Star Trek writer: View-Master film is like E.T.

If you're wondering how a View-Master toy lends itself to a feature film, the producers of such a movie want to assure you that the device is irrelevant. They are producing a film based on the 3-D slide viewing device, but they say it's a script that works on its own.

"The movies that work, work when there's a story there that you could take the toy out of, but then when you put the toy in, it becomes an even more amazing experience, for whatever reason," producer Alex Kurtzman said in a press conference on Oct. 8 in Santa Monica, Calif. where he was promoting Star Trek on DVD. "Brad Kane, who was a writer for us on Fringe, came to us with an amazing idea that had absolutely nothing to do with View-Master. We loved it and thought it was fantastic."

Uh, so then why not just make that script? Kurtzman's partner Roberto Orci explained, "We said, 'It's missing one thing. I don't know what that thing could be.'"

The Fisher-Price toy provided the producers the perfect notes to give their writer. "Along came View-Master, and it sounded like the perfect marriage of ideas," Kurtzman said. "But it's because we started with a story that felt like it could be told, all on its own, before that came along."

There's good precedent for starting scripts without the "device." Orci reminded sci-fi fans about a story from his Transformers producer Steven Spielberg. "Spielberg actually told us once that his first draft story of E.T. didn't have an alien in it," Orci said. "It was a family drama about a kid missing his father, and E.T. was born from that. That's always stuck in our minds. You've got to be able to take out the thing."

So if you're still skeptical about a View-Master movie, bring it on. The producers, who wrote the successful Transformers movies, are ready for you. "We've read a lot of the wildly cynical response to that," Kurtzman said. "What I'll say is that some toys should be movies and some toys should not be movies, and I'd like to believe we know the difference between those things. So it's like, 'Bring it on.' If you want to be cynical about View-Master, great, 'cause we're so confident in where it's going to end up going that we feel like there's nowhere to go but up."

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