Perhaps the oddest bit of Star Trek XI casting has been unveiled today, courtesy of Variety, and it has to do with Winona Ryder (of all people) landing the role of Spock's (Zachary Quinto) mom, Amanda Grayson. Freaky. I wonder if they'll be at least one "Dude, Spock, your mom is, like, totally hot!" The way the story goes is Grayson was a schoolteacher on Earth when she married a Vulcan diplomat named Sarek, and then later gave birth to Spock. So yeah, Ryder will just be playing some chick from earth -- how much fun is that? Still, it's a very odd role for her -- one I'm sure isn't very large -- considering the gal hasn't starred in a major commercial flick since ... 2002's S1m0ne? Or how about 2002's Mr. Deeds? But she did throw on the duds for Alien: Resurrection, so we know the sci-fi is in her blood, somewhere.

In related Star Trek XI news, the first spy photos from the set have leaked online. Ah, I always love it when the first spy photos for a major film hit the net -- especially when it's a Paramount film, because Paramount goes to such great lengths to hide stuff from everyone. Case in point: IESB managed to get a hold of these photos of extras shooting out of some sort of warehouse. But since the studio knows spies are everywhere, they're making all of the actors and extras dress in long black trenchcoats ... with hoods. So when you see them, all packed together, they look like some bizarre cult heading off to sacrifice a virgin or ... William Shatner. One of the actresses on set looks just like House's Jennifer Morrison, and IESB claims she might be playing Janice Rand (a role that was rumored to be going to Rachel Nichols). Personally, all this makes my head spin -- I'm still trying to get over Ryder's casting. Winona Friggin' Ryder. As Spock's mom! Do you dig it?