Adam Nimoy on his ‘For the Love of Spock’ project, his father’s legacy, and how the fans can help


Adam Nimoy, son of the late Leonard Nimoy, wants to make a documentary about his father and his iconic role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek. He had originally plan to work with his father on the project, but with the passing of his father last year, Adam had decided to continue his father’s legacy and finish what they started. He just needs the help from the fans to help fund this Kickstarter project to tell the story – the real story – of the man behind the ears. Nerd Reactor got to chat with Adam and talk about the idea behind the documentary, why Kickstarter, some fan questions, and just everything we want to know about his famous father.

Nerd Reactor: How have fans reacted to this Kickstarter and this documentary?

Adam Nimoy: Well, the reaction has been pretty positive. Most people want to see a Spock documentary and that’s been pretty clear. The Kickstarter campaign has been significantly more challenging than I had anticipated. We are close to our goal of $600,000. We have one week left. We need to raise another $150,000. So it’s important for people to get out, go to the page, and look out For The Love of Spock and pledge. It’s been a little slow. Slower than I thought it would be to raise this money. The fanbase is huge and is all over the world, but we’ve been having a lot of trouble and challenges getting the message out to people that this is going on now. There is this campaign to raise funding for this film immediately.

NR: So, why Kickstarter? Why not Indiegogo or GoFundMe?

AN: When I announced we were going to be making this film, continuing with this documentary, which I actually had initially began with my dad back in November. But, after his passing, I was not sure which way I wanted to go with the documentary. There was so much outpouring from the fans about their love for Spock and Leonard Nimoy that I decided to move ahead with the project. I made the announcement with the press about continuing with the Spock documentary, and the producers had some thoughts about getting some entertainment financing and we were not getting the reaction we had anticipated. So, we decided to go with crowdfunding thinking that the fanbase would help us. We went with Kickstarter because they saw my press release and actually flew up from New York and made a pitch about wanting to get involved in the project. They had believed in the project. Other crowdfunding platforms came and talked to us as well, but Kickstarter were pretty fervent about their love of Spock, their respect for my dad, and their belief in the project I was putting together.

NR: We had a great positive responses from the fanbase and we definitely want to spread this information to everyone and the fanbase.

AN: We are making it for the fans really. It’s a gift. It’s supposed to be a gift from my dad and myself to commemorate the fans for the 50th anniversary of the original series. That’s why we thought it would make sense to reach out to the fans to help participate by pledging and contributing. I’m in production now, out of pocket, to do the research and we started filming last week. We filmed three original series crew members, all these things are really expensive. It’s really expensive to make a documentary. I need the help of the fanbase to help finish the film.

NR: From what I can understand, the whole project is about Mr. Spock. How do you plan to differentiate between your father’s story and Mr. Spock as a television character?


AN: That’s a very good question. The two dovetails. Before dad died, it was clear to both of us that it was going to be a documentary about Spock. This was not an infomercial about Leonard Nimoy and his career. My dad had a lot of humility about that and wanted to shy away from that aspect of it and talk about his role in connection with what he brought to the role of Spock. But, after he passed away, it became clear to me because people were sending me sympathy notes – not only grieving for the loss of this pop culture icon, but for the loss of Leonard Nimoy – the artist, the humanitarian, the social activist, the photographer, the Renaissance Man. That’s what became clear to me that I had to expand to include both the two of them. It’s going to be a parallel look at the evolution of Mr. Spock, but also who Leonard Nimoy was before he got to Spock, what was his relationship with Spock, and some of the other artistic challenges he took on after Spock, or even in-between years, before he went back to do the feature films. So we are going to look at both lives that dovetails back and forth.

NR: Because there is so much history for your father and his role as Mr. Spock. How do you plan on condensing fifty years of history – and the many years before and after for Leonard – into an hour or two-hour long documentary?

AN: I think it can be done. It’s about the craft and editorial, which is something that I have a lot of experience with, having directed several seasons of network television. And, I have a very excellent editor working with me who is a part of this production company at 455 Films. Those guys are co-producing with me and have produced a large number of Star Trek related documentaries with Bill Shatner. I think it’s a matter of taking some time, but we are going to sift through everything. We have a pretty good idea of what are the high points of those fifty years that we would really want to focus on. We have a very strong outline and most of the script written. I’ve been doing a lot of production, even before we’re fully financed. It’s about point of view and good directing and having a specific idea, even though it’s a documentary and we swerve here and there. We are open to new things and learning – like my interview with Bill Shatner and George Takai opened up some doors that we did not explore. But, the fact is, I think we have a really good and strong point of view of what this story is about. I’ve been living with it, frankly, for fifty years. I’m reading a lot about it. There has been a lot published about Star Trek. So we really know what is there and what we want to highlight.

NR: I understand most of the funds are going towards licensing, but is Paramount or CBS providing you with any support for the project?

AN: Well, at the moment, the support that they are working with the production staff to help us get the clips we need within the budget that we are going to have. It is a business. I think we will work on some kind of a deal with them to get what we need. But we still have to pay for clips, it’s just a fact of life. It’s not only the clips. If you want to make a first-class motion picture, it’s expensive. We have a lot of set work we have to do, sound editing to do, and spend hours with an editor in a room, going through all the stuff and putting it together. We have to screen stuff to get some feedback. I had to get license source music from that period – Star Trek IV. I need some computer graphics to animate things that we’re trying to talk about in this film. We need to dub the film on a dubbing stage. There are so many elements that go into filmmaking that we have to account for, but a big part of it is the licensing, because a big part of this film is Mr. Spock.

NR: Once the Kickstarter has been funded and the documentary has been released, what is next after this? Are you planning on doing more to continue your father’s legacy?

AN: Well, my father’s legacy is to promote the film and get it seen to as many people as possible. That will be a campaign in and of itself. After that, I do have more things in the back of my mind that I do want to pursue. I just did a documentary of my dad, his legacy, and his life in early Boston called Leonard Nimoy’s Boston, which is a half-an-hour documentary in which we celebrate his humble roots, growing up with Russian immigrant parents in an immigrant West End neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts. I’ve done a lot. [This film] is a love letter to my dad to do these things, because I love my dad. We had a very good relationship at the end of his life. Luckily, and thankfully, and finally, because it was not easy earlier on. And, I think this thing will be a definitive statement about a love letter to my dad, Mr. Spock, and to the fans who have supported us all these years. Then, I hope to move on and do other things and challenge myself, much like my dad did as an artist. I want to keep challenging myself.

NR: I have some questions from some fans, because I am involved in the Star Trek community. Here is one from our readers. “Where do you think your father developed and built the character of Mr. Spock? How much of him was in Spock or how much of Spock was in him?

AN: Well, you’re just going to have to see the film to find out. [laughs] I’ll give you a little kennel of all that. My dad brought a lot to the role. My dad’s approach to his work was to find some way to personally connect with each role that he does, including Mr. Spock. And, Spock was the only alien on the Starship Enterprise and the key core crew on that bridge. He was the only alien. And, one of his goals was to integrate himself into that human society and give the best that he had to give as a Starfleet officer – to the needs of the many, as it were; to the benefit of human society; and to the crew that were his colleagues. That, in large part, mirrored my dad’s life because he grew up in a heavy immigrant neighborhood in the West End. It was Italian Catholics, Irish Catholics, and Russian and European Jews – all in this small neighborhood. So, his issue growing up was ‘how could he assimilate into the greater society of America? How could he bring what he had to give to that society – the best to that society?‘ So he was able to connect those two pieces together and that is what I think really gave him the ability to really start to create a rich and dynamic life for Mr. Spock. Now, it didn’t happen right away, because they shot the pilot in November of 1964 and he was working with Jeff Hunter, which was a very different actor than Bill Shatner. But, the second pilot was when we really start to see him really think about the character and evolving the character. That first season and the key episodes that he did is where you really see him flesh out the character.

SpockNR: Well, here is a fun question that relates to you and your family. Did Leonard ever try to use ‘logic’ into getting you to do something? Did he go into character with the family?

AN: [laughs] He was never out of character. This is part of the problem. There is a reputation, which is true, that he was in character most of the time. This was a part of my dad’s method. It was very difficult for him to jump out of character and jump back into Spock. This is the antithesis of what Bill Shatner could do, but it was just the way he worked. When the director says ‘Cut’ to the camera on-set, he’d stay in character. He was aloof and people saw him as a little cool and distant. He was even Spock when he came home. He has admitted that the only time he really let his guard down was Sunday afternoon; and by Sunday evening, he had to put his guard back up and get into character for Monday morning. We lived with him like that for a number of years. And, having that kind of a dad, who is in character, and is not too accessible is very, very complicated. When he finally got out of Star Trek and Mission Impossible – five years of that, he started to spend a little more time with the family and I was a rebellious teenager by then. It was a lot of conflict and arguments. Yes, he does have a logical mind. For the formal education my dad had, he had a very sharp and bright mind. He was very difficult to argue with. It’s also a challenge for any child of a celebrity to be in conflict with their parent because the decks are sort of stacked against them. The parent is a celebrity loved by millions of people all over the world, so you’re kind of up against all of that as well. It was very complicated situation.

NR: With the recent passing of composer James Horner, had your father ever said anything about working with him during his time on Star Trek III?

AN: Only that he loved working with him. It’s been so long and we never really got into interviewing my dad about all the people and the elements he had worked on for the various shows. He loved James Horner. He loved the work. I think he did an incredible score for him. I can’t say enough about the guy, he’s just a real artist and a real talent. I wish I had gotten into more depth with my dad, which we had intended to do, about his role as director and working with these various artists that he had collaborated with on those films. We only touched on that on the series by the time he passed. He had passed pretty quickly actually, we thought we had more time together to discuss all those, but we never really quite got there.

NR: If, hopefully not, the Kickstarter does not get fully funded, is there another route you plan on getting this funded? Another crowd-funding? Because I know a lot of fans want to support this.

AN: No, this is it. We have to meet our goal. We have to. I don’t have time and that’s the problem. And, I don’t want to spend all my energy working on campaigns for fundraising. It’s been very interesting, I must say. I connected with a lot of interesting people, but the fact is we really thought we would be more in the clear, but we’re not. I have to work continuously over the next week to make sure to get the word out that people need to go to the Kickstarter page, look up For the Love of Spock, and pledge. I need to get onto the movie and spend hours and hours in editorial, putting this thing together. We have a deadline of 2016 for the celebration of the 50th anniversary, but we’re trying to make the film festival circuit. My dream is to be in such film festivals, such as Sundance Film Festival, but that’s in January. We would need to submit to them in a matter of months from now. This is a huge amount of work. I can’t afford to keep going out to fundraise. It must happen now. We are pretty confident this will be a successful campaign. We need people like you to get the word out and tell the fanbase to please come now to the party and help me contribute and participate with me. Help me produce this film, because this is our last chance to turn out something that is going to be a definitive documentary. It’s going to be entertaining. It’s going to be enlightening about Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock, and, I think it’s going to be something that the fans are going to cherish for many years to come.

NR: Do you have anything to say to the fans who have contributed or to fans you’d like to have contribute?

AN: Thank you and bless you. I really appreciate the support. Another element that is going to be in this film that people should know is that I am going to be talking about my perspective on my relationship with my dad, my experience with Star Trek, and the ups and downs I got through with my dad. And the fact of the matter is, my dad and I ended up in a very good place together the last years of his life, which I also think will be an interesting element to looking at Mr. Spock. [This is] Leonard Nimoy’s personal human story as Leonard the Family Man because that was a big part of the end of his life. His third act, as it were, was to focus on family and his relationships with his family. I was very lucky to have him as long as I did – to be able to move away from the past, reconnect with him, and have a loving bond with him as father and son, which is another big part of our story that I hoping will reverberate and people will be able to connect to.

NR: Definitely. Thank you so much.

AN: Thank you.

Facebook Comments