It’s difficult trying to contain your excitement when you’re doing one of these behind-the-scenes visits for a highly anticipated movie like “Star Trek Into Darkness.” I’ll admit it right now: I’m a Star Trek fan but in no way, shape or form would I ever consider myself a Trekkie. I’ve watched the original series, dipped myself into The Next Generation and have seen about ninety percent of the movies. So I’m relatively more open-minded to the possibility of “Star Trek Into Darkness” sharing some similarities to previous Star Trek films, even “Wrath of Khan.”
It’s a clear, smog-filled Los Angeles early afternoon as a number of domestic and international press make their way over to J.J. Abrams’ not-so-secret headquarters, Bad Robot. It may not look like much on the outside, minus the rooftop that’s covered in grass for some reason, but in the inside it’s a sci-fi fan’s toy shelf spread throughout an entire building. It’s really cool seeing memorabilia from “The Twilight Zone,” “Star Trek” and so forth scattered all over the place, but that wasn’t the number one thing that caught our attention when we came inside.
Before we gazed upon the cool costumes, makeup and props from “Star Trek Into Darkness,” we were ushered into a really sweet screening room filled with plush chairs and now nerdy journalists. J.J. Abrams came out, thanking us all for showing up and building us up for all of the fun things we were about to see in Bad Robot. We did see a smidgen of footage in that cool screening room, but what did we see? That’s for you to guess.
Finally they let us go into the main hallway of Bad Robot, absolutely littered with “Star Trek Into Darkness” goodness for your eyes to gobble up. The first outfit that caught my attention was the bronze-looking volcano suit that Spock (Zachary Quinto) is wearing during the first nine minutes worth of footage in front of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Tucked right next to it was Uhura’s (Zoe Saldana) wet suit that not only is detailed with little Starfleet symbols throughout the outfit but shows how perfect of a figure the actress has.
Before we could talk to the costume department about the many outfits that were spread out around the building, we met up with the department head of makeup David Anderson. He brought us around some of the makeup pieces he had on display. One of them was the ears, eyebrows and hair that makes Spock’s look so unique. Since they had perfected Zachary Quinto’s look, matching it to his facial features in the first movie, Anderson didn’t have too much to worry about, except for the time Mr. Quinto was messing with his eyebrows a bit too much shortly after they began filming. “Two or three weeks into the show I thought I was getting slower because it was like thirty-five minutes, forty, forty-five minutes. Then it just dawned on me that he was just shaving more and more each time. He’d go home, clean it up and nick the ends. So I put a stop to that and he stopped shaving.”
Little makeup adventures like that kept Anderson and company on their toes, and for good reason. Thanks to many advances in technology, makeup people such as Anderson have to really be careful with each thing they do. It would be simple for Anderson to just paste some fake Vulcan eyebrows over Zachary Quinto’s own eyebrows, but we would notice the difference immediately.Â “It’s called IMAX, high-def… just everything. If you look carefully in the film, it’s nearly impossible because hair grows so fast and Zachary is a naturally hairy guy. The idea of taking a massive eyebrow like that… I would not be able to cover that. There would still be a three-dimensional bump there.”
There are many other challenges you have to deal with when it comes to makeup, which includes trying to pinpoint the perfect updated look for Klingons. That’s right, we’re actually going to be able to see these suckers in this upcoming movie, like we were supposed to in the last one. It’s about time. Any who, J.J. Abrams and concept designer Neville Page had a lot on their plate when it came to redesigning the Klingons. Although we don’t have any sort of image to illustrate their new look, their overall design is slightly sharper and a bit tougher looking than before. If you got a glimpse of them in the official teaser trailer, you know what their exterior outfits look like. We’ll get more into that during the second half of our behind-the-scenes article as we talk to the costume designers behind the Klingon’s latest treads and John Harrison’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) peacock-like coat.