The enduring and powerful legacy of Star Trek means that Trekkies are everywhere you look, even in places you don’t expect. Take Ben Stiller, who has been subtly referencing TOS in almost every film he makes. Even “Red Hour Films,” Stiller’s company, is a reference to the “red hour” from the TOS episode “The Return of the Archons.” Stiller has been a Trekkie since his mother took him to a convention all the way back in 1976. So, when StarTalk host and personal astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson asked Stiller what one of the biggest moments in his life was, he gave a Star Trek-themed answer.
In the exclusive clip above, Stiller explains that in Tropic Thunder, Matthew McConaughey’s character has a pair of original Spock ears from the original series. After the film came out, Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, noticed the nod and reached out to Stiller. Starstruck, Stiller says that not only was Nimoy incredibly kind, he ended up sending Stiller a pair of his ears from the first Star Trek movie. According to Stiller, he would have been fine dying after that.
Of course, Nimoy affected generations of fans with his acting, his art, and his kind spirit. We’ll forever remember him as Spock, something that Nimoy struggled with and eventually embraced. Stiller’s experience is yet another testament to the power of science fiction.
The Ben Stiller episode of StarTalk episode airs Monday night at 11/10c and features Ben Stiller talking to Neil about the role of science in his life, his movies, and comedy in general.
Images: National Geographic