Star Trek – The Movie

Planet Vulcan filmed in the San Rafael Swell

Below is an article from the Salt Lake Tribune about a part of Star Trek being filmed 20 miles from here, in the beautiful San Rafael Swell!

Just off I-70: The planet Vulcan

Movies: Emery County is backdrop for Spock’s homeworld.

When the film crew came to Emery County last year, the project bore the unassuming title of Corporate Headquarters.

A week before shooting, though, a crew member let slip to Mike McCandless, Emery County’s director of economic development, that Hollywood was shooting footage for a blockbuster: Star Trek.

I would have found out the first day of filming anyway, McCandless said. “The first day they were here, they stressed on an amazing level how important it was to them to keep the identity of the film quiet.

A second-unit crew shot for about a week in Emery County, using the backdrop of the San Rafael Swell to double for Vulcan, the desert planet that is home to the pointy-eared Mr. Spock.

Bryan Burk, one of Star Trek’s executive producers, said that when the location scouts came back with images of Utah, the response was, “This is the most beautiful place on the planet. In fact, it should be its own planet.”

Making a movie on a budget, though, precluded the entire Star Trek crew from shooting in Utah. Instead, the second-unit crew shot aerial footage from a helicopter, McCandless said, while a crew on the ground took still images of the canyons.

Those still images were incorporated into the background images of Vulcan. The foreground, where such stars as Zachary Quinto (as Spock) and Winona Ryder (as Amanda Grayson, Spock’s human mother) shot their scenes, was provided by Vasquez Rocks, a recreation area a few miles north of Hollywood.

Vasquez Rocks has been used in countless films and TV shows, including the original Star Trek. (It’s where Capt. Kirk fought a lizard creature, the Gorn.) You go out there and you recognize rock formations that you’ve seen a gazillion times in old Star Treks,” Burk said. But right behind it is a freeway, and that’s where Utah comes in.

McCandless said the Star Trek crew spent about $100,000 during four days work in Emery County. The production used the Green River airport as its headquarters, rented out an entire hotel, rented cars and ate three meals a day. That figure goes up, he said, when you include other expenses, such as fuel trucks from Moab and medical personnel from Salt Lake City.

But the real benefit Emery County will see from Star Trek’s visit, McCandless said, will be long term, as tourists (and future filmmakers) come to see the location. People will continue to watch and say, Hey, I drove by planet Vulcan when I was on I-70, he said.

By Sean P. Means

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