Thursday, November 5, 2009

Director Nicholas Meyer Talks About The Wrath of Khan

The latest issue of Star Trek Magazine features a new interview with Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country director Nicholas Meyer and here are few excerpts, courtesy of the publishers.

Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer talks about this issue's greatest Star Trek Villain, Khan Noonien Singh...

Did you ever regret that there wasn't a physical confrontation between Khan and Kirk in Star Trek II?

No. I never gave it a thought. I know that Bill Shatner did. I thought it was cheesy. I can point to a number of films, and a number of real life events, in which the protagonist and the antagonist never meet. It did not concern me over much. I guess I thought that that kind of confrontation with these two people, being gladiators, would be cheesy, stereotyped and familiar.

If there's a regret that I have - which I didn't have for the first 20 years and then somebody pointed it out to me, and I thought, "There's an interesting missed moment" - it's that Khan never sees Kirk get away. He goes to his death believing that he has succeeded. I wonder, if I'd thought of it, would I have?

I have some ambivalence about taking it away from him, but it's very interesting that we didn't even think of it. You play that moment earlier when he realizes that there is no override, and they can't do anything about raising the shields. That look of consternation - how different would that have been from his look at the end? Other than the man who goes to his death believing that he's avenged his wife.

Khan has become the gold standard for Star Trek movie villains. Did you have any idea that he would resonate for so long?

Truthfully I can't say that I predicted anything like his preeminence, or anything like the stature which has been accorded this movie as a total construct. Never.

I did know as I was watching Montalban in his first scenes in the cargo bays that I was watching a very great actor, and I had had no idea. I remember thinking, as I watched him and he was breaking my heart, that he should play Lear. He made some self-deprecating comment about his accent, which

I remember thinking was completely irrelevant.

Notwithstanding any Hispanic inflection, his enunciation, his articulation was perfect. That's as close as I came to realizing that Khan had a kind of Lear-like grandeur when played by this guy. The arrogance and the pain walked hand in hand.

Montalban was not typically an angry guy, not, as some actors, a "squawky bird." He was a gentleman of a rather old-school cut. Humorous, generous, very smart in a kind of intuitive way.

The full interview can be found on the latest issue of Star Trek Magazine, now on sale.