Ben Stiller is an American actor who is famous for his comedy films. He is well known for his work on Night at the Museum franchise, and for his long relationship to actress Christine Taylor.
He is also a huge Star Trek fan. In fact, one episode of the classic sci-fi series inspired Stiller’s own production company in a pretty significant way. Here’s how Stiller became a fan, how his fandom influenced his production company, and how Stiller’s own mom deserves some of the credit for getting her son into this epic sci-fi show.
Ben Stiller’s Production Company Name Is a ‘Star Trek’ Reference
Ben Stiller is a big Star Trek fan, and he shows off his knowledge and passion for the original series in the podcast episode above.
The name of Ben Stiller’s production company is a veiled reference to a classic episode of Star Trek. According to Digital Spy, Stiller’s company was named Red Hour Films as a reference to the Star Trek episode “The Return of the Archons“. In that episode, Kirk and his crew encounter a town of people on a far-flung planet who are subject to Landru, a mysterious entity who seems to control all of the actions of the people on the planet’s surface.
“You’ll have to hurry. It’s almost the Red Hour,” one inhabitant explains during Kirk and Spock’s arrival at the mysterious town. Shortly after their arrival, the “festival” begins at the Red Hour, and scenes of violence and passion break out. For modern fans, this episode is not unlike the horror trope of the Purge, where normal citizens are given permission to go wild and break laws during a very limited window of time.
But this is no “Purge Planet” a la Rick and Morty. Landru has the ability to “absorb” people and change their personalities, a power he even uses against Dr. McCoy. By the end of the episode, Landru is revealed to be an ancient computing machine, originally programmed by a living man. The machine is destroyed, and the society on the planet can begin to rebuild into something less regimented and soul-less, much to the relief of Kirk and the Enterprise crew.
Stiller’s Red Hour Films is a well-known company involved with both TV and film production. On the silver screen, big movies associated with this company have included Zoolander, Dodgeball, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Red Hour Films also produced Tropic Thunder, which features a scene where Stiller’s character is watching the epic Star Trek episode where Kirk fights a Gorn.
Ben Stiller’s Mom Has a Cool ‘Star Trek’ Connection
Being a Star Trek fan runs in the family. Ben Stiller’s mom, comedienne Anne Meara, is known to have appeared on stage at Star Trek conventions, often bringing her children along. At one convention, she even presented an award onstage to Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the series. Within the fandom, Meara often gets credit for helping to show the general public that Trek fans came from all walks of life. Sadly, Meara passed away of natural causes in 2015.
While Meara never appeared on any Star Trek series herself, she certainly fostered a love of science fiction in her son. According to Stiller, part of the way his mom made Star Trek come to life was to use her celebrity status to introduce her young son to a major star. In an interview with TODAY, Stiller recalled how his parents brought him into Captain Kirk’s orbit:
“They’d take us out to California, and I remember walking around the Paramount lot, and I was a huge Star Trek fan, and my mom introducing me to William Shatner,” Stiller recounted.
According to Nerdist, Leonard Nimoy sent Ben Still a pair of Spock ears after Tropic Thunder came out, showing that Stiller is as much as fan of Star Trek as an adult as he was when he was just a kid.
Stiller & Red Hour Suffered a Loss in 2020
A really great person left the planet today. Stuart Cornfeld was as funny, smart, talented & cool as a person gets. He was my friend, producing partner, and creative confidant. He knew movies, made movies and loved movies. World=less better without him. IMDB him. He was the best. pic.twitter.com/sOx85UvxC4
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) June 27, 2020
In June of 2020, Ben Stiller’s producing partner and co-head of Red Hour passed away. According to Indie Wire, producer Stuart Cornfeld passed away after being diagnosed with cancer. Ben Stiller himself has battled cancer, having gone on the record about a battle with prostate cancer during an appearance on the Howard Stern Show.
Yahoo! reports that Cornfeld’s passing was gentle, according to his ex-wife, the performance artist Johanna Went.
“Stuart passed gently without added drama or chaos,” said Went. “I believe he experienced a good death if there can be such a thing. He was aware that his cancer was a runaway train.”
The passing of Cornfeld came at what must have been a difficult time for Ben Stiller. Earlier in 2020, Stiller had lost his father, comedian Jerry Stiller, to natural causes.
In an interview with Spirit & Flesh prior to his passing, Cornfeld revealed how he and Ben Stiller came to work together:
“I read a great script called What Makes Sammy Run that he’d written with a friend of mine, Jerry Stahl,” Cornfeld said. “We talked and saw things the same way, so we started working together without any kind of formal association. Then he asked me to run his production company, looking for and developing projects.”
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