Leonard Nimoy on Fringe, Star Trek 2 and The Big Bang Theory

Star Trek’s original Spock Leonard Nimoy talks about his latest projects

Retirement Shmirement

Leonard Nimoy gave the Vulcan salute and bowed out of the business, but JJ Abrams yanked him back out. The original Spock returned for the season four finale, reprising his role as the dubious scientist William Bell. “It was explained to me that we’re opening up a whole world and William Bell is being recreated as something else,” he says. “He’s in another universe and has taken on other characteristics. There were challenges in the character itself that were attractive to me. I could play aspects of a character that I haven’t played in a long time, so it was very welcoming to me.”

Fringe season 5

“The William Bell character started as a very intelligent and rational character,” says Nimoy of Bell’s arc. “I think he’s still very, very intelligent, but I’m not quite so sure that he’s rational anymore. I think you’ll see some behaviours in the finale that have taken him quite a distance from where he started.” Now that Fringe has been granted one final, fifth season to wrap up the universe(s), will he be back? “I’m sure I’ll be getting a call. We’ll talk about it. It will depend on my schedule. It will depend on what they have in mind for the character. There are a lot of issues that have to be dealt with, but we’ll be talking.”

I am not Spock

After Nimoy appeared as an older version of Zachary Quinto’s Spock, the word was that he would not return to the franchise. Now we’re getting closer to that release date, there are reports to suggest this may no longer be the case. Nimoy has the final word, “My feeling is that they don’t need me. Zachary Quinto has taken on the character of Spock, and I think he is wonderfully suited. They’ve got a great company of people replacing all of us. I understand, by the way, that they have just finished shooting and they’ve got a wonderful actor, Mr. Cumberbatch, who I think is going to build a reputation here in the United States very quickly.”

Good guy gone bad

The 81-year-old has been getting in touch with his dark side lately, with William Bell and the voicing the turncoat warrior Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. We wondered whether he preferred playing the bag guy these days? “I don’t have a preference for bad people,” he says, “I have an interest in playing a broad range of characters. Obviously, I’m mostly identified with a character who is very responsible, very solid and very intelligent, but there are plenty of questionable characters in my past career. I’m interested in exploring theatricality and characters with some dimension. William Bell certainly has that.”

A logical conclusion

Another TV show luring Nimoy away from retirement is The Big Bang Theory, which he lent his famous voice to recently in an episode that saw a Spock action figure convincing Sheldon to play with a mint collectable. It all began with a strange request, “Some time ago, they asked me if I would provide a napkin that I had used, and I did,” he says. “They used it on the show as a gift to the Sheldon character. It has become one of the most highly talked about episodes of all time, I understand. For various reasons, a physical appearance didn’t work out, but voicing the Spock character was a wonderful idea.”