Paul heeft een interview en fotoshoot gehad met Esquire Magazine ter promotie van Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Captain Kirk is wearing a black hoodie and jeans. In the third episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season Two, James T. Kirk trades his gold Starfleet uniform for some 21st-century threads (thanks to some time travel shenanigans), and, in doing so, becomes an everyman. As played by Paul Wesley, this version of Kirk isn’t a larger-than-life hero; instead, he feels like someone you know. Or, better yet, someone you might aspire to be like. “He’s a classic,” Wesley tells Esquire. “I feel like Kirk would like classic clothing. He’s like jeans, leather jackets, boots, hoodies, white t-shirts, black t-shirts, boom, done. I never want to wear things that will go out of style.”
Although the idea of James Kirk might conjure up images of William Shatner fighting a rubber lizard in slow-motion, or, perhaps the wise-cracking Chris Pine, the character of Kirk is far more relatable and real than his reputation suggests. “If you actually watch The Original Series, yes, there’s some exaggerated stuff there, but for the most part, Kirk is pretty down-to-earth,” Wesley explains. “He’s not like the caricature people think of, or as big as people have made him out to be in their heads over the years.”
Perhaps most well-known for his role as immortal Stefan on The Vampire Diaries, Wesley is the opposite of a caricature. He’s a thoughtful, relatable guy, more apt to ask a question about you than talk about himself. He’s charming and he’s got swagger, but he’s also subtle and kind. In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season Two, Wesley appears as James T. Kirk in a few surprising episodes, beginning with the third story, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.” It’s a cracking time travel romp, which sends a version of Kirk and series regular La’an (Christina Chong) back to 21st-century Toronto. In the vein of classic Trek time travel, Paul Wesley gets to play Kirk as a fish out of water, and in doing so, makes him more realistic and more interesting than any version of Kirk we’ve seen before.
For most viewers, Strange New Worlds is a back-to-basics version of Star Trek; each episode is mostly self-contained, and even the complicated sci-fi plotting feels secondary to characters and emotions. And in this way, Wesley’s version of Jim Kirk is a microcosm of the entire series. He is Kirk, sometimes from a different timeline, sometimes found just a few years before taking over the Enterprise, but don’t worry about it too much. He’s the guy you trust, because he believes in people when no one else will, and he’ll always do the right thing, even if nobody notices or remembers. In Strange New Worlds, Wesley doesn’t reinvent the character of Captain Kirk, but instead, does something that feels radical: his performance reminds us that all of us could be Kirk if we wanted to be. Kirk isn’t a legend—he’s just a guy. A very competent and cool guy, but someone you’d want to hang out with all the same. In real life, Wesley is very much the same. His enthusiasm for life and his interest in art and music is infectious. He’s a man of action, and a Renaissance man, too. But, ultimately, Wesley feels like the guy who would loan you his hoodie and never ask for it back.
Esquire caught up with Paul Wesley to discuss playing Captain Kirk in Strange New Worlds, making whiskey, and how to know when you’ve really grown up. Spoilers ahead for Strange New Worlds Season 2, Episode 3.