Tarantino's Proposed "Star Trek" Film Reveals 1930's Gangster Setting
Yesterday, it had been confirmed that Noah Hawley's Star Trek film was being put on indefinite hold along with the other two potential big screen Trek films that were in development (See the article here). While without a doubt many were curious what the creator of the show Legion could do with the franchise (Along with the proposed Star Trek 4 featured in the Kelvin timeline), more were upset about hearing that Quentin Tarantino's proposed film for the series was being put on hold. This came down to the fact Tarantino has so often been praised for his cinephile style of writing in which he paid homage to classic cinema with modern sensibilities. Many thought his proposed story, which was translated to the page with a script by Mark L. Smith (The Revenant), had the best chance of would have revitalizing the franchise. All this faith even with the awareness that back in January he removed himself as a potential director for the project, but still said he'd be willing to be involved:
“I think they might make that movie, but I just don’t think I’m going to direct it. It’s a good idea. They should definitely do it and I’ll be happy to come in and give them some notes on the first rough cut.”
Even still, today word has come what the film would have been about, courtesy of a report by Deadline. Apparently, while Taraninto had pitched the film as "Pulp Fiction in Space" yet it would still retain the elements that made it Star Trek, was inspired by an episode from the original TV series that took place largely on a planet with a 1930's gangster setting. However, as Tarantino had said he was more than fine adding violence and swearing, the story would have essentially been what Logan was to the X-Men films. A spin-off, rather than a continuation of the main series. In addition, this setting would have allowed for a smaller budget, thus being more cerebral by focusing on dialogue and humor to drive the plot.
This is similar to what Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan did. Still regarded as one of the greatest movies in the series on the big screen (Along with being considered a great film and sequel in it's own right). Nicholas Meyer's film, however, was in fact an expansion of a plotline created in an episode of the original series. True Trekkie's have concluded the episode that inspired Tarantino's story was one titled “A Piece of the Action". This second season episode saw Enterprise crew visit a planet and find themselves in a city fashioned after 1920's Chicago complete with tommy gun-wielding mobsters. The conclusion of the episode found that a noir novel left by a dead crew member of an Earth ship that crashed on the planet a century before had thus inspired the civilization of the people on that alien planet.
So, much like most of Tarantino's films, the story pays heavy homage to something done before. Most of Tarantino's films have gone as far as to directly be inspired by various older films to the point he would cast people from those films in his project. One notable example was his blacksploitation film Jackie Brown starring Pam Grier who was a noted blacksploitation actress back in the 1970's. Another was Django Unchained which featured a cameo by for spaghetti Western star Franco Nero, who played the original Django in 1966, in which the actor shared a conversation with Jamie Foxx who tells Nero how to pronounce his character's name to which Nero smiles back and goes "I know". But that is Tarantino's enticement as a filmmaker. He lures you in with something familiar and than surprises you with his own twist on the story.
In any case, it's not been confirmed that the project is cancelled, simply awaiting Paramount Pictures new CEO Emma Watts to decide if this or the other two Star Trek projects could be worth doing. Given the lower budget proposed by this minimal effects story and the track record of both Tarantino and Smith, it's a strong bet it could still happen. Stay tuned!