You know him as all-powerful bad boy Sylar from Heroes, but Zachary Quinto will be hitting the big screen next year in one of the most iconic sci-fi roles of all - Star Trek's Spock. When we caught up with him this month, the 31-year-old actor had plenty to say about taking on the role, about working with JJ Abrams and about meeting Leonard Nimoy. Here are some highlights, with a few bonus quotes that didn't make it into the latest issue of SFX (on sale now with the rest of the interview).
SFX: Can you tell us anything about the plot of Star Trek just so we can get a flavour of what you've been up to?
Zachary Quinto: "I can't talk about any specifics. There are certain things that have become known: this is sort of an origin story, we're meeting these characters in a new way and getting to know them in a different way to the way we got to know them in the series, which is exciting. You know it's done with a great amount of respect and, in certain aspects, homage to the series that came before. It's going to really straddle the two worlds that exist in the sci-fi community - people who have been long-time die-hard Star Trek fans since the late '60s and also people who might not have experienced the original series but may have seen the later series. And I think this is really going to unify those people: and on top of that, invite a whole new audience to be a part of the journey of these characters!"
SFX: You're taking on 40 years of backstory with Spock. How much of a challenge is that?
Quinto: "There will never be another Leonard Nimoy - this is an incredible man and an incredible actor who really endeared himself to millions of people because of his portrayal of this character. And in a lot of ways that takes the pressure off me, because I can't compete with that! I have no control over that. I simply have a relationship with this character based on my understanding of where he is, in his perspective and his point of view."
"And that's supported by the script with Roberti Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman wrote - it moved me immensely the first time I read it, and again subsequently as I immersed myself in it. So I don't really feel like I have a lot to prove. Leonard was very supportive of me from the very beginning and I was in the most capable hands I could possibly be in to make this movie with JJ Abrams and the people that surround him at Bad Robot productions."
"So for me it came down to a question of showing up to work and living in the moment, really tracking where those moments lead this character through this story. And the rest of it, the perception and the comparisons, the collective support of me playing this character... they're things I have no control over, so I don't really find it worth channelling my energy into them. That would only ultimately lead to a place of dissipation and frustration. I focus on the work: that's what I know how to do."
SFX: Have you met many of the Star Trek fans?
Quinto: "I've been to three Star Trek conventions - two with Leonard actually. So I have met the fans and I've really enjoyed that part of it, they've been incredibly supportive. Really excited. Lovingly enthusiastic. And really there is an energy of 'don't mess this up for us, we believe in this strongly and have for a long time!' But I think that’s also the place from which JJ [Abrams] and everybody aligned with him is coming from in the first place so it doesn't seem like we're going to disappoint them - at least that's our goal and our hope."
SFX: Thanks Zachary!
Remember you can read the full two-page interview in SFX 175 , on sale now until 22 October. Call UK +44 (0)1858 438794 to find out how to get SFX if they don't have it at your local store. The issue also comes with a peek on the set of the current season of Heroes, and a free book of short stories.