Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Abrams Officially Trekking

I first talked about the rumoured relaunch of Paramount's Star Trek franchise here back in April, and now comes official word from the studio that Lost-honcho JJ Abrams has signed on the dotted line to bring new life to Gene Roddenberry's hallowed franchise after its ill-fated big screen flameout with 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis. Here's Par's press release:

“Star Trek,” one of the most popular and successful franchises in the history of movies and television, returns to the big screen under the creative vision of J.J. Abrams, the force behind “Lost,” “Alias” and “Mission Impossible III” for Paramount Pictures.

The team behind the film will include Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (‘Mission Impossible III”) who wrote the screenplay and will executive produce with Bryan Burk. JJ Abrams and “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof will produce. The film will begin shooting this fall for a Christmas Day 2008 release.

One of the most popular film and television franchises of all time, “Star Trek” has encompassed 726 total episodes for television in six different series, beginning with the original 1966-1969 series created by Gene Roddenberry. The 10 “Star Trek” films have grossed in excess of $1 billion at the worldwide box office. The original characters have been named among the 50 greatest TV characters of all time and the Enterprise has lent its name to two proposed spacecrafts.

"If there's something I'm dying to see, it's the brilliance and optimism of Roddenberry's world brought back to the big screen,” said Abrams. “Alex and Bob wrote an amazing script that embraces and respects Trek canon, but charts its own course. Our goal is to make a picture for everyone -- life-long fans and the uninitiated. Needless to say, I am honored and excited to be part of this next chapter of Star Trek."

Brad Grey, chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures, said, “We could not be more thrilled to be back in business with J.J. Abrams. The revival of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise is an important part of Paramount’s turnaround.”

Since last June, scuttlebut has focused on Matt Damon playing a young Jim Kirk (even though Damon, at 36, is already older than William Shatner was when he first played the role in 1966). In addition to the Damon rumours, IGN has added Oscar winner Adrien Brody and Oscar nominee Gary Sinise to the mix as candidates for Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy (played originally by Leonard Nimoy and DeForrest Kelley, respectively).

While the IGN piece assures us that these picks are on the level, it has the suspicious whiff of baloney to me. My gut tells me that they're going to go with unknowns for this, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this all pans out.

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