Zachary Quinto has been in the news the past few days. Perhaps you’ve heard: Star Trek (2009)’s Mr. Spock has a new movie coming out, called Margin Call, and, very quietly, he just came out, announcing to the world that he is a gay man. StarTrek.com caught up with Quinto for an interview a couple of days after the big announcement. Over the course of the conversation, he shared his thoughts on Spock and his hopes for the next feature, as well as whether or not now is the time for a gay character on Star Trek. He also talked about Margin Call, which will open on Friday, his upcoming stint on the series American Horror Story, and previewed other projects in the works from his production company, Before the Door. Below is part one of our exclusive conversation, and visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow to read part two.
Quinto: Well, for all intents and purposes, Star Trek was my first movie. So I didn’t really have anything to compare it to in terms of scope and scale at the time. It was an incredibly gratifying experience, creatively and professionally and personally, to work on the first movie. And I was really encouraged by the way everyone responded to it when it came out. I have a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about going back into it for the next movie.
What did it mean to you to get Leonard Nimoy’s stamp of approval on your casting as Spock? And now, having worked with him on the film and having done several events with him in the past couple of years, what does it mean to you to count him among your friends?
Quinto: That’s something I could never have anticipated. I certainly was grateful, going in, for his support. For me as an actor, I’m glad he offered it. I didn’t know how essential it would become to me and I didn’t know how close he and I would become. I just have such admiration and appreciation and respect for him, and it’s a great honor to me that he and I are as close as we are and that we stay in touch as we do. And I just really love him.
You just announced publicly that you are gay. Of all people in the world, would you like to think it’s Star Trek fans who will be the most accepting?
Quinto: I have been met with nothing but support, from everyone, in the past couple of days since I made that announcement. My Star Trek fans have always been incredibly supportive of everything that I’ve done, and I’m certainly glad to see that that remains the case. I’m just really overwhelmed by and grateful for the unanimous outpouring of love and encouragement from literally all over the world, which I did not anticipate when I made that announcement. I did not imagine what an impact it would have, and from the feedback I’ve gotten, what a positive impact it’s been.
You wrote on your blog that it was the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 15-year-old who committed suicide after being bullied because he was gay, that prompted you to go public. What do you hope will come from your decision?
Quinto: We have to change the discourse and we have to let people know that there’s a real spirit of openness and acceptance, and not of judgment and hatred and intolerance. And if me standing up and making this declaration in any way feeds that notion, then I’m even happier to do it.
Is it time for a gay character in Star Trek?
Quinto: Oh… I don’t know the answer to that question. Not just for the sake of having one. But if there’s a way to incorporate that aspect of our social structure in a creatively integrous way, then I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it. But I’m not a big fan of doing anything just for the sake of doing it, so I think there’d have to be a real undercurrent of purpose if that was the case, and I mean creatively, not just politically.
Let’s talk about your new film, the financial drama/thriller Margin Call. What did you see in the project that made it worthy of you spending a couple of years on it as both an actor and producer?
Quinto: I started a production company three years ago, and this was the first movie we decided to get behind. I felt really drawn into the way the story was written. It really attempts to humanize the characters who inhabit this world at a time that it came crashing down around them. The impact that that had on them was something that was really interesting to me creatively. I didn’t know how much at the time, but there was an element of social relevance to this that made it really appealing. And, in terms of the kinds of movies we want to make at my company, this ticked a lot of those boxes. Then, on top of all that, I met (writer-director) J.C. Chandor, connected with him, and found out how affable and articulate and intelligent he is. That sealed the deal for sure.
You had a budget on this of $3.5 million, which is bare bones for a movie, particularly one as loaded with stars as this. How amazed were you that people like Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley, Demi Moore, Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci and Mary McDonnell signed on for it?
Quinto: It was pretty incredible, but not surprising. We wouldn’t have set out to make the movie if we didn’t think it’d attract that level of talent. I make this joke that everything that could have gone right with this movie did go right, and realize how anomalous and how unusual that is. To have this be our first film, it was a really remarkable experience, and to have those people you just named join us for this project was a huge part of it.
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow to read part two of our interview with Zachary Quinto. To visit Quinto’s official site, click HERE.