EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness Co-star Nazneen Contractor
Rima Harewood, in a brief amount of screen time, helped set in motion the plot of Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s Rima’s dying daughter, Lucille, whom John Harrison saves in exchange for Rima’s husband, Thomas, blowing up the Kelvin Memorial Archive. Nazneen Contractor – an actress whose credits include Starhunter, The Border and 24 – played Rima and, to hear her tell it, there was more to the character than moviegoers ultimately saw on screen. StarTrek.com caught up with the vibrant actress during the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray red carpet festivities earlier this week in Los Angeles. Here’s what she had to say:
How on your radar was Star Trek when Star Trek Into Darkness came along?
CONTRACTOR: I really liked the 2009 reboot that J.J. (Abrams) did and I was a Next Generation fan. But I was not as entrenched in the world as I am now.
And just how entrenched are you now?
CONTRACTOR: Like neck deep. I feel like so many fans have come out and talked to me about Star Trek. Doing interviews, just from the questions, has been extraordinarily informative. A lot of my friends and family who are Trekkies have come out of the woodwork and have come forward to show me their support. It’s all taught me that this is a franchise that has enduring fans of all different races, all different ages. The fans are so diverse and very intelligent and very passionate – rabid at times – but so wonderful to be on the radar for.
What interested you about Rima as a character, and what did Abrams express to you that he needed from you, from your performance?
CONTRACTOR: I thought it was a very important role and it was much bigger, what we shot, than what actually got into the film. When I auditioned for it, I just knew that I had a sick child and I had to do something about it. I was actually nine months pregnant when I auditioned for it. I had my first son just six weeks before we went into production. J.J. really guided me into tapping into those emotions of being a mother, of being a new mother, which is a very crazy, kind of conflicting time, and using that to bring to each scene with my daughter. J.J. was very specific. He said, “I need you to hold her head here,” because, originally, we opened the film. He actually had a very specific mise en scene in his head that we were portraying. There was room for some improvisation and some opinions, but he actually had a very specific, detailed idea of what he wanted, but we were performing to his demands, to what he wanted, which was very cool.
You just mentioned that there was more to your role. We know you shot additional footage with Noel Clarke, who played your husband, and other bits, too. So, what got cut?
CONTRACTOR: There was a scene at the end of the movie, after the memorial service, in which Chris Pine (as Kirk) comes up to me and my daughter. He sees us, and my daughter is now healthy, with a full head of hair, and I thank him for his speech. He looks up at me and he knows who I am, and then he looks at my daughter, and they both have this moment where they know they share Khan’s blood. But it got cut.
Did you know the scene was cut before seeing the movie at the premiere?
CONTRACTOR: I did. I did know about it before the premiere.
What was it like for you at the premiere? Since your scenes were so early in the movie, you could probably watch the rest of the movie as an audience member…
CONTRACTOR: I’d never seen any of it that I wasn’t in, so it was very cool. I was like a spectator, like everyone else. I felt like a fan who was in it and out of it at the same time.
Have you done a Star Trek convention yet? If not, would you be open to doing them?
CONTRACTOR: I have not done any yet, but I would totally welcome an invitation. I would love to check them out, just to see what it’s like. Everyone raves about them.
Last question: What’s next for you?
CONTRACTOR: I’m just about to start reshoots on a film called Parts Per Billion starring Rosario Dawson, Frank Langella and Josh Lucas. Hopefully it will be out next year. I play a foreign correspondent who helps push the story along. The film is a drama set in a post-apocalyptic circumstance, and I think they realized that they didn’t have enough of the post-apocalyptic thing. So my character’s journey sort of takes people through what’s going on outside the lives of these three couples.
StarTrek.com's coverage of the Star Trek Into Darkness red carpet event will continue on Monday as we interview creature designer Neville Page.