Star Trek is a 2009 science fiction film directed by J. J. Abrams, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the eleventh film based on the Star Trek franchise and features the main characters of the original Star Trek television series, who are portrayed by a new cast. The film follows James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) before they unite aboard the USS Enterprise to combat Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan from their future who threatens the United Federation of Planets. The story establishes an alternate reality through time-travel by both Nero and the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy), freeing the film and the franchise from established continuity constraints.
Development of the film began in 2005. Filming took place from November 2007 to March 2008 under intense secrecy. Midway through the shoot, Paramount chose to delay the release date from December 25, 2008 to May 2009, believing the film could reach a wider audience.
Star Trek has earned high critical praise, gaining a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is the thirteenth-highest-grossing film of 2009—seventh-highest within North America—and has become the highest-grossing film in the Star Trek series and is credited by the media as a reboot of the series.It was nominated for four Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards and won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, making it the first Star Trek film to win an Oscar.
In a UK interview with Edith Bowman on BBC Radio 1, Matt Damon mentioned that he called J.J. Abrams when he heard rumors that he was being considered for the role of Captain Kirk. The response from Abrams was a very polite “no”. He explained that Damon was “too old” for the role.
Sydney Tamiia Poitier auditioned for the role of Uhura.
The film’s teaser trailer (welders working on the half-built Enterprise starship, amidst narration from U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock) was personally directed by J.J. Abrams. Real welders were brought in to film the trailer. The words of Spock and Kennedy were taken from the 1960s (the decade where “Star Trek” (1966) began) and thus linked past and present, enhancing the film (as well as hinting at the time-travel). According to Roberto Orci, Kennedy’s words were also chosen as he was the one who started the “space race,” and so would be appropriate for a space film: “If we’re going to have a Federation, it makes sense for Kennedy and his words to be in there.”
The first teaser trailer and posters for this film showed its original release date, December 25, 2008. On February 13, 2008 Paramount Pictures pushed the film to May 8, 2009 so it would have less competition and be a summer blockbuster contender. The teaser trailer was then amended to show Summer 2009.
Randy Pausch, a Carnegie-Mellon Computer Science professor (and “Star Trek” fan) who gained widespread fame as the author of a “Last Lecture” in which he discussed living the life of his dreams in the face of terminal pancreatic cancer, was invited by J.J. Abrams to appear as an extra in this film (he is the Kelvin officer who says “Captain, we have visual”). Pausch wrote in his blog about the experience, “I got a custom-made Star Trek uniform and my own station on the bridge, where I had lots of buttons and controls. I even got a LINE!!!!” Pausch died on July 25, 2008; his paycheck of $217.06 from working on the film was donated to charity.
This is Leonard Nimoy’s first live-action film role since Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
While most Trekkies will have known this detail for decades, this is the first time that Uhura has been given a first name on screen: Nyota. Gene Roddenberry never came up with a first name for her, so many thought this meant she did not have one, although in literature, Uhura is often referred to as Nyota by her comrades, and she is also referred to as Nyota Uhura in the DC Comics publication “Who’s Who in Star Trek”. There are several nods to this history in the movie: first, when Kirk first meets (and hits on) Uhura in a bar and tells her, “if you don’t tell me your name, I’m gonna have to make one up,” and then when she refuses to tell Kirk her first name throughout the film.
J.J. Abrams’ only two choices for Nero were Russell Crowe and Eric Bana.
Josh Lucas was considered for the role of Christopher Pike.
Simon Pegg filmed his role in 5 weeks.