By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com December 5, 2011 at 7:07AM
Is J.J. Abrams pulling a Christopher Nolan? The latter director has become known in recent years for putting faded 1980s icons in his films, from Rutger Hauer in "Batman Begins" and Eric Roberts in "The Dark Knight" to Tom Berenger in "Inception" and Matthew Modine in the upcoming "The Dark Knight Rises." Hell, he even gave David Bowie a part in "The Prestige." But now it looks like Abrams, arguably his biggest competition in terms of the new guard of super-directors, is getting in on the act.
Variety report that Abrams has cast Peter Weller, who came to fame as the star of "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension" and "Robocop," as well the lead in more offbeat films like David Cronenberg's "The Naked Lunch" and Michael Tolkin's "The New Age," in his soon-to-shoot sequel to 2009 blockbuster reboot "Star Trek," joining Alice Eve and Benicio Del Toro as new additions to the cast.
Weller hasn't been terribly visible on the big screen of late, but he hasn't been idle either; he's mixed recurring TV roles on the likes of "24" and "Dexter" with directing work, a new career in art history as a faculty member of Syracuse University, where he's studying for a PhD, and presenting "Engineering an Empire" for The History Channel. It's not his first time in the franchise, either; he appeared in a couple of episodes of short-lived prequel series "Star Trek: Enterprise."
True to form for an Abrams picture, there's a veil of secrecy over Weller's role, but we'd speculate that he'll either join Del Toro as a villain, or play a Starfleet higher-up of some kind. If it's good enough for Tyler Perry... Either way, Weller looks to be joining the original cast of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho and Bruce Greenwood for the as-yet-untitled 3D "Star Trek" sequel, which will beam down into theaters on May 17, 2013.