As is the custom, when appearing at conventions together Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner each talk to the audience alone (one after the other) and then follow it up with a joint appearance. As Nimoy’s solo portion was winding down William Shatner came onto the stage and they had the following exchange
Nimoy: How you been, Billy?
Shatner: I’ve been pretty good – not as good as you, of course!
Nimoy: Been working a lot?
Shatner: (remorsefully) No, no — I’ve been waiting for the call…I’m hanging by the telephone waiting for the call
Nimoy: I’ll call you
Shatner: It’s not the same as J.J.
…and it got funnier from there….
Soon thereafter Nimoy left the stage for Shatner’s solo portion where he told a story about a being run off the road by a stunt man who just wanted to meet him, followed by a long discussion about dealing with stunts through his career. He also recounted a story about being thrown by a horse and a harrying ride in the back of an ambulance without the gurney tied down. Then (out of nowhere) Shatner launches into a bit on the movie..
Shatner: I am not in the movie OK!? Doesn’t bother me. I’m okay about this. It bothers you? [crowd yells ‘yeah’] Write J.J. I don’t understand it! Listen I’m up for an Emmy for Boston Legal. I don’t know whether any of you saw the Roast on Comedy Central — that’s up for an Emmy! I’m up for two Emmys! I’m not in the movie! Is he nuts?
[a fan yells out ‘mad cow’]
Shatner: He has mad cow, exactly. Poor J.J. – wonderful director, wonderful writer – he’s got mad cow.
Later before Nimoy was about to return to the stage for the joint part of the program Shatner talked about his upcoming talk show. “I’m calling it ‘Shatner’s Raw Nerve’ because I want to touch a raw nerve,” he said. Bill then confided with the crowd that he was going to have a kind of practice session of his upcoming show, “I am going to find Nimoy’s raw nerve.” So after Nimoy returned and sat down, Shatner quickly started grilling him. Here is how it went…
Shatner: What’s the movie about?
Nimoy: That’s easy. It is a movie where we discover that Spock’s real name is ‘Timmy’ (see earlier story to understand reference). The movie opens with a bunch of guys yelling “Timmy! Timmy!”
Shatner: And then you pop up and say….
Nimoy: Yes…you called?
Shatner: The movie opens on a very interesting planet, on a strange planet, and the music is going, and three people come walking out of the mist…
Shatner: Anybody dressed in red?
Nimoy: Walking towards the camera and….hold on I am getting a call [puts his hand up to his ear…pause] No I am just going to tell a few plot points. [pause] No, just a little bit J.J. [pause] No, but there are a lot of people here who want to know. Bill wants to know [pause] I already told them…yes I told them about Timmy
Shatner: Is that J.J.?
Shatner: Give him my best will you? Tell him I love him. He is the best director the best writer I have ever seen.
Nimoy: Bill says you are the best director and best writer
Shatner: And a stupid shit for not having me in the film
Later Shatner asked Nimoy if he was nervous about returning to acting and the role of Spock. Nimoy got serious with his answer and gave some insight into his process for perparing for the role:
Nimoy: I am I am. To be honest I am nervous about it. I am curious about what it is going to be like. I have to be concerned now about whether I can still do that. How did I do…try and recapture what it was like. Try and recapture the character. What I am curious about where Spock is and has been in all these years. I am not really sure exactly where we are going to pin point and plug into Spock’s sort of character arc. Spock went through a character and he was different in Star Trek IV and VI than he was in 1966 in the series. He had evolved in certain ways. I have to examine where he is now. What are his thought processes? Is he more logical than he ever was or less logical? Is he more precise? Is he calmer? Is he mellow? Has he got cranky and crusty?
Shater then asked if the writers [Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman] were aware of Nimoy’s thought process?
Nimoy: I think so I think the writers…and I must say this sincerely, I really mean this – I think the writers have really have done a great deal of homework and really understand the characters and the essence of what Star Trek is; which is refreshing and very promising. So I have high hopes that they will do a good job finding these elements for him for us. But as you know you look at the printed page and it is your job to try and bring something from home, bring something to the stage.
To which Shatner quipped "like lunch."
Later a questioner asked if Nimoy would do a guest spot on Shatner’s show Boston Legal. This sent Shatner into a rant on how he has asked his longtime friend to join him on all his projects and he always says no. He then ribbed Nimoy on how when J.J. Abrams called him and ‘dangled Spock’ it was a different story. Nimoy defended himself by saying "it was Star Trek…they needed Spock.’ And Shatner lamented "but they don’t need Captain Kirk."
Nimoy: I told J.J. Star Trek would be better with you than without you. And I remind you that you died in Star Trek VII, but I was not in it. And if I had been in it I would not have allowed you to die.
NOTE: Remember Shatner is a jokester and is not actually advocating a letter writing campaign (or a ‘spam Trekmovie.com campaign’). Abrams and his boys will work it out if it can fit with their story. Even though Nimoy also wants him in the movie…remember his advice: let them make their movie.