Stuart Baird

Star Trek: Nemesis

Interviewed by David Michael

Having been a renowned editor in Hollywood ("Superman", "Lethal Weapon", "The Omen"), "Star Trek: Nemesis" is the third movie the Englishman has directed.

In terms of your career, was Star Trek a fun franchise to be part of?

Yes, it was fun. It's big entertainment but I know the fans take it hugely seriously. I took it very seriously to give you two hours of entertainment, with as much bang for your buck, and thrills, spills, emotion, and humour. That was my task, and not to get too precious about it.

Did you see the potential to do something different visually as your main interest? There's a lot of German expressionist influence and "Nosferatu"-inspired design...

Yes. I had to make it look different. That was my fun part, being heavily involved in the design of the sets, and the Reman costumes and make-up. The dialogue is sort of quasi-Shakespearean, so I gave it a sort of operatic feeling in the way I photographed it.

Did it cause any problems on set that you were such a Star Trek virgin?

I'm not an aficionado. There were little hiccups here and there when some people were offended I didn't quite understand the back story. It's incredibly important to them, so some of them would think directing this one, you surely should know it all. But god almighty, I wasn't going to look at 178 episodes. Ultimately, it wasn't a problem. My intention was since I was a virgin to it all, I wanted to make a movie that stands alone and doesn't rest on all the past history.

What was the catalyst to go into directing at a late stage after a long career in editing?

I was a film doctor. I felt like I was directing for a long time in my editing role. And that's a large part of directing a movie. It doesn't make you a good director when you go on the floor and handle actors, but I always got on well with actors. I always thought I should sort my own messes out rather than continuing sorting other people's messes out.