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Jan 05 | Palm Digital Media reports that the STAR TREK NEMESIS novelization was the #3 selling e-book in December 2002.


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Jan 05 | The L.A. Times analyzes William Shatner's acting career.


Jan 04 | TREK novelist Peter David sounds off on the state of the franchise at his web site.


Jan 03 | Australia's TV1 will air a MAKING OF STAR TREK NEMESIS special on January 11th during its SCI-FI SECTOR @ 8p. (Thanks to 'Joe' for this)


Jan 03 | Cinescape has reviewed Pocket Books' THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, giving it an A- in its full review.


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Jan 01 | Dean Valentine, former UPN exec, has purchased a 49.9% stake in the Jim Henson Company with his investment group, according to Reuters.


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  • STARDATES
    Dec 31, 2002: TNG Season 7 DVD Box Set U.S. Release
    Jan 3, 2003: STAR TREK NEMESIS hits UK theaters
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    Interview: Stuart Baird On Directing NEMESIS, Turning Tom Hardy Into 'Shinzon' and a Possible Director's Cut!

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    Typhon Station is a very fastpaced PBeM RPG with skilled, experienced players and a warm sense of bonding and community. We play at the turn-of-the-century, 2400, and are located in the Typhon Expanses, bordering the Neutral Zone, proximate to the Romulan Empire, and near the Iconian Digs, and are on the first warning route of the original Borg Incursion.
    We have three stations to post from, SB 185, USS Odyssey, and USS Wraith. They all have general and particular storylines and all interact. This game is not for the faint of heart! The writing is superb and comes hot and heavy. We have some open spots and also we will consider character suggestions. So, longtime RPGers and novices, check us out. See if you want to make Typhon Station your home away from home.

    (0 comments | Add)

    Cut scenes? Read them all here!
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    Posted: 09:41:39 on December 05 2002
    By: Steve Krutzler
    Dept: TrekWeb Features

    Written by Steve Krutzler

    Directing STAR TREK feature films has been an insider’s job since Rick Berman took over as producer. David Carson moved up from the series to direct GENERATIONS and Jonathan Frakes helmed FIRST CONTACT and INSURRECTION. But after lackluster performance with the last installment, infusing the movie franchise with new blood was a top priority. Not only was John Logan welcomed to pen the screenplay, but celebrated editor and two-film action director Stuart Baird signed on to steer the tenth segment of the series in a new direction.

    With absolutely no prior knowledge of STAR TREK, Baird’s NEMESIS set was anything but the comfortable playground the cast and crew had been used to. Several actors have mentioned Baird’s desire to take characters in directions contrary to fifteen years of history and one story even has the director mistakenly referring to LeVar Burton’s character as an alien. The British director says STAR TREK or not, NEMESIS has a story that intrigued him. And he was going to get his shots one way or another.

    “All I’m interested in is the story, and how I can tell the story interestingly with the characters and pace,” Baird tells TrekWeb after NEMESIS was screened for the press. “I was interested in the story. I love the characters of Shinzon and Picard; one this man who’s looking at change in life, reassessing his whole life saying ‘I’ve got this family, everybody’s leaving me, what have I done? I thought I was great, I’ve done such great things’–most people go through that at that age,” Baird explains in his soft, gentile English accent. There’s an air of theatricality about the man, recounting the premise of the film with enthusiasm, almost like he’s telling campfire story. He continues eagerly:

    Stuart Baird on the Enterprise set “Then he realizes he has a son, except he’s like an illegitimate son, he’s been stolen; it’s like some woman didn’t tell him he has a baby, but even worse than that, he’s been cloned for a purpose, which was to do down everything he believes in. He finds that the kid has become this kind of Napoleonic megalomaniac character, which must be a part of him because he’s a clone, but he can’t believe it’s a part of him but knows it is, really, because we all have the dark side. The kid himself is looking down at this, sort of,” Baird shifts his expression to mimic the villainous archetype and with an inflection of his voice continues, “This… captain of a stupid little ship—I’m Napoleon!” He pauses briefly. “Yet the maladjusted teenager is part of him as well. So it’s interesting and, as you can tell, that’s a good story!”

    Despite personality clashes with some of the regular TNG cast, Baird was instrumental in guiding new actor Tom Hardy through his first major film role. A new actor was wanted for the part but after screen testing plenty of choices, Baird hadn’t yet found the person he wanted to play Shinzon. The director says Hardy’s casting and the portrayal of the villain were both important areas in which he could make his mark on the otherwise established STAR TREK mythos.

    “The interesting part wasn’t the STAR TREK, the established part, which isn’t that interesting to a director, because what could I do? The Enterprise is there, the sets are designed, so there’s not a lot I could change,” he says. “I photographed a bit differently, I asked the actors to be maybe a little looser, a little lighter, you do what you can. But the other side, it’s mine. I have to find the kid and I was absolutely adamant that the kid was going to be 24, 25, no older and look like Patrick Stewart. So I’m setting myself up for a pretty hard task of finding somebody. Not only that, but [he must] have the chops to go head to toe with Patrick Stewart—who’s a very experienced, solid, screen presence—and perform. We went through all the rigmarole of going through hundreds of tapes and we got down to about a dozen and then we screen tested six, full screen tests. There was one I liked, but then we’d heard about this kid Tom Hardy and I wanted a tape from him and he hadn’t gotten the opportunity because he was shooting in Morocco or something like that. So I said, ‘it doesn’t matter, just get him to do anything, do a tape.’ I sent some pages out and it came back and he hadn’t done those pages. He made this little film and I thought, ‘I like this kid’s attitude’ – attitude’s good.”

    The director at work Hardy’s audition tape didn’t exactly win him the role. But Baird says he spotted something in the young British actor that he desperately wanted to inject into the film.

    “[The tape] was very interesting—he wasn’t playing it the way I wanted him to play it, but then he came over and we screen tested him and he looked more like Patrick than he did on the tape—and he had sex appeal,” Baird’s eyes light up at the prospect. “It is STAR TREK and I knew how I wanted to do this picture, but how to open it up? With all due respect to the rest of the cast… Patrick Stewart is a very attractive man, but I wanted youth, young people! I thought, ‘here’s a chance, the kid’s pretty hip, let’s use him.’ So we went with him but the chance was, ‘can he go?’”

    Taking on his first major role, Hardy was often times nervous on the set and reverential for co-star Stewart. Baird says he welcomed coaching him to deliver the Shinzon he wanted. Some of Hardy’s trepidation helped him in his performance, according to Baird.

    “He seemed ok on the screen test, but a screen test is a screen test. Can he do it for the whole thing,” he poses rhetorically. “I worked with him a little bit, but the main thing was attitude. I kept saying—he was at first very respectful of Patrick Stewart, he admired him as an actor and all that—but he’s the captain of the little ship! You’re Napoleon! The other part of it, the vulnerable side, goes back to how he felt a little bit towards Patrick. I thought he came over in spades. Really, a lot of difficult scenes.”

    One challenge was for Tom, a significantly younger and less experienced actor than Patrick Stewart, to generate a fearsome presence. At times, Hardy’s inexperience meant Baird would have to spend more time directing his performance than with a more seasoned actor. He says he wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    “It’s up to Tom, isn’t it? I can talk him through it, but Tom has to act it,” Baird says earnestly. “The last thing a director should do is to give a line reading. Actors hate it and that’s why you hire an actor. I did a film once… with this actress who was vivacious in life, but it wasn’t coming out. The director told me, ‘you can talk about the scene, you can talk about the character, but when you say action, they’ve got to fucking act’,” the towering man pauses and smiles, like an old-time movie director who’s just passed a bit of sage advice to a protégé. “It’s true. I can’t do it. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted but to talk about things too much just confuses them. You have to use the right words… But in the end, I’m directing a show and I’ve got to get my shots and if I can’t get what I want, I’m going to have to say, ‘you’re going to do it my way,’ so I’ve got what I want. So, sometimes I said, ‘no, do it like I would play it.’” Baird performs Shinzon’s “don’t be so vain” line from the movie.

    Stuart Baird preparing on location for the Kolarus III chase sequence “That’s not to say that I created [his performance],” he continues. There were tough days and I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing it with a more experienced actor. I got into a bit of trouble [when over-directing Tommy Lee Jones],” he laughs. “To be a director you have to be a bit of an actor. You have to be an actor. That’s why a lot of people who are technically able to do the job, won’t do it. Tom, I thought he was fantastic, and it was very difficult and he had these long scenes; I was very specific what I wanted; I wanted it big but not too big, and film performance is very technical. Unless you’ve done a lot of it, you can’t get the performance at one angle—that’s it! Print it,” he interjects animatedly.

    Budgeted at $65 million, according to Baird, NEMESIS ended up losing a lot of footage. One of the first things to go was a traditional opening credits sequence, which John Logan had written to capitalize on the genetic engineering side of Shinzon. The film’s credit sequence instead appears at the end before the regular rolling credits.

    “First of all, I hope you like the titles,” Baird says, moving his hands to mimic the movement of the titular lettering at the beginning of the film, an effect he says was meant to hint at the cloning process. “Greenberg and Associates does great work. I wanted to just go in, set the tone, get into the thing. We hear about Shinzon, kill those people, it’s a prologue essentially. We could have gone into the thing and then had titles after that but then we’re slowing it down. The thing about titles is, because of contracts, one you put one name in, you have to have twenty-six of them. Now there’s, what, three minutes? Unless it’s a Bond sequence, which is essentially part of the show [it’s a waste]. So let’s get on with the movie!”

    Improving the pace and moving the story better is the major reason for over forty minutes of cut footage. But even some potentially key scenes were excised. When asked if he wants to do a new cut of the film for DVD release, Baird is quick to avoid answering definitively.

    “I’ve never seen a director’s cut that’s better than the original cut that goes out to the cinemas,” he offers diplomatically. “Maybe BLADERUNNER is a bit better because he changed that whole narration. I don’t have final cut of the picture but all I’m trying to do is make it play as well as possible for the audience… and I didn’t have a normal process of previewing. LORD OF THE RINGS I thought was magnificent, but I haven’t seen his additional scenes. It is a story that’s hugely rich and I would love to see his cut, but whether it’s a better film? Once you love something, maybe you want more of it, but does it make it a better film? A film is a film is a film and the length of something, the pace of something is incredibly important in your satisfaction to the story. You can have a meal [where] you eat a couple of spoonfuls too much and it’s not as satisfying because you’ve had too much, and it’s the same with a movie. Some scenes seem great on [their] own but when you put it into the whole it changes [entirely], like any piece of writing. A lot of great writers probably wouldn’t have had so much success without a great editor.”

    We pressed him further, citing the scene between Picard and Data immediately following the wedding that was supposed to set up character arcs and many, including John Logan, Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner have said were sorry to see gone.

    “Well, you will see that scene in the DVD,” he laughs, after just arguing his case against director’s cuts. “But you probably like the scene as a scene perhaps but when you saw it at the beginning of the movie after the wedding sequence, it’s an additional thing. One of the great things about anything in life is wanting more. The length of that scene, it was a very long scene. If it could have been cut down into a succinct version, but having four minutes of something, which you really get [later]. It’s like anything, it just completely unbalances the rest of the movie. We’ve got a lot of talking scenes, there’s a lot of plot in the story. [But] I accept what you’re saying.”

    Part of Stuart's new vision for NEMESIS, Reman costuming, lighting and set design As our interview comes to an end, the charismatic Stuart Baird seems pleased with this little fireside chat. It’s almost like just speaking with him has been every bit as sweeping a journey as seeing his film. Perhaps that’s the quality he most imparts on STAR TREK NEMESIS: theatricality.

    “There is a broad Shakespearean quality and the performances have a broad Shakespearean quality. I [even] used for the Scimitar stuff, a camera very much like a musical,” he raises his arms to indicate a tall crane-type camera movement, showing no signs of abandoning his animated conversation style as the interview ends. “The whole thing is operatic, really.”

    © 2002 TrekWeb.com. All Rights Reserved.


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    TREKWEB TALKBACK
    (10 comments)

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    Both cuts please!
    By Flake ( flaky@ukonline.co.uk) at 13:40:52 on December 05 2002
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    Well I would like to see both the Theatrical and Directors/Special cut on DVD, and so will Paramount because they are well aware that most of us will buy both :) - Assuming they are released separatley of course... I know thats NOT what you want to hear but if I was pulling the strings at Paramount I'd make the decision that makes better business sense..

    ANYWAY I like what I am hearing from everyone concerned with the film, I can't wait to see it!

    I have many doubts of course, the cuts, the Data/B4 plot, Wedding scene (and its attempts at humour) etc - but I'm sure I will like the movie regardless.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Excited
    By covetom ( ) at 10:40:59 on December 05 2002
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    Friends,

    I am really excited about this film. I have been religiously reading all of the interviews and articles that have been posted here, and I have not heard one thing that has made me have any serious negative thoughts about this film.

    John Logan and Stuart Baird both sound like incredibly talented people, very good choices for their jobs, and like people who come from two appropriately different and complementary perspectives on Star Trek. As John Logan has repeatedly said, he is the ultimate Trek fan who wanted to make a movie for the fans, and Stuart Baird is a complete newcomer to Star Trek who jus wanted to make a good film. And both of those elements are necessary to making a good, successful Trek film.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing this film next Friday, and I'm sincerely hoping that it will breathe new life into the Trek film franchise and have the kind of crossover success that we haven't seen since Star Trek IV.

    Take care, and God bless!

    ---

    =Tom=

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    I'm impressed
    By Osnard ( ) at 10:37:20 on December 05 2002
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    with what Baird has said. It must be somewhat confining to come into an estasblished property like Trek, but hopefully he did add a few new flourishes to the series. With regards to director's cuts, I dunno, maybe this situation is different, but Baird is right: every director's cut I've seen, with the exception of Blade Runner and TMP was worse than the original. Star Wars? Yuck, Greedo firing first. Apocalypse Now? Coppola cut an hour outta that (kinda like Nemesis), and the stuff he put in ruined the movie. LOTR worked well, but that was something that Jackson had planned from the start. Steve, without violating your policy, can you comment on the pacing of the movie?

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

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