Zachary Quinto getting in Spock shape for ‘Star Trek’ sequel

Oct. 19, 2011 | 7:00 p.m.

Zachary Quinto, photographed Oct. 5 in Los Angeles. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

It’s been a busy week for a certain young Vulcan. Zachary Quinto’s first effort as a producer, the Wall Street thriller “Margin Call,” in which he also stars, hits theaters on Friday. On the eve of the film’s New York premiere, Quinto acknowledged publicly that he’s gay for the first time. In our interview in Thursday’s newspaper, Quinto talks about the meaning of this moment to him, on a personal and professional level.

Quinto’s “Margin Call” role shares a lot in common with Spock — he plays a brainy young investment bank analyst. In November, Quinto said he’ll turn to a very different kind of challenge — readying for a major Spock action scene in J.J. Abrams’ long-awaited “Star Trek” sequel, which starts production in January.

“There’s a big sequence for me that I have to prepare for in this movie physically so I’m training, working on getting in some serious shape, building my cardio endurance, preparing to run a lot,” Quinto said.

While Leonard Nimoy’s Spock was more about mental fitness than physical stunts, Quinto said the new “Trek” franchise already has broken out of that mold: “One of the climactic scenes for me in the first movie was when I go against that grain and lose my cool and beat up Kirk. So I think they’re trying to change that up a little bit and not have him be just intellectual but also have another side.”

As an actor, Quinto is best known for his two genre roles — Spock and as the villainous Sylar from NBC “Heroes” — but that’s not by design, he said.

“I never would have anticipated sci fi factoring so prominently in my career,” Quinto said. “It was not a genre I spent a lot of my own time immersed in. Comic books was not really my bag. I’m grateful for it. I come from a theater background. That’s how I learned to act. There’s something very theatrical about the world of ‘Heroes,’ of ‘Star Trek,’ so it was an easy fit for me. It was comfortable, more on the basis of technique than content…. But to be so closely associated with one of the most iconic characters in the history of sci fi, I have to work a little harder against that expectation.”

– Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/@thatrebecca

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