Chris Pine. Another successful Star Trek release and he’s hitting his Hollywood stride. Somehow, he has remained very Un-Hollywood about all of it. Chris is one of those actors who leaves room in the schedule to attack passion projects, while also slating some big releases to support that habit. Up next? The role of Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman. Chris is full of surprises. A fella who approached his career from an unorthodox angle, considering his familial ties to the industry. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Chris.
10. He’s Entertainment Legacy
Chris Pine had no real interest in acting as a child, because he grew up the son, grandson, and brother of actors. Chris carved his upbringing out of a desire to pursue academics and activities outside of the realm of make believe. The son of actor Robert Pine and mother Gwynne Gilford, and the grandson of Max Gilford, and Anne Gwynne. Worth noting, his grandmother was one of the industry’s first “scream queens,” having made appearances in numerous horror films as the genre was just gaining steam in the 1940s. Most Chris Pine fans would recognize his father and mother, as they enjoyed starring roles in several popular TV shows, beginning in the 1970s. Chris did about everything in his power to avoid following in the footsteps of the “family business,” but a certain point, he couldn’t deny his potential, or the opportunities awaiting his refinement.
9. He Cut His Own Path
Continuing in the same vein of being an actor’s son/grandson, Chris Pine had other interests worth following while growing up. We’d imagine that being on set with both of your parents at any point in time made the magic of movies and TV a little less magical, and a whole lot more like going to some boring place when the process is long, tedious, full of hurry-up-and-wait scenarios. So, Chris only began his acting career after pushing through high school, and attending The University of California at Berkeley to pursue a degree in English. When he made the choice to study acting, he was accepted to several prestigious schools, and he did study with some elite acting teachers, yet also opted for reputable classes in L.A., where no teacher would correlate his relation, and familiarity with the industry. In short, Chris Pine did it the hard way.
8. Thanks, But No Thanks
When you see a leading man like Chris Pine, you’re under the impression that it must have been his life pursuit: movie star. Most would probably be under the assumption that he loves being a movie star–that all roles he chases are traditional leading men in flicks with big budgets. That’s what we’d expect for a guy once considered a “young Harrison Ford.” But that’s not the case for Chris. Growing up the son of two character actors, he was able to quickly learn that the most enjoyable roles aren’t always belonging to the characters who appear in nearly every shot. Yes, he is on record stating how much he loves playing James T. Kirk, and how much he has enjoyed leading other films, but at his essence, Chris is a character actor. He isn’t interested in celebrity, he’s just interested in taking challenging and enjoyable roles.
7. The Academic
As mentioned, Chris Pine was accepted to The University of California-Berkeley, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Anyone well aware with the scope of education in the United States of America is easily impressed by this feat. Cal may score a lot of guff from nearby California institution of higher learning, Stanford, but when it comes to schools owned and operated by any state in the union, Cal-Berkeley is as good as it gets. Chris began his life in academia at the prestigious Oakwood School, located in North Hollywood, CA, before his admission to Cal. During his pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree, he was also able to study abroad, spending time at The University of Leeds, in West Yorkshire, England. Add to to that some time spent at the American Conservatory Theatre for acting, and Mr. Pine became quite well-rounded.
6. He Has Impressive Character Chops
It’s time to rap about how good of an actor Chris Pine actually is. We get lost in a sea of leading men who are exceptionally handsome, have sharp features, piercing eyes and approach their characters with a simplistic, paint-by-number, audience pleasing, faultless caricature of a human being. It’s really only the great actors who are willing to dig deep, and are confident to put flaws on display when they do their character work. Even if a character is written with flaws, it takes a special actor to offer that subtext, and subtly show that the wheels are turning. Chris Pine offers all of these qualities, and it’s evident, even when he does a script that is severely lacking, like Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. And because Chris does flicks like Jack Ryan, he can afford to take a few more risks in films like Joe Carnahan’s Stretch.
5. Youngest Actor to Lead The Trek
When Paramount and J.J. Abrams began their trek to find the new leading cast for the Star Trek reboot in 2007 for the 2009 release, there was a shortlist of relative unknowns who they felt could pull off the role of James T. Kirk. And when they settled on Chris Pine, who was 28 at the time, they opted for the youngest actor to ever lead the Starship Enterprise. Considering the story line, it was nice to see more of the backstory for the character most famously known as Captain Kirk, it made sense. The audience was being introduced to the beginning of Kirk’s service career. When it was all said and done, Chris Pine became the face of Kirk for a whole new generation. And regarding Starfleet, it’s worth mentioning that Chris’s father, Robert Pine, is also a Star Trek alumnus.
4. He’s a Definitive Dude
Chris Pine is a guy, and he loves guy things. He loves the ladies, and the ladies love him. In a lot of ways, Chris is a Hollywood throwback. It’s appropriate that he was compared to Harrison Ford early in his career, because the two guys have a lot in common regarding approach. They don’t care much for celebrity. Because Chris grew up the son of two successful, career actors, celebrity never really offered much of an impression. So, Chris does spend a lot of time with his friends who are on both sides of the industry line, and when it comes to being approachable, he is open and kind, but not really understanding of why the heck someone wants his name on a piece of paper or a photograph. One thing that Chris has mastered, and other celebs wish they could: he’s adept at avoiding paparazzi (usually).
3. A Great Ambassador
One of the greatest stories from the career life of Chris Pine–to this point–occurred when he was announced as the lead of Star Trek (2009). There were industry rumors (with hints of truth) floating through Hollywood that William Shatner was really peeved that he had been completely snubbed for the reboot. No love at all. This only escalated when it was reported that Leonard Nimoy had joined the cast to reprise his role of Spock. Knowing this, Chris took the pen–or likely the keyboard–to put a letter together, destined for the eyes of William Shatner. Chris reached out as a gesture of goodwill, a thanks for creating the iconic role, and asked for any advice in approaching a life in Starfleet. It may not have unsalted Shatner’s beef labeled Paramount, but he did warm to Chris Pine immediately, and wished him good luck in tackling Kirk.
2. Are You a Pine Nut?
Everything has to have a thing these days. Every couple has to have a mash-up nickname, and every actor who is male, and boasts legions of bats**t crazy, slightly obsessed, female (and male) fans, has to have something hitched to their personage. Like his former Star Trek alum Benedict Cumberbatch, whose legions of fans are known affectionately (?) as Cumberbitches, Chris Pine also has a pledged allegiance of fans, and they’re referred to as “Pine Nuts.” It is such an enjoyable time to be alive–living in the witticisms of the far reaches of the Internet. It really doesn’t get much better than Pine Nuts, does it? Lady Gaga has her Little Monsters, Justin Bieber has his Beliebers, Taylor Swift her Swifties, but these plays aren’t as clever as Chris and his Pine Nuts. And it helps that a lot of them really are nuts. Seriously. Go to any red carpet event.
1. A Bad Day At The Office
One of the best Chris Pine stories allows us to rewind a few years, when James Cameron was planning his otherworldly adventure, Avatar. This was around the same time Chris was getting into the pool of actors for Captain Kirk consideration, and when word gets out about you, you get called in for all of the big stuff. One of the roles Chris read for during this time period was the role of Jake Sully. The audition was early in the process, and he was reading for the casting director, and Chris still speaks about it as one of his worst auditions ever, which, as an actor, is saying something. During this particular audition, Chris was feeling so lousy about everything coming out of his mouth, that he politely stopped, thanked the CD for the time, offered a handshake, and left the room. Legend.