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." TrekMovie.com 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 TrekMovie.com 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)