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STAR TREK

Starfleet Academy For Actors
Once the cast was set, much like their characters at Starfleet Academy, they were plunged into rigorous training for the action ahead, which would range from a bar brawl to such wholly 23rd century pursuits as galactic parachuting from space pods. This was a central part of J.J. Abrams' vision for a film that he hopes will transport audiences to a new frontier of rollicking, epic adventure. Abrams explains: "I wanted there to be an exuberant energy to this ‘Star Trek' that hasn't been there before, with more emphasis on action, adventure and spectacle.”

To prepare the crew for the film's many thrilling sequences on alien planets and enemy ships, stunt coordinator Joey Box worked on their physical training. "It was a pleasure for me because this cast is full of young, athletic people and they learned everything so fast,” Box says. "The choreography just came naturally to them and what they didn't have in action experience, they made up for in enthusiasm and love for their characters.”

Box's primary challenges were to take the original television series' campy, ‘60s-style action and bring it into a more reality-based view of the 23rd century and to merge action with character. "J.J. wanted this to be a huge action movie, but he also wanted everything these characters did, including the action, to really define them and their relationships with each other,” he explains. "So, for example, Spock has his own Vulcan-influenced fighting style, which is very fluid and straightforward. He never uses fists or emotion, while Kirk is a real street fighter, a clever sort of brawler who will persevere in any situation by whatever means necessary.”

"No detail was overlooked for the fans, either,” Box continues. "We went to great lengths to make sure that the Romulans fight like Romulans and the Klingons fight like Klingons and all those little nuances stayed true to the canon.”

The never-before-seen Nero developed his own distinctive Romulanesque battle style befitting of his character's rage-filled persona. "Eric Bana was amazing physically, which let us really have fun with Nero,” says Box. "Eric's a complete athlete and his fights are some of the most exciting I've ever seen. Nero fights in an almost Greco-Roman wrestling style with lots of throws and holds and tumbling around.”

Box's team also poured their efforts into rigging pneumatic catapults and high-speed wenches that could safely yet viscerally speed actors through the air. "There were a lot of propelling bodies and a lot of huge explosions on this movie,” he explains. "It was all part of J.J.'s vision for finding realistic ways to really get across the feeling of what this crew is going through with a lot of action and adventure.”

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