Star Trek Beyond Director Justin Lin Talks Idris Elba's 'Intense' Villain (Exclusive)

Just a few hours after the release of the first trailer for ‘Star Trek Beyond’ (which you can watch above), Yahoo spoke to director Justin Lin about the upcoming film.

Topics for discussion included stepping into JJ Abrams’ shoes as the director, working with Simon Pegg on the script, Idris Elba’s terrifying new villain and his love for the 'spirit’ of 'Star Trek’. Lin, who directed four of the 'Fast And Furious’ films, also told us how the film will honour the 50th anniversary of the 'Star Trek’ universe… and what it was like to destroy the USS Enterprise.

Yahoo: Tell us about what you wanted to bring to 'Star Trek Beyond’

Justin Lin: When I first signed on what I really wanted to do was deconstruct the franchise, the Federation and hopefully reaffirm why it’s been around for 50 years and why it’s so beloved.


['Star Trek’] has been a big part of my life and I felt that trying to capture the spirit of that, the essence, would be the key. Having Simon [Pegg] and Doug [Jung] be [writing] partners on this was unbelievable. Every step of the way, under the craziest of circumstances. I always felt like I was surrounded by people who really do have love and passion for Trek.

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'Star Trek’ is about a crew. A family of people who have gone out and are exploring. On the most basic most literal level when I had this opportunity that was the one thing I wanted to make sure we conveyed.

Were you a big 'Star Trek’ fan going in?

It’s hard to define but 'Star Trek’ has been a big part of my life. My father worked everyday and every night we caught the late night screening of the show. From 8-years-old to 18 that was part of my life. Other kids grew up with 'Star Wars’ but this is who I am.

What was it like working with Idris Elba on the film?


Idris was great. I’ve always been a huge fan and to build a character together was so much fun. Every day he came in with so much intensity. I’ve never had a better time creating a character than I have with Idris.

Is his character the villain?

He definitely has a strong point of view and I think a very valid point of view, and that’s what I love about this film is that, while there’s antagonists and protagonists, with Idris it was not really thinking in those terms, but really digging in and building a character and building a background and building a history. I think its fun to have characters who have been around for a while meeting new characters.


Is the film based on a previous 'Star Trek’ story or episode, or is it totally original?

Yes, [being an original story] that’s the point of entry. I think when I got the call from JJ [Abrams] I said I wasn’t going to leave what I was doing to be part of this franchise unless I had a commitment to [this]. We have the whole universe to explore, its exciting to me personally to say “hey lets create new characters, lets create new species and new journeys for them”.

How will a Justin Lin Trek film differ from a JJ Abrams Trek film?

We’re different people. I think JJ did an amazing job of rebooting it and the cast was great to work with. My point of entry on 'Star Trek’ is that of trying to capture the essence. I have to give JJ a lot of credit for setting up this journey of exploration.


Tell me about working with Simon Pegg, who co-wrote 'Beyond’ as well as playing Scotty once again…

He’s a big component of the film. I call him a collaborator in the greatest sense of the word. I’m very grateful to have Simon, his love and knowledge of Star Trek is so great and detailed; it comes from a great place. He knows all the characters so well. I’m a big fan of Simon as an actor and as a writer, so to be able to get him for both I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Leonard Nimoy died during production, did that impact the film at all?

He’s definitely been a big part of the franchise. It was definitely something that we talked a lot about as we were creating it.

What was it like destroying the Enterprise?


On the days we were shooting it it was actually very emotional. I didn’t expect that. We planned it in pre-production and so on, but I didn’t realise how much it was part of me. When I talked about deconstructing Trek I think we were going to start it from a very literal level and build from there!

'Star Trek Beyond’ warps into UK cinemas on 22 July 2016.

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Image credits: Paramount/Rex Features

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