By Barry Janoff
(Originally published at Brief)
May 8, 2013: ESPN as analyst and commentator Stephen A. Smith has stepped out of his role with the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports to take on several roles in an out of this world ESPN-Paramount Pictures joint promo for Star Trek Into Darkness.
In a 30-second spot, from ESPN Creative works in conjunction with Paramount, Smith is seen on the Starship Enterprise playing the part of eight key crew members. That includes Smith as Capt. James T. Kirk, Spock, Dr. "Bones" McCoy, Montgomery "Scotty" Scott and Pavel Chekov.
The spot broke this week during ESPN's SportsCenter and First Take, the daily debate forum on ESPN 2 that features Smith and Skip Bayless. The commercial will be in regular rotation for several weeks. The movie's official premiere is scheduled for May 16.
The TV spot took nine hours to film but "It was a lot of fun," according to Smith.
In the film, directed by J.J. Abrams, the crew of the Enterprise finds an "unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, [which leads] Captain Kirk on a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction," according to Paramount.
The ESPN creative opens with Smith as Kirk in a frenzy. "I need to beam Spock back to the ship," he commands the crew. "Give me one way to do it."
"Maybe if we had a direct line of sight," Smith relies as Chekov.
"He's inside an active volcano!" yells McCoy.
We then see Smith as Spock in a spacesuit, surrounded by flames on a desolate planet. "The Enterprise is too large," he says in Spock's monotone voice.
McCoy replies, "Shut up, Spock. We're trying to save you."
To which Smith offers in Spockian philosophy, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."
Smith as Kirk then beams in, "We're talking about your life." When communications are cut off, Kirk says, "Try to get him back on line."
After a few moments of silence, we see a two-shot of Smith as McCoy standing next to Smith as Kirk. "If Spock was here," Kirk asks, "and I was there [in the volcano], what would he do?"
McCoy says, "He'd let you die!!"
To which Smith as Kirk replies without missing a beat, "Damn, that's messed up." (See the full spot here.)
Partners for the movie also include Visa, Mazda 6, Esurance, ACER and LifeLock, which each are running their own promotions to support the release of "Star Trek Into Darkness." The film stars Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Karl Urban as Bones and Zoe Saldana as Lt. Nyota Uhura.