Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 by Germain Lussier
The Bad Robot offices are what your film company would look like if you owned one. Old movie posters and cool art decorate the walls. Props are strategically placed in the hallways. Offices are adorned with cool toys and images. There are two gorgeous outdoor spaces to chill in and it even has a secret name on the outside. Oh, hey, there’s J.J. Abrams walking around.
The head of the company is currently directing the follow-up to his 2009 hit Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, which reunites his surviving original cast and adds new blood in the form of the mysterious Benedict Cumberbatch, and Alice Eve. The film is written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof, will feature a score by Michael Giacchino, and has plenty of new aliens and action scenes for fans to enjoy.
Abrams and his team invited several journalists to their offices on December 10 to learn about the film’s props, costumes, makeup, music, and visual effects. From those presentations, we picked 15 cool things you didn’t yet know about production and story of Star Trek Into Darkness. Details on the Japanese trailer, klingons, character names, IMAX 3D, and lots about Giacchino can all be found below, along with more info about the Bad Robot offices.
Before we get to the fifteen things we learned about Star Trek Into Darkness after visiting Bad Robot, I have to talk about Bad Robot. So here’s a bonus.
0. The Bad Robot offices are awesome.
Some companies have offices that are a reflection of their work. Pixar is one, Google is another and Bad Robot certainly belongs on that list. J.J. Abrams’ TV and movie production company has an almost mythic quality. Part of that is because of the secretive nature of many of their productions. Another is because it’s in a building with the name “The National Typewriter Company” on the front. So, right off the bat, it’s almost as if it’s being hidden. If you go to this website you can see a slew of interior images of the space before Bad Robot moved in.
So imagine that gorgeous space, complete with every single cool geek think imaginable. I saw an original Star Wars poster, a Halloween poster signed by John Carpenter, some Shepard Fairey work, Simon Pegg’s head mold, a huge ad for Lost Kubrick toys and, of course, all kind of posters and images from their films and creations: Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, Lost, Cloverfield, and Alias are just a few. They have their own art department complete with 3D printer and screenprinter for t-shirts. Apparently, there’s a buzzer outside that says “Are You Ready?” but since we entered through the side, I wasn’t able to see it. There is, however, a time capsule buried in the ground in the courtyard that’s to be opened in 2057.
A quick glimpse through the slide show linked above will show you a lot of the things mentioned here and above: the outdoor spaces, the cool exterior, the open spacing indoors. Bad Robot truly is an awesome place, especially when you go there to learn about Star Trek Into Darkness. So, back to our regularaly scheduled 15 things about that.
For information on the film’s first 9 minutes, which plays a part in the presentation we saw, click here.
1. The extra shot in the Japanese trailer wasn’t explicitly placed as a red herring.
When the Into Darkness announcement trailer was released, the Internet blew up about the slightly longer Japanese version which showed a shot of Kirk putting his hand on a piece of glass, seemingly playing homage to a famous scene in The Wrath of Khan. Speaking with director J.J. Abrams, he explained that the Japanese trailer is different because Star Trek isn’t as popular internationally as it is here. (Abrams cited the low foreign grosses of the 2009 film.) He said some foreign audiences are more interested in emotions than action. Hence the inclusion of that shot. However, he admitted it’s obviously an homage. It just wasn’t specifically included at this moment to screw with people. It just worked out that way.
2. Benedict Cumberbatch’s character is named John Harrison.
While we were at Bad Robot, a photo leaked online that revealed Benedict Cumberbatch’s character to be named John Harrison. Many thought that was just a place holder for something bigger and more revealing. That still may be the case, but over the course of the day, multiple people referred to the character by that name. So until we hear different (and Trek fans have already begun to come up with crazy theories) he’s really John Harrison.
3. The Klingon home planet of Qo’noS will be visited and Klingons will kick ass.
Speaking to the costume and props department, it was hard not to discuss the elephant in the room. An elephant in the mold of a six foot tall, frightening Klingon armor complete with incredibly intimidating gun/knife. “We had an eye on making it as brutal as possible, it’s a very barbaric race,” said the head of props Andy Siegel. Yes, the Klingons are in Star Trek Into Darkness and part of the film takes place on their home planet. We know that because an outfit worn by John Harrison (Cumberbatch) was specifically designed for the difficult conditions on that planet. “The environment of Qo’noS is very windy, there’s a lot of debris, it’s all about protection down there,” said assistant costume designer Ann Foley.
As for the Klingons themselves, they were designed as a blend of both the classic old school look, with a slight update. The make-up looks almost like bones or scales all around the skull, but each face was left open so the actors could be more emotive and distinctive. Then each face was then personalized with different hairs, noses and all that gross stuff.
4. Alice Eve plays Carol Marcus.
One debate over a new addition to the cast can now be confirmed. Alice Eve is indeed playing Carol Marcus. In the original Trek movies, Marcus was a former love of Kirk and mother to his son. However, since this takes place before Kirk has a son, you’d imagine this film could be their courting period. In a deviation from the canon, though, Marcus is now a member of StarFleet.
5. Spock’s makeup was so important, the Head of Makeup did it personally.
Usually on a film, every crew member has people under them. David LeRoy Anderson was hired as the Head of Makeup on Into Darkness, which meant he had to oversee not only the primary cast makeup, but all kinds of creature creation and other tasks. One piece of make up was so important, though, LeRoy Anderson realized he had to do it himself: Spock. “Zach [Quinto] had a lot of reason to be concerned because I was going to be mutilating his face,” LeRoy Anderson said. Every day he’d get up early and, before getting to his usual work, would spend about two hours doing Quinto’s makeup for Spock. The ears, the eyebrows and all that. The eyebrows alone took 45 minutes each because each hair had to be individually placed on Quinto’s face. “It was so tedious, I knew I couldn’t just hand that to someone else and expect them to take that on,” he said.