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Exclusive Interview with Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-ray Producer Robert Meyer-Burnett

By: Ben Gourlay | Editorials in HT & Movies | Posted: Jul 26, 2012 8:46 am
Manufacturer: Paramount

TT: So for that reason, it's unlikely to see any further deleted scenes or alternate takes, simply because the film was not kept if it wasn't part of a completed episode?


That's correct. That's correct, and also a lot of that negative, some of the trims were lost, that stuff was not preserved. But if we can ever find that stuff, we absolutely would use it. One of the things that I'm wanting to find, I don't know if it exists, but there's an episode called The Most Toys where Saul Rubinek plays a collector of things, and he kidnaps Data. Well, that episode originally had an actor who filmed a couple of days on that episode who actually took his own life. I think the actors name was David Rappaport, he was a little person. I would love to see if there any footage of him that's around, because that would be amazing. But again, when we have that footage you have to check with his family if that is something that they would allow, you wouldn't want to cause any bad feeling, but I think when that stuff exists, it's kind of like when they had Eric Stoltz on the Back To The Future Blu-rays. Between Roger and I, we're nuts. We're such Star Trek fanatics that we're going to find whatever we can to put on these Blu-rays. If it's out there, we'll find it.


TT: Well it sounds like between yourself and Roger, the series on Blu-ray is in good hands.


And also the people at CBS, like Phil Bishop and Angelo Dante and Ana Barredo and Ken Ross and Jeffrey Nemerovski, all those people have made this possible. We're not just DVD producers, this is a crusade for us [laughs], and as a filmmaker myself, I direct, I produce, but Star Trek has been a lifelong love affair of mine, all the way from the Original Series, to the animated series, to the end of Enterprise and now the new JJ Abrams movies, despite the fact that I have been very vocal in my criticisms .[Laughs]




I still love the Star Trek franchise and I would always be first in line no matter what, I can't wait to see what he has in store for us for the next movie, but I'll watch any Star Trek anywhere, I mean I collect all the Star Trek novels and model kits and action figures, so for me this is the job of a life time, really.


TT: And a labor of love, it sounds like.


Absolutely. And to see what the guys at CBS Digital are doing, everybody who's working on this project is really excited by it, and even the actors when they came in and we started doing these interviews, they were taking me aside and telling me that my interviews.. Patrick Stewart actually said to me "this is one of the finest interviews I've ever given, and thank you for the questions you asked me", because I talked to him for about 30 minutes before we even got around to Star Trek. One of the things people don't remember is that Patrick Stewart was basically a theatre actor and he'd certainly never been on American television and worked really in Hollywood, I mean, the movies we know him from whether it was Life Force or Excalibur or Dune, he didn't shoot in the U.S. and so coming to Star Trek, and working on The Next Generation was really his first time on a Hollywood soundstage. I don't know if I'm going to be allowed to preserve this, but in the cast reunion piece, the cast talks about if they ever made another Next Generation movie they would reboot The Next Generation cast ala what JJ Abrams has done with his Star Trek and Patrick Stewart makes the point, he goes "well, I've had a taste. I know what it's like to be rebooted, because James McAvoy has now rebooted Xavier" and Patrick Stewart said "I like the fact that James McAvoy played me, because he's very cute and a great actor and I look forward to watching him get his head shaved", which I thought was very funny.




TT: Just to bring the interview to a close, the release schedule means that the entire run of the series won't be completed and available to the market until roughly 2015. Is it likely that CBS will look to other Star Trek properties such as Deep Space Nine and Voyager at this point?


Y'know that's the big question, and I think the overall sales of this will determine that. The problem is that in addition to just the restoration, those shows never had the ratings that Star Trek: The Next Generation had. My favourite modern Star Trek was Deep Space Nine, and as they got into later seasons, they relied heavily on CGI to create their visual effects and there's a lot more visual effects in those episodes of Deep Space Nine and Voyager than there were in the Original Series, and it's hugely cost prohibitive. I mean the Dominion War, all of those visual effects, the ones where they don't have models or film elements for, are going to have to be recreated digitally and that is a massively daunting task, and that could affect the desire or even the economic feasibility of making the shows, to do the same thing that they've done to The Next Generation, but it's my hope they will. I want Deep Space Nine. I really want Deep Space Nine in HD because I dearly love that show and I think it really holds up and I love those characters and I really hope that it does happen. But as of now, I think it's too early to say.

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