Producer: Paramount Trying To Convince Shatner?

Since first announced Paramount (and MI3) veteran Stratton Leopold was going to be the unit production manager and one of the executive producers for the new Star Trek we have not heard anything from him. He did join the usual Abrams mafia (Orci, Kurtzman, Burk, and Lindelof) on stage at Comic-Con, but he didn’t say a word. Leopold is more of a behind the scenes kind of guy keeping the trains running on time, but he did give his local paper the (The Savannah Morning News) an interview where he dropped an interesting tidbit about Shatner:

Leonard Nimoy will be back as Spock, said Leopold, and studio executives still hope to convince William Shatner to suit up as Captain Kirk one more time.

Convince Shatner? Isn’t that the other way around?
Up until now we have been led to believe that discussions regarding Shatner were internal to the creative team trying to figure out how to work Shatner into the film. Shatner himself has certainly got the message out he is literally ‘waiting for the call.’ So the only ‘convincing’ would be Shatner convincing Abrams and his team to put him in the movie. It is possible that this is what Leopold was referring to and it was taken out of context or misquoted. It is also possible that the writer (who in his defense is a local reporter and not an entertainment journalist following this story) just put that in and wasn’t up to speed on the latest status of the Shatner story. If that is the case then there is nothing to see here and we can move on…nothing new.




…but what if?
If Leopold actually did state that ‘studio execs hope to convince Shatner’ and it is true, then perhaps we are back to a familiar stage in Trek productions were Shatner is negotiating with the Paramount. Most recently Shatner and Paramount failed to come to terms on a deal for him to appear on Star Trek Enterprise. It is worth bearing in mind that one of Leopold’s duties is overseeing the budget for the film…something Shatner would clearly have a bearing on. Another possibility is that the studio execs are also trying to convince Abrams to put Shatner into the film. However, Abrams deal gives him quite a bit of control unlike previous producers and directors (remember this is the first Trek film that is being co-produced by another production company…in this case Abrams’ Bad Robot).

UPDATE: is it a conspiracy?
Yet another possibility is the conspiracy theory that this is all some kind of hoax. This theory has been put forward by a number of community members and has shown up elsewhere. Yesterday FilmStalker ran an article based on’s recent con reports titled ‘Shatner Faking Star Trek exclusion?‘: If this is really a hoax then I for one am not laughing. It is fine to say ‘no comment’ or be vague in order to keep a secret, but in this case it would mean there has been a very pro-active campaign of deception that is clearly upsetting a lot of fans. That being said, this whole thing is generating a lot of publicity (the Shatner controversy is on Yahoo News today). This site has been very supportive of the film makers and this film to date. If it turns out that this was all a joke that is not something I will support. I love a good joke, but this one is not funny.

So there you have it, yet another wrinkle in the never ending saga that is ‘will Shatner be in the new Star Trek movie.’ Tune in soon for the next exciting chapter (cue dramatic music). 

Full interview at The Savannah Morning Times 

Trek Team at Comic-Con (Left to right) Burk, Leopold, Kurtzman, Orci, Lindelof  & Abrams


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Robert April
August 14, 2007 10:01 am


August 14, 2007 10:02 am

He should appear……even if its Kirks old man.

August 14, 2007 10:05 am

This needs sorting out- and SOON. Its very frustrating. They all need locking in a room and not allowed out until a deal is done.

August 14, 2007 10:10 am

Why does this need sorting out, at least in the public eye…

This has to be the most public exposure that Star Trek has gotten in the past ten years… and it’s generally positive and fun. Everyone is guessing on how things will go, and it is a time of excitement. I haven’t been this excited to log onto a Trek website on a daily (hourly?) basis in at least six or seven years.

All this roiling news is cool for the ubergeek in me, and I think it is a masterful marketing plan… even if Paramount/Bad Robot fail to publically acknowledge it as such.


Harry Kim
August 14, 2007 10:15 am

who cares about Shatner being in it…the question on everyones lips should be ‘is Garett Wang and Kate Mulgruw gonna be in the 24th century scenes!?!’

I want them…and so do you…

Harry Kim
August 14, 2007 10:20 am

7 years baby…did TOS get that?

I don’t think so….

Voyager: The Movie….

Dont make us wait 10 years Rick….



August 14, 2007 10:25 am

Hmmmm… maybe I won’t say “I told you so”…yet. The FACTS are not known yet.
From the previous thread…
“Has anyone here seen the script (other than Roberto and Mr.Nimoy)?
Until all the casting is announced, assuming Shatner is in or not in is jumping the gun.
Yes, I know the quotes of Nimoy and Shatner and JJ and all the rest, but please don’t assume anything.
Yes, I know that some of you dearly want Shatner in. I am not asking you to change your mind, just simply have some patience until more FACTS are known.”

Sounds like contract negotiation-time, baby.


Samuel Vimes
August 14, 2007 10:25 am

Does anybody remember that Shatner and Nimoy had a deal which guaranteed them the same salary when appearing together in a Star Trek movie? I think Shatner wrote something about either one of them being the “bad guy” during negotiations.

Maybe they’re doing it again…

On the other hand, what if the writers haven’t thought of a ‘logical’ way to put him in. What with spending to much movie-time to make up a storyline to ‘ressurrect’ him and suchlike.

I got an idea for that. “Thank you Spock for bringing me back from the Nexus ten years agao…”

Cheap and easy. Doesn’t do the character credit, though.

PS: Please excuse any mistakes. Haven’t written English in quite some time.

August 14, 2007 10:28 am

Harry Kim, we got Admiral Janeway in Nemesis, and it tanked. Don’t hold your breath for a Voyager movie.

August 14, 2007 10:32 am

Mr Shatner: As a condition of your appearance in the next Star Trek movie, get Paramount to give you ample funding to go ahead and realize your original vision of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier!

cosmo kid
August 14, 2007 10:32 am

I cant Imagine sitting through a feature length voyager movie. Bring on Star Trek and bring back Kirk!

August 14, 2007 10:32 am

The problem I have with the ‘we’re trying to find a way to put Shatner in the movie’ is that as soon as the movie ends all the writers in the audience will be on the net saying how they could have written him in.

I think it’s a hold out situation…

August 14, 2007 10:36 am

“If the ’studio execs hope to convince Shatner’ line is true, then perhaps we are back to a familiar stage in Trek productions where Shatner is negotiating with the Paramount (remember not too long ago Shatner didn’t appear on Star Trek Enterprise because of his salary demands). ”

This has seemed to me all along to be the most likely situation.

August 14, 2007 10:39 am
August 14, 2007 10:44 am

Well JJ Abrams has stated a number of times that Shatner isnt in the script and they’re trying to work him in. Why would he say that if Shatner was in the script and all this had to do with money?

And I have a hard time believing that Shatner would pass up the opportunity to play Kirk on the big screen again (with his best friend Nimoy at his side) because of money demands.

August 14, 2007 10:47 am

If Paramount are negatotiating with Shatner, why would Shatner call JJ and say he’s not angry about not being in the movie?

Perhaps our friend and visitor Mr Orci can clarify which situation is correct, and/or nip any falsity in the bud.

August 14, 2007 10:50 am

You know, at this stage they sould just sign him on, really.
Who cares if it makes the film cost $150 Mill to make it ?
I for one wouldn’t be surprized if the film costs a mint to be made.
Just as long as it turns out to be a great Star Trek film.
Besides it’d be fun to see the kid in the yellow shirt don his movie uniform again, maybe even say the following line…..
“Spock, Your name, is Spock.”
Just because ;)

– W –
* Huge Grin On His Face *

August 14, 2007 10:58 am

At this point, any rebuttal would be “backsteppng”. Perhaps Loepold jumped the gun and the jig is up.

Samuel Vimes
August 14, 2007 10:58 am


a) “Why would he say that if Shatner was in the script and all this had to do with money?”

Because it isn’t a polite thing to say that some actor is a greedy a**.

and b) “…because of money demands.´”

Let me quote from a book called “Star Trek Movie Memories” by a guy called “William Shatner” (which I ave accidentaly picked from my shelf…):

“…the actor who played Kirk was getting older, more expensive and more opinionated with every passing year.”

There is lots more where that came from.

August 14, 2007 10:59 am

I think there is a strong possibility that Shatner is ALREADY on board and this latest “I’m, still waiting for the call” episode is nothing more than effort to drum up some free press for the upcoming film.

Really, let’s be honest , does anyone in the general film going public really care that Kirk dies in Generations. Hell, does anyone in the general film going public even remember Generations. If Spock is in the movie then Joe Public expects Kirk there as well.

Trekkies/Trekkers are not going to make or break the financial success of this latest film, the average moviegoer is. Trek II and IV were big smashes because they crossed over and were popular with mainstream audiences. I’m sure Paramount and the powers that be really could give two hoots about Trek continuity (an oxymoron if there ever was one) if it means getting Shatner and Nimoy together one last time.

August 14, 2007 11:01 am

The Shat wants his rock monsters!

August 14, 2007 11:04 am

#20–the answer is absolutely yes. The general public cares about nostalgia. ALWAYS. It’s a nice story to see someone suit up that last time for the role that made him famous.

It’s a draw. Just like Harrison Ford as Indy and Stallone as Rocky and/or Rambo.

The idea that Paramount is now working on it is a VERY good sign.

August 14, 2007 11:11 am

I wish there was an edit feature on this board.

Thing is though, Shatner didn’t indicate they are working on it. His last comment was that he was waiting on Abrams to call.

One thing that was very constant in the Enterprise negotiation was that Shatner was telling the truth. Let’s face it, the Enterprise idea was not very good, and Berman had been hostile to Shatner for a long time.

This is much different, AND Nimoy is involved. Hope is still alive. Let’s hope Kirk will end up alive too.

August 14, 2007 11:21 am

He’s waiting for Abrams to call…offering him more money.

Thing is, if money is the issue, neither The Shat nor Abrams is going to discuss this thing in public. Can you imagine how that would play out? They dont want to run the risk of the fans turning against him.

Abrams is being polite when he says they are trying to find a way to put him in.

If Shatner really wanted to be in this movie, he would already be in. They would have written him in. He’d be in. My guess is Shatner said no back down the line, or his demands were too high.

August 14, 2007 11:23 am


For the love of god, please no. Trek V should be left where it is – the budget bin!

On topic, I find it funny that people are so hesitant to believe Shat is holding out for money. It’s an established pattern with him, and now that he’s seen success with Priceline & Boston Legal I would be SHOCKED if he wasn’t trying to negotiate a bigger salary. Doesn’t make him a bad guy, just a smart business person.

In terms of what he or JJ or whoever may have said – take it with a grain of salt. Rarely do individuals invovled in these productions ever say what’s REALLY going on.

August 14, 2007 11:26 am

I am curious about a past story here that is mentioned where Shatner didn’t appear on Enterprise because they didn’t come to terms with his fee.

This was in the days before Trekmovie. This has been repeated here a few times. What is the story? Is that really true, he wanted X dollars or alterations to the story to better suit the character and Paramount couldn’t meet that? I never heard that story directly, only 3 times removed. I get the sense it was exaggerated.

New Horizon
August 14, 2007 11:30 am

I have had my suspicions about this situation all along. It all seems rather staged. Quite frankly, it has been boring the hell out of me. If Shatner is indeed ‘milking’ Trek for a hefty payout…just as it’s trying to get on it’s feet again, shame on him. His inclusion in the movie isn’t absolutely necessary. I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Nimoy are just playing the whole damned thing. Pretty lame if they really are.

Lord Garth Formerly of Izar
August 14, 2007 11:31 am

I for one am disgusted at the utter lack of how utterly terrible Sci-Fi’s new Flash Gordon is. What is wrong with you people??? It’s godawful!!!!

August 14, 2007 11:42 am

Write Shatner out, please producers. He’s greedy, very rich already, and would just provide “campy” baggage to a production which should be fresh and new.

I love him in the original series. But today, he’ll just distract and hurt the movie.

August 14, 2007 11:44 am

so all you BBKers after months of attacking paramount and the film makers are you going to appologize now? Looks like the shat is up to his same game. Are you going to go to his site and call him a liar? (if Leopold is telling the truth then it is clear Shatner has been both lying, but also trying to manipulate the fans as part of his negotiations for huge money)

August 14, 2007 11:45 am

Heh heh heh…

The Shat wants to get Fat…

With $$$$$CASH$$$$$ !


I myself would be happy with just Nimoy in the picture, and I believe that JJ is telling the truth…

I also believe that the Savannah article/Paramount execs are ALSO telling the truth…

…If that makes any sense whatsoever…


August 14, 2007 11:47 am

#4 cos I want him in it and its starting to get a bit old, all this waiting. IF he has signed on then tell us so. If not then get it done. Now.

Stanky McFibberich
August 14, 2007 11:48 am

maybe this…maybe that…maybe the other thing

August 14, 2007 11:49 am

#30 Where’s your evidence that Shatner has been lying? All that’s been said is a line in a tabloid newspaper that wasn’t even a quote. And everything else that has been said by all parties (which can be quoted) points toward Shatner not being in the script and not being approached as of yet.

I want Shatner in the movie as Kirk and I’ve never attacked anyone at paramount. And i have no plans to be part of a witch hunt in which Shatner fans are burnt at the stake ;)

August 14, 2007 11:49 am

Well it’d be great to see Kirk back…(especially resurrected post-generations)…altho it’d be hard to give that exposition time given most folk will have forgotten he died.

Maybe Shatner is already on board, and they don’t want to announce it until much later. Maybe the only way to stop Shatner from giving away something the creative team didn’t want him to was to invent this fiction as a hilarious way of generating interest and avoiding being asked questions.

Stanky McFibberich
August 14, 2007 11:52 am

re: 29. Mazzer
“I love him in the original series. But today, he’ll just distract and hurt the movie.”

That would be hard to say since we don’t know what the part would entail.
Not sure how having William Shatner, an integral part of Star Trek since the second pilot could be a distraction.
Having different actors playing familiar characters…now THAT could be a distraction.

Lt. Green
August 14, 2007 11:52 am

It would seem as if the writers have already found a creative way to fit The Shat in, but he’s just holding out for more money. Like Sean, I don’t think that makes him a bad person.

By the way, off topic. . .

In Insurrection (please don’t take this as some kind of invitation to start whining about that movie), was anyone else bothered by the way they squeezed Worf in? In First Contact it made sense, and even in Nemesis, there had been enough time pass that an explanation wasn’t even necessary. But in Insurrection, Picard says: “Worf, what the hell are you doing here?” and just as he is about to explain, the audience’s attention is diverted in a less than clever manner.

Anyone? No?

August 14, 2007 11:55 am

I’d be upset + let down if Shatner is a no show over money.

We don’t know the details yet so I woun’t go off, but if Shatner thinks so little of his fans + the character that made him famous. I hope (I am a long time Kirk Fan) that they don’t have him in the film.

As of the moment I am neutral because I don’t know the details.

[…] Trek Movie is running a story that puts a new spin on proceedings. Producer Stratton Leopold gave an interview to his local paper and the following part of the piece is quite intriguing:- “Leonard Nimoy will be back as Spock”, said Leopold, and studio executives still hope to convince William Shatner to suit up as Captain Kirk one more time. […]

August 14, 2007 11:59 am

There’s not much to add at this point, that hasn’t been speculated on before. I do think this is being played more publicly than usual just to keep us interested. It’s still a looooong way until Christmas ’08. (I hope I don’t get socks… AGAIN!)
I wonder if Shatner is getting delusions of Brando in Superman (I) where another large thespian commanded the then unheard of salary of one-million bucks for about 20 minutes of movie. Of course, Brando’s outtakes appeared again in Superman Returns. I’m not sure who’s left alive among the Brando clan to collect on that, but we can all imagine ‘STXXVIII: Shatner 2040.’

August 14, 2007 12:00 pm

On the bright side it seems they have found a way to get Shatner in the film.

I have a good feeling Shatner is going to be there.

August 14, 2007 12:00 pm

You people want Shat in? Start coughing up the dough and send it to J.J.

……………..C’mon, fork it over.

August 14, 2007 12:02 pm

Harry Kim

Let’s try to get the ORIGINAL people in FIRST and then we’ll deal with Mulgrew and all of them but as for them appearing not very likely

August 14, 2007 12:02 pm


I’m with you. I thought that was very, very, VERY silly. It’s one thing to be tongue-in-cheek, quite another to burst your tongue THROUGH your cheek.

August 14, 2007 12:06 pm

When concidering Harrison ford for indy, and sylvester stallone for rocky or rambo, concider the fact that shatner weighs 300 lbs and dosent seem to care about it. What kind of money could change the minds of rich , greedy men? maybe shatner IS the rock monster he wants so badly..I know I’m mean…:)

Duane Boda
August 14, 2007 12:06 pm

Having to come up with ample $$ to convince a old guy to do what he should supposedly been whining about is pure nonsense at best. I’d offer a set-limit and say take it or leave it! Now..UNLESS they have a tremendously good role for him then why to muddy the with his presence? I don’t see nothing good out of this only a reminder of his big head & greed

August 14, 2007 12:08 pm

This is amazing if they’re trying to get Bill back in the Captain’s uniform! Good news! Good news! Good news!

Abrams you’ve taken the initial and very crucial first step to a BLOCKBUSTER movie if Bill is in it and we all must hope for the best and that he accepts

August 14, 2007 12:08 pm

Personally, I think they are playing with the fans and getting their kicks.

Well, joke’s on us if true.

Laugh- you know it’s funny.

August 14, 2007 12:09 pm

I hope they work it out. He’s worth what he gets to do it.

August 14, 2007 12:10 pm

I think Shatner is already in it, but he (and everyone else) is saying he’s not and just making a big fuss about it, thus getting more publicity for the movie!

*puts on tinfoil hat*
Its a conspiracy!! O.O