17:54:11 on November 25 2002
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By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: TrekWeb Features
Written by Steve Krutzler
This article contains spoilers for the conclusion of the film. For your convenience, this portion has been placed at the end and will only be visible when highlighted with your mouse.
Sitting high atop STAR TREK mountain is producer Rick Berman, who after making three NEXT GENERATION films with tested talent from within the franchise, says he was attracted to the latest big screen adventure by the infusion of new faces.
"Well, working with John Logan, whoís sort of an A-list writer and an incredibly fast writer was a great deal of fun and I think we started doing a terrific story," the executive told TrekWeb yesterday. "And working with Tom Hardy, who was a real question mark, he kind of came out of nowhere and we had no idea if he was going to make the right villain for us, which [ended up as] a very pleasant surprise. Also working with Stuart Baird, which was someone I didnít know. On the last three films I worked with someone who I was very close with."
While TNG star Patrick Stewart had previously been involved in the creative process for STAR TREK: INSURRECTION, this time around Brent Spiner took a crack at helping develop the story, thanks to screenwriter Logan.
"When Brent introduced me to John Logan and I discovered that he was a fanatical STAR TREK fan, he asked if it would be ok if Brent would be involved in the story process, which I was delighted with because Brentís a very close friend. So we brought him into the process and he spent not 100% of the time but a lot of time with John and myself while we were developing the story."
Rumor has run rampant online for months that enormous amounts of footage were excised from NEMESIS and Rick says Logan's script was just longer than anticipated. In fact, the final cut of the film comes in a little under two hours and significantly trims down the first act of the movie, including an introspective scene between Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner early on.
"Stuartís already done for the DVD, which is a DVD that does not have any additional material, a narration track of the film," Berman told us. "John Loganís script, although on paper it seemed like the right length, turned out to be a lot longer. This certainly wasnít a question of a director doing something at a slow pace, the movie is anything but at a slow pace. But itís funny, on TV series, very often a 65 page script will end up being the right length and sometimes a 49 page script will end up being the right length. So when we got done with this film, the first cut of it was about forty minutes too long. So Stuart and I and with suggestions from the studio had to sit down and cut out forty minutes. Obviously there are some things youíre delighted to cut out and there are some things that are really painful to cut out. There were scenes in the first act of the film that we felt slowed the film down a little bit that didnít get to the story quick enough."
As close to the two hour mark as it is, why not just leave in a few extra moments?
"Because studios tend to like films no longer than two hours," he said outright. "I know there are a lot of films today that are longer than two hours but that seemed to be the length [that was desired]. In terms of pace of the film, our goal was not to cut forty minutes out of the movie. Our goal was to make the movie as good as possible and that involved the studioís opinion of the pacing of the film, Stuartís, and mine."
Many times deleted scenes are reinserted later in the editing process, but Berman says that was not the case here and the film is better for it.
"I donít think there was anything that we took out that was put back," he said. "We took out things that were in places where we just literally took out frames. In the Kolarun car chase sequence it was incredibly wonderful, the very first cut, but we probably ended up taking two minutes and itís always painful to take action out, but we did take a lot of stuff out of the wedding scene. We also took a lot out of the end but when you have a movie thatís too long you unfortunately have to start whacking it down. In the case of the studio, Stuart and myself, in the long run we donít regret any of it because the picture seems to be paced in the right way for all of us."
Will we see these tomes of footage on a director's cut for DVD? Too early to tell.
"I donít know," Berman said. "Stuart and I both question whether we want to sit down and remix and rescore additional footage. Weíre both very pleased with the momentum and the length of this picture."
The script for NEMESIS was leaked on the Internet over a year ago and numerous reviews and even complete transcriptions have been perused by fans even before production got under way last November. For Berman, it's an unavoidably reality of filmmaking.
"Unfortunately, because there are so many fans-óin the true sense of the word fansó-of STAR TREK, we always get thinks leaked," he said. "Whether itís scripts or when we do pilots or when we do cliffhangers on the TV series everything always gets leaked and we just have to hope that it will end up being seen by a fraction of our audience, and it tends to be a fraction of our audience who are going to go see the picture anyway," he jokes. "But itís something that weíve always had to deal with from the beginning. People will say to me Ďwhy donít you number your scripts,í but what people will do if someone gets hold of a script [is] theyíll just sit down and type the whole thing into the Internet so thereís no way you can find out. When we cast outside roles the agents of the actors that come in end up getting scripts so thereís just hundreds of places where these scripts can end up getting out... I canít imagine it helping a film to have all that information leaked out but, again, I think that itís leaked out to a small number of people."
The third act of NEMESIS features an extensive action sequence and screenwriter Logan has said previously that he looked to WRATH OF KHAN as a model for an exciting, suspensful combat sequence.
"One of my favorite films was a movie called THE QUIET MAN [(1952)], which took place in Ireland," Berman explained. "Thereís a great sequence of a fight scene between Victor McLaglin and John Wayne, and they have this fist fight that lasts for fifteen minutes and all of a sudden the two guys are so exhausted they go into a pub and have a beer and then they start fighting again. So I think that works and I think John Logan [wrote it well]ó-you just canít have non-stop action, you need to break it up a little bit so I donít think that was that much of a risk."
The following section contains spoilers for the conclusion of the film, which while revealed some time ago may not be known to all readers. For this reason, you must highlight the area below to read this portion of the interview. Please exercise appropriate discretion when reading or posting comments.
"STAR TREK NEMESIS is a story about accepting change. It's a story of passages, of a family that we have known for many years fracturing and moving on their separate ways," Berman says. In fact, the end of the film features a big change.
"Separating the family was a premise that existed from the very beginning of the film," Berman said. "Obviously Dataís death was something that we discussed, something that Brent Spiner was very much for but the fact that we have our kind of 'dopey' Data that arrives in this film, the B4, and the fact that we know this character is slowly starting to develop into a more Data-like character, there is the possibilityĖ-if weíre going to use this cast again or even a partial amount of this cast againó-that the B4 version of Data will appear again and it just takes one subspace phone call to get Riker and Troi back. In the realm of STAR TREK, killing a character and bringing him back is almost a usual event."
But does that fact itself work against the dramatic conclusion to the picture?
"It all depends on how it happens," Berman considered. "In the case of Spock, Spock is killed and then he is sort of resurrected and the new character is Spock again. But in the case of Data, Data is dead, heís blown up, heís gone, and [despite] the fact that thereís another android that has had a certain amount of [Data's] memories implanted into him, the B4 is a different character and if he does come back in another movie he will continue to be a different character. And STAR TREK II was a long time ago."
After four movies and 600 episodes of STAR TREK, you might think Berman spends more of his time in that world than the real one.
"I have three kids and I try to leave work every day and get out of the STAR TREK world," he said. "My daughter, whoís twelve, watches nothing but the WB, all those great female kid-oriented shows and my two sons donít watch a lot of television."
But is STAR TREK a show Rick Berman would watch in his own free time?
"I donít know, thatís a question Iíve asked myself a lot and I donít know the answer. I was of an age that I was not a fan nor did I see many episodes of TOS. In fact the first STAR TREK movie that I saw was STAR TREK IV and I saw it in a screening room with Gene Roddenberry."
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