If you happened to be browsing Heather Langenkamp's IMDb recently, you may have noticed she has an acting credit in Star Trek Into Darkness as a character named Moto. And your brain probably went, "I don't remember seeing the girl from A Nightmare on Elm Street in the new Star Trek... wait... who the heck was Moto?" No, she didn't end up on the cutting-room floor. She's in the movie for everyone to see, she just happens to be an alien with an adorably frumpy face.
So how did this happen? The story behind the cameo, which StarTrek.com uncovered, is actually pretty cool, and even a little bittersweet.
In the late '90s Langenkamp and her husband started a special FX makeup company called AFX Studios, and for the past decade and a half she's been running the shop like any other small-business owner. She lines up work for her crew (Dawn of the Dead, Evan Almighty and The Cabin in the Woods), she balances the books, and occassionally she even wears some of their work, explaining that while she'd love to land more acting jobs, a mask has its own, unique advantages:
... doing makeup parts, where you’re wearing makeup that totally covers your head, hair and neck, it’s very comforting for an actress of my age. The older you get, you just find your vanity creeping into the way you imagine yourself. So, when I got a chance to wear this kind of makeup it was actually really liberating. You don’t worry about anything except your character and being on time.
As for how she ended up Into Darkness, her company worked on the film to help create many of the film's physical aliens. Their most prominent pieces can be seen at the beginning of the film as Kirk and Bones are fleeing from a doomed race of white-faced aliens with big eyes, but they were also responsible for peppering the rest of J.J. Abrams' vision of the future with aliens. The alien that Langenkamp actually played is an officer on the Enterprise, though the mask wasn't created specifically for Star Trek.
The makeup that I wear is actually a very special design that we’d developed in our studio. There was no movie that it was for, originally. A sculptor had come up with these designs. It was kind of a spec project and it ended up sitting on the shelf for many years. The sculptor actually passed away from a tragic bout with cancer. So we were even more determined to get this makeup on-screen and we said, “If it ever gets on-screen we’ll call the character Moto,” because that was the name of the sculptor. His name was Moto.
And so that's the story of how the original star of A Nightmare on Elm Street ended up playing an alien in Star Trek Into Darkness. It's a surprisingly touching one, no?
For more about Heather Langenkamp's experience on the film, and her FX company in general, check out Star Trek.com.
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