Source: BBC Breakfast Show
Written by: S.K. Sloan
While Leonard Nimoy was in London, England this past week for the London Expo he dropped in on Danny Baker and gave a fun interview on BBC’s famous Breakfast Show.
When Baker asked him about the impact of his role as Spock on “Star Trek the Original Series” Nimoy countered with “It never goes away.” He stated that during the 11 year hiatus between the series and the first Star Trek movie he found it very frustrating that this was all people wanted to talk to him about. “There was no new Star Trek being made but the show was extremely successful in syndication,” Nimoy said
One of the things that upset him the most was that immediately after the Star Trek 3-year run was over he went to work on “Mission Impossible,” but “no one ever wanted to talk about that,” lamented Nimoy. “They only wanted to talk about Star Trek.” He said that the first year on “Mission Impossible” was interesting because he got to play a wide variety of characters because his role required him to be a different character in disquise each week. But by the 2nd year he was already bored with it and left the show.
Commenting on his early years as an actor Nimoy stated that for the 15 years prior to getting the Spock role he never had any acting job that lasted more than a 2 week stretch and he was beginning to seriously consider leaving acting for a real job because he had a family to support.
Leonard Nimoy started doing stage acting in Boston at the age of 8. By the time he was 17 he said that he totally “fell in love” with acting and to the chagrin of his immigrant parents, decided that he didn’t wish to pursue anything else.
“My first major role,” said Nimoy “was in a program called “The Lieutuenant,” which starred Gary Lockwood in the lead role. While he was doing this program he got a call from his agent stating that the producer of “The Lieutuenant” wanted to see him about doing this strange role on a possible new science fiction show. Nimoy met with Gene Roddenberry who convinced him to do a pilot called “The Cage” with Jeffery Hunter as the captain of a space vessel called the Enterprise. When studio execs refused to air the pilot “I thought it was over,” remembers Nimoy. “I forgot about it,” he said. And proceeded to continue with the Lockwood series.
About a year later Nimoy says he got another call from Roddenberry who told him the studio wanted to try this “wagon train to the stars” thing again. Nimoy said that it took sometime for the Spock character to evolve, for the writers and himself to flesh out the character, see how he played off the other characters and see exactly how he fit in with this ensemble bridge crew. “The fact that he was part human and part Vulcan gave me a dynamic to work with,” stated Nimoy. “The suppressing of emotion can give you an interior life that makes you interesting.”
When asked by Baker when he became aware of the power of the Star Trek series Nimoy stated that almost immediately after the show was put on the air there was a core of intense viewers, “not in hugh numbers but an extremely intense audience” was there from the beginning.
Leonard Nimoy stated he still remembers the day he got the call from a NBC Vice President telling him that Star Trek was being cancelled. The first words out of his mouth to the executive were, “You’re a fool!”
It would appear that the same fate that UPN has chosen for “Star Trek: Enterprise” was what “Star Trek: TOS” was up against at NBC. According to Nimoy NBC was the biggest obstacle to the series. “We were up against bad time slots,” said Nimoy, “they kept moving us” around. In the 3rd season Nimoy says NBC put them on at 10:00PM on Friday night and then predicted the show would fail. “It was a self-fulfilling prophecy,” exclaimed Nimoy.
Nimoy stated that it was sweet and with a sense of power on his part when 11 years later they wanted to do a Star Trek movie because there was no way they could pull that off without him and Shatner. No one else could be accepted playing Spock or Kirk but the two of them.