Chris Pine stars as the enigmatic Caleb in Z for Zachariah. Best known for his portrayal of James Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the popular Star Trek film series, Pine has also appeared in a wide variety of comedies and dramas – Unstoppable (2010), This Means War (2012) and Into the Woods (2014), to name but a handful – since landing his first acting role in 2003 on an episode of the popular US television series, ER.
“I first came upon this project thanks to my agents,” says Pine, whose reps sent him details on several notable productions in development before putting him in touch with director, Craig Zobel. “Craig had done a small movie called Compliance that I really enjoyed,” explains Pine. “I don’t know what you would call it – it’s almost a horror movie, but the psychology behind everything that’s happening is so complex. I asked him what he was doing next and he told me that he had this script, ‘But, you know, the part isn’t all that big and that the film isn’t all that big…’ Of course, I read it and I loved it. I knew that Chiwetel was going to do the lead and that to play opposite him would be a lot of fun. And I knew if there was one guy who could direct this kind of a psychological drama it was Craig Zobel.”
On screen, Pine’s character, Caleb, enters the action well into the story, the point at which Burden and Loomis, while their romantic future remains uncertain, have begun to settle into a working routine. Similarly the actor himself joined the cast and crew some three weeks into the production’s five-week shoot in New Zealand. “It was weird for me to come into something that late in the game…. Usually I’m with a film for the duration,” says Pine, who, in conjunction with Robbie, Ejiofor and Zobel, ultimately turned the situation to their advantage.
“The scheduling was designed perfectly in the sense that we all got to this remote, isolated part of New Zealand where we had no one but each other – and by ‘we,’ I mean Chiwetel and myself, that was the entire cast at that point – and then the crew, which was very small,” explains Robbie. “We’d all hang out with each other after shooting because there was no one else to see… Suddenly Chris comes in and it was this new dynamic. It totally changed everything up, which was so perfect for the shoot, because that’s exactly what happens in the script.”
“Coming into that kind of equation is hard though,” says Pine. “Relationships have been established and on top of that you’re in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand, so the crew and the cast were super-tight… Fortunately they made me feel incredibly welcome. I was able to move into their dynamic pretty easily. The crew was great and the director was great. The producers were really chill, and Margot and Chiwetel were so welcoming… I just really lucked out.”
Opening on September 30, 2015, Z for Zachariah is released and distributed by Captive Cinema.