J.J. Abrams has found himself in a bit of controversy following the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness. The issue surrounds a shot of Carol Marcus (played by Alice Eve) in her underwear. In the scene, she’s changing as Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) runs by and he stops to check her out. Abrams appeared on Conan O’Brien’s late night show on TBS Wednesday and was asked about the issue.
Abrams defended the shot as Kirk being Kirk, but also allowed that he might not have cut “the scene in the right way.” He goes on to suggest that there’s an equal trade, of sorts, with Chris Pine appearing topless in an earlier scene, but does concede that he “can see their point of view,” referring to those who felt the shot of Eve was exploitative. He then went on to reveal that there was originally a shot of the film’s villain, played by Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch, taking a shower. You can see the whole sequence, including the shot of Cumberbatch’s shower (which O’Brien has some fun with) here:
It’s worth pointing out that there does seem to be a difference in kind between the shot of Eve (incidentally, this shot made it into at least one of the Into Darkness trailers) and those of either Pine or Cumberbatch. As O’Brien perhaps unwittingly points out, Cumberbatch’s shower scene is hardly sexualized, and neither is the shot of Pine despite the fact that he’s in bed with a woman (she looks seductive, but he’s grimacing and turned away). The low-angle shot of Eve, however, is full of sexual tension. To be fair, the shot does effectively communicate Kirks point of view, but Kirk as a character is subtly misogynistic.
Star Trek: Into Darkness is currently in wide release.