Young Star Trek crew boldly walks red carpet

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The 11th Star Trek movie in 30 years had its world premiere on Tuesday, its markedly younger cast boldly going along the red carpet to a makeshift cinema in the Sydney Opera House.

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Chris Pine, 28, who plays a cadet-aged James T. Kirk, admitted he’d never met William Shatner, who starred as the original Captain Kirk in the television series dating back to 1966 as well as the first Star Trek movies.

But he said he watched the TV show “quite a bit.”

“All it was doing was making me think about what the best way I could do a William Shatner impersonation,” Pine said. “It wasn’t helping bringing this story to life.”

Hundreds of fans, including one wearing “Spock” ears, waited for hours to meet the leading men who spent nearly an hour walking the red carpet, signing autographs and talking with journalists.

“It’s hard to believe Eric Bana plays a meanie when he comes across as such a nice guy,” said Alicia Wetherley, who drove from central Australia to the Opera House for the premiere.

Bana plays Nero, the film’s heavily-tattooed Romulan villain bent on avenging the destruction of his planet.

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He said all the film’s cast “did everything they could” to come up with something fresh this time around.

The plot follows the young lives of the original cast from Gene Roddenberry’s TV show as they find their places on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise as junior officers.

It was directed by J.J. Abrams, director of “Mission Impossible III” and “Lost.”

“I was never a huge Star Trek fan growing up and so what I hope people will experience when they see the movie is one that stands on its own,” Abrams said. “It’s a huge action spectacle but at the core it is got a big heart,” said Abrams.

Zachary Quinto plays Spock, the role made famous by Leonard Nimoy, 77, who has a cameo in the film.

Nimoy had joined a campaign for the movie to hold its premiere in the small farming town of Vulcan in Alberta, Canada, that was unsuccessful, partly because the town has no cinema.

Gavin Vonhoff, a 27-year-old IT engineer from Canberra, said he hoped the film would carry “a message of hope to all Star Trek fans that Roddenberry’s spirit was still alive” 18 years after his death.

“Star Trek” opens in Australian cinemas on May 7, one day before opening in the United States.

Editing by Paul Tait