Over the last few months, J.J. Abrams’ much-hyped “Star Trek” relaunch flick has been stealthily acquiring young stars to step into some of sci-fi’s most iconic roles. Now, two more potential names have set our phasers to stunned.
Eric Bana has signed on and Chris Pine is in final talks to play the villainous Nero and James T. Kirk, respectively. The duo will be filling out a prequel-minded Enterprise bridge that already includes Zachary Quinto as Spock , Zoë Saldana as Uhura , Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov and Leonard Nimoy as an older version of the pointy-eared Vulcan science officer.
While it is still unknown whether the legendary William Shatner will, like Nimoy, appear alongside his character’s younger self, the latest “Trek” leak has revealed that Pine is in talks to portray the yellow-shirted commander’s distinguished time at the Starfleet Academy. Pine, a 27-year-old heartthrob best known for movies like “Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement” (and for being the son of none other than “CHiPs” Sergeant Getraer, Robert Pine), recently raised eyebrows with a gritty, chameleonic performance in the shoot-’em-up thriller “Smokin’ Aces.”
Until now, the deadliest adversary Pine has tangled with was Lindsay Lohan in “Just My Luck.” If his casting goes through, however, Pine will be graduating from It-girl insanity to a “Munich” madman. Bana has signed on the dotted line to play a mysterious new character whose name is derived from the legendary Roman emperor, but it is unknown whether he’ll be human, alien, Vulcan or none of the above.
Currently, Abrams is planning to beam Bana, Quinto and the others onto the “Trek” set from November through March, targeting a firm Christmas ’08 release. Remaining roles to be filled in the next few weeks include persnickety medical officer “Bones” McCoy, over-worked engineer “Scotty” Scott, and — with any luck — a bearded Verne Troyer will be portraying a young Tribble looking for trouble.
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