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Gia Sandhu Talks Playing Spock's Love Interest In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Exclusive Interview

In "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," audiences get a chance to revisit classic characters, such as Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and Spock (Ethan Peck). However, there are other characters that have vital importance to the "Star Trek" mythos that viewers may not immediately recognize, and that goes double for Spock's mate, T'Pring (Gia Sandhu). 

T'Pring was introduced in "Star Trek: The Original Series" as Spock's wife in the episode "Amok Time." It's during this episode's events that Spock begins to suffer from pon farr, so he must return to Vulcan to mate with T'Pring. It's here that he learns she's fallen for another, and through various manipulations on T'Pring's behalf, James Kirk fights Spock to the death (not really, though). 

Her role in "Strange New Worlds" is far more subdued, as she's introduced in the pilot as a loving consort of Spock. It's an intriguing role, and Looper recently had the chance to speak exclusively with Gia Sandhu to talk about what it's like to play a character like T'Pring, who has such an interesting relationship with an iconic character like Spock.

On her relationship with Star Trek prior to Strange New Worlds

To start, what are some of your favorite movies of all time?

"Vicky Cristina Barcelona." "The Godfathers," of course. "Leaving Las Vegas," "The Hunt" ... It's hard to think of these when the question is asked.

Were you a fan of "Star Trek" before being cast on "Strange New Worlds"?

Yeah. I grew up watching "The Next Generation."

How were you introduced to it? Did you find it on the television one day, or were your parents fans?

That's how it worked back then. It was on the television at the time when I was not in school.

What was it like stepping into the role you have on "Strange New Worlds" as a character who has such a history with Spock in the "Star Trek" franchise?

When I got cast, I first went to the source material and I watched "Amok Time," which was actually the first episode of the original series that I'd never seen in its entirety. I was so enamored by Arlene Martel's portrayal of T'Pring, I think just like everyone else who watches that episode is. She's breathtakingly beautiful and so captivating on camera, and she gives such a strong and nuanced performance as T'Pring.

Although she's only on screen for a short period of time, she's very memorable, and what essentially was there for me to work with was this wonderful outline of a character. There's so much about her that's unknown, so I definitely was given the liberty of filling in all her history and shading in the rest of that outline that she created.

Working with Ethan Peck

What's it like working alongside Ethan Peck?

Ethan is an extraordinarily talented actor — as the world is getting to see — and beyond that, he's one of the kindest ... He's funny and he's really smart, and he's a great leader on sets. If you have to spend 16 hours a day doing something, doing it with him is great. We always have a great time together, and he was so generous with me in terms of letting me into his process and how he thinks about Spock and what his influences are. He gave me a lot to work with, and I absolutely adore him. I love working with him.

How do you think Ethan Peck's version of Spock compares or differs from Leonard Nimoy's or Zachary Quinto's versions of Spock?

I know that Leonard Nimoy's Spock certainly is a big influence for Ethan. We can even hear it in Ethan's speech when he speaks as Spock. He's got a bit of that Boston accent that comes up a little bit as well. There's a big Leonard Nimoy influence there, but he's also done a great job of balancing, making it his own. Ultimately, we're going back in time, whatever time is in this world. We're in a different period, so he gets to bring a lot of his creativity and his imagination into creating who this younger person is.

In the show, Vulcans are known for not showing a ton of emotion, but in the pilot, we see a bit more of the amorous side of T'Pring and Spock. What was it like balancing the logical side of this alien species with something that inherently requires some more emotion?

People who are fans of the show, who are invested in "Star Trek," are probably going to find this to be a bit surprising because we haven't really ever seen what happens behind closed doors for a young Vulcan couple. There's this new territory that we're navigating, and we get to see who they are. We get to see their sexuality. We get to see their affection for each other. What does intimacy look like between two Vulcans? And then we also get to see what they're like when there's an audience present, so we get to see the contrast between the private life and the public life for both of these people.

What's next for the actress

Steering away a bit from "Star Trek," who's an actor or a director you'd love to work with?

Good question. God, these are always the ones I go blank on. Pedro Almodóvar. He directs in Spanish, but should he choose to direct in English, my hand will be raised.

Do you have a dream role you'd love to play one day?

Maybe staying in the fantasy world. I grew up watching "Xena: Warrior Princess" as well. That would be a cool one.

Can you discuss any projects you have coming up?

I just wrapped on Season 2 of "The Mysterious Benedict Society." That will air starting in September, and that's my next thing that's coming up.

New episodes of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" air weekly every Thursday on Paramount+.

This interview was edited for clarity.