James T. Kirk earned a legendary reputation as captain of the USS Enterprise. And for “Star Trek: Into Darkness” actresses Katie and Kellie Cockrell, one part of it was impossible to shake — his knack for making women swoon.
Playing sexy aliens who share a steamy encounter with Kirk (Chris Pine), the twin sisters join director J.J. Abrams in the highly anticipated sequel to 2009’s “Star Trek.”
Although their characters only make a brief appearance in the film, they found that joining the long list of women and aliens enchanted by Kirk’s storied charm was an irresistible and surreal opportunity.
“It was really exciting — we felt very honored to be a part of it,” Katie recently told 1701News.com in an exclusive interview. “When you see Chris on screen, he is very good-looking, but when you see him in person he is even more. … And our thing kind of helps to bring out that fun, sexy side of him.
“I think we can say confidently that a lot of girls will be jealous of our scene with him.”
“It’s not quite as cool as a James Bond girl,” Kellie added, “but it is sort of, and … I never would have thought that we would get a chance to do that.”
Katie and Kellie, 24, launched their entertainment career at the age of 5, starting with dance classes, which eventually lead to performances with a professional ballet company. After deciding to set their sights on acting during high school, they went on to attend the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
As twins, they found booking acting jobs together helpful and have appeared in commercials, television series and films, including “Jack and Jill,” Disney’s “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” “Halloween Town” and NBC’s “Free Agents.”
“I think being twins definitely gives us an edge,” Katie explained. “It helps us stand out. And a lot of time when you go out for twin auditions there is significantly less competition.
“And it can be more difficult because we do look the same. So when we go out for the same roles, an individual role, we are often times competing against each other.”
In the case of “Into Darkness,” being twins once again proved to be their key to landing an audition. Their agent had hinted that it was a big project — its name and roles were a secret at the time — but when they discovered a major franchise helmed by Abrams was involved it was just “overwhelming and so amazing,” Kellie said.
Star Trek wasn’t a franchise they closely followed prior to “Into Darkness,” however. But sci-fi and fantasy hold a special place in their heart. They are especially fond of Abrams’ “Lost,” Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
“Our parents love (Star Trek); they have been watching it since they were young,” Katie said. “They were like: ‘I can’t believe you are going to be in Star Trek — we are so excited!’”
Working 14 hours daily for over a week once on set, the sisters were subjected to extensive makeup tests as a special effects team refined their look. Abrams shot their scene with Pine in one day after their makeup was finalized.
“Our characters are not human in the movie,” Kellie said. “We are actually modeled off of one of the comic book characters … We have really cool prosthetics.
“I remember J.J. saying during the makeup test that he wanted us to look organic, like we were characters, but not like we were actors in makeup. That was the real goal of all those tests.”
In addition, Abrams was very helpful guiding them through the entire filming process and maintaing an uplifting atmosphere, according to Kellie
“He is very hands-on on with everyone on set,” she said. “And he made … it feel comfortable and made everyone feel at ease so they could do their best job.”
And Kellie predicts the resulting work ethic from cast and crew combined with Abrams’ flair for producing gripping films and television shows will really payoff with “Into Darkness.”
“It’s really going to surprise a lot of people who think that they know what Star Trek is and just show the characters in a new way,” she said.
“Star Trek: Into Darkness” — penned by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof — also stars Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Alice Eve.
The film follows the crew of the USS Enterprise as they clash with an unstoppable force of terror from within Starfleet.
It opens in theaters May 16.