chris pineChris Pine may be famous to most for his role as Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams's rebooted "Star Trek" series (and, possibly to a lesser degree, as Jack Ryan in Paramount's attempted rejuvenation of that franchise), but lately he has been interested more in stretching his comedic side, in films like "Horrible Bosses 2," Joe Carnahan's "Stretch," and, most recently, Disney's lavish musical "Into the Woods," where he plays a Prince that is definitely not as charming as he ought to be.

He absolutely steals the show in "Into the Woods," which is a pretty impressive feat considering the high wattage movie stars she's surrounded by (including but not limited to Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, James Corden, and Johnny Depp). During the post-screening Q&A, Pine was drawn to the character's "two-dimensionality," and when we sat down and talked with Pine, he opened up about what he was nervous about, the process, what a Chris Pine Prince character at Disneyland would look like, what disappointed him about "Jack Ryan," and whether or not he's ready to get back in the captain's chair for "Star Trek 3."

Moviefone: What is your history with this musical?

Chris Pine: I didn't know it at all. I got a phone call about a year ago, while I was doing press for the last "Star Trek" -- or was it two years ago? -- and I had been on the road for a month and was exhausted and my agent called and asked if I wanted to audition for a new musical for Rob Marshall called "Into the Woods" with Meryl Streep. And I said, "I think I can probably be into that." But I had no idea what I was getting into and auditioned and got the part. I really learned a lot about Sondheim and musical theater.

Had you done anything musical in the past?

I had never done musical theater. I had sung a couple of times in the past, with my class, but it was never something I thought about. I always enjoyed singing, I played guitar. It was around my life and I thought at some point it would happen but I never thought that I would do a big musical.

What was that process like?

I signed on and immediately, when I went back to Los Angeles, I started working with a great singing coach and just learning about stuff like octaves and tones and where to put your tongue and how to make different sounds and all sorts of stuff that I had never thought about before.

Were you scared at all?

Sure, I was scared. But I knew I was in great hands with really talented people and they wouldn't let me fail greatly. So I felt good going into it; certainly trepidatious because I was going in with very talented people. But it was also so much fun. That's ultimately what it is and that's what Meryl kept reminding us of, not by those exact words but just by watching her -- it is great fun to do this. Musical theater is great; you get painted up, you get to play princesses and witches and you sing. The joy alone of that can really carry a lot.

Were you taken aback by how well you pulled it off?

I mean, everybody else is going through incredibly difficult circumstances -- family members are dying, there's an apocalypse in the forest, and the prince is just blissfully unaware of everything. I told Rob that there's a moment in the film, before I sing "Agony, where I look and find the camera and know that I will be singing over a waterfall. That really helped inform the character because I thought that he always knows he's being photographed. Somehow, there is always a camera that is recording what he's doing, so he must be on point at all times. He's a buffoon, he's ridiculous, and he made me laugh a great deal.

What was it like working with this amazing cast?

It was great. It was really smart for Rob to get us all a month before, because even though a lot of us don't work together, it is an ensemble cast and an ensemble piece. To get us all in the same room and to have all of us see what the others are doing, it breeds a collective sense of community, a "we're in this together" attitude that probably infuses the picture with that intangible quality of support and positivity. It was very helpful. Meryl is Meryl. She is incredible. Her songs are just stunning and she brings so much. It sounds so trite but she brings so much depth and feeling to it. I love Tracy Ullman desperately and Christine Baranski is so unique and wonderful she's almost unreal; it's like she's from the fifties or something. And Billy I love, we laughed a ton. The ladies I got to work with were great, I get to fall in love with Anna and Emily. I had a blast.

How are you going to see the movie?

I would love to see it with a crowd. I would love to see it with a Broadway theater-going crowd, because they're the most invested in it.

What do you think about the controversy about some of the things that they changed from the original show?

I just don't care enough.

You've got this, and "Horrible Bosses 2" just came out.

Yeah, it's been a fun couple of months for me. They are two projects that I am really proud of. I mean "Horrible Bosses" is just blatant, outright fun. I've read some of what the critics have said and it's incredible how mean critics can be about comedies... It's so ridiculous.

And "Into the Woods" is beautiful. I think it's an important thing to share amongst the family, because I think it brings up a lot of stuff about loss and joy and life. And aesthetically it's just stunning, the music is beautiful, the singing is extraordinary and the visuals... It's a 21st century fairy tale. I think what Rob said at the talk back yesterday was very wise -- it's a musical for a post-9/11 generation. It's a musical that's not pretty even in all of its beauty. It's difficult. He always wanted to do this but it engendered that last push to make it happen when he heard Obama at the 10th anniversary of 9/11 saying to the family and the people that were affected by it that you weren't alone, you're never alone. That's one of the most beautiful songs in the film. That idea is great; it's so important. A lot of tragedy can befall us but there's always something else, there's always hope.

Was Cinderella always your favorite fairy tale?

No... People keep asking me that but I don't remember, honestly. I remember the Grimm fairy tales kind of and I remember going to Disneyland but I remember cartoons more than I remember fairy tales.

There's the possibility of the Chris Pine version of the Prince walking around Disneyland.

That is so scary... Some poor schmuck with a huge wig and a bad tan. [Laughs]

You were in "Jack Ryan" earlier this year. Has there been any talk of further adventures?

No. I don't think it made enough money for that to happen. That's one of my deep regrets, that we didn't totally get that right. It's a great franchise and if it's not me then I hope it gets a fifth life at this point. It's just great. I love the spy genre. I hope it's done again and with a great story.

Where are you with "Star Trek 3"?

With "Trek," I don't know. I think we're shooting next year. I don't know anything about the story but I haven't read the script. I am pretty sure there is a script but I haven't read it yet.

Are you excited to get back in that spaceship?

Oh yeah.

Even without J.J.?

Yeah... I mean, I just want to see my friends, I want to work with my friends. We have such a great time together. I can't wait to see what ridiculousness they throw us into. But above and beyond anything, they're just a great bunch. We laugh a lot.

Did you call J.J. up and go, "You know, I could also be in 'Star Wars'?"

That would not have been the smartest move on my part, for my career, I would think.
Into the Woods
PG2014
Based on 41 critics

A childless couple (Emily Blunt, James Corden) seek to end a witch's (Meryl Streep) curse. Read More

categories Interviews, Movies