Pine shoot­ing for the stars

Di­rec­tor J. J. Abrams is un­re­strained in his praise for ac­tion star Chris Pine, as Vicky Roach dis­cov­ers

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES -

CHRIS Pine, one of the cho­sen few be­ing groomed to carry the next gen­er­a­tion of Hol­ly­wood ac­tion block­busters, has a se­cret weapon in his act­ing arse­nal, ac­cord­ing to Star Trek Into Dark­ness di­rec­tor J. J. Abrams.

“One of the most valu­able things about Chris is that he doesn’t have an ounce of self- aware­ness,” says the cre­ator of such pop- cul­ture phe­nom­ena as Alias and Lost.

“Mean­ing that he is never afraid of be­ing made to look like a fool, he is never afraid of be­ing vul­ner­a­ble, he is never afraid of be­ing un­cool – and that makes him in­cred­i­bly cool.”

Pine’s will­ing­ness to re­veal his emo­tions on screen stands in marked con­trast to ma­cho char­ac­ters such as Bruce Wil­lis’ wise­crack­ing John McClane or Sylvester Stal­lone’s in­vin­ci­ble mer­ce­nary Bar­ney Ross, both of whom have been re­cently re­vived for an­other tilt at the box of­fice.

“He is will­ing to be ter­ri­fied. In fact, he is will­ing to be in­ef­fec­tual, or re­ac­tive or heart­bro­ken,” Abrams said. And he should know. In the se­quel to his suc­cess­ful 2009 Star Trek re­boot, the di­rec­tor asks Pine’s ini­tially cocky Cap­tain Kirk to bare his soul.

Even among con­tem­po­raries such as Aussies Chris Hemsworth and Jai Court­ney, the 32- year- old ac­tor’s per­for­mance stands out.

I feel very lucky that I am sur­rounded by good peo­ple and I just try to hold my end of the bar­gain, to share that

re­spon­si­bil­ity

“Those are the things that al­low [ the au­di­ence] to go ‘ Oh, he’s like me’ – as op­posed to this im­per­vi­ous hero who a lot of ac­tors his age like to play; peo­ple who are more heroic than they are hu­man,” Abrams said.

When Star Trek Into Dark­ness be­gins, Kirk is stripped of his En­ter­prise cap­taincy af­ter openly flout­ing a flotilla of Starfleet laws dur­ing a dar­ing and spec­tac­u­lar res­cue mis­sion on a prim­i­tive outer planet.

The premise for the hotly an­tic­i­pated se­quel is that the young Kirk has been given the chair pre­ma­turely. And now the time has come for him to earn it.

Pine bris­tles at the sug­ges­tion Kirk’s jour­ney might have cer­tain par­al­lels with his own ca­reer.

“In my busi­ness, there is no ‘ de­serve’,” he said. “You get a shot, you don’t get a shot.”

But he ac­knowl­edges the se­quel pro­vided him with much more of an act­ing chal­lenge.

“In the first film, it was like paint­ing in pri­mary colours,” Pine said.

“In the sec­ond, they pull the rug from un­derneath Kirk and all of a sud­den he is this vul­ner­a­ble, frag­ile young man who wants to be a good leader but he doesn’t know if he can be that guy or ever was.

“It’s re­ally scary for a man who thinks he knows what he’s all about, who has built up this ex­te­rior over time to hide his vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties – it’s pretty harsh when it all comes tum­bling down and he is naked be­fore life.”

Af­ter the suc­cess of Star Trek – which took $ 385 mil­lion at the box of­fice – Pine ad­mits to feel­ing a fair de­gree of pres­sure com­ing into the se­quel.

“With the first, it was a lit­tle bit eas­ier in the sense that there wasn’t much ex­pec­ta­tion for it. So we were the un­der­dogs. Whereas with this, we’d done well and we wanted to do well again, so there was a bit of that at play.

“But J. J., be­ing the true cap­tain of the En­ter­prise, is a great leader of men. He did a great job of cre­at­ing a com­fort­able at­mos­phere in which to do our work. By con­cen­trat­ing on the scene at hand, you don’t worry about all that ex­tra­ne­ous stuff you can’t con­trol.”

Pine says it helps that in a fran­chise like this one he gets to share the load.

“Our film is unique in this genre – th­ese kind of epic science fic­tion ac­tion thrillers – in that it’s not Bat­man, it’s not one guy in a cape, it’s not Green Lantern, it’s not Su­per­man, this is a real team of peo­ple try­ing to face th­ese ob­sta­cles.

“I feel very lucky that I am sur­rounded by good peo­ple and I just try to hold my end of the bar­gain, to share that re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Abrams also be­lieves the en­sem­ble na­ture of Star Trek is a ma­jor fac­tor in its suc­cess.

“I feel no fatherly obli­ga­tion to talk about all my kids, but I would just say that Zach ( Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock) is re­ally to be com­mended for tak­ing a char­ac­ter that is es­sen­tially emo­tion- free and be­com­ing such a com­pli­cated won­drous bad- arse, which he does.

“And Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch ( of TV’s Sher­lock), I don’t even know how to start talk­ing about him. He just blows my mind. He is off the charts in ev­ery­thing he does.”

Star Trek Into Dark­ness opens on Thurs­day.

Star Trek Into Dark­ness.

OUT OF THIS WORLD: Alice Eve and Chris Pine in

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