Quentin Tarantino’s Unmade STAR TREK Described as “The Greatest STAR TREK Film”

STAR TREK

At a certain juncture in Quentin Tarantino’s illustrious directing career, he delved into the intriguing realm of developing an R-rated Star Trek movie in collaboration with Paramount Pictures. The very notion of a Tarantino-helmed Star Trek promised a cinematic experience unlike anything fans had ever witnessed within the beloved franchise. The prospect of a departure from the traditional Star Trek narrative into the uncharted territories of Tarantino’s vision was tantalizing, to say the least. Unfortunately, the cosmos had different plans for this cinematic voyage.

The mastermind behind the script was none other than Mark L. Smith, the creative force behind screenplays for notable works such as “Revenant” and “The Boys in the Boat.” In a recent interview with Collider, Smith shared the mesmerizing tale of his involvement in the project. Quentin Tarantino, armed with a compelling pitch and a unique vision for the Star Trek universe, met with Smith at Bad Robot to weave the fabric of this cinematic odyssey. Smith found himself captivated by Tarantino’s pitch, expressing a desire to have surreptitiously recorded the director’s passionate dialogues and enthralling acting demonstrations.

While Tarantino conceptualized the narrative, he sought the collaboration of another wordsmith to bring his vision to life on paper. In a serendipitous turn of events, Smith proved to be the literary ally Tarantino sought. Entrusted with the task of penning the script, Smith delved into the cosmos of Tarantino’s imagination to craft a screenplay that would undoubtedly bear the director’s distinct cinematic fingerprint. Reflecting on the experience, Smith reminisced about the sheer wonder of Tarantino’s creative process, acknowledging the brilliance that unfolded during dialogue sessions and acting rehearsals.

However, as fate would have it, the cosmic alignment for Tarantino’s Star Trek magnum opus was not to be. The project found itself beached in the shallows of unrealized potential, and Smith elucidates on the pivotal reason behind its demise. Tarantino, despite birthing the concept and guiding its creative trajectory, found himself unable to reconcile with the notion that a Star Trek venture would mark the culmination of his directorial journey. The realization that this avant-garde creation could potentially stand as his final cinematic endeavor proved to be a conceptual hurdle too formidable to surmount.

Thus, the R-rated Star Trek movie envisioned by Tarantino and brought to life on paper by Smith became a tantalizing what-if in the annals of cinematic speculation. The convergence of Tarantino’s visionary brilliance and the iconic Star Trek universe, while momentarily contemplated, ultimately succumbed to the cosmic forces that govern the trajectory of Hollywood dreams.

He said:

“It was a different thing, but this was such a particular different type of story that Quentin wanted to tell with it that it fit my kind of sensibilities. So I wrote that, Quentin and I went back and forth, he was gonna do some stuff on it, and then he started worrying about the number, his kind of unofficial number of films. I remember we were talking, and he goes, ‘If I can just wrap my head around the idea that Star Trek could be my last movie, the last thing I ever do. Is this how I want to end it?’ And I think that was the bump he could never get across, so the script is still sitting there on his desk. I know he said a lot of nice things about it. I would love for it to happen. It’s just one of those that I can’t ever see happening. But it would be the greatest Star Trek film, not for my writing, but just for what Tarantino was gonna do with it. It was just a balls-out kind of thing.”

While Tarantino came up with the idea, he wanted another writer to write the film, and he ended up clicking with Smith and asked him if he’d write the draft, which he did. Smith went on to talk about his experience working on the script, and what Tarantino was thinking at the moment in his career. He reveals why the project never happened, and it was because the filmmaker couldn’t wrap it his head around the fact that Star Trek would be his last movie. He said:

“It was a different thing, but this was such a particular different type of story that Quentin wanted to tell with it that it fit my kind of sensibilities. So I wrote that, Quentin and I went back and forth, he was gonna do some stuff on it, and then he started worrying about the number, his kind of unofficial number of films. I remember we were talking, and he goes, ‘If I can just wrap my head around the idea that Star Trek could be my last movie, the last thing I ever do. Is this how I want to end it?’ And I think that was the bump he could never get across, so the script is still sitting there on his desk. I know he said a lot of nice things about it. I would love for it to happen. It’s just one of those that I can’t ever see happening. But it would be the greatest Star Trek film, not for my writing, but just for what Tarantino was gonna do with it. It was just a balls-out kind of thing.”

Smith wouldn’t offer any details on the story in this interview, saying: “I can’t say anything about the story. He would kill me.” But, he did reveal that it would’ve been a “Hard R” movie with the same level of violence that Tarantino is known for making. He said:

“But I think his vision was just to go hard. It was a hard R. It was going to be some Pulp Fiction violence. Not a lot of the language, we saved a couple things for just special characters to kind of drop that into the Star Trek world, but it was just really the edginess and the kind of that Tarantino flair, man, that he was bringing to it. It would have been cool.”

Smith went on to share his excitement about Tarantino’s project because it would have been very different from anything else in the franchise, saying:

“I liked it because I think it’s different, but the way that [Thor] Ragnarok changed things. It was like suddenly it had a different feel for the Marvel stuff. It was like, ‘That’s fun. That’s different.’ And I guess Guardians [of the Galaxy] to some level, but it was just like a different vibe and that’s what I thought that it could bring to Star Trek was just a different feel.”

Smith previously talked about the film and shared some insight on the story, saying:

“We wanted [The Midnight Sky] to be in the future, but not so far in the future that anyone would feel that it couldn’t be happening. I went through a lot of different TED talks as far as the planets that would be chosen, and the way the ship would have to operate. As they’re going through space, I kept it where they go into blackout zones: they lose communication for a few weeks, so all the messages they were getting from home were at least a couple of weeks behind. Sure, I cheated in a few areas, but nothing major. It wasn’t like anyone was being beamed up!”

Smith also explained that he was drawn to the “deep” characters in the series, saying, “The relationships all felt real, and something I could relate to.” He then went on to reveal that Captain Kirk would be in the film and that they had so much fun playing with the character:

“I love Picard. And Kirk is always just so fun. Tarantino and I had so much fun with him, because Kirk is just William Shatner, y’know? It’s like: you’re not sure who is who, so you can kinda lean into that! Because you watch Chris Pine and he’s playing Kirk, but he’s also playing William Shatner a touch.”

It was previously reported that Tarantino’s movie “is based on an episode of the classic Star Trek series that takes place largely earthbound in a 1930s gangster setting.”

The episode that this story is based on is titled “A Piece of the Action,” which was the seventeenth episode of Season 2. It aired on January 12, 1968. The story centered on Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy as they beamed down to a planet called Iotia where they discover a planetary government patterned after the Chicago gangs of the 1920s.

Tarantino previously said that he also wanted to bring some Pulp Fiction elements into the series as well. He also said:

“I don’t know if I’ll do it or not. I’ve got to figure it out, but Mark wrote a really cool script. I like it a lot. There’s some things I need to work on but I really, really liked it.”


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