Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto in "Star Trek Into Darkness."
Updated: June 13, 2013 6:10PM
To boldly go where no woman has gone before isn’t so easy.
Just ask Zoe Saldana, who says the title “Star Trek Into Darkness” doesn’t exactly sum up the mood on the set. And that was a problem.
“We do a lot of beaming in this film,” says Saldana who plays the young Uhura, in love with Zachary Quinto’s Spock. In one key scene, she must beam herself somewhere to save his Vulcan behind.
“All the ‘beam me up Scotty’ stuff is really super funny,” she says. “They can hardly ever use the first or second take.
“I’ll start laughing. Chris Pine will laugh. Zach laughs. Even [director] J.J. Abrams will burst into laughing now and then because you’re standing there wearing the costume, perfectly still, and you have to imagine your every molecule being sent into space.
“J.J. will give a direction like, ‘Use your inner child. Bring him or her out to play. Believe it’s real.’ Every now and then you really do believe that they could beam you from New York to London. It would be nice.”
In the follow-up to 2009’s “Star Trek,” the USS Enterprise enters some dangerous space territory. The film opens with Imax showings on Wednesday.
“This movie goes deeper. It’s richer. We’re really tested in a way that I don’t think the audience will see coming,” says Chris Pine, who plays James T. Kirk. The captain finally is at the helm of the Enterprise but can he keep the commando seat? Or will his brash personality and refusal to follow the rules come and bite him in his Spandex?
“Kirk is still Kirk,” Pine says. “He’s brash. He loves the ladies of all species and he has a hard time listening to authority, which is a plus and a minus in his world.”
His world in “Into Darkness’ features a mystery Very Bad Guy (“Sherlock’s” Benedict Cumberbatch), a man with a terrorist’s mind and a sinister master plan.
Saldana says there was pressure to top the last outing. “It does cross your mind that you have to be bigger and better than the last time. It’s the sequel, so we really had to bring it,” she says. “This had to be bigger and more intense.
“If not, then what’s the point of coming back?”
Knowing that this crew had successfully revived the “Trek” franchise was a bit mind-boggling. “Zach, Chris and I are friends who kept in touch,” says the “Avatar” star. “But it’s still crazy to come back to the set of the Enterprise. You walk in on a Monday morning and there’s the bridge. The bridge!”
“It takes a minute to get reacquainted,” she says.
Speaking of getting back in touch, the space romance of Uhura and Spock hasn’t cooled down.
“Spock’s a tough boyfriend,” Saldana says with a laugh. “In this film I tell him, ‘If you’re going to get yourself killed, can you at least say goodbye?’ She just wants to know that in his Vulcan mind that she matters. I want to know I cross his thoughts every now and then.”
Someone call Dr. Phil.
Saldana adds, “Spock is half Vulcan. She sees right through him and knows that he wants to lean on his Vulcan side in a relationship and suppress his human side. What’s really fun in this film is that Kirk and Uhura have the same battle with Spock. Both need him to be more human.”
There’s another human in question here. Abrams has committed to that other little space epic, “Star Wars,” opening the possibility of a different director for future “Star Trek” sequels.
“It’s not set in stone,” says Saldana. “I will tell you that losing JJ will crush me.”
Then again, she’s the emotional type. At the London premiere, Saldana admits, “I was an absolute mess watching some of these scenes. During the movie, I was crying my eyes out to the point that my fake lashes were about to pop out.”
Usually she’s tougher. A case in point on the “Trek” set was the day she dared to sit in the Captain Kirk chair.
“The set is bigger now. Fancier. Our budget was healthier. The captain’s chair was even better.
“I think all of us sat in the captain’s chair every now and then. Then Chris would walk across the bridge and say, ‘Can you please get out of my chair?’ ”
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