Landing the co-writing job with Doug Jung for “Star Trek Beyond” meant a lot more for Simon Pegg than just additional pay.
The actor who already plays Scotty in the reboot of the franchise has been a big fan of the series for years.
And Pegg has certainly shown over the years he has the ability to write a first-rate script after his work on “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End.”
Pegg recalls how for his 1999 series, “Spaced,” he wrote a line about certain things in life that are certain. One example he used was that you can be sure the odd-numbered “Star Trek” movies aren’t going to be good.
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“And I’ve a written an odd-number film,” Pegg says.
His passion for the franchise helped him break the jinx as “Star Trek Beyond” is getting praise from the majority of critics. What he and Jung did was create a film that could be enjoyed by anyone who has not seen “Star Trek,” but also filled it with “Easter eggs” for devoted fans.
One of the many moments aimed directly at “Star Trek” fans comes early in the new movie. The crew of the Enterprise is 966 days into its five-year mission.
The number of days helps with the plot as the thrill of being space explorers has started to fade at the midway point of their trek. But fans of the original series will note that 966 stands for September 1966, the year the original “Star Trek” TV series launched.
Pegg also revealed the genesis of the name for the film’s new alien addition, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella).
“We started out describing the character as ‘Jennifer Lawrence from “Winter’s Bone.” ’ But that was way too long,” Pegg says.
It was then shortened to just “Jennifer Lawrence” and then J-Law, which eventually morphed into Jaylah.
Pegg is such a fan of “Star Trek” that he used the original series as a treat for his writing partner.
“He would say that if we had a good day writing, we could watch one of the original episodes that night,” Jung says.
If you build it …
Have you ever watched the athletes on “American Ninja Warrior” and wondered how they train for such crazy obstacles? It’s not just climbing or jumping but having to crawl – upside down – along a beam where the hand-hold is one-inch wide.
You can’t go to the local gym and find those kind of challenges.
The solution is a website that includes plans from the Japanese version of the reality competition series. Most of the plans are for obstacles from past seasons but at least construction of these items gives the competitors an idea of how tough the course is going to be.
There’s a man in Arkansas so committed to the NBC show that he has built 42 obstacles in his backyard.
Akbar Gbajabiamila, who co-hosts the show with Matt Iseman and Kristine Leahy, visited with a man in Los Angeles who had built replicas of the obstacles in his backyard. He didn’t need the online blueprints.
“This guy doesn’t have access to all of the different specs, and so what he does is he utilizes his DVR, and the pause feature, and tries to measure what the gap is,” Gbajabiamila says. “Now, he’s run the course before, so he tries to figure it out.
“That’s how he gets all of his measurements. He’ll sit there and he’ll measure.”
The man also uses YouTube to help figure out the measurements he needs.
Anyone who wants to have even the slightest chance of winning needs to be able to practice. The Japanese version has been on for 33 seasons and only four people have won the title. The winner of the American version last year was the first in seven seasons.
“American Ninja Warrior” airs at 8 p.m. Mondays on KSEE24.
Going for gold: Brazilian supermodels and actresses Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima will be part of NBC’s coverage of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 5.
Ambrosio and Lima will present features and offer commentary on the Olympics in their native Brazil.
Write now: TLC’s first scripted series, “Tyler Perry’s Too Close to Home,” will debut on the cable channel at 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22.
The eight-part drama is the story of a young woman from a modest upbringing who discovers she may have a bright future in Washington, D.C.
Yo ho ho: The fourth season of the Starz series “Black Sails” will be its last.
The 10-episode fourth season returns in 2017. The pirates are at war in the West Indies. Toby Stevens stars.