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'Star Trek's' Chris Pine boldly goes in search of challenging roles

June 20, 2009 | 11:00 am

Chris Pine 

Star Trek’s” Chris Pine may have recently scorched the top of People’s new Hottest Bachelors list, along with fellow hunks Chase Crawford and Shia LaBeouf, but beauty pageants aren't particularly high on his personal to-do list.

“I’m going to struggle and try my best to search out the roles that are a little more interesting and not based on how good your tan looks and how coiffed your hair is,” Pine said on the eve of the Geffen Playhouse’s production of “Farragut North,” a tense political drama costarring Pine and “Sex and the City’s” Chris Noth, opening Wednesday.

“There’s a battle between commerce and art that I’m learning that doesn’t necessarily have to prevent you from pursuing more artistic ventures, as long as you utilize your commerce, knowing you’re using it to get more opportunities to do the smaller pet projects,” he said. “I’m so new at it, I’m just learning to navigate the waters.”

So Pine, 28, has been studying the log of such other captains of his industry as Paul Newman. He says the late actor is his role model “in terms of longevity and the good he was able to do in the world.”

Pine’s other American idols?

“George Clooney, for the conversation about commerce and art. Daniel Day-Lewis for his almost monkish pursuit of protecting artistic integrity, which I’m in sheer awe of. I would certainly love to be held in the kind of esteem he is. Sean Penn and Gary Oldman, I’ve had an acting crush on for years. I’m all over the spectrum.”

Not really, if you consider the fact that all those performers are acclaimed for their acting chops. That’s clearly a goal of Pine’s and one he thinks he can balance with blockbuster films like “Trek.” That’s why his first role after the mega popcorn movie is the dark and complicated spinmeister Stephen of Beau Willimon’s “Farragut North,” named for the Washington, D.C., subway stop near the vortex of lobbyists’ offices.

Read more about Pine’s return to the stage in Sunday's Arts & Books section or click here.

-- Irene Lacher

Caption: Chris Pine Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times