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Shatner To Direct New Comedy Film March 3, 2008

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Shatner , trackback

Late last month we reported that William Shatner had signed a multi-project deal with Big Screen Entertainment. The first project for that deal is the already announced "Gonzo Ballet" documentary centering on the Milwaukee Ballet’s performance based on Shatner’s Album "Has Been." now has the exclusive scoop on the second project, a new comedy feature film to be produced, directed (and possibly starring) William Shatner.

Based on an idea from William Shatner
The new yet-to-be-named comedy is based on a story idea from Shatner himself. According to a source it is an evolution of "The Shiva Club," which is an idea Shatner first discussed with The Hollywood Reporter back in 2000. In Jewish tradition ‘shiva’ is a week-long period of mourning. Following the death of Shatner’s late wife Nerine, he was inspired with the idea, telling THR "during the process of sitting shiva, the concept occurred to me: grief can be funny." Over the last eight years Shatner has repeatedly discussed his hopes to get this film off the ground and it appears that he finally has his chance. A source tells that Shatner’s idea has evolved and the new script (written by a feature comedy writer) could be described as “The Jewish Big Chill“.

Shooting is expected to begin in Florida in late Spring or early Summer following Shatner’s work on the final episodes for the fourth season of Boston Legal (which recently went back into production following the WGA strike). The goal is to have it ready for release in 2009. Shatner is currently signed to both direct and produce, but it is not yet clear if he will also appear in the film. Regardless hopes are that there will be some "big stars" appearing in the film and talks are already under way. Apparently The Shat will try and talk some old friend into joining the project, but it isn’t known if that includes anyone related to Trek.

Although Shatner has directed a number of TV episodes and TV movies (including the 2002 SciFi Channel movie "Groom Lake"), this new film will be his first time in the big chair since Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1989.  However, Shatner does have a lot of experience acting in comedies on TV as well as film, including Free Enterprise and the more recent Miss Congeniality movies.

The deal for this new comedy is expected to be announced officially early this week with more details coming out over the next months.

More Shatner (and Visitor) from Big Screen
Big Screen is a relatively new company, but already has a few films under its belt in the last couple of years, including the comedy "Dirty Love" featuring Jenny McCarthy and "Forget About It" with Burt Reynolds and Raquel Welch. Their next film is "Babysitter Wanted," a horror film featuring Deep Space Nine’s Nana Visitor. The Shatner "Gonzo Ballet" documentary is expected to hit cable TV some time in May or June. More information on the documentary HERE. More info on Big Screen and their projects at their official site.

Shatner with the Milwaukee Ballet Company


Top Photo: Shatner poses in Luxottica eyewear at the HBO Pre-Emmy Luxury Lounge held at The Four Seasons Hotel on September 15, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California. (WireImage)


1. Pah Wraith - March 3, 2008

Nice glasses there mr Shatner ;)

2. mitch - March 3, 2008

Can’t wait for GONZO BALLET! Looks like it was made by a company called “Special Entertainment” — leading me to believe that this movie will be very SPECIAL!

3. Mark from Germany - March 3, 2008

If the comedy will be as funny as the elevator scene in ST V , I am confident., the Shat will make a good movie.

4. Battletrek - March 3, 2008

This is why the Shat has lost all credibility with me, and why I don’t care if he’s in the new movie or not.

5. Captain Dunsel - March 3, 2008

Shiva – The Final Frontier. Shatner may be a good director but not if Shatner is one of the actors. STV proved that rather conclusively.

6. Iowagirl - March 3, 2008

The “Jewish Big Chill” based on the concept of mourning…Well, I suppose I’d have to somewhat adjust my concept of humour to enjoy that, but I have the feeling it may be worth it.

Gonzo Ballet sounds very SPECIAL indeed;-), probably experimental, but nevertheless interesting. Curious to see what he’ll come up with.

7. Cervantes - March 3, 2008

Gotta STILL love the Shat! :)

8. Cervantes - March 3, 2008

By the way Anthony, been meaning to ask, but why don’t the ‘smilies’ appear anymore? This world needs more not less. :(

9. Fleet Captain Kor'Tar - March 3, 2008

Sweet, more Shatner! If JJ and team wont have him he’ll keep him self busy!

10. Batts - March 3, 2008

You got to give this guy his props, he is an extremely hard working man!! For over 50 years he has been in the business and goes non-stop. What is his drive?? He is pushing 80 and keeps it moving. I hope I can still put out that kind of warp power!! Do your thing Captain!!

11. Captain Presley - March 3, 2008

The SHAT is where it’s AT!!

12. Shatner4TrekXI - March 3, 2008

At least one group of execs has the brains to see Shatner’s marketing power.

13. Sarah James - March 3, 2008


14. Driver - March 3, 2008

“My God, Bones. What have I done?”

“What you always do. Turn death into a fighting chance to live.”

15. RaveOnEd - March 3, 2008

12 – You’re kidding, right?

16. bono luthor - March 3, 2008

# 4 Why? Because he has multiple projects across a variety of media platforms at a time in life when many others are sitting back and trading on past glories?

Go Shat!

17. Ivory - March 3, 2008


That makes zero sense.

18. Batts - March 3, 2008

The Shat, hey! I may have my thoughts about him being in the movie, but still, he is a very creative and resourceful man. For his age, he keeps himself in decent shape and appears to enjoy his life now. From his past experiences with hardship, not being the movie may have been disappointing, but he has probably learned to turn a negative into 2 positives. Much respect towards him and his pal and 1st officer, Nimoy.

19. Randall - March 3, 2008

You know, the thing about Shatner is, he is a funny bastard. And he’s only gotten better as he’s gotten older–taking himself less and less seriously, coming off as extremely comfortable with everything he’s doing. I have a friend who has always detested Star Trek, but loves Shatner… why? Because Shatner is a great character, funny and fun to watch. Who else could pull off those Priceline commercials the way he does?

This may seem like an odd tangent to go off on, but you know… William F. Buckley died the other day. Sad. Whatever you thought of his politics, there is no question that Buckley was a supreme *character* the like of which we will probably not see ever again (who else these days has that accent, just for starters?). He was a tremendous TV/pop culture personality. And he’s not really replaceable. There won’t be any “new” William F. Buckleys coming along, possibly ever.

Same goes for people like Jacques Cousteau and Rod Serling, and a dozen others I could name. Another one is Sean Connery, who for me will ALWAYS be James Bond… and another is Shatner.

Think of it, when the sad day finally comes when we lose Connery and Shatner. (And Nimoy, I’d throw him in there as well). You know, the door will be nearly shut, then, on a different time, a different generation—and these people don’t *really* have replacements waiting in the wings. There’s no one quite like them, and in some cases no one who’s even close. Shatner is almost one-of-a-kind.

Now, I don’t know if directing more movies is the smart thing for him to do–as funny as he is, his humor doesn’t seem to transfer well to the big screen. But he’s at the stage now where nothing he does can diminish what he is. The dude is Captain Kirk forever—a huge cultural icon that will be with us for years. This didn’t have to do ONLY with the role—it has something to do with the personality of Shatner—just as James Bond will always be in SOME way tied up inextricably with the personality and persona of Sean Connery.

I say, let’s stop doing hit and runs on Shatner and be glad to have him with us while he still is. When is his like finish dying off, what are we left with? No one else, really, who matches up.

20. Matt - March 3, 2008

The Shiva is an extraordinary event in Jewish life. You sit for days with relatives. You end up telling a lot of funny stories about everyone in your family and you often hear stories about people you never met. No one laughs (you’re not supposed to, I guess) but inside, everyone finds a thing or two to be amused about.

If this is a film about the vitality of life, like say, “The Celebration” or even “Knocked Up” then it could be quite good.

21. Shatner_Fan_2000 - March 3, 2008

#19 “dude is Captain Kirk forever—a huge cultural icon that will be with us for years. This didn’t have to do ONLY with the role—it has something to do with the personality of Shatner—I say, let’s stop doing hit and runs on Shatner and be glad to have him with us while he still is.”

I agree! It’s almost hard to think of the man as a senior citizen. He has more energy and passion than most men who are decades younger. It would be great if at some point he worked on a project about getting the absolute most out of life in the “golden years”. He’s inspiring.

22. Iowagirl - March 3, 2008

Very nice.

23. Trek Nerd Central - March 3, 2008

#6, Iowagirl:

I speak from (too much) experience when I say that grief can spark huge bouts of laughter. It’s one aspect of death & loss that no one talks about. . . because normally, no one talks about death & loss.

24. Spock's Brain - March 3, 2008

I love The Shat. But not everything he touches turns to gold. And dude!: Dirty Love (2005) is one of the worst comedies ever (you gotta worry about the judgement of a company that would green light that movie). I may make it hard to get A-listers in the film:

*Written by and starring Jenny McCarthy, it was “honored” with four Razzie awards: Worst Picture, Worst Director (John Mallory Asher), Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actress (McCarthy).
*It has a score of 8% on Rotten Tomatoes.
*Stephen Holden review: “Even by the standards of its bottom-feeding genre, Dirty Love clings to the gutter like a rat in garbage.”
*Roger Ebert’s review: “On the basis of Dirty Love, I am not certain that anyone involved has ever seen a movie, or knows what one is.” He said the film is “so pitiful it doesn’t rise to the level of badness. It is hopelessly incompetent.”

25. Forever Sweet 16 - March 3, 2008

With the money this guy has you’d
think he’d have some shades that
at least looked 1/2 good. Where did
he find these? In some hippies lost
and found box? Toss those out.

26. British Naval Dude - March 3, 2008

re WFB (hey- ya can only talk so much about yon Shatner… right? Harrrr

But I thought it be odd that I barely heard a word about yer WFB passing away… Now, as I understand he was a large part of 20th century yank politics… one could say even paving the way fur the likes of your President Ray-Gun and Bush the First. Oddly, for such a man of eloquance, his final publications included a book called “Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription” and an article donned “HealthCare BS”…

harrr… funny that I heard hardly a wee dram about him this week… kinda like when the huge Tsuinami (AAAA!!!) hit years ago around Indo-China and south Asia… and while I was wonderin’ if Arthur C, Clarke was dead or not by it (Sri Lanka resident be he), all I heard on tha’ news waz endless reports on this supermodel I never heard of afore… No mention of Clark…and, If I recall right, he’s just the originator of the communications satelite… that didn’t change the world too much, now did it? Harr harrr

so, now that I be done with people that changed the world, should I comment on Bill Shatner? I would but me cellular phone is beeping…
And Shatner gets the press galore… but I do be happy fur him.


27. Randall - March 3, 2008


I won’t mimic the pirate-speak, this web site is dorky enough….

But what’s your point exactly? I wasn’t sure. Nobody said ANY of these guys “changed the world,” (though they’ve had their influence on our culture) they’re just great characters. They’re irreplaceable. That’s all. It’s… sad to see them go.

As for the thing about Arthur C. Clarke—well yeah… modernity is going down the tubes. We don’t even pay attention to the sages we have living amonst us. Sad and pathetic. But hey–Britney might be having another baby! Yeah, civilization is in danger, that’s clear.

28. Jorg Sacul - March 3, 2008

Shatner is going to die with his boots on. From what I’ve seen of his career, and read about the man (from his own words and others) he has no concept of retirement. We should be so motivated to keep at it, at our ages, whatever they may be.

All Hail Bill Shatner!

29. Danpaine - March 3, 2008

#19 – well put, Randall.

30. Xai - March 3, 2008

I know I am defined as a Shat “hater” by some here, but THIS kind of project is good for him and the audiences. He was perfect as Denny Crane, has a great sense of comedic timing, can write and do many things well. While he is not the current Captain Kirk, he is a great deal more now. Good for him.

12. Shatner4TrekXI – March 3, 2008
“At least one group of execs has the brains to see Shatner’s marketing power.”

… it’s time to move on.

31. Iowagirl - March 3, 2008

Trek Nerd Central, I understand well what you’re saying and I respect your train of thought, as I do respect the Shat’s idea for his comedy based on Shiva. I was just pointing out in my post that Shatner’s humor is very special and sometimes you may need getting used to it, and that fundamental things like death and grief might require a careful rapprochement. But you have a very good point, the most tragic events in life rather often can only be borne and dealt with by means of humor, laughter, and yes comedy.

32. Xai - March 3, 2008

26. British Naval Dude – March 3, 2008
Was there a point relating to Trek somewhere in that?

33. Captain Otter - March 3, 2008

#4- Shat lost credibility?

Now, I love the Shat. I do. But let’s get real for a moment: the guy has never been a refined and high-brow thespian. From the word “jump,” William Shatner has been an over-the-top personality.

Now, if someone like Patrick Stewart did things like this, your outage would be justified. It would out of character. Not so w/ Shat. This is right up his quirky little alley and I can’t want to watch it.

34. Shatner_Fan_2000 - March 3, 2008

I’m listening to Virgin Radio UK right now and the DJs are having a contest they call “Get Shatner”. They said they want “the legend that is William Shatner” to call in to the show. And they’re giving away a life sized bust of Captain Kirk made of Legos! :)

35. Irish Trekki - March 3, 2008

Shiva could be good. If Boston Legal is anything to go by, it’ll be fantastic. I mean even in Star Trek V you could see an attempt at comedy in the performances!

36. British Naval Dude - March 3, 2008

not everything in life be about Trek : )

harrrr… yeah- thar be a Trek point of celebrity over substance re Mr. Shatner and his many dalliances… let tha reader make their own navigations towards conclusions….

Shatner’s an entertainer and real good at that… but he lives life fully which is the greater contribution… and he gave us all a thrice tata’ed tiger lady in STV… cover me in catnip…


37. British Naval Dude - March 3, 2008

“I won’t mimic the pirate-speak, this web site is dorky enough….”

Arrrr… that is what I be puttin’ on me tombstone when I die… thank ye for such a sentiment…

I interjected a new idea in thna thread (shocking) ta think abotu what really changes the world versus what we hear about daily in and daily out

In me defense, isn’t any good science-fiction something that makes ya draw yer own conclusion?

Ok Ok arrrr… I be going now… off to download naughty pictures of cat-like women since I be excited…

38. Vulcan Soul - March 3, 2008

Shatner To Direct New Comedy Film

Starring: William Shatner as “The Joke”

39. Shatner_Fan_2000 - March 3, 2008

#38 … In Shatner’s own words (from the Comedy Central Roast):

“What have you ever done?”

40. Vulcan Soul - March 3, 2008

#39 Shatner_Groupie_2000 — suggesting from your nickname, alot more than you, i.e. not just running after some aging attention whore in lack of own greatness and own accomplishments. So if we must quote Shatner:

“Get a life” ;)

41. maspill - March 3, 2008

did anyone see free enterprise !!! a ballet based on his album hmm

42. Forever Sweet 16 - March 3, 2008

Can anyone track down the clip of the adult
Balok from Shatners Roast? I can’t find it.
Thanks and have a nice day.

43. Trek Nerd Central - March 3, 2008

#31. I hear you, Iowagirl.

Funny that certain folks regard the guy as a joke, because (for example) his Has Been album addresses death more honestly and seriously than just about anything I’ve ever come across. Its very humor makes it relevant and true. “You’ll Have Time” is my theme song!

I should add that I like the Shat, but I don’t love everything he’s in. I can’t even watch Boston Legal. I hate that show! (Flame me now, BL fans. . . )

44. Shatner_Fan_2000 - March 3, 2008

#40 “not just running after some aging attention whore”

You’re right! You’re here *taking weak hit & run pot shots* at said individual. Infinitely more dignified.

Also, I must point out that debating the relative merits of one screenname on a Star Trek fansite vs. another is MOST illogical, Vulcan.

45. Tim Handrahan - March 3, 2008

He is less than 3 weeks away from turning 77 years old and is still going strong! I am not trying to start the thread back up again, but lets face it: He can still be Captain Kirk!!!!

46. star trackie - March 3, 2008

..since Shat isn’t here to defend himself, how about some lyrics from Shatner’s song “Has Been”…from the wonderful CD of the same name? If he were here, his response to these detractors might be something like this…

Has been
Has been
You talkin’ to me?
You talkin’ to me?
You callin’ me, has been?
What’d you say your name is?
Never done jack
Glad to meet ya
Who’s your friend?
Don’t say dick
Whaddya know?
And you friend, what’s your handle?
Two thumbs Don

Riding on their armchairs
They dream of wealth and fame
Fear is their companion
Nintendo is their game
Never done jack and two thumbs Don
And sidekick don’t say dick
We’ll laugh at others failures
Though they have not done shit

What are you afraid of?
So am I
Has been implies failure
Not so
Has been is history
Has been was
Has been might again

47. Irish Terran - March 3, 2008

I’m not sure I quite understand this “song”.

however, I do agree with Irish Trekki (#35) Shatner is gut wrenchingly funny in Boston legal. And lets face it half of the people on this site will probably see this movie in its opening week.
PS. Why do alot of people on this site use lol so friggin much???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All Hail Terra!

48. S. John Ross - March 3, 2008

#47: We’re just so darn jolly, is all. LOL!

49. Denise de Arman - March 3, 2008

VulcanSoul#38 & #40- Why are you calling Shat “a joke” and “an aging attention whore”? Where did the intense dislike and need for venom-spewing come from?

50. noirgwio - March 3, 2008

I don’t get into the Shat too much outside of Trek… But I did think that surreal Trek/T. J. Hooker thing he did during an MTV movie award show a few years back was funny. Also, that brief snipet of the Fanboys trailer nearly made me do a spit-take!

51. British Naval Dude - March 3, 2008

this thread be a mass of conflicting impulses…

In tha future, maybe best ta steer clear of tha Shatner winds that blow us off course whenever he pops up here… I think all that we can say “has been” said about O’Captain Me Captain*…

*with apologies ta Whitman there… he makes good chocolate…


52. NOMAD - March 3, 2008

British Naval Dude…
Must Sterilize… Zzzarrrraaapp!!!!!

53. British Naval Dude - March 3, 2008


canna… you… repair…. tha unit…. with scotch?……

54. Kirk's Toupee - March 3, 2008

Would have preferred to have heard the news that The Shat has signed up for a fifth season of Boston Legal…ah well, we live in hope..

55. Harry Ballz - March 3, 2008

They say the Shat’s movie will be ready for release in 2009…………let’s see, which month would be good for best return at the box office……………hmmmm………hey, I’ve got it………….how about May?

56. Denise de Arman - March 3, 2008

Harry#55- Good one, Harry.

57. Stanky McFibberich - March 3, 2008

I could be less interested, but I’m not sure how much less.

58. Harry Ballz - March 3, 2008

Stanky, I admire your positive attitude……….as in you’re positive the movie will be no good!!

59. Shaun - March 3, 2008

You go Bill! Seriously, I still love the guy… He’s funny, and I honestly think he’s a lot smarter than many give him credit for. I’ll give any film or show he’s in a shot. These days at least. T.J. Hooker and Rescue 911 were never my thing. :-)

I’ve stated many times that I’m not looking forward to the new Trek movie (though I harbor no ill will to those who are looking forward to it)… But I honestly think I might not be so dead against it if they could figure out a way to get Shatner involved. He doesn’t look any worse for his age than Nimoy really, and I think a lot of people (me, for one) would love to see Shatner and Nimoy together on the big screen as Kirk & Spock one last time.

I’m still not keen on seeing other people play the original crew (Just my opinion, YMMV), but to see the REAL Kirk and Spock again I’d give the movie a chance.

60. Spiked Canon - March 3, 2008

It would do the Kirk character no good to have Mr Shatner play him again. Do you remember the way Generations ended? How proud you were to see him go like that??? Shatner returning as Kirk would only put a blemish on that great ending.

61. Irish Trekki - March 3, 2008

Cheers bro, so proud!

62. Stanky McFibberich - March 3, 2008

re: 58 Harry Ballz – March 3, 2008
“Stanky, I admire your positive attitude……….as in you’re positive the movie will be no good!!”

I have no idea whether it will be good or not, I just grow less and less interested in the non-Star Trek exploits of whoever, even Mr. Shatner.

63. Gene L. Coon was a U. S. Marine (I'm too tired to type it all out, and I deleted my cookies, but it is me) - March 3, 2008

#19 I agree Randall, well written.

Hey, British Naval Dude. Thanks for mentioning WFB. Arguably the single most influential human of the last 50 years. (that ought to start an argument!)

His personal graciousness was even more formidable than his vocabulary.

Long live the Shat. At least long enough to appear in the sequel.

64. Irish Terran - March 4, 2008

#61 Thanks.
See he knows what Im talkin about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

65. Doug - March 4, 2008

I hope to be as healthy… and busy as the Shatman when I am 77.

66. Katie G. - March 4, 2008

Re: #49. Denise de Arman

“VulcanSoul#38 & #40 – Why are you calling Shat “a joke” and “an aging attention whore”? Where did the intense dislike and need for venom-spewing come from?”

Thank you for calling them on that. I’d prefer they change their posting name to something more accurate like “Hates Shatner and Everyone Who Likes Shatner” or better still, quit posting here. Such ugliness. Reminds me of what Kirk said to the blind telepath Dr. Miranda Jones (TOS ep “Is There In Truth No Beauty?”) when he realized how jealous she was of Spock being able to mindmeld with Kollos – – “With my words I’ll make you see such ugliness…” – – wanting to force her to see her own “ugliness” of spirit.

I seem to recall the terminology used in the comment before (‘attention whore’). It seems that whoever it is lies in wait for the Shatner articles then attacks.

Hopefully Anthony will see that soon…

Okay – – got off topic a tad there. Sorry.

It will be interesting to see what a comedy film directed by William Shatner will look like. Hopefully it isn’t too silly. He has a great sense of humour but sometimes he pushes it a bit. On Oprah he said he had the hip replacement while waiting backstage for her to change her clothes. Hilarious. I envy his love for life.

Re: #65. Doug

I totally agree!!


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