Leonard Nimoy discusses the Star Trek pilot - TelevisionAcademy.com/InterviewsNov 22, 2021
yes i did this job on an episode of the lieutenant show for gene roddenberry a few weeks after i finished the job my agent called me and said that gene roddenberry the producer of the lieutenant show saw the footage he was interested in you, he liked what you did and said. he has a role in mind for you in a
pilothe's developing for a period sci-fi series I really didn't give it much thought you hear that kind of stuff and you're a long way from getting a job he's developing a
pilotseries that might maybe they'll never film he's got a room he has in mind for you that you might never get in the studio or on the net or someone might say we don't like it we want someone to have someone else in mind if you want he got the job and the pilot got shot the odds are against them ever going to the series a lot of patchoulia pilots those years were made a lot of pilots that never made it into a series so the chances of this becoming something significant were sparse but you were flattered to know I had notice I looked over my work and found it interesting and then a couple more months went by and my agent called again about this and said Gene Roddenberry liked it I'd like to see some other work you've done so they can get an idea of your rank. it was interesting so we sent him as i mentioned before in the lieutenant i played the flamboyant actor character celebrity very arrogant ego type of guy we sent him a videotape of a tv show i did a performance i gave in a dr.
Kildare show which had been directed by a friend of mine, Elliot Silverstein, and in which I played a very quiet shy boy who befriended a blind girl and quoted poetry to her very sensitive and pleasant nature, so we sniffed that he came the word that he had seen that spectacle. but I hadn't connected with that gig because it was so different from what I did for him in lieutenant, so I was impressed that he had this rank and the next call came in shortly after Gene Roddenberry wanted to meet, so I went. to this meeting expecting to audition or read for him or whatever.
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I went to the meeting and he was very nice so we went for a walk and he walked me to the scenic design department he showed me the plans for the sets that were being built he introduced me to the scenic designer he walked me to the props department he showed me some of the accessories being made a wardrobe department same thing here are some sketches of the clothes this is interesting it's like he's selling me to do this job later if i keep my mouth shut i could have a job here yeah yeah and that was essentially what it was about he
started talking about this character he had in mind he told me a little bit about the character he would be from another planet but half human interesting we did the first pilot and two cerebrals and then we did the second pilot my character gradually began to relax it was clearer in the writing and more clear to us in the makeup department that it should be cooler, more controlled, more It's logical, more intellectual rather than a compelling character and then I was surprised that we did the second pilot and the decision was made to go ahead with the show and they
started doing the sales process to the various sponsors. and because I was on the show, I somehow got on a mailing list on NBC and one day I opened my mail and it was a flyer from NBC's sales and promotion department and it was a flyer on Star Trek this new one was ries is going to be on the air in the fall and this is what is going to take place on the great spaceship of the 20th century, the USS Enterprise, and here are the crew pictures of various people Bill Shatner as Captain Kirk and me as Spock and so on and maybe Kelly as dr.
McCoy I don't remember anymore I was there but I saw this picture of me as a blur and it didn't look right something caught my eye and the closer I looked the more I realized my eyebrows had been fixed to look normal . and they had removed the ends of the years that always remained was the haircut. I didn't know I had a clue what this was all about, so I called Jean and told her I just got this flyer for the show. What's going on, yeah? I've seen it, we'll see what's happening. I feel threatened. I thought they were going to cut me off or something.
Oh, this will be my first steady job as an actor. never had a job that lasted more than two weeks on any tv show a movie never two weeks tops and here i was watching a season of work so he said well the feeling the sales department is they would have a hard time selling their character as a running character featured character on th is a series for a number of things but specifically for example they said the ears look devilish and they would have trouble selling them to sponsors in the south because the Bible Belt people she might be offended that I was celibate on a show that had an evil one. the character was entering his house.
I see that it is an interesting problem. They thought the character would be offensive. The people at NBC, at least in the sales department. it's about in certain quarters what's acceptable on a tv show and here's a character unlike any other in this country that will relate to this character guys who watch tv will relate to the captain women will relate With his girlfriend rooted in his chapel whoever is a lady on the show, the older guys will bond with the cranky uncle, Uncle Terra, as the character Dr. McCoy is a grumpy guy, you know we better have some kids on the show but no one is going to relate to this guy who is a long time old Vulcan so why have him?
We don't know what. Does that tell us right? Gene was very adamant about it. He felt very strongly that the Vulcan character I was to portray would be a constant reminder that interplanetary travel was normal now in the 20th century and that the company crew was not fully composed. of people from the United States, it was the USS Enterprise, but that's not the United States Ship Company, that's the United States Spacecraft Company, part of the Federation, it's not a United States ship and that was his concept every time he was on screen. that we have a mixed team, people from other planets are part of this team, so it held strong luckily for me and we got over that hurdle and the air demo and in a very short time it was pretty clear that detecting the you're going to be fine you
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