Paramount settles Alberta town's Star Trek aspirations with preview
'Although it is atypical for Vulcans, they are, in fact, excited,' actor Nimoy says
After a failed bid — backed by actor Leonard Nimoy — to host the world premiere of the newest Star Trek movie, a southern Alberta town is content to be invited to a sneak peek at the film.
Paramount Pictures this week rejected the town of Vulcan's proposal to host the premiere of Star Trek XI. An official from the film studio, however, phoned the community's tourism co-ordinator on Friday with a compromise.
"It came down unfortunately to logistics," Dayna Dickens told CBC News. "Our small-town infrastructure doesn't allow for that type of an event to happen. So what Paramount is arranging for us is a special screening of the movie."
Paramount is inviting 300 Vulcan residents — to be chosen by lottery — to a preview of the movie in Calgary, about 120 kilometres away, two days before it's released in North America on May 8, she said. The film studio will cover the costs of transportation, refreshments and souvenirs.
"They said, in their words, it will be an event to remember, so we are thrilled," said Dickens.
Dickens said Paramount has also promised a "special guest," but there's no word on whether that will be Nimoy, the town's newest advocate and the actor who played Mr. Spock in the original, popular sci-fi series and several Star Trek movies.
Nimoy rallied to the town's side on Thursday when he learned of Vulcan's failed proposal through an Internet story. The actor said he had been emailing Paramount in a bid to convince the studio to change its stance.
However, Paramount announced Friday that the movie's world premiere will be held at the Sydney Opera House in Australia on April 7. Nimoy has a small part in Star Trek XI, which focuses on Mr. Spock and Capt. James T. Kirk's early years.
Even though the Alberta community failed in its bid to host the world premiere, Deputy Mayor Rick Howard said he's pleased with the international attention Vulcan has garnered — and the personal interest from Nimoy.
"Our tourism is up 19 per cent [over last year]," said Howard, wearing a red and black Star Trek uniform on Friday. "For a small town of 2,000 people, even some bigger centres don't have a 19 per cent increase in tourism, especially with the recession going on."
Howard also offered to let Nimoy stay on his pull-out couch if the actor ever visits the town.
In a statement issued Friday, Nimoy said: "I have been informed of the logical plan that Paramount Pictures and the town of Vulcan have been working on to host an advanced screening of Star Trek. The people of Vulcan have been heard and, although it is atypical for Vulcans, they are, in fact, excited. To all, live long and prosper."
A railway surveyor named Vulcan in 1915 after the Roman god of fire, but the town has capitalized on its shared name with Spock's birthplace.
Vulcan held its first Vul-Con convention in 1993; there's also an annual Spock Days Rodeo, and a space-themed visitors centre.
The town has its own Starship monument to welcome visitors, with a plaque featuring greetings in English, Vulcan and Klingon. Another sign welcomes visitors with the Vulcan motto, "Live long and prosper."
With files from Peter Akman and the Canadian Press