Simon Pegg on 'terrifying' process of writing Star Trek 3, visiting Star Wars VII set

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Dec 21, 2018, 11:00 PM EST (Updated)

He’s already a geek icon thanks to Shaun of the Dead, but Simon Pegg is on the verge of literally taking over the world. Turns out, it's kind of scary being king geek.

He's already set to take on a bigger role in the upcoming spy-fi action flick Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, but that's only the beginning. Along with his acclaimed career as an actor, Pegg is stepping up for a key role behind the scenes of one of the biggest genres in sci-fi. Oh, he's also pals with J.J. Abrams, which means he gets to hang out on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Pegg chatted with Collider about the process of writing Star Trek 3 and said it’s actually "terrifying" to have the fate of the franchise on his shoulders. Pegg has already co-starred in the first two Star Trek films as Scotty, but was actually tapped to write the script for the mysterious third installment. Though he's always been keen to improvise on set, Pegg said it's a whole different process to actually have to come up with all the dialogue:

On set, sometimes, there's room for improvisation, especially for someone like Scotty who's Scottish, but never anything more than little dialogue tweaks, here and there. Now it's like, 'Okay, now you've got to write the dialogue.' It's scary! Also, the timeframe we're working in is extremely tight. It means we're having to come up with the goods. We can't be lazy about it. We can't procrastinate. We have to come up with the stuff because the production is hammering on the door saying, 'When can we build this? What are we gonna we build? Who is in it?' I don't know! Let’s write it and we'll find out. It's an interesting process.

Yeah. It's weird to walk into something and take ownership of it, in a way. Everything else that I've written has been mine, from the very germ of the first idea, or shared with Edgar [Wright] or Nick [Frost]. But with this, I'm walking into a realm that doesn't belong to me, and I have to treat it with a degree of respect. Obviously, I always treat things with respect, by I have to abide by certain rules and do right by the original series, and not be too post-modern with it and not be too aware of itself. I have to try to take on the spirit of the show, rather than fill it with stuff that people will just go, 'Oh, yeah, that's from episode something or other.' It's more than that.

Come hell or high water, [it'll be finished by] June. I'm busy writing it. It's an ongoing thing. I'm sure we'll be finessing it, right through the shoot. You never really, truly start writing a movie until the edit. There's a whole new lexicon that you're confronted with, when you've shot the movie, which is the visual language that you don't have on the page. And then, you start to realize, "Hang on, we don't need that speech because that look says it all." So, it will be an ongoing thing, right until next year."

Along with the Star Trek stuff, Pegg also chimed in on the future of Star Wars with Abrams at the helm. Not surprisingly, Pegg is excited about the future, and it sounds like Abrams is definitely making an effort to capture the magic of the original trilogy:

"I've never been on a film set where everyone has been so invested in the material because they are emotionally and intrinsically linked to it, as people who work in an industry that was informed by the original films. Suddenly, they're back in those environments, seeing those sets again and seeing J.J. work with real physical things, and models and puppets and masks. Also, the new technology will, of course, be involved in it. The original films were always about the cutting edge. They weren't retro movies. They were very forward-thrusting, technological masterpieces, and as such, there will be that stuff. It's going to be extraordinary. I'm so excited for people to see it. It's going to be everything that we wanted 16 years ago and didn't get.

I took my daughter to the set, and she met BB-8, the droid you see in the trailer. She sat with him for ages, and just talked to him. The guys were operating it, just off camera, and she was there. I said, 'Come on, we've gotta go,' and she said, 'I just want to spend some more time with him and have another hug.' It's just a ball with a thing on it, but it’s a testament to that character, how much he's going to impact on audiences because he's so full of life. And that goes across, for everything. Also, to see the old staples again is going to blow people’s minds."

Do you think Pegg is the right man to revitalize Star Trek, now that Abrams is off in a galaxy far, far away?

(Via Collider)