Jason Zimmerman interview: ‘Star Trek’ franchise visual effects supervisor

“It’s something I grew up wanting to do when I first started as an artist,” admits visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman about how passionate he is about creating the spectacular visuals on the three current live-action “Star Trek” series (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Star Trek: Picard” and “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”). For our recent webchat he adds, “Being able to work on ‘Star Trek’ is always an honor and a pleasure, but to be able to do something that is going back to the roots of the legacy of the show, where things all began, has just been really exciting,” referring to the latest iteration in the evergreen “Star Trek” canon, which warp-speeds viewers back in time to the origins of the celebrated franchise. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE over 500 interviews with 2022 Emmy contenders

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” is a prequel to the legendary 1960s “Star Trek” original series, featuring Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn), who reprise their roles from the second season of “Discovery,” as they continue to explore new worlds around the galaxy on the U.S.S. Enterprise. Created by Akiva GoldsmanAlex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, the sci-fi drama co-stars Jess Bush as nurse Christine Chapel (originated by Majel Barrett-Rodedenberry in the original series), Celia Rose Gooding as a young Uhura (originally played by Nichelle Nichols), Melissa Navia as helsman Erica Ortegas, Bruce Horak as chief engineer Hemmer, Babs Olusanmokun chief medical officer M’Benga and Christina Chong as officer La’an Noonien-Singh, who is related to the notorious “Star Trek” villain Khan Noonien Singh, played by the late Ricardo Montalbán in the original series and fan-favorite feature film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

Zimmerman, a recent visual effects Emmy winner for the third season episode of “Discovery” entitled “SuKal,” says that going back to the roots of the revered “Star Trek” franchise was a huge undertaking that he wanted to get right. “Starting from the beginning, we had a very clear focus of what we wanted it to be, and like every show in ‘Star Trek,’ it needs to be a little bit different from the other shows. Each show has to have its own personality and of its own cinematic style, if you will. So, right off the bat we knew that this retro-tech version of ‘Star Trek’ was what we wanted to do, to differentiate it from the other shows. Zimmerman and the entire production team were all the more conscious of the pressure to stick the landing because of the very high expectations of the franchise’s loyal fans. “The fans are very, very passionate and they’ll tell you if you’re doing a good job and if you’re doing a bad job,” he explains. “One of the things that I noted over and over again,” he says about reading online fan feedback, “was everybody wanted to see the shots longer and see the beautiful ships and how they look and they would always reference the original series and how they presented their shots and so that was something that we endeavor to do; go back and look at how the original series presented establishing shots of ships and all the different things that they did, and then what can we do with the technology we have now to make a better version of that or a more evolved version of that, but still at the same time stay true to the spirit of what got us there to begin with.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UPLOADED Jun 18, 2022 1:00 pm