(written from a Production point of view)
Anthony Lewis Vitale (born 30 November 1965; age 53) is the actor and stuntman who appeared as the first welder in the official announcement trailer for Star Trek. He received the part for a good reason: he actually worked as a certified welder prior to becoming an actor. Hailing from Hailey, Idaho, he currently resides in Long Beach, California.
Vitale graduated from Long Beach's Reed High School in 1983. He was awarded two scholarships for English journalism, one from the Los Angeles Times and the other from the Rotary Club of Long Beach. He briefly attended Long Beach City College before becoming a marine carpenter/welder.
Vitale specifically worked as a finish carpenter and a certified structural steel welder for the city of Los Angeles, California, until he was laid off from his company on 18 November 2004. Having been theatrically trained as a child, he turned to acting. Since becoming an active member of the Screen Actors Guild in 2005, Vitale has made appearances on several television series, including Shark (starring Jeri Ryan), The Nine (starring John Billingsley), and Numb3rs. He has also acted and performed stunts in several a number of films, including Trade, The Butcher, and The Last Score.
Vitale has always been a Star Trek fan. In 2007, he auditioned for a role in a "big" science fiction movie called Corporate Headquarters, unaware that he was actually auditioning for the new Star Trek film. After reading for the part of a bridge officer, Casting Director April Webster pulled Vitale aside and asked if he had any welding experience. Being a skilled welder in addition to acting, Vitale was given the role of the main welder in the film's teaser trailer. The scene involved the handling of genuine welding equipment and actual welding, hence why an experienced welder was required for the part.
The Star Trek teaser trailer was filmed in October 2007, before principal photography began on the actual film. Vitale's close-up in the teaser was the first scene shot for the trailer and was thus the first frame of film related to the Star Trek movie project ever shot. He is also the first actor to be filmed for an official Star Trek production since Star Trek: Enterprise wrapped in February 2005.
Vitale's scene was directed by the film's main director, J.J. Abrams, an unusual move as scenes for trailers are normally directed by assistant directors.
Vitale is currently in rehearsals for a remake of The Night of January 16th at the Royal Theatre aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach.