Chris Pine: The next action hero

With Bottle Shock, Chris Pine has arrived in Hollywood. But it's his take on Captain Kirk that will make him a star, says Kaleem Aftab

This summer, Chris Pine is being asked to boldly go where no man has gone before, or perhaps should ever even dare to go: the 28-year-old has been given the astronomical task of filling William Shatner's space boots in Lost creator J J Abrams' reworking of Star Trek. Chris Pine plays Captain James T Kirk and as with most remakes, the world expects Pine to pale by comparison.

The role is the equivalent of a warp drive for the Los Angeles-born actor. His biggest parts to date have been playing Lindsay Lohan's love interest in the 2006 romantic comedy Just My Luck and starring as Bill Pullman's errant son in the current film Bottle Shock, based on the true story of a blind wine-tasting between Californian and French wines in 1976 in which the American vintages had the audacity to win.

When I speak to Pine, he is drinking coffee. He admits, "I don't really know too much about [wine], but I learnt some stuff making that movie that I quickly forgot. However, I do know the wine I like. When I was in New Mexico, I was introduced to Italian wines, the Barolos, the Brunellos and the Amarones, but I couldn't name a specific year. The Amarone is a sweet wine and I'm not much of a fan, but I had a couple I really enjoyed and it reminded me of port a lot."

When I jest that he recognises that European wine is actually better than American, Pine retorts: "If you want to fight we can."

Pine is not a man you'd pick a fight with. Standing just over 6ft tall, he has lines stacked like building blocks on his abdomen. He's every inch the action hero with more than a hint of his parents, veteran actors Robert Pine and Gwynne Gilford, about him.

Indeed, there are a couple of scenes in Bottle Shock where Pine's character Jim can be seen in a boxing ring playfully sparing with his winemaking father Bo. It was this relationship that attracted Pine to the story: "I think the story about the wine and the competition is interesting but what really attracted me was the father and son relationship. This film is about a son who wants his father to love him and tell him he has done a good job. Instead, you have this dynamic at the beginning of the film where the dad thinks his son is kind of worthless, there is this whole back story about the broken family and why Jim is so broken."

When Pine decided to follow in the footsteps of his parents, they were quick to point out that life in the business can be a long hard road. Pine recalls: "My mother gave me the talk about how it's not all wine and roses. I knew that, of course, because I grew up in an acting family and I saw my dad through good years and bad years. So I knew that it wasn't all going to be great."

A lack of funds meant the actor could not come to live in London when he won a place at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. It was just after he had finished studying English at Berkeley in California and on the spur of the moment he applied.

When they accepted his application, Pine faced a major dilemma: "I didn't have enough money and I didn't know if I wanted to go into that much debt as paying for it was going to have to come out of my own pocket. So I figured I'd just let my ego take a pat on the back with the knowledge that I got in and just try to break into the industry another way".

It didn't take long for Pine to make an impression. After a couple of appearances on popular TV shows, ER and CSI: Miami, he landed the part of Anne Hathaway's regal love interest in The Princess Diaries 2. His granite jaw makes him prime material for girl's bedroom walls, but Pine saw these teen romance roles as a necessary part of his schooling rather than a sign that he'd made it. Watching the struggles his parents went though have made Pine humble and wary of his own success. At times, he is like a veteran who has had a roller-coaster career rather than one straight to the stars.

"I've been blessed. There is no correlation between hard work and success in acting. I had a conversation with J J Abrams and he said something that resonated with me, 'if it were to be taken away tomorrow, you want to know that every second you did what you loved and wanted to do.' That is the truth, it can so easily be taken away."

The actor found himself in another huge conundrum when he was originally offered the part of Capt Kirk. At the time, director Joe Carnahan, who directed Pine in Smokin' Aces, had also offered him a chance to play opposite George Clooney in an adaptation of James Elroy's novel, White Jazz. It was Carnahan rather than Abrams who helped convince the actor to choose Star Trek. "Joe is a friend first," says Pine. "We had many raps about the pros and cons of taking Star Trek and he always approached it as a friend and not a businessman. Then someone said to me: 'In five years looking back would you regret the decision of not taking Star Trek?' and I said, 'Probably', I never want to be wondering what if."

Pine was also concerned that he would be overwhelmed by the sheer size of working on a $150m (£102m) movie employing extensive work in front of a green screen to animate backgrounds. However, Abrams calmed the actor's nerves by telling him that although Star Trek would be primarily an action film, he'd approach it with the same attention to character that he displayed when making breakout hit Cloverfield.

Naturally, the biggest fear Pine had was stepping into an iconic role that has always been associated with William Shatner. But Pine has a novel way of dealing with updating Star Trek. He's not going to model his Kirk on Shatner and has instead looked to Harrison Ford's turns in Indiana Jones and Star Wars for inspiration. "What Harrison is so great at is bringing that quality to his character that if he could be anywhere else in the world at that time, he would be," chirps Pine. "He is just stuck in the middle and has to deal with it. I've always loved that quality about him in Star Wars, that absolutely grumpy manner, the accidental hero. I want to bring that kind of humour to Kirk."

The proof that Pine made the right choice in ditching White Jazz came with the news that when Clooney left the project, it was pulled. And now Pine gets his cake and eats it. He's now working with Carnahan again, in Killing Pablo, an adaptation of Mark Bowden's book on the assassination of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. It appears that Pine has some lucky lotion that he bathes in every morning.



'Bottle Shock' is at cinemas now. 'Star Trek' is out in the UK on 8 May

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition