects and that tends to means a lot of action, which is something that our fans don't get a chance to see in terms of a major scope when they are watching the television series. I think every single movie we make we would like to get as much action in it as possible. John Logan is a writer who writes on a very large canvas. He has given the story a certain epic classical quality to it which includes some fun and some spooky action sequences.
STC: John Logan has been very busy in addition to writing Star Trek I understand. He has written Dreamworks new film The Time Machine and that he is currently working on a film about Abraham Lincoln for Steven Spielberg?
Berman: Yes, he is working every day now on the Abraham Lincoln film. That's his major project at this time. In the middle of all that he has written a film about an American samurai in the 18th or 19th century Japan and he wrote RKO 281. He is an extremely talented guy who is now extremely sought after.
STC: With ENTERPRISE being so demanding, in that you just launched it, have you been able to spend as much time on this film as on previous ones?
Berman: Well, we only have new TV series going now but because it is a first-season TV series and a series I am more involved in than any of the other series I would that my involvement in the feature film has been a bit less. But just a little.
STC: Who is doing the music for the film?
Berman: We don't know yet. There are negotiations in the works but it may take a little time to iron them out.
STC: It seems like there have been a lot of public announcements on this current film such as the Riker/Troi wedding, the Romulan roots of the film, the location shooting, etc. Isn't that unusual? In the past it seems like you have tried to keep the fans in suspense. This time around it seems like more has been revealed about the plot line of this film.
Berman: I think, in reality, we've revealed very little. There is a great deal about the film that hasn't gone publicly yet. One of the problems we have, thought, is that when you are casting a movie and scripts go out to agents this stuff gets around. It's hard to keep it under wraps.
STC: Are there any secrets you can reveal? Will we be seeing any new areas of the Enterprise-E?
Berman: Well, I think I told you in past updates that we have a wonderful ground sequence that deals with a four-wheel drive futuristic Jeep chase. We spent eight days shooting that sequence in the desert and it is pretty spectacular. We are going to see a shuttle that we have never seen before. As far as specific sets, there are going to be some action-oriented locations on the ship, i.e. the Jefferies Tube and tunnels that we have never seen before. Everything on the Enterprise has been revamped a little bit. It's been a number of years since we last saw the Enterprise=E and she has been refitted to some degree and looks a little different. Engineering, the bridge - it all has afresh look to it.
STC: This film has a focus on the Romulans. It seems like from THE NEXT GENERATION THROUGH DEEP SPACE NINE there really wasn't a lot done with the Romulans in comparison to say, the Klingons, the Borg, the Ferengi and the Cardassians. Why was that? And why did the choice get made to make them heavily involved in the new film?
Berman: Well, obviously they weren't in VOYAGER because we were on the other side of the galaxy. But the Romulans did pop up on THE NEXT GENERATION from time to time. We had sequences with Leonard Nimoy with Denise Crosby playing her Romulan counterpart. On the other hand, I would definitely say that a big reason that the Romulans are a major focus in this film is that John Logan is in love with them. John wrote Gladiator and he as certain penchant for an almost Shakespearean classical world that definitely exist in biographies about Presidents or stories about samurai. I think there is some sort of noble quality that he finds in Romulans and he loves to write about it.
STC: Have the rewrites and tweaking on this film been less or more than previous films?
Berman: It's hard to answer right now but I can say that the rewriting has been far less than we have had on any of the other movies. There is always some work that we do with actors and the director in the process of getting the script right. And there are financial considerations that are made which can change the script. Those kind of changes continue right through production. I do a lot of them with the actors. If there is anything substantial I work with John Logan, who lives in Chicago, but we are on the phone with each other every day.
STC: When does shooting end?
Berman: Shooting ends in early March. We're getting close to halfway done.
STC: Is the release date still around Thanksgiving?
Berman: I don't know. I keep reading about other movies - whether it's James Bond or Harry Potter of the next Lord of the Rings - I keep reading about movies that are opening around Thanksgiving or Christmas. As to when the studio is going to release this film is hard to say.
STC: Do you think the movie could get pushed back beyond this year?
Berman: I don't think so.
STC: With regards to the Vulcans in ENTERPRISE and giving them a kind of twist in being antagonists in the new series. How did you come up with the idea to write them in that way?
Berman: Well, in FIRST CONTACT the Vulcans were the ones who made first contact with humanity so it seemed a logical step that a hundred years go by and the ones who are kind of frustrating us by slowly giving out small bits of information would be the Vulcans. They are not villains, they are just mild irritants to us. In fact, we just finished an episode we are cutting right now that has to do with a bunch of Vulcans we run into that have been attempting to exist without using traditional Vulcan methods of holding in their emotions. It's a very interesting story that obviously deals with T'Pol. I would also not be surprised that, within the next six to twelve months, we will have our first run-in with Romulans.
STC: The ratings for ENTERPRISE have stayed very good. The demographics have been as good as before. I would imagine that UPN is very happy with the show.
Berman: Yes, and now with a new group at UPN we are hopeful that the show is going to get a little bit better promotion and that can do nothing but help.
STC: Fans loved the episodes with the Andorians. Do you have any intentions on bringing back other species we have seen on previous series such as the Ferengi, Gorn, or Tellarites?
Berman: We are shooting a show with the Ferengi right now. We are going to see the Andorians again in a show that will broadcast soon. And, as I said earlier, I also think we will undoubtedly be running into Romulans at some point.
STC: Will this season end with a cliffhanger?
Berman: Brannon and I have been talking about that and I think the answer will most likely he "yes."
STC: Any thoughts about any new recurring characters coming along or perhaps any major technological breakthroughs we'll see happen?
Berman: We're discussing all of that, but nothing specific in any story development right now. But in the show that airs tonight ("Silent Enemy") we deal with some of that in the area of weaponry.
STC: Whatever happened to the Star Trek IMAX film?
Berman: There is some discussion about doing an IMAX version of STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME. The Original IMAX project that you and I have discussed before, thought, is at the moment on a very, very back burner.
STC: Can you ever see re-doing or adding another adventure to Star Trek: The Experience. Which would update it?
Berman: There are discussions about doing that right now, as a matter of fact. There are talks about perhaps splitting in half and keeping the existing ride in place and adding something new. I'll keep you updated on that.
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