June 2, 2008

The many faces of Spock

Young surfer Spock: Nimoy in pilot number one, "The Cage"

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.

Spock unleashed: pissed off and wielding a lirpa in "Amok Time"

"Amok Time"

"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

Swingin' with Spock - under the influence of flower spores in "This Side of Paradise"

"This Side of Paradise" -- even more Spock/Kirk fighting!

more of "This Side in Paradise"

Dude, where's Spock's brain(?) in "Spock's Brain"

"Spock's Brain"

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."

Evil, manipulative, Vandycked and grumpy in "Mirror, Mirror"

"Mirror, Mirror"


Frank Jump said...

I met Nimoy in the late 70s when he was in the play "Equus" on Broadway. My high school girlfriend Elaine Calenda (and beard) was doing an internship with the stage manager, Barry Kearsley - a wonderful man who later died during a performance while working "42nd Street" and we got to sit on stage with the in-the-round audience. One of the horses (Ron) flirted with me mercilessly during the performance. After the show, we stood around the stage and talked about the performance, and the play and I asked him what he was planning to do next. Then we heard some of the Trekkies outside of the stage door calling for Spock and I said to him - Oh, I guess that character will never go away. Nimoy put his arm around my shoulder and thanked me for not even asking about Spock while talking to him. He was very fatherly and tall from what I remember. I must have been just 18 or so.

Chris said...

Awesome anecdote, Frank! I'm afraid I would have uttered the word "Spock" at some point during that encounter. I'm afraid I was one of those Trekkies!