From left: Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho and Zoe Saldana in a scene from "Star Trek" (2009). They play younger versions of characters originally played by, respectively, Walter Koenig, William Shatner, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, George Takei and Nichelle Nichols.


Production on the latest “Star Trek,” set to open May 17, 2013 in 3D, got under way in Los Angeles with J.J. Abrams at the helm, Paramount said Saturday.

Abrams directed his first picture in the franchise in 2009, grossing about $385 million worldwide. This time around, it’s Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions and a Bad Robot Production, Abrams’ shooting company.

Returning to their posts are John Cho as Sulu, Bruce Greenwood as Capt. Pike, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Chris Pine as Capt. Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, and Anton Yelchin as Chekov.

They are joined by new cast members Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve and Peter Weller.

Based upon Gene Roddenberry’s science-fiction classic, the film is produced by Abrams, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The script was by Kurtzman, Orci and Lindelof.

Director of photography is Dan Mindel; production designer, Scott Chambliss. Costume designer is Michael Kaplan. The music is by Michael Giacchino.

Skydance Productions has a deal with Paramount that enables it to help finance and produce several films per year with the studio. The first co-produced under the partnership was the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit.”

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  1. JJ Abrams created a flop: ST earned barely a tenth of what AVATAR made. It is particularly weak in script — by the second half of the show, you cannot even follow what is going on, as if a 15 year-old with ADD (rumor is that JJ does have it) made it. Biggest gap is plot meaning: TNG stories, for example, each have a driving theme about the human condition. This higher-level thinking used to distinguish ST from bubble-gum scifi. However, screenwriters KurzmanOrci, who specialize in revitalizing franchises for big studios, seem to have missed that semester in English 101.