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Zachary Quinto on Hitman: Agent 47: Is this his last villain role?

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Zachary Quinto keeps busy. Already this year he had a lead role in NBC’s miniseries The Slap, a glorious recurring part as the Ace on Girls, and a brief but memorable cameo a couple of weeks back on Hannibal. This fall, he’ll play journalist Glenn Greenwald in Oliver Stone’s highly anticipated Snowden — and next summer brings a third turn as Mr. Spock in Star Trek Beyond, currently filming in Vancouver. But for fans of the actor, his most notable role this year might be in this weekend’s Hitman: Agent 47.

Quinto plays John Smith, a secret agent who initially appears as a savior for Hannah Ware’s Katia. He’s the Kyle Reese to her Sarah Connor — at first. “I like characters who are not always what they seem,” says Quinto. “John presents himself to Katia to gain her trust at the beginning. That trust gets betrayed, and you realize that his intentions aren’t as clear as they appear to be.”

Those intentions put John up against Agent 47, the bald super-assassin played in this iteration by Rupert Friend. (In one particularly memorable scene, Quinto and Friend tussle across multiple levels of a Berlin subway station.) “I definitely have some experience in the antagonist territory,” jokes Quinto. That’s an understatement: Between Heroes‘ Sylar and American Horror Story‘s Bloody Face, Quinto practically has the market cornered on nefarious, all-encompassing villainy. So it’s interesting to hear him describe his part in Hitman as a kind of bookend in his career. “I’m eager to explore other territory. This is a good way for me to bring it full circle.”

Is Quinto done playing bad guys? “You never say never,” he allows. “But I’m finishing Trek in a couple months, and I’ve just sort of made the decision to wait a beat, read stuff, see what I respond to.”

Quinto predictably doesn’t offer up any plot points for the top-secret Star Trek Beyond, but he talks at length about the emotional experience of making the film after the death of Leonard Nimoy. “We were very close friends,” says Quinto. “He left so much love behind him. I am certainly a beneficiary of that. We all feel him with us up in Vancouver.” The actor is reportedly signed up for at least one more Star Trek film, slated for 2019. Maybe by then, he’ll be ready to break bad again.

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