Zachary Quinto, who made headlines this week when he said he was gay, is best known for playing Spock in the 2009’s “Star Trek” and for his role as the evil Sylar on the recent TV series “Heroes.”
The 34-year old actor has leveraged his fame to start his own production company, Before the Door Pictures, whose first film, “Margin Call” opens in theaters on Friday.
The film, in which Quinto also stars, boasts an all-star cast including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and Demi Moore among many others. It takes place in an investment bank over a 24-hour period at the start of the 2008 financial crisis. Quinto spoke to Reuters about the film, reprising Spock for the “Star Trek” sequel and playing gay characters.
Q: You play a young analyst who discovers some serious information that causes major panic at the company. How did you decide which role you’d play?
A: “It was never a question because every other character was at least 10 years older. But I felt really drawn to the role, as well. Obviously the social relevance of the film drew me in, but there is something about the perspective and the compelling way in which the story is laid out. It invites the audience to have their own opinions. It generates dialogue.”
Q: And you’re also producing for the first time. Was it tough wearing both hats at once?
A: “I had to work hard (as a producer) to get the movie together before I could start focusing on my role. But once I did that, I immersed myself in my relationship with the character and it became about my work as an actor. My producing responsibilities waned a bit by that point, and I relied heavily on my producing partners on the day-to-day stuff.”
Q: What made you decide that the time was right to become a multi-hyphenate?
A: “It was directly correlated to the rise of my career with ‘Heroes’ and ‘Star Trek.’ I decided to start the company after I was cast in that movie, but before it was announced. We were still eight months away from shooting it and another two years from it coming out. I saw very specifically that a window was open, but I knew it wouldn’t stay open forever.”
Q: Speaking of “Star Trek,” what’s happening with the sequel? You must’ve read the script and know.
A: “I do not. The script is in its final stages of being written, but they are sharing specific plot points so I only know what they’ve told me.
“I start prepping November 1st and we start (shooting) mid-January. I’ll be training for a sequence in the movie which doesn’t come in until later, so I’ll keep training
Q: You’re also back on TV in an upcoming two-part episode of the FX series “American Horror Story.”
A: “Yes, then I’m going back to do a couple more I think before the end of the season. I play a gay ghost. It’s basically like my (gay) character on (the former VH1 series) ‘So NoTORIous’ and my character from ‘Heroes’ mixed into one.”
Q: Do you think playing gay roles could typecast you?
A: “No, I don’t think so. I’ve played gay characters before. I’ve played straight characters before. It hasn’t shaped my relationship to my work and they’ve all been interesting characters.”
Q: What do you consider your big break?
A: “‘Heroes’ really changed the game for me in a way that nothing before it had. That job came out of a really lean period for me. I felt a lot of limitations and, of course, they were all self-imposed. And they were able to find an outlet in that role in ‘Heroes’ and that really changed my journey creatively and professionally.”
Q: Then to have your first feature film be “Star Trek!”
A: “That was an unexpected next-level experience that changed the game even further than I ever thought it would. To be on a TV show with a steady gig for four years and earn a good living was as far ahead as I thought for myself. Getting launched into that whole other layer was incredible. And I think I’ve worked to make the most of it.”