Nimoy still finds role fascinating

December 06, 1991|By Los Angeles Daily News

You'd think that Leonard Nimoy would be the "Star Trek" actor most eager to say goodbye to the whole, as well as the specific, Enterprise. After all, Mr. Spock, his half-alien character, was the science fiction series' most indelible icon, a paragon of Vulan logic and often poignant when it came to dealing with his own, repressed emotions.

And, of course, there were those ears.

But even though Mr. Nimoy is the most insistent of the seven original cast members that "Star Trek VI" is their final Starship flight, he bids farewell to the Enterprise with far more ambivalence than he does relief.

"I'm not sick of it," Mr. Nimoy said of the 25-year-old "Star Trek" phenomenon, which spawned two wildly successful television series, six movies, an animated show, tons of ancillary merchandise and the most dedicated fan following this side of dead Elvis. "It's been very satisfying, very fulfilling.

"If we were not doing interesting stories, it would be a bore just to put on the clothes and the ears again, trudge into work and out. But as long as the mind is engaged, you can't get sick of it."

Mr. Nimoy, 60, directed the franchise's third and fourth films and executive produced and co-wrote the story for the latest sequel. He came up with the concept of the Klingon Empire making peace overtures to their longtime enemies, the Federation of Planets, after observing the changes in U.S.-Soviet relations following Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost reforms. Not only did this seem a fitting finish for the aging Enterprise crew, it carried on a "Star Trek" tradition of addressing contemporary issues in futuristic metaphors.

Mr. Nimoy, who also directed the smash comedy "Three Men and a Baby," had no interest in helming a third "Trek" outing. "Directing 'Star Trek IV' was very, very tough for me, because Spock is a two-hour make-up job. If you add that to the double job of acting and directing the film, it's a killer."

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