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The director's cut of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" had a Hollywood premiere Wednesday night to celebrate the DVD release on August 6, as well as the 20th anniversary of the popular film's theatrical opening.
Director Nicholas Meyer and "Khan" himself, Ricardo Montalban, were the honored guests of the night at the Paramount Theater, where the DVD was projected on the big screen for cast and crew members, Paramount employees, and other special guests including winners of a recent STARTREK.COM drawing (related story).
There was a reception before the screening where guests not only partook of fancy finger foods but also got to view actual costumes, models and props from the movie, including Spock's sarcophagus (see the Photo Gallery link above).
The program opened with comments from representatives of Paramount Home Entertainment, who then introduced Meyer. Meyer thanked the people at Paramount along with all others responsible for bringing this DVD to fruition, but he regretted that certain key people could not be present namely, the late Bibi Besch ("Carol Marcus"), Merritt Butrick ("David Marcus"), editor William P. Dornish, and art director Michael Minor. "And of course, De Kelley, whom we will miss especially as part of the original 'Classic Coke,'" he said.
In his short speech, Meyer commented about this new version of the movie. "I will say a word about directors' cuts and directors' editions. I don't really think they're necessarily better than the original. I think 'longer' doesn't necessarily make things 'better.' You will be relieved, I hope, to learn that this is not a substantively longer movie than the one that you enjoyed [20 years ago]," he said, adding "If it isn't broke, don't fix it" to the audience's applause. But he admitted that "there were a couple of points which I lost in 'friendly' debate with Paramount," and so he made a few tweaks that brought certain story points more to his satisfaction. (Note: Check back next week at STARTREK.COM for an exclusive interview with Nicholas Meyer about the "Director's Edition.")
Meyer closed his remarks by saying, "The question I'm most often asked, which I will now answer, not for the first time: Yes, it is his real chest." With that, he introduced his personal "Maserati" Ricardo Montalban, who received a thunderous standing ovation.
The wheelchair-bound actor spoke about his experiences working with Meyer. "You know, the function of the director is to be a loving eye for the actor, to help him give the best performance he's capable of giving. Well, I never had a more loving eye from a director as I did from Nicholas Meyer. He was extraordinary." When Montalban was trying to transition out of his role as Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island into that of Khan, he was afraid he would take it too far. "I wanted this [character] to be filled with passion, to hit almost the limit before he becomes ludicrous and becomes a caricature. But I wanted to risk it, and that's when I needed Nicholas Meyer." The director helped him regulate his performance, reining him in when it went too over the top. "And if it weren't for Nicholas, I don't think I would have the recognition that I have gotten from all of you."
Montalban thanked his colleagues and fans for making him feel so loved and so welcome, and closed by saying, "I love the Trekkies. They are wonderful!"