EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has set Mark L. Smith to write the script for the R-rated Star Trek movie that was hatched from an idea by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino wants to direct the film, which he’ll produce with JJ Abrams. That means that a writer whose breakthrough came on one of the most celebrated spare dialogue films of recent years will team with Tarantino, a writer/director whose own scripts have run run 165 pages or more, full of dialogue. Smith became a favorite of both Paramount and Abrams after he scripted Overlord, the Julius Avery-directed Bad Robot-produced WWII thriller about two American soldiers caught behind enemy lines on D-Day.
Deadline revealed the Tarantino Star Trek project last month, and then earlier this month that Smith, Lindsey Beer, Drew Pearce and Megan Amram took part in a writer’s room with Tarantino. Smith was viewed as frontrunner for the job and Paramount closed his writing deal today. The movie is a daring one on several fronts, especially since there was a promise made to Tarantino by Paramount and Abrams that this Star Trek will carry the R rating, same as all the films Tarantino has directed.
It gives Paramount a shot at reviving a branded franchise, and broadening the universe with an R rating that certainly worked with the X-Men spinoff Deadpool that became the biggest R rated film ever with a $783 million global gross. It offers all kinds of storytelling opportunities, and the opportunity to make a scary space movie like the Ridley Scott-directed Alien. Tarantino is a big fan of the original Gene Roddenberry series.
Smith will write while Tarantino focuses on his next film, about the Manson summer of 1969, which Sony acquired. Tarantino has asked I, Tonya‘s Margot Robbie to play Sharon Tate, and Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt have also met with the filmmaker about roles. The film begins production next spring for an August 9, 2019 release date that falls on the 50th anniversary of the murder of Tate and several others at the hands of Manson’s acolytes.
Smith is repped by WME, Anonymous Content, Syndicate Entertainment and attorney Mark Temple.