Hardy Plumbing
May 13, 2009

Star Trek: Leonard Nimoy & His Alter Ego

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Seven years after the lackluster theatrical release Of Star Trek: Nemesis and four years after the demise of the small tube's Enterprise, TV wunderkind J.J. Abrams has successfully relaunched the Starship Enterprise.

Unofficially dubbed "Star Trek: The Young Years," screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman revert back to the first meetings between the future Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his first crew – Spock, ship's doctor McCoy, linguist Uhura, ensign Chekov, navigator Sulu, and engineer Scotty. The designated intergalactic menace is a revenge-seeking Romulan named Nero, whose weapon of mass destruction drills into planets, instantly transforming them into black holes.

One such attack triggers a time travel sequence that ties together the 42-year-old franchise's previous storylines with this prelude. A crucial component is the reemergence of the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock – Leonard Nimoy.

Delighted to be back on board, Nimoy admitted, "It (Star Trek) went off in a direction that I didn't relate to very well. The makers of this film re-awakened the passion in me that I had when we made the original film and series. I was put back in touch with what I cared about and like about Star Trek. So it was an easy way to come on home."

Nimoy had only praise for his onscreen alter ego, Zachary Quinto, who, without the pointy ears, shaved eyebrows and bowl cut plays the evil Sylar on TV's Heroes. "Zach made some choices that I thought were wonderful surprises to me. We did not talk about specifics, like 'Do this. Don't do that.' We had very general conversations about the philosophy and psychology of the character, the philosophy of Star Trek and the fans' reactions to various aspects, but there was no specific instruction. It didn't need that and it didn't call for that."

Continuing, Nimoy chuckled, "Frankly, I was extremely jealous of his scenes with Zoe Saldana and I think it's totally unfair that I never got to do that.

"I think between us, we have book-ended the character. He has created a Spock that comes before the Spock that I portrayed. I'm playing a Spock that comes much, much later and is much more resolved, much closer to who I actually am today," explained Nimoy, whose affiliation with the director has carried over into a steady guest starring gig on Abrams' Fox series Fringe.

During the finale that aired last night, Nimoy debuted as William Bell, a character only referred to in previous episodes. He interjected, "I have agreed to do two more episodes in the next season, and then we'll see where it goes from there. It's a wonderful opportunity, because it's a blank canvas. The characters are still being developed and discovered, but I don't plan to work on a series, except for an occasional episode."

Despite being so closely identified with Spock over four decades, the Boston, Massachusetts native has achieved a remarkable list of credits off screen. After directing a few television episodes, Nimoy helmed 1984's Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and the subsequent 1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, following through with Three Men and a Baby, 1987's highest grossing film.

His distinctive voice lent itself to the character of Galvatron in 1986's animated feature The Transformers: The Movie and The Pagemaster in 1994. His biography also includes five albums recorded on Dot Records. Moving into yet another media, Nimoy's voice can be heard on the 2005 computer game Civilization IV.

Venturing into the literary realm are two autobiographies – I Am Not Spock, I Am Spock, several volumes of poetry, along with a photographic study exploring the feminine aspect of God's presence titled The Shekhina Project.

Akin to a mutual admiration society, Quinto spoke favorably of his mentor, "The most impressive thing to me about Leonard is how he faced the potential obstacles that playing Spock presented to him. Science fiction was a different thing 40 years ago than it is today, and watching him redefine his creative journey, and become a director, a writer, an amazing photographer and a genius art collector. These are things that define someone's life more than just being an actor."

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