Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek Had A 1930s Gangster Vibe


Star Trek has been a malleable franchise for almost 60 years and with the newest Star Trek movie–from the Kelvin Timeline–hitting production this year. It’s been six years since Star Trek fans last saw Chris Pine’s Kirk in Star Trek Beyond, but things could have been a lot different. Remember that Quentin Tarantino Star Trek project back in 2017? Details are coming about what could have been, and it definitely reads « very Tarantino. »

Tarantino ultimately partnered with screenwriter Mark L. Smith, who had just garnered acclaim from The Revenant and had to write a Star Trek film script based on Tarantino’s idea. All the while Tarantino was busy finishing post-production for his then-next project, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. For their new Star Trek film, the vibe was going to be 1930s gangster films.

Talking to the Bulletproof Screenwriting podcast, Smith talks about how he ended up with the position and what Tarantino had in mind, which was a more Pulp Fiction sort of energy and mostly an earthbound story set in a 1930s gangster setting. The pitch appeared to pull inspiration from the classic Trek episode « A Piece of the Action, » which took the Enterprise crew to a planet that mirrored 1920s Chicago.

« [Big Robot] just called me and said, ‘Hey, are you up for it? Do you want to go? Quentin wants to hook up.’ And I said, yeah, » Smith said. « And that was the first day I met Quentin, in the room and he’s reading a scene that he wrote and it was this awesome, cool gangster scene, and he’s acting it out and back and forth. I told him, I was so mad I didn’t record it on my phone. It would be so valuable. It was amazing.

« I would go hang out at his house one night and we would watch old gangster films, » the screenwriter continued. « We were there for hours! We were just kicking back watching gangster films, laughing at the bad dialogue, but talking about how it would bleed into what we wanted to do. »

After the last Star Trek foray, Star Trek Beyond had reportedly underwhelmed Paramount’s expectation, the studio put a pause on the film franchise as it figured out what to do next. In April 2018, it was announced that two new Star Trek films were in development at Paramount. Later that month, it was announced that director S. J. Clarkson (Ugly Betty, The Defenders) would helm the second Star Trek film in development and that the film would enter production before Tarantino’s film. J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay would co-write the screenplay, while Abrams and Lindsey Weber would co-produce the project.

Things seem to be back on track now, especially since just a few years ago, Paramount reportedly canceled the development of the fourth installment since Pine and a returning Chris Hemsworth had turned down a lower offer after Beyond’s receipts came in.



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