Quentin Tarantino is prepping for the release of Once Upon in Hollywood, but many people (including us) are already looking ahead to his work on an R-rated Star Trek film with producer J.J. Abrams. In an interview with Deadline, the writer/director spoke about his Star Trek fandom, his thoughts on an original film, and his love for William Shatner.
"I’m a big fan of the show Star Trek. I really like it a lot, but my portal into that show is William Shatner. I love William Shatner on Star Trek," Tarantino said. "I love his performance as James T. Kirk. That is my connection. That is my umbilical cord. It’s why I like Star Trek more than Star Wars, because William Shatner’s not in Star Wars. I think it’s one of the greatest performances in the history of episodic television, of a series lead, and rightly so, because very few series leads have ever gotten the opportunity to play all the different wild, crazy things. 'The Enemy Within' alone…"
Tarantino is referring to the season one episode where Shatner plays two versions of Kirk after a transporter malfunction.
"So that’s why I actually really was so taken with JJ Abrams’ first reboot and how fantastic I thought Chris Pine channeled William Shatner," the writer/director continued. "He didn’t go a serious actor-y way. He said, well no, I’m going to do my own thing. He’s playing the William Shatner version of Kirk and he’s doing a fantastic job at it. I mean perfect, frankly. And [Zachary] Quinto is perfect as Spock. Those two guys, they f*cking got it."
When asked about him doing an R-rated Star Trek film - which would be a first - Tarantino said "if" he ultimately does Star Trek, he wants to do it "his way."
"If you’ve seen my nine movies, you kind of know my way is an R-rated way and a way that is without certain restrictions. So that goes part and parcel," Tarantino said. "I think it would be more controversial if I said I’m going to do a PG movie and it’s going to fit exactly in the universe. It’s not me. What the f*ck am I doing? I mean I didn’t even do that when I did that CSI episode."
According to Tarantino, J.J. Abrams - who oversees the Star Trek film franchise - thinks that "it's not that radical."
"We’re just not worrying about stuff like that. JJ said, 'Quentin, I love this idea because I think with Star Trek we can go any way we want to,'" Tarantino said. "Look, I’ve got a situation. As long as Paramount likes the idea and the script they almost got nothing to lose right now when it comes to Star Trek. Deadpool showed that you can rethink these things, do them in a different way. So really, even before JJ knew what the idea was, his feeling was, if it wants to be an R rating, fine. If it wants to be the Wild Bunch in space, fine."
The Revenant's Mark L. Smith has already written a script for this possible Tarantino project - but it's one that if the writer/director takes it on, he will plan to revise some elements before filming.
"I will say one thing about Star Trek that I’ve been waiting for someone to bring up. I don’t know if I’ll do it or not. I’ve got to figure it out, but Mark wrote a really cool script. I like it a lot," Tarantino said. "There’s some things I need to work on but I really, really liked it."
Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the film franchise and helped write Star Trek: Into Darkness has made some comments about Tarantino's possible involvement in a fourth film - and Tarantino said the actor/writer is wrong.
"I get annoyed at Simon Pegg. He doesn’t know anything about what’s going on and he keeps making all these comments as if he knows about stuff. One of the comments he said, he’s like 'Well, look, it’s not going to be Pulp Fiction in space.'Yes, it is!," Tarantino said with a laugh. "If I do it, that’s exactly what it’ll be. It’ll be Pulp Fiction in space. That Pulp Fiction-y aspect, when I read the script, I felt, I have never read a science fiction movie that has this sh*t in it, ever. There’s no science fiction movie that has this in it. And they said, I know, that’s why we want to make it. It’s, at the very least, unique in that regard."
Tarantino has previously stated that he will retire from directing after his 10th film - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, his ninth, opens in theaters July 26.