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'Star Trek Beyond' Premieres At San Diego Comic-Con


A lot of crazy things going on at the convention. That would be the one in California, Comic-Con, the annual pop culture convention in San Diego. It kicked off last night with the premiere of "Star Trek Beyond." NPR's Nina Gregory was on the red carpet, and she joins us now. Good morning.


MONTAGNE: You know, Nina, NPR doesn't really do the red carpet. How was it?

GREGORY: It's true, Renee. NPR doesn't really do the red carpet. But when we do, we do it our way. I felt it necessary to do my red carpet interviews in Klingon.

(Speaking Klingon).

So I asked actors Shohreh Aghdashloo, Idris Elba and Deep Roy that old red carpet standby - what are they wearing?

SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO: Long live peace. That's what I would love to gather from it.

IDRIS ELBA: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. You're hungry?

DEEP ROY: That was great question. Unfortunately, I don't speak French.

MONTAGNE: (Laughter). Nina...

GREGORY: Yeah, well, Renee, you may not know this about me, but I'm not actually an expert in Klingon. And I'm pretty certain some of our listeners will write in and correct my pronunciation. Do know, though, we did consult with someone on this translation. He'd like to be identified as Admiral Qurgh (ph) of the Klingon Assault Group. So thank you, Admiral Qurgh.

MONTAGNE: (Laughter) Well, there was a lot to celebrate there last night. It's the 50th anniversary of "Star Trek," which began as a TV series back in 1966. The new movie opens this weekend. What was the event like?

GREGORY: Well, it was spectacular. It was screened outdoors alongside the water and the bay right as the sun was setting. It was apparently the first IMAX movie premiere outdoors. And it kicked off with a fireworks show that was accompanied by live music and overture. Conan O'Brien emceed the event and acknowledged how over the top it all was. Here he is.


CONAN O'BRIEN: And, ladies and gentlemen, those fireworks - that was the promotional budget for the film.


O'BRIEN: You will never see another billboard because they just spent it all.


GREGORY: And the music was performed by the San Diego Symphony, and they played the entire score as the movie played. Here's the conductor, Richard Kaufman.

RICHARD KAUFMAN: A lot of symphony orchestras play Brahms and Beethoven and Mozart great, but when you put a film score in front of them, they play it in a kind of a shy way. They're not exactly sure how to become a musical actor in the film. And this orchestra, they understand the drama. If it's real exciting, they play real exciting. If it's romantic, they play real romantic.

GREGORY: It was a real treat for the audience to have the symphony there. And they - they really seemed to love it.

MONTAGNE: Nina, it sounds like quite an event to kick everything off. It is worth noting one person who was not there. That's actor Anton Yelchin, who played a character named Chekov. And he died some weeks ago very suddenly - young man - in an accident.

GREGORY: Yes, Renee. It was sad, and his absence was noted. His parents were at the premiere, and producer J.J. Abrams and the stood on stage and asked the audience for a moment of silence. The very excited audience quickly turned silent in the night for a good, long minute. And then, when the orchestra started up again, the music led people back into the movie. And it was a nice moment of reflection before this movie and, really, the convention got underway here in San Diego.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR arts editor Nina Gregory, talking to us from Comic-Con in San Diego. The convention goes on through the weekend. Thank you very much.

GREGORY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Nina Gregory is a senior editor for NPR's Arts Desk, where she oversees coverage of film across the network and edits and and assigns stories on television, art, design, fashion, food, and culture.