Monday 19 May 2014

Skyping Spock: Leonard Nimoy at Ottawa Comiccon

by Marla Desat

In a rare convention appearance, Leonard Nimoy spoke to a packed crowd at Ottawa Comiccon via Skype. The renowned actor, best known for his role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek, no longer travels to conventions as he suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Despite quitting smoking forty years ago, Nimoy developed the chronic condition, and he warned fans, "If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do, stop!"

Some technical issues troubled the start of the Q&A, but after a dropped call Nimoy reconnected and began jovially answering fan questions. Nimoy made light of the difficulties, saying "Is there anything we can do to help this connection? This connection is treacherous, I think the Klingons have been messing with it."

The first question was how it felt to pass the torch to Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the J. J. Abrams reboot of the franchise. "Zachary is a very good friend of mine," said Nimoy. "He's a wonderful actor and very talented. He did a great job as the new Spock, and I am glad to see the Spock character live on with such a great actor."

Karl Urban, who plays the role of Dr. McCoy in the reboot, surprised both fans and Nimoy himself when he appeared at the Q&A. Urban asked Nimoy, "Of all the actors you worked with on the new Star Trek movie, who was your favourite to work with?" Urban implied that naming Quinto might smack of nepotism. Grinning, Nimoy said, "No one's better than you, Karl!" As Urban left the stage, Nimoy added, "He's done a wonderful job as Dr. McCoy, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart."

A fan asked what inspired Gene Roddenberry to create a character like Spock. "Up until the early '60s, most of the aliens in science fiction were portrayed as something dangerous, something to be afraid of," said Nimoy. Spock was a much different character from these stock aliens, a character that actively worked with humans to overcome problems, and coexisted peacefully with humanity. "That was the most important thing for Gene, to present an alien character who was helpful and could work with the human characters."

Asked about his funniest memory shooting Star Trek, Nimoy told a story about a prank that William Shatner once pulled on the late DeForest Kelley. Kelley had a habit of going to the food services table on set every morning and putting a muffin in the toaster. While it toasted, Kelley would go get a coffee, leaving the muffin unattended. Learning this, Shatner waited one morning for Kelley to leave his muffin, and promptly popped it out of the toaster and ate it. When Kelley returned to get his muffin, he was understandably confused. Kelley put a new muffin in the toaster, and Shatner got another cast member on set to distract him. Shatner popped the second muffin out of the toaster and ate it, too. Now realizing the prank, Kelley became quite angry. "I said, De, don't worry about it. You stand the two of you side by side, it's easy to see who's been eating the muffins."

The Ottawa Comiccon crowd closed out the Q&A with a standing ovation. Nimoy plans to connect with more fans at other conventions via Skype in the future, and I for one hope the trend will live long and prosper!

Marla Desat is a recent University of Waterloo grad living and working in Ottawa. When she isn't playing the latest video games, she's geeking out over comic books, board games, tabletop roleplaying games and science. Marla also writes for The Escapist as a freelance news writer. You can follow her on Twitter @mrdesat

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...