Martin Schoeller / GQ 1 / 8
Martin Schoeller / GQ 1 / 8

By Michelle Lanz

It wasn't long ago that actor Chris Pine was waiting tables and co-starring in cringe-inducing films like "Just My Luck," opposite Lindsay Lohan. But he was reborn a leading man once he landed the role of Capt. James T. Kirk in this year's hit "Star Trek" film.

In the December issue of GQ, on newsstands now, Hollywood's newest leading man talks about growing up in the business, his initial hesitation with "Star Trek" and how he (poorly) handles paparazzi attention.

On growing up in a Hollywood family:

"I was privileged, for sure. Definitely sheltered. But I'd also seen the ups and downs of a career where, if there's no work, there's no work."

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On his plans prior to landing the role of Kirk in "Star Trek":

"I told my agents that as a bachelor with a cheap apartment, I had enough money to take a couple of years off if that's what it was going to take."

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On his reaction to being offered the role as Kirk:

"I said, 'Are you kidding? That's the last thing I want to do.'"

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On working as a waiter before landing his big break:

"The customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer is a f------ a------."

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On his frustration with paparazzi:

"I made the mistake of talking to one of these guys outside my apartment. I said, 'Do you have a family? What do you tell them at the end of the day?'"

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On not taking his fame for granted:

"I've seen what can happen to an actor when he's just working for the sake of working. All of a sudden it's 10 years later, your career's happened, and you haven't had any control. I still assume that, any day, I'm going to be exposed as a fraud. That, like, I once heard Gene Hackman say, the acting police are going to burst in and take away my card."

On his motto for life:

"I've learned that when you make big life decisions, life says, 'F--- you. This is what you actually have in store.'"

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