Star Trek director boldly goes to conquer non sci-fi fans

Tue May 7, 2013 11:50am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Director J.J. Abrams is hoping to persuade mainstream film audiences to boldly go where they have never gone before and embrace the next installment of "Star Trek", a franchise usually reserved for sci-fi geeks.

The man behind the cult TV series "Alias" and "Lost" told Reuters he initially hesitated when Viacom's Paramount Pictures asked him to take on the film series, whose installments in 1998 and 2002 failed to draw crowds.

But then he worked out how to make Star Trek appeal to a broader audience, by forgetting its creaking legacy and focusing on the drama.

His first attempt to "reboot" the epic with 2009's "Star Trek" was a critical success, though analysts were disappointed with foreign box office sales of about $130 million.

Now he is hoping to push even further towards the final frontier with the 3D sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness", the 12th in the series, opening in Britain on May 9 and the United States on May 17.

"The idea was to make a movie that works on its own terms ... This (film) was not meant to be like an in-joke. This is very much for moviegoers and not just Star Trek fans," said Abrams, wearing his trademark thick-rimmed black glasses.

The plot focuses on the crew's emotions and moral dilemmas to make "an action adventure thriller .. a little more visceral and thrilling", he said.

Most hardcore Star Trek fans welcomed Abrams' involvement in the series; he already had a huge geek fan base thanks to his TV and film back-catalogue. But Abrams himself was far less enthusiastic about the franchise when he first encountered it.   Continued...

Director J.J. Abrams arrives at the U.S.-Ireland Alliance's "Oscar Wilde: Honoring the Irish in Film" event at Bad Robot studios in Santa Monica, California February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Patrick Fallon