On Location: L.A. to board the Starship Enterprise for another trip
"Star Trek" is once again beaming down to Los Angeles.
After months of production delays, the sequel to the 2009 hit science fiction film is slated to begin filming next week, a person familiar with the project said.
As with the previous movie, the 3-D sequel will be shot in the L.A. area, primarily on a sound stage at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where crews have rebuilt a set for the bridge of the Enterprise spaceship, and various locales around the county. The production will employ at least 600 cast and crew members.
Few big-budget studio pictures like "Star Trek" still shoot in L.A. because of the scores of attractive film tax credits offered in other states and countries. California's film tax credit excludes movies costing more than $75 million. The previous "Star Trek" film cost about $140 million to produce.
But director J.J. Abrams prefers to film locally (notwithstanding his recent thriller "Super 8," which was shot mainly in West Virginia), and made ample use of diverse locations throughout Southern California for the last "Star Trek" film.
Those sites included the Budweiser Brewery in Van Nuys, Dodger Stadium, Long Beach City Hall, the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin and the Vasquez Rocks park in Agua Dulce. The movie revived Paramount's long-running "Star Trek" movie franchise, generating $383 million in worldwide ticket sales.
The new film, which will take at least 12 weeks to shoot, is due out in May 2013. It will see the return of actors Chris Pine in the role of Capt. James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock, along with Anton Yelchin (Chekov), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Hikaru Sulu) and Karl Urban (Bones). The new cast members are Alice Eve, Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Weller.
A spokeswoman for Paramount, which is also producing the film with Abrams' company Bad Robot and David Ellison's Skydance, declined to comment.
Photo: Zachary Quinto as Spock, left, and Chis Pine as James T. Kirk are shown in a scene from, "Star Trek." Credit: AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Industrial Light & Magic.
-- Richard Verrier
[For the record: An earlier version of the post said script problems caused the delay in production. In fact, the production was delayed because of Abrams' work on other projects, including "Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol."]