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'Fringe' Finale Preview: Leonard Nimoy Talks William Bell, Retirement and Zachary Quinto

by Jane Boursaw, posted May 20th 2010 5:02PM
Fringe: Over There, Part 2, Leonard NimoyThe 'Fringe' finale is tonight, which is fun on many levels, one of which is that William Bell, aka Leonard Nimoy, shows up. Yes, he appeared in the final seconds of last week's episode, but we get even more of him tonight.

I sat in on a conference call with Nimoy last week, and he had a few things to say about William Bell, the 'Star Trek' movie, his retirement, and the joy he feels seeing Zachary Quinto take over the role of Spock.

But first, let's talk about 'Fringe.' I think most of us would agree that William Bell is a mysterious character whose motives have never been quite clear. Is he good? Evil? Something in between? Should the 'Fringe' crew trust him? Nimoy said a lot of these questions will be answered in tonight's episode, 'Over There, Part 2.'

"He keeps telling Olivia that she should trust him," said Nimoy. "Maybe she has to. I don't know if she has any choice really, but there will be very strong involvement with Olivia and with Peter and particularly with Walter, which will, I think, answer a lot of questions."

As an actor who's been involved in television since its infancy, Nimoy calls 'Fringe' extremely well-produced and far more sophisticated than any TV project he's ever been involved with. "I had a chance to be involved in some production scenes, the likes of which I've never experienced in television. These scripts are extremely complicated and very nuanced, very intelligent scripts. I'm intrigued with how well they do these shows, not only in the concept, but in the execution."

In tonight's episode, look for some strong scenes between William Bell and Walter Bishop, which Nimoy calls "the heart of the episode." He also talked a bit about his last day of filming. "I had the same experience on the last day of filming on the 'Star Trek' movie about a year-and-a-half ago," he said. "This was a very moving experience, and I didn't want it to end because the experience had been such a positive one.

"When it was done, the entire company gathered around, and there was a lot of love exchanged. I said to them, 'I've been at this for 60 years, and I have never worked with a better company.' I meant it. They do an amazing job on the 'Fringe' series. It just feels really good to know that I'm saying goodbye to the work on a very positive, good note."

In keeping with the "more than one of everything" theme, is there more than one William Bell? Nimoy was hesitant to venture into spoiler territory, but revealed that he was only given one William Bell to play. "I think it's safe to say there's only one William Bell that you're going to see [tonight]," he said. "All of the others do have alternates. I watched [last week's] episode and was delighted with the way the actors have taken on different personalities for their alternate roles."

And what of those retirement rumors we've been hearing? All true, he said. He's been at this for 60 years and decided several years ago to not do any more acting or directing. "I was called back to do the 'Star Trek' movie, which was very attractive. I read the script, which had a great handling of the Spock character and the introduction of a wonderful new actor to play Spock."

When J.J. Abrams, producer and director of 'Star Trek,' asked him to take the role of William Bell, Nimoy felt he owed him that. "It's coincidental that I decided some time ago that I really didn't want to do this anymore. I just did this last job as a favor to J.J. Abrams, and I'm glad I did it. I think we'll see an exciting episode [tonight]. It's a very good note to go out on."

And don't hold your breath on Nimoy returning next season either. "I will not be doing any more television or movie acting or directing," he said. That pretty much counts out another 'Star Trek' movie, as well.

"I think I can be definitive about the fact that I will not be in [a sequel]," he said. "I have said that I think it's time for me to get off the stage and make some room for Zachary Quinto, who is the new Spock and a wonderful actor, and who looks a lot like me. And I'm very flattered that the character will be continued by an actor of that caliber. He's very well trained and very talented."

Instead, Nimoy plans to continue with his photography, including an exhibition titled 'Secret Selves' which opens July 31 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

(Follow @jboursaw on Twitter.)

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Hi, my name is Khanh Nguyen and I’m a Year 11 student at Marlborough Girls’ College. We have been assigned to create a website on our favourite TV show for our NCEA assessment and I’m wondering if I could use the images on your website for my website and it won’t be published as it’s just an assessment for school.
Thank you.

August 18 2011 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is better than the X files, and in theroy quite possible, thats why it's so great, heard alot of talk over summer about the show, should pick up more viewers. G R E A T show FOX!!!!!

August 07 2010 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Nichols

A great "final" performance on tonight's episode!! Mr. Nimoy looks like he has another 5+ years of acting on screen in him, but I wish him a well deserved retirement!!

I'm just gonna say it,
"Live Long, and Prosper"

May 21 2010 at 12:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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