Star Trek “doctor” reveals details of Kirk's birth in Abrams' film

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Sonita Henry, who plays a doctor in J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek, told SCI FI Wire that her new character plays a pivotal role in the franchise's history. (Spoilers ahead!)

"I play the doctor ... that delivers Kirk," the English actress said in an exclusive interview. "I don't know how big it is in the movie, but, you know, I think in Star Trek lore, I think it's pretty big. I would like to think it's pretty big. I'm the first person that ... touches Kirk. The famous James T. Kirk."

Henry's doctor—an unnamed humanoid of some kind—appears in early scenes in Abrams' reboot movie aboard the ill-fated U.S.S. Kelvin—captained by Kirk's father, George (Chris Hemsworth)—and attends to the very pregnant Winona Kirk (Jennifer Morrison) as she's about to give birth to James in the middle of an attack, presumably by the Romulan villain, Nero (Eric Bana).

"It was a very intense scene, because things are blowing up, so they actually had things blowing up and ... gangways moving, and then we had a ton of extras running against us," Henry said about her scenes, which were shot at a power station in Long Beach, Calif., and on soundstages at Paramount in Hollywood.

"And I remember Kelvin Yu, who plays one of the med techs, one of the extras just ran straight into him. ... And the next thing I know, he's gone flying up in the air, and just landed on his back on the floor. ... Yes. So there I was, and there's sparks going off, and my hair is full of product, and I'm like, ... 'Oh, my God, I'm going to burst into flames. I finally get to work with J.J. Abrams, and I'm going to die.' ... So there's a lot of running around corridors and pushing a wheelchair and, yeah. Everything's going on at once."

Henry also revealed that she wore special dots on her face to capture her facial expressions, which will be replaced in post-production with computer-generated facial features.

"I know that they are going to do some form of computer generation with my face," Henry said. "Because they had to put little dots on. ... I have freckles, which is funny, and they had to completely cover my freckles, and then draw little black dots on my face with a marker so the computer can read them. I guess my freckles would just confuse the computer. And I would have ended up looking like the elephant man. So, yeah. ... I think they're just kind of stretching my eyes out. ... They actually wanted to shave my eyebrows off, and I just couldn't do it. ... It's very extreme. Especially when you're only shooting for a few days, you know, and, I was like,'Look, you can shave my head, I really don't care. But my eyebrows have to stay.' So they covered my eyebrows with little skullcaps. ... So two hours of makeup every day. To do that."

As small as Henry's role is—she shot for four days over a two-week period—she detailed some of the security measures she had to endure while shooting her part: She never saw the full script, only got her pages on the day of shooting and had to return them at the end of the day, even had to sign in to receive her Starfleet insignia badge every morning and had to return it at the end of the day.

The Los Angeles-based Henry is no stranger to science fiction: She previously had a small role in The Fifth Element and said that she's part of a proposed science fiction TV show under development, about a base on the moon. Star Trek opens May 8.