Adam Nimoy is the son of Leonard, Mr. Spock on the iconic television series Star Trek. I met Adam at the “Star Trek: 50 Years. 50 Artists” exhibit during San Diego Comic-Con. To many of us, little kids when we first encountered the pointy-eared science office on the USS Enterprise, Spock represented the quintessential outsider. He was different, complex, and constantly grappling with emotions that no amount of “nurture” could “nature” out of him. He (and continues to be) my favorite Star Trek character, and I was thrilled when CBS offered me the opportunity to interview Adam. We chatted about his dad, the series and his new documentary For the Love of Spock.
I am here with Adam Nimoy, at the “Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years.” art exhibit at Comic-Con. Wow, 50 years.
I know, it’s incredible.
I was so sad to hear about your dad.
I’m sure he’s looking down from “up there.”
I would think so, I would hope so.
How does it feel to be part of this? Can you talk a little bit about how you fit into it and how it feels to be a part of it?
Well, it’s amazing that we’ve come so far. I was ten years old when Star Trek first aired. We were there from the very beginning, which is nice, we have that history. We never expected it would resonate the way it has survived, as it has, for half a century. It’s still a surprise to us all. I’m really proud of my dad, and the work that he did. Early on we didn’t really know what was happening except that it was a really exciting new series, and that he was going to have a job for longer than two weeks.
Who’d have thought, right?
That was unimaginable at that time. This was his first starring series, co-starring, with Bill. We were just very excited about the prospect of him being on the show, it was a very innovative show and we knew it. I very much remember the first night we watched the premiere episode of Star Trek, September 8th, 1966.
Right. On NBC, on Thursday night. We went to a friend’s house to watch it on the color TV, we didn’t have color TV at the time.
Yeah, we didn’t have one yet.
It was the first year that all three networks broadcast their entire prime time schedule in color. It was a milestone year for that, and it’s just been very exciting to be a part of it, and a part of the ride. For me, it’s especially meaningful because I have this film, this documentary.
Yes, and I especially want to talk to you about that. First I want to ask about the piece or pieces that Leonard did for the exhibit. The Warhol-esque live long and prosper thing. Do you know where the inspiration for that came?
He made quite a career of photography in the last several years.
Yeah, photography has been something that has been of interest to him since he was a young boy, actually, even growing up in Boston. Even when my sister and I were young, my dad was always taking pictures of us, portrait pictures. When he published his books of poetry in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, he was using his own photography for that. Then he had these series of [photography] books that he put out that were all collections, the collections of works that he was considering at the time, the Shekhina project, the Full Body project. . .
Which was very controversial, especially Shekhina, I recall.
It was controversial. Then the Secret Selves Project. My dad was really a real interesting renaissance man who had a lot of artistic interests, and looking to express himself artistically in all sorts of different media.
Tell me about the documentary.
Originally it was really something I was going to work on with my dad to celebrate 50 years of Spock. It was going to be exclusively a Spock documentary. We started talking about it, I approached him originally with the idea in November of 2014. The pitch was we should do something for the 50th anniversary together, to contribute to the celebration of all the stuff that was going to be coming out. He was extremely excited about the idea. In fact, the next meeting, the second meeting we had about it, he already had done some research and looked up Spock’s Internet profile, he Googled it, and [discovered that there were] 100,000 websites devoted to the character. Which he thought was just the most amusing thing. We were going to make it really Spock-centric, from wall to wall, about how Spock was created, how he evolved and why he’s resonated for 50 years. Then when my dad passed away it became clear that the film needed to expand to include his life as well.
Please tell me more.
We’ve got Spock, we’ve got a lot of Leonard, his artistic career, all the stuff that he did. A lot about my relationship with him over the years, the ups and downs of being in a celebrity family. A lot about the work he did in the theater, the work he did in the feature films, his directing career, the voice over work he did, the photography work, and really the third act of his life which was devoted to family. He became very much just a loving family man, and very close to his children, my sister and me, and my step brother Aaron, and his grandchildren.
What a lovely way to close out a life is to kind of bring it back to home.
I think so.
Great, so is this your first Comic Con or no?
I’ve been here a couple of times, but it’s such a crazy event. And it’s really fun walking the floor at Comic-Con because there’s so much Spock, which is so fun to see.
You have distribution for the film?
We do. We open the For the Love of Spock September 9 in theaters. It’s going to be available video on demand (VOD) at that time as well. Pre-orders are available now. The trailer is on the web now, all over the place, at our Facebook page and our website. And right here:
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