Zachary Quinto, in part one of our exclusive interview, talked about his first experience playing Spock in Star Trek (2009), about his decision to come out as a gay man, and about his latest film, the thriller Margin Call, which will open on Friday. Today, in the second half of our conversation, Quinto chats more about Margin Call, fills us in on his other upcoming projects, which include a recurring guest role on the series American Horror Story, as well as several films, shows and graphic novels in the works from his production company, Before the Door. He also shared his thoughts on the Spock-Uhura relationship as seen in Star Trek (2009) and expressed his desire to get started on the next Trek feature.
Margin Call is a very modest movie and not full of explosions and visual effects, yet it’s got a stellar cast -- that includes Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Jeremy Irons and Quinto -- and, given the state of the economy and the Occupy Wall Street situation, it couldn’t be timelier. How hopeful are you that the film will find an audience during its theatrical release?
Quinto: It’s been met with a lot of support and interest, and the response to the movie so far, critically, has been pretty overwhelmingly positive. We do have an incredible cast and it deals with a subject matter that literally could not be any more relevant to the conversations that are happening in our country in a larger way right now. So I very much hope it finds an audience, or that an audience finds it. I think we’re in as good a position as possible for that to happen. We’ve done everything we can. This movie has already so far exceeded my expectations, in terms of where it’s taken me creatively and professionally. So I’m enormously proud of it already, and if it goes to yet another level I’ll be even more grateful than I even am now.
You’d produced a number of short films in the past, but this is the first feature that you’ve produced. So, what did you take away from the experience that you’ll apply to subsequent projects?
Quinto: I learned a lot. I learned how to manage a production, basically, how to make a production run smoothly from the very bottom line all the way through. I learned how to stay on a budget, stay on a schedule. I learned how challenging it is. And I learned how the best thing to do is to not get into the extremes of any potential crisis along the way, because crises are actually what mark the evolution of any production, or any creative pursuit. I learned how to maintain some kind of equilibrium through any panic situation, like a volcano erupts and now there are no flights coming across the ocean, and we have to get Kevin Spacey over by Thursday. That kind of thing will work itself out one way or another, and so I learned how to hold a little bit more of a middle ground in the face of those extremes. I learned how to support a director’s vision and how to create an environment in which actors of this caliber can feel comfortable and supported enough to do the work they’re so respected for doing. And I learned how gratifying the whole thing can be, to start with nothing and end with something that you can actually share with people and sit and talk about and encourage them to talk about as well.
You’re also about to return to television with a role on American Horror Story. Give us a feeling for what to expect.
Quinto: I play the guy who owned the house just before the Harmons (Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton) moved in. I met an untimely demise and now I’m a ghost with a little bit of proprietary resentment about the fact that he can’t continue this relationship with this house that he loves so much. It’s flashbacks and it’s ghostness. It’s all of it.
What else do you have in the works from your production company, Before the Door?
Quinto: We’re doing films, television shows and graphic novels. We just published our second graphic novel, and we had a signing in New York, while I was here this week. It’s doing really well. I’m really proud of that book, which is called Mr. Murder Is Dead. It was the follow-up to our first graphic novel that we put out last year, which was called Lucid. We’ve shot two other movies since Margin Call. One is an untitled found-footage romantic comedy and the other is called The Banshee Chapter. And we’re actively raising money for (Margin Call writer-director) J.C. Chandor’s follow-up feature, which we hope to begin shooting in the beginning of next year. We have three other films in active pre-production right behind that, one of which is called You Were Never Here, and we have two pilot scripts that we’re shopping around. And my producing partner has a show that’ll be shooting for TNT in a couple of months. So, there’s a lot of stuff going on at the company, and it seems to be growing and expanding.
Let’s go back to Star Trek for a moment. Some fans found the Spock-Uhura romance to be a fresh twist, and others did not care for it because it strayed too far from familiar territory and they weren’t convinced that the characters would actually ever go there. What were your feelings on the relationship? And do you understand why some people might not have liked it?
Quinto: I don’t know. I tend not to get too caught up in people’s reactions to stuff, creatively. For me, it worked 100 percent in that movie. It created a different kind of dimension to both of those characters than we’ve ever seen in the Trek universe before. And there was a real undercurrent of heart to that part of the storyline, I thought. I’m actually really interested to see where it goes from here.
What else do you hope to see, in general and for Spock specifically, in the next Star Trek film?
Quinto: I just am excited to read what those guys have come up with. I have such implicit trust in their ability to tell compelling and dynamic stories that I’m just really eager to know where we’re going. I’ll go wherever they take me. So, I’ll be interested and ready whenever the time comes.
And, last question. Do you have anything lined up, acting-wise, for after you finish American Horror Story and before you begin the next Star Trek film?
Quinto: There's not really going to be much time for that. I'm going to be in full prep for the next Trek movie by the time I get back to L.A. in November. I'll finish American Horror Story in that time and then we start (Star Trek) in January. So, with all the stuff that I need to do to prepare, I really doubt that I'll be doing anthing else between American Horror Story and the next Trek movie.
To read part one of our interview with Zachary Quinto, click HERE. And to visit Quinto's official site, click HERE.
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