William Shatner celebrates aftermath ‘upsides’ of ‘Star Trek’ series, new album
Star Trek Day arrives Wednesday, after Paramount announced a “Star Trek” movie for 2023, the fourth in the new timeline, with “WandaVision” director Matt Shakman and J.J. Abrams producing.
Fifty-five years after“Star Trek” aired its first episode on Sept. 8, 1966, theculture-altering sci-fi TV series continues to hurtle through galaxies.
Star Trek Day arrives Wednesday, after Paramount announced a“Star Trek” movie for 2023, the fourth in the new timeline, with “WandaVision” director Matt Shakman andJ.J. Abramsproducing.
Meanwhile,90-year-oldWilliam Shatner, the seemingly dilithium crystal-charged OG Enterprise captain, is celebrating the release of the first four “Star Trek” movies in 4K, while alsospeaking out about“Star Trek,” love and losson hisintrospective newspoken word album, “Bill” (out Sept. 24), which features musical guests such asBrad Paisleyand Joe Jonas.
The cancellation of TV’s “Star Trek”in 1969was “a low point in my life,” Shatner says. “It was the last chapter as far as I was concerned at that time. But as life does, sometimes, what is down comes up.”
Shatner discusses the universal upsides that followed and pays tribute to his friend and co-starLeonard Nimoy, who died in 2015.
“I agree with you. We need to see a Prime Kirk 55 years after the fact, and maybe 20 pounds heavier. How would you explain that? That’s their dilemma,” Shatner says.
“What you’ve just said (about the movie) is news to me and I’m delighted to hear it. But my (studio) connection is frayed. Not afraid. Although I’m a little afraid of being frayed.”
Q. On your new album, you discuss watchingcoverage ofthehistoric 1969 Apollo moon landing one month after the “Star Trek”cancellation. How was that?
A. I had been to Cape CanaveralasCaptain Kirk, withthe red carpet treatment.I had signed something saying, “See you on the moon.”When our “Star Trek” ratings wentup, they appropriated more money forthe space program. So I felt a part of this. And there was Neil Armstrong, walking on the moon. This incredible moment for humanity.
And I’m lying on a bed in anRV, looking through a window at the moon, watching this on alittle four-inch black-and-white television set on my belly. I’m in a pasture on Long Island doing summer stock theater. I’m at a very low point watching this high point.
Q. “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” came out in 1979.There’s a really long scene — like 10 minutes — of Kirk lovingly inspecting a substantially improvedEnterprise. How refreshing were realmovie special effects?
A. It was wonderful. The whole newness. We had been canceledand all of a sudden, there was all this money poured into the production. We thought, we’re off and running into the major movie arena. We weren’t. The movie wasn’t the success we hoped it would be.
But the special effects, even the ship itself, were so primitive in the television show. You look at it now, it’s almost laughable. And we were discoveringthings as we went along. It’s like the rushes would come in after shooting, and we’d say, “Oh, no! We’re falling the wrong way on the bridge.” Until we found the results, we were fumbling.
Q. Do you ever correct people wearing “Beam me up, Scotty” T-shirts by telling them Kirkactually never said that line?
A. No. I’d like them to believe the fantasy and let them buy the T-shirts, for which I have no financial interest.
Q. A lot of questions on this online. Doyou correct the people whobelieveKaley Cuocois your daughter from those Priceline commercials?
A.They plucked a hair from her body and did a DNA test. It didn’t turn out. No, Kaley Cuoco is not my daughter. I’d ratherthey didn’t believe that because I’ve got three beautiful daughters. But if they want to believe that Kaley Cuoco is related, she’s a beautiful, lovelyyoung lady.I would be delighted to have her as a member of our family.
Q. Once again, the autobiographical album. You speak about Leonard Nimoy dying, missing the funeral, and swallowing your tears. Was it cathartic to write about this in a song?
A.I actually got that out. Leonard was being buried on a Sunday morning, and I had agreed to (attend) a Red Cross charity thing at Mar-a-Lago that year. I had to decide.I decided for the charity. Isaid to the people at the charity that there’ll be things erected for Leonard – but they’re all ephemeral. Everything dies. Everything turns to dust. The only thing that remains are our good deeds, that’s the legacy.
Q. The song does seem to be a signal to the universe that you still think about your friend.
A.It was thatsignal, no question, to all life in the universe.Or a signal to buy the album, I guess.
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