Alice Eve has been on the cusp of major stardom for a while now, having acted in such films as Starter for 10, She’s Out of My League, Sex and the City 2, The Raven and Men in Black 3. She may have just found the role and the film that could nudge her into the Hollywood stratosphere: Carol Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness. Eve – a 31-year-old Brit – nails the part, playing her as smart, sexy (we’ve all see the underwear shot) and feisty (shooting down Kirk’s romantic advances). StarTrek.com recently caught up with Eve for a conversation, and here’s what she had to say.
How on your radar was Star Trek?
EVE: I watched it when I was younger, with my grandfather, so I knew about the universe a little bit. And J.J. (Abrams), with the 2009, made Star Trek reach a wider audience. So I definitely was aware of it. But I didn’t know who Carol Marcus was.
What did they give you to work from during the audition process?
EVE: I didn’t get a script. I got a few pages of this character’s scenes and a scene that was kind of imagined, that wasn’t in the movie. It was just so well constructed and so well imagined and so truthful that I wanted to be part of this group of people that told stories in that way.
Did you go back and look at Bibi Besch’s performance in Star Trek II or did you avoid it like the plague?
EVE: I looked it at. I thought she played her very determinedly, but she was also more mature than I am. So there was some artistic license that I could take.
How daunting was it initially for you to walk on to this set? And how quickly were you embraced by the cast?
EVE: I was really embraced by the cast. It’s like the first day at school; it’s daunting in the anticipation of it. But once you walk on a set, that’s what it is and you become familiar with it quite quickly.
The scene in which Marcus disables a torpedo is a nail-biter. How tricky is it, on set and in the moment, to create heightened and growing tension for an extended sequence like that?
EVE: J.J. will take nothing but the best you have for as many takes as are needed. It is intense to create tension, especially with an IMAX camera on you. It’s a very demanding camera to work with. It’s very noisy and you only have 90 seconds of film. So, you get tired after those days, but they’re incredibly rewarding.
The scene in which you change clothes, a photo of which has been all over the Internet, is viewed by some as fun, sexy and old-school Star Trek, while others think it’s sexist, gratuitous and undermines Marcus as a character. What are your thoughts?
EVE: There is sexuality throughout the movie. Chris (Pine) comes in in a very skin-tight suit and you… can see him. He has his top off at the beginning. Benedict (Cumberbatch) did a shower scene that wasn’t in the movie. I think that to ignore an element of sexuality is to ignore an element of humanity.
How did you enjoy working with Peter Weller, who plays your father, and also Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto?
EVE: Peter Weller was fantastic. I loved working with him. I think he’s a professor. He has a doctorate in the history of art. So he’s very well-versed in all things historical and will share his information freely. I learned a lot. Chris and Zach are great. They’re my good friends now. We became friends on the set and I’ve spent a lot of time with them doing this promotional tour, and I adore them both.
You are reading the audionovel version of Star Trek Into Darkness. What was that experience like, and what fresh insight about the story did you gain from reading it aloud and, in essence, playing all the characters?
EVE: Absolutely, 100 percent, I discovered a lot reading the audionovel. When you break a film down to several hundred pages, you can really go into the minutia and the details. That lets you see how epic the tale it is and how beautiful and multifaceted it is. So, reading the audiobook was, for me, before the press tour, before I spoke about the film, a great way of consolidating what the story was and how intricately it was woven. I just enjoyed it so much. I went to university and spent three years solidly in a library, so sitting in a dark room reading is kind of my thing.
Tell us one thing you learned from the audionovel that you’d not realized while shooting the film…
EVE: I guess I didn’t quite know the parallels between the alpha-male masculinity of Pike’s character and Kirk’s character. Maybe I wasn’t tracking that story so closely when we were filming. I was tracking the story with my father. But Kirk has a parallel story with a father figure in Star Trek Into Darkness. I think that’s why Carol and Kirk see each other in the way they do.
Will there be an action figure of you?
EVE: I haven’t seen one yet. But I would like one.
Scenes always end up on the cutting room floor during the editing process of a film. What did you shoot that got cut?
EVE: There was only one scene that I did that didn’t make it in. It’s a scene where I explain why I have an English accent, but I don’t think it was my favorite scene.
You’ve got a couple of other films on the way. Give us a sentence or two Cold Comes the Night and Some Velvet Morning.
EVE: Some Velvet Morning is a two-hander with Stanley Tucci. I had a pre-existing relationship with (director) Neil LaBute, and I am very proud of the work put together in 10 days in Brooklyn. Cold Comes the Night was a traumatic experience for me. We made it in upstate New York. We lived and worked in a motel there, and if it wasn’t for the delectable Bryan Cranston, I would have been very lonely.
If there’s another Star Trek feature and if you return, what would you like to see for Marcus?
EVE: I’d like to see Carol take the (captain’s) chair for at least an hour.
How about in terms of Marcus and Kirk?
EVE: These heavy story points are in the embryonic stage, and I’d have to talk to the guys about what they were thinking. Obviously, in the canon, Carol and Kirk go on to have a child. Whether that happens in J.J.’s split universe has yet to be decided. But I’d love any eventuality with Carol. I love playing her. I love her strength and independence of mind. So I’d like to continue to see that.
Last question. You mentioned that you auditioned with a scene that’s not in the movie. What was that scene?
EVE: It was an extended dialogue scene between my father and I.
Was it was helpful to you in understanding Marcus?
EVE: It was, but the plot points made it across in the scenes we did have. It’s just that the construction of that particular scene wasn’t what we used.