Paramount hires trio to pen screenplay

As Paramount Pictures readies the May 8 release of its “Star Trek” franchise relaunch, the studio is moving forward with a sequel, and has hired Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to pen the screenplay.

J.J. Abrams, who directed and produced the latest chapter, is onboard to produce the follow-up alongside his Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk. No decision has been made yet on whether Abrams will return behind the camera for the sequel.

Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof also are receiving producing credit on the sequel.

Story is still in the embryonic stage, but the trio are aiming to deliver their script to the Melrose studio by Christmas for what would likely be a summer 2011 release.

“There’s obviously a lot of hubris involved in signing on to write a sequel of a movie that hasn’t even come out yet,” said Lindelof, co-creator with Abrams of ABC’s “Lost” who produced the upcoming “Trek” but did not contribute to Orci and Kurtzman’s screenplay. “But we’re so excited about the first one that we wanted to proceed.”

As for potential storylines, Kurtzman stressed that the writing team will wait to take a cue from fan reaction about which direction to go.

“Obviously we discussed ideas, but we are waiting to see how audiences respond next month,” he said. “With a franchise rebirth, the first movie has to be about origin. But with a second, you have the opportunity to explore incredibly exciting things. We’ll be ambitious about what we’ll do.”

Though Orci and Kurtzman have worked together as a writing team for more than 12 years, the duo has worked with Lindelof on only one screenplay: DreamWorks’ “Cowboys and Aliens,” which they are currently writing together.

Paramount has high hopes for the “Star Trek” relaunch, and is pulling out all the stops on the marketing front. Studio began a full-scale campaign six months before the film’s May bow.

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