In Character is a NPR series exploring famous American fictional characters. This week they focused on Mr. Spock. You can listen here.
Leonard Nimoy is interviewed, and he says:
"When [Gene Roddenberry] hired me to do the role," Nimoy says, "he gave me a very interesting dynamic to work with, in that Spock's mother was human, his father was Vulcan. He was sort of a half-breed."
And as such, he was prone to some internal conflict.
"I think that's one of the most interesting things about Spock," says Nimoy. "It's not what you're getting but what you don't get, what peeks out occasionally."
What peeks out — occasionally — are emotions.
One of the series' favorite gambits was to have Spock lose his mind. It was always under the influence of an urge to mate, a flower spore or a germ that eliminates defense mechanisms, as in an episode called "The Naked Time."
"The Naked Time" -- Kirk gets to slap Spock around a little
"This Side of Paradise" -- even more Spock/Kirk fighting!
more of "This Side in Paradise"
Later, NPR speaks with a person named Henry Jenkins:
"We can imagine seeing hundreds of different actors play Hamlet and ideed the richness of Hamlet is seeing differences and the different interpretations of the that character," says Jenkins. "With the new movie we will for the first time see Spock as a character larger than an actor."