Writer Robert L. Smith has revealed some new details about the Star Trek movie he was collaborating on with Quentin Tarantino, which would have featured gangsters and time travel. Tarantino has picked up and dropped almost as many projects as he’s made over the last three decades, so the thought of him tackling a big franchise film always seemed unlikely, even more so after he’s repeatedly insisted that his next and tenth feature will be his last.
The news first broke in December 2017 that the Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs director had pitched J.J. Abrams and Paramount with a new idea for a Star Trek movie, and he was initially planning to helm. The Revenant scribe Smith was then brought on board to hammer a screenplay into shape based on the pitch. By last year, though, Tarantino admitted that he probably wasn’t going to make it, but in a new interview his co-writer revealed how he came to be involved.
Smith told the Bulletproof Screenwriting podcast:
“They just called me and said, ‘Hey, are you up for it? Do you want to go? Quentin wants to hook up’. And I said, ‘Yeah’. And that was the first day I met Quentin, in the room and he’s reading a scene that he wrote and it was this awesome cool gangster scene, and he’s acting it out and back and forth. I told him, I was so mad I didn’t record it on my phone. It would be so valuable. It was amazing.”
As tends to be the case with all of Tarantino‘s work, his proposed Star Trek adventure would have been indebted to some classic works of cinema, after Smith went on to say the pair sat down together and binged some classic gangster movies that would influence a time traveling story that was set to feature Captain Kirk and the rest of the classic Enterprise crew.
“Then just we started working. I would go hang out at his house one night and we would watch old gangster films. We were there for hours… We were just kicking back watching gangster films, laughing at the bad dialogue, but talking about how it would bleed into what we wanted to do. Kirk’s in it, we’ve got him. All the characters are there. It would be those guys. I guess you would look at it like all the episodes of the show didn’t really connect. So this would be almost its own episode. A very cool episode. There’s a little time travel stuff going on. There’s all this other… it’s really wild.”
Tarantino might claim that he’s retiring from directing, but the recent release of his Once Upon a Time in Hollywood novelization has made it clear that he’s still going to keep writing in other mediums. Maybe one day we could see his Star Trek as a novel or a comic book, or maybe he’ll eventually cede control to someone else that can step behind the camera and bring he and Smith‘s script to life.