Quinto cast as next-gen half-Vulcan

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Zachary Quinto will don a pair of pointy ears to play the Vulcan Mr. Spock in Paramount Pictures' newest installment of its long-running "Star Trek" franchise — and he'll be joined by Leonard Nimoy, reprising the role that he created.

J.J. Abrams, who is directing the 11th "Star Trek" film, currently untitled, revealed the casting Thursday at the San Diego Comic-Con International during a presentation hosted by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks and Nickelodeon Movies. The actors joined Abrams onstage as he made the announcement.

As part of the presentation, Steven Spielberg said that Karen Allen, who starred opposite Harrison Ford in the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark," will appear in the upcoming untitled sequel to that franchise. Spielberg spoke via satellite from the film's set about the movie, which will be released March 21.

Quinto is best known for playing the villainous Sylar on NBC's hit "Heroes." Plot details were not revealed about the new "Trek," though the film is believed to revolve around the first encounters between a young Spock and Capt. James T. Kirk at Starfleet Academy.

Abrams, the prolific co-creator/executive producer of ABC's hit drama "Lost" and director of Paramount's "Mission: Impossible III," has been developing the project, which he also is producing through his Paramount-based Bad Robot shingle.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who wrote "M:I-3" for Abrams and Paramount, have penned a screenplay and will executive produce along with producers Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof. The film is scheduled for a Christmas Day 2008 release.

Quinto, whose credits include the TV series "So Notorious" and "24," is repped by Anonymous Content and Silver, Messetti & Szatmary. Nimoy is repped by attorney Tom Hansen.

Gregg Kilday in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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