The Spock Doc
Having directed dozens of television episodes, Adam Nimoy has lately been working on the most personal film of his career, For the Love of Spock.
He produced and directed the documentary, which got its initial funding via Kickstarter and is due in theaters this year.
Adam was 10 years old when his late father, Leonard Nimoy, began playing Mr. Spock on Star Trek. Adam shared some memories of his father with emmy:
My dad was deeply immersed in what he was doing with his character. It wasn't one he could just slip out of after the director said, "Cut!" Even when he came home from the set, he often wasn't entirely out of character.
But he never came home with Spock's ears on. They used spirit gum to keep them flat against his head. When they got worn out after two or three days, they'd switch to new ones. On the weekends, dad used a weird steam contraption that he put his face in to get the yellowish glopped-up makeup out of his pores.
There was a lot of brotherly competition between Dad and Bill Shatner, no doubt about that. Bill was the star of the show, but Spock was on a wave of rising popularity that came very quickly. There were some issues about that.
Actually, Dad and Bill needed each other — and they both knew it. My dad needed Bill because Bill's panache, swashbuckling style and romantic and joking sides allowed him to make Spock more reserved and internal. Without Bill, he couldn't have done that.
In the first pilot ["The Cage" 1965], Captain [Christopher Pike] was played by Jeff Hunter, a very quiet, introspective actor.
Given Spock's reserve, it was hard for Dad to play against him. They were doing the same thing. But Bill was the perfect foil.
Mr. Spock was a metaphor for any outsider, any stranger in a strange land. He was a metaphor for Dad's own experience, too: he identified with Spock. He was born to Russian immigrants and had a very humble upbringing in Boston. His whole objective was to integrate himself into American society more completely than his parents had. He was desperate to succeed.
Dad's work on the show was superb. A lot of people who drink are high-functioning. About 15 years ago, he decided to stop drinking. His personal life had become better, but he didn't understand why he still needed to drink. So he stopped. He went into a 12-step recovery program, and that was an inspiration for me to quit marijuana.
I had been smoking pot almost daily for 30 years. I did a 12-step program as well. With recovery, we both became present in each other's lives. For the last five years of Dad's life, he was my best friend.