STAR TREK 2 Director J.J. Abrams Confirms Filming Start This Week; Discusses Villain Casting & Post-Conversion 3D

The Super 8 director shares his latest thoughts on the highly anticipated sequel from Paramount Pictures which recently signed an actor to play it's secretive villain and is scheduled for theatrical release in 2013.

Paramount Pictures has locked Star Trek 2 for 3D theatrical release on May 17, 2013. The film, which will begin production in early 2012, will be released in 3D. The entirety of the main cast, including Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg and Zachary Quinto, are expected to reprise their roles. JJ Abrams will direct the film and Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof have returned for script duties. The film will be shot in 2D and receive a post conversion 3D treatment.

Benedict Cumberbatch, star of BBC's hit series Sherlock, has been tapped for the yet-to-be-revealed villain role in the project. Peter Weller, Alice Eve and Noel Clarke have all been confirmed as new additions to the cast as well. While attending the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, director Abrams shared a few more details about the project; particularly the choice to convert the film to 3D in post production:

"We start shooting Star Trek on Thursday... [filming will last for] our months. Just about as long as the first one. Maybe a little less. We’re shooting on film, and the reason for that is I wanted to shoot with anamorphic, and you can’t shoot 3D in anamorphic... It will be converted, for those who want to see it in 3D. But, I wanted to match the look of the first one and shoot it anamorphically."

"We actually converted a bunch of the original movie, which looked really good. That was the thing that made me feel like, maybe that would be okay. But, I didn’t want to shoot the movie digitally... I did not fight for the 3D. It was something that the studio wanted to do, and I didn’t want to do it. And then, when I saw the first movie converted in sections, I thought that it actually looked really cool. So, I was okay with their doing it, as long as I could shoot the movie the way I wanted to, in anamorphic film, and then let them convert it. So, those who want to see it in 3D, which looked pretty cool, can do it, and those that want to see it in 2D can do that too."

Abrams also commented on the recent casting of Benedict Cumberbatch, who signed up for the film after negotiations with Benecio Del Toro fell through:

"We haven’t made any changes because of casting... [Cumberbatch's] a genius. Honestly, he’s just an incredible actor. If you’ve seen his work in Sherlock, he’s just got incredible skills. He’s an amazing stage actor. He did amazing work (on stage) in Frankenstein. He’s brilliant. You try to cast people who are great. We got lucky."

Along with denying that any cast members from the original series will cameo, Abram shrugged off the report that Cumberbatch landed the role of the film's central antagonist: "Who said he’s our villain?"