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Why Star Trek: Discovery's new Spock "erred on the safe side of being more Vulcan"

There's more to taking on the hallowed role of Star Trek's Spock than learning how to do a good Vulcan salute, and Ethan Peck knows it. He's signed up to play Spock in the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery, and he's done his research on the character and the actor who made him famous, Leonard Nimoy.

"I’ve been spending so much time with Nimoy Spock," he told SFX. "I read [1975 autobiography] I Am Not Spock, and I’m reading [1995 autobiography] I Am Spock now. In I Am Not Spock he covers who Spock was to him, and how he’s become a part of him."

When it came to playing the part, Peck found that he "erred on the safe side of being more Vulcan," suppressing his human reactions. "There are times I’ve got direction like, ‘Let’s turn up the human a bit’ – which is why we need an outside perspective," he says. "I have my own interpretation, and what I, as my Spock, might do in a certain situation. He starts in a place where we may not fully recognize him. But everything’s done with all due respect for what Nimoy’s done."

Peck - and if that name sounds familiar yes, he's the grandson of Academy Award-winning actor Gregory Peck - also met with the Nimoy family who told him to watch Star Trek to learn everything he needed to know about Spock."That was the best advice I could have got, because Spock is an observer. He’s constantly taking in information – both intellectual knowledge and emotional information. You see this great space and empathy within him, but he just didn’t interface with it; you see him feel it, but he executes very logically. So I’ve been paying very close attention to what he did. I feel like he’s with me, in some strange and crazy way." 

As for the Vulcan salute? "I used to do it as a kid," says Peck. "And I was a cellist, so I have good dexterity in my fingers!"

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I'm the benevolent Queen of the US, or - as they insist I call it - US Managing Editor. I write news, features and reviews, and look after a crack team of writers who all insist on calling trousers "pants" and don't think the phrase fanny pack is problematic.