Zachary Quinto on his third tour of duty as spock

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Front page - Words by Drew Tur­ney /// Pho­tog­ra­phy by Michael Friberg

Whether it’s be­cause he’s a pro­ducer as well as an ac­tor or just a very in­tel­li­gent guy, Zachary Quinto is one of Hol­ly­wood’s most eru­dite and thought­ful movie stars, per­fectly cast as the modern in­car­na­tion of Mr Spock, the log­i­cal yin to Cap­tain Kirk’s gut-in­stinct yang in Star Trek Be­yond. Just like his on-screen al­ter ego, Quinto is rarely lost for words, con­sid­ers each ques­tion care­fully and knows just where he’s at. Un­like the Vul­can, how­ever, he is sim­i­larly up front about his emo­tions, as SFX dis­cov­ers when we talk to the 39-year-old star about trekking back to the stars, his friend­ship with Leonard Ni­moy and his ded­i­ca­tion to LGBT rights. “I re­ally feel like the pur­suit of an au­then­tic life is a life-long one,” he tells us. “I feel like I’m busier and hap­pier than I’ve been in a long long time, and I feel re­ally grate­ful for that.”

Where is Spock at in Star Trek Be­yond and what ob­sta­cles is he go­ing to face?

At the be­gin­ning of the film we’re in the mid­dle of our five-year mis­sion when things go tits-up. Spock is in a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent places. Psy­cho­log­i­cally and emo­tion­ally, he is ap­proach­ing a bit of an ex­is­ten­tial cross­roads of sorts. He’s re­ally try­ing to fig­ure out how he can best be of ser­vice to oth­ers, where his ef­forts are best di­rected in terms of the con­tri­bu­tion that he’s mak­ing ei­ther his­tor­i­cally or to the Vul­can race, and the ef­forts to re­pop­u­late and re­build Vul­can. As the movie goes on, phys­i­cally he is com­pro­mised and se­verely in­jured, and that be­comes a pri­mary ob­sta­cle for him through­out the film. Things are hap­pen­ing on dif­fer­ent lev­els for him through­out most of the movie.

Does the strug­gle be­tween logic and emo­tion con­tinue?

Yeah, in a way. Less so as things progress. In a way, he is a lit­tle bit more at peace with the du­al­ity that he pos­sesses. Other things that hap­pen in the course of the movie – I won’t spoil it for you – but they speak right to that very point, the dif­fer­ence be­tween logic and emo­tion, and when they are bet­ter em­ployed.

How dif­fer­ent was work­ing with in­com­ing di­rec­tor Justin Lin af­ter JJ Abrams?

They’re very dif­fer­ent peo­ple and very dif­fer­ent di­rec­tors, but Justin is enor­mously tal­ented in his own right, and I feel like he came in with a quiet con­fi­dence. He’s an in­cred­i­ble visual sto­ry­teller, and yet also very con­cerned with the un­der­pin­nings of the emo­tional lives of the char­ac­ters. He was re­ally fan­tas­tic to work with.

The first trailer al­most had a Fast & Fu­ri­ous vibe.

Yeah, there’s a lot of ac­tion for sure, but there’s also a lot of hu­mour, a lot of heart. Any good block­buster should be a bal­ance of those things. Hope­fully we’re able to strike that bal­ance our­selves.

How have things gone since your de­ci­sion to come out?

I ab­so­lutely look back on my jour­ney and recog­nise the value of that de­ci­sion both for me per­son­ally and in a larger sense for the move­ment, to be a part of the move­ment to­ward LGBT equal­ity, and that has ob­vi­ously made in­cred­i­ble strides in the last few years, cer­tainly in the US. But there’s still more work to be done. I’m glad I can be a part of that work and help lend my voice to a re­ally im­por­tant and mo­men­tous tran­si­tion in our cul­ture and our so­ci­ety that we’re lit­er­ally liv­ing through right now. It’s a very ex­cit­ing time to be a part of the LGBT com­mu­nity, for sure.

All the re­cent talk about di­ver­sity seems to be fo­cused on racial di­ver­sity. Are you ever con­cerned that could dis­tract from is­sues of gen­der and sex­ual di­ver­sity in the busi­ness?

No, it’s like a process. It’s an ebb and a flow. Any mi­nor­ity group is go­ing to have to stand up and draw at­ten­tion to their par­tic­u­lar cause. The cul­tural and eth­nic di­ver­sity con­ver­sa­tion is ba­si­cally of the same ilk, and we just ought to sup­port each other. It’s just stand­ing up and be­ing counted, and be­ing iden­ti­fied. It’s all hap­pen­ing. I don’t feel like it’s a dis­trac­tion, it’s an en­hance­ment in a way.

You be­came good friends with Leonard Ni­moy. What do you miss about him since his pass­ing?

I just miss him. I miss his voice, I miss the idea of call­ing him up and mak­ing a plan to have brunch or din­ner. We spent a lot of time to­gether. It’s just the pres­ence of some­one that you care about deeply who’s no longer in the world that I miss most.

You’re a pro­ducer as well as an ac­tor. Keep­ing busy?

I’ve been say­ing “no” a lot lately, which is an in­ter­est­ing and dif­fer­ent point of view for me. I feel like I got to this place in my ca­reer by say­ing “yes” a lot, and I’m grate­ful for that, but “no” can be an equally pow­er­ful an­swer.

Star Trek Be­yond opens on 22 July.


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