Simon Pegg Interview: Barfing on the ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Set, Deleted Scenes and ‘The World’s End’
Before we all get to see ‘Star Trek Into Darkness‘ in theaters, we had the good fortune to speak with our old chum Simon Pegg, following a riveting conversation with his co-star Karl Urban about all things Bones McCoy,
For Scotty fans, ‘Into Darkness’ is a big wet kiss, as our ol’ Aberdeen pub crawler/inadvertent inventor of transwarp beaming is all over this movie, offering laughs, cheers and thrills. Take a look at our conversation to learn about why, one day, he barfed on set. (Also, there are itty bitty SPOILERS in here, but all pertaining to stuff that happens early enough. Just read the damn thing and don’t be that guy.)
Hey, Simon, how are yah?
I am well and I must say how nice it is to have a nice, clear line.
Yes. I have a landline. Friends mock me for being an old man.
Well, who’s laughing now?
Speaking of laughing, Simon Pegg, and this is a great transition, by the way –
I like it already.
Boy did your performance as Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott bring me great joy while watching ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ just the other day.
Good. It’s a fun character to play, he’s like a member of the audience. He’s so much happier in the engine room just doing his stuff and when he gets pulled into the wider, adventure universe he always reacts like we would.
Scotty isn’t solely comic relief, you save the day more than once, but he is a form of comic relief and so is Bones, but in different ways.
Yes, and I think for the same reason, in that they are less like superheroes like Kirk [Chris Pine] and Spock [Zachary Quinto]. They are more like ordinary people thrown into adventure. As Bones constantly affirms, “I’m a doctor,” Scotty is an engineer. Yet they are once again forced into situations where they have to behave like superheroes. Their reactions are often comic in that they are fish out of water.
But there are moments in the film where both characters face real danger and real heartache, which is just as much fun to play.
You mentioned Kirk. You do something that is rarely done in all of ‘Star Trek’ history: you stand up to Kirk. You say “no.” Not in a nasty way, in a professional way. How do you say “no” to Captain Kirk?
I love that moment because Scotty is right. He knows that Kirk, in any other situation, would have agreed with Scotty. However, during that scene Kirk is so blinded by bereavement and a desire for vengeance that he calls Scotty’s bluff. I don’t think for a second Scotty thinks that he’s going to have to leave the Enterprise, but he believes in what he’s saying so much that he threatens it – and Kirk follows through.
It’s a great moment because he’s stuck – he has to go through with it – so the last thing he says to him is “as a friend,” not as an officer. Then the next time we see Scotty he’s getting drunk because he’s had to leave all of his friends.
Well, not all of his friends, of course, he brings along his favorite Roylan companion, and my favorite addition to the new ‘Star Trek’ canon, Keenser.
I would imagine there are numerous outtakes from this film of you delivering a line, looking up at Deep Roy in that costume, and then cracking up. How can you keep a straight face? Even a professional like you!
There’s plenty. In fact – hang on for the DVD. That bar scene was shot at the Doheny Mansion, where the bowling alley scene from ‘There Will Be Blood’ was filmed.
No joke? That’s the connection between ‘There Will Be Blood’ and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ that I knew was there somewhere.
Yep, the dance floor in the bar was the bowling alley. At the end of the day Deep and I reenacted that scene word for word.
Yes, I did Daniel Day-Lewis and Deep as Paul Dano. The whole “drink your milkshake” scene will be on the DVD.
That’s the greatest news I ever heard.
The story behind all this is fascinating, because we shot the scenes with Deep on Delta Vega for the first film. The relationship between Scotty and Keenser was irresistible, the odd couple thing they had, so J.J. and I were on set weeks later and said “wouldn’t it be great if Keenser got off Delta Vega and ended up on the Enterprise?” J.J. phoned [costume designer] Michael Kaplan right then and asked, “can you make a very small Starfleet uniform?” Michael was, “yep!” So that moment when Keenser shows up in the last scene, it was completely an afterthought, and that’s how Deep Roy ended up in the second film because he’s now a working engineer.
Absolutely! Now, I know you have a love affair with comics, but you are also a busy man making many films at once. However, are you aware that there was a special issue comic that came out a few months back just about Keenser?
[laughs] No! No, I didn’t know.
And it’s hilarious. If I were you, I’d make demands upon the Bad Robot team to get you a copy immediately.
It’s called ‘Keenser’s Story’ it is a fun, 30-page look into Keenser’s life. And Scotty’s in it, too. You learn all about where he comes from and his upbringing and his relationship with Scotty. It’s a hoot.
I’m on this. I’m seeking this out.
You do a lot of running in this movie. That is a big hangar deck and you go from one side to the other – and they don’t do movies in one take.
I realized at the script that this would be physically demanding, so I started training. By the time we started shooting I was pretty fit. We had the use of a gym at Sony, and it’s nice when keeping fit is part of your job.When we did the gigantic hangar scene at [Raleigh Studios], J.J. always wants physical sets and as little green screen as possible, unless we’re in deep space where you can’t do that. But I didn’t know I was going to have to do that distance of a sprint and I had eaten quite a large lunch prior to it.
I did the sprint three times in a row, and I was getting real props from the crew. They were applauding each time I finished, because I hadn’t run that fast since I was a child. Then by the third time I had to excuse myself to go and throw up.
More running in this than in ‘Run Fatboy Run’?
Much more. Much, much more!
You get a lot of screentime in the movie, but it didn’t hit me ’til later that a lot of your scenes are solo. Did you feel left out?
It’s weird, because looking back I didn’t. I was on the film for the whole duration, for five months. I saw everyone even if I wasn’t on set. I spent a lot of that time working with Edgar Wright writing ‘The World’s End.’ so I was always busy. But apart from the stuff in the bar or in the shuttle it’s either solo or me and Chris. And Benedict [Cumberbatch]. We spent a lot of time together. Chris and I have a great relationship, and all that time on the Vengeance was a lot of fun. You never feel alone on these movies because it’s friends in the crew and Tommy [Gormley] our AD and J.J.
But you’re right to an extent. I’m glad I didn’t think about it that way at the time, it would have made me sad.
Hey listen, we’re out of time, but we’ll see you at Comic-Con again, I’m sure?
Yeah, yeah, big Hall H for ‘The World’s End.’ And the trailer drops for that on Thursday. [NOTE: This interview was conducted prior to the 'World's End' trailer release. Watch it here.]