As Captain James T Kirk once said, “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.” Last week, a terminally ill Star Trek fan was granted a dying wish by the film’s director, JJ Abrams: a private screening of the forthcoming sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.
On Christmas Day, a post appeared on the social news website Reddit from a user calling himself “ideeyut”, who was hoping for an “amazing act of generosity and kindness for a friend of mine who is really sick”. Ideeeyut’s 41-year-old friend, identified only as “Dan”, was diagnosed with leukaemia three and a half years ago, the post explained, and had endured a bone marrow transplant, full body radiation treatment and more than three rounds of chemotherapy. Recently, a rare and unrelated vascular tumour had been discovered attacking Dan’s liver.
With just weeks to live, the film buff, who is from New York, wanted nothing more than to see Abrams’ hotly anticipated Star Trek sequel Into Darkness, which is not due out in the US until mid-May.
Despite his deteriorating condition, he planned to boldly go and watch a nine-minute extended preview for the film that was shown before select screenings of The Hobbit, but he was hospitalised and forced to give up his ticket. Ideeyut quoted the man’s wife, who said, “I am his care-giver – I would do anything to help him… WOULD LOVE him to be able to see the Star Trek movie.”
Ideeyut then asked his fellow Redditors to help. The story spread quickly via social media, with users hailing on all frequencies: sharing contact details for the film’s studio home, Paramount Pictures, as well as friends and family with connections to the film industry. A mere two days later, another friend of Dan’s posted on the thread to say his wish was being granted by none other than the film’s director. “JJ Abrams just called Dan’s wife and left a message,” revealed Grady Hendrix, a co-founder of the New York Asian Film Festival. “He’s going to try to arrange a screening for Dan, either of the film or at least of the nine-minute promo reel. I’ll never say anything bad about JJ Abrams again. Seriously. He is now beyond reproach as far as I’m concerned.”
The following day, a private screening of the near-complete film was organised for Dan, according to a 29 December follow-up post from Hendrix, who wrote: “He got to see it a couple of hours ago and loved it. JJ Abrams is the man. I’m going to buy an extra ticket for Dan when it comes out.” Neither Paramount nor Abrams has commented on their generous act.
The story is one of life imitating art. The 2009 film Fanboys features a group of sci-fi-lovers, who break into George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch to steal a rough cut of Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace to show to their terminally ill friend, who is expected to die of cancer before its release date. One of the film’s subplots involves the Star Wars fans repeatedly clashing with a group of Trekkies.