Following the release of “Star Trek Into Darkness,” its male creators came under fire for a sequence where Alice Eve, playing a brilliant scientist who in the original continuity is responsible for a godlike device that can create life on barren planets, strips down to her underwear for no discernible reason. Kirk (and by extension, the camera) chooses to leer. It’s a pretty unnecessary sequence and no matter how adorable Eve is (and, truly, her physique could be described as godlike), it had no real business being in the movie. While co-writer/producer Damon Lindelof has issued a public apology, director J.J. Abrams has taken a different approach. One that involves footage of Benedict Cumberbatch in the shower. That’ll certainly even the scales…
Over the weekend Lindelof began an email conversation with MTV News’ Josh Horowitz. When the conversation turned to the question of why Eve was in her underwear, the notoriously self-deprecating Lindelof shot back: “Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God’s name she would undress in that circumstance? Well there’s a very good answer for that. But I’m not telling you what it is. Because… uh… MYSTERY?” In other words: he agrees that it was in kind of bad taste and doesn’t have much of an explanation. And now he’s being called out on it.
On Twitter, Lindelof elaborated: “I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress.” And, later: “What I’m saying is I hear you, I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future.” Which, really, is all you can ask for: he ‘fessed up, he took responsibility, and he’ll try better next time.
Abrams, on the other hand, took a different approach. After admitting to Conan O’Brien that he probably should have edited that scene differently, he defiantly showed a still from a scene where Kirk is in his underwear (with two alien girls) and then wanted to counteract the charges of sexism by showing that there was once a scene of Benedict Cumberbatch‘s villain…in the shower. Because, you know, evil needs to lather up too. While the footage is brief (but does actually look like it came from the movie), we’re not sure how exactly this is supposed to negate the charges of sexism leveled against the production. It’s not exactly a case of tit for tat, or, um, yeah… It would have been one thing if the underwear shot was lost amidst some amazing, deeply etched characterization, but Eve’s character, who was so strong in the original movies, basically screams, gets her leg broken, and has to watch her father get brutally killed. It’s not exactly the kind of rich character where seeing her in her underwear would have just been one facet; it’s kind of the only thing anyone will remember about her.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, or want to weigh in on Pantygate ’13, “Star Trek Into Darkness” is in theaters now.