Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 08:41 UK

Talking Shop: Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg

The new Star Trek movie has been dubbed by some critics as "Star Trek 90210" - a reference to the good looks of the actors playing the iconic roles on board on the USS Enterprise.

So it is something of a relief to have a normal bloke-next-door like Simon Pegg in there as the starship's chief engineering officer Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott.

The 39-year-old actor first came to attention with cult UK TV shows including Spaced and Big Train.

He has since starred in international hit comedies Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, and is soon to be seen in Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's Tintin.


There seems to be a split over whether fans are called Trekkies or Trekkers. Can you shed any light for us?

I think it's both. There's a certain element of the fan community who were fed up with people using the word Trekkie in a slightly derogatory way and wanted to distance themselves from that, so they became Trekkers. Whereas the people who remain Trekkies couldn't care less what people think. So there are both but they're equally very valid.

I'm very aware that I could be cutting myself off from half my family, but I think the character is a tribute to the Scots

I think you have to earn the title of Trekkie. I'm a big Star Trek fan and I do love it and know a lot about it, but I think a Trekkie is like a degree level Star Trek fan. That's when you know every episode and every actor involved and every plot so I wouldn't flatter myself.

As a self confessed sci-fi geek, just how excited were you to be in costume and actually standing on the bridge of the USS Enterprise?

It was amazing and I felt very honoured. I'm a Star Trek fan and to be on the bridge of the Enterprise in my red uniform and playing Scotty, who is a beloved and integral part of the starship Enterprise crew, was just crazy.

How do you follow the performance of a much loved actor like James Doohan and how conscious were you of taking on such an iconic role?

I was fortunate to reach out to Chris Doohan, James' son, and we became pals. He was on set with me and was my assistant in the transporter room so I was able to have some connection to the Doohan family.

I wanted to make it very clear that I wasn't just taking it lightly or doing an impression of James, but I would try and approach it like he did.

What about mastering the Scottish accent then?

Half my family is from the west coast so I channelled them, my wife and her family. There's some argument about where Scotty's from, some say Linlithgow, I think Dundee, and Aberdeen have claimed him. I figured he'd gone to Glasgow University and picked up a strong Glaswegian accent.

Simon Pegg and Star Trek cast members
Pegg (second left) takes on one of the series' most beloved characters

Fortunately, [my wife] Maureen was on set with me all the time. I would come off set and say: 'How was that, did that sound all right?' I'm very aware that I could be cutting myself off from half my family, but I think the character is a tribute to the Scots.

How was working with Zachary Quinto who plays the villain Sylar in Heroes and Spock in Trek. Are you a fan?

I do like Heroes and when I met Zack, I told him I was a fan of the show and fortunately he was a fan of Shaun of the Dead as well and so we had a bit of a mutual appreciation. He's great, he's very funny and very dry and if you only know him as Sylar, it's very surprising when you meet him because he's very different. He can't chop the top of your head off either.

You get your own Scotty action figure, how cool was that?

I've seen it and it's pretty cool actually. As a fan of those things as a kid, I had plenty of action figures. To actually be one is a great joy, well, it's five - two Shaun of the Dead, a Doctor Who one and two Star Trek figures. Yes, I play with myself regularly.

Pegg on his birthday party plans

You've been making Tintin with Steven Spielberg, that must be a real honour?

It was great, he's fantastic and everything I hoped he would be. It was an amazing treat to work with him and hear him tell stories and just get close to him and tell him how much his films mean to me.

Can you tell us what you're doing?

Nick Frost and I are playing the Thomson twins, which are the moustachioed detectives with the bowler hats. Obviously a band named themselves after them. I told a couple of people I was playing one of the Thomson twins and they think I'm talking about the band. But they're bumbling detectives that are nowhere as good as they think they are.

It's all motion capture, so even though we are physically different, when you see us on screen we look exactly the same.

Star Trek is released in the UK on 8 May. Simon Pegg talked to BBC News entertainment reporter Kev Geoghegan.



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