Shatner: JJ Abrams Never Called Me Back

William Shatner’s media tour promoting his autobiography "Up Till Now” is now over. We have a few more tidbits from some of the last interviews to share with Shat again talking about the new Star Trek movie, talking retirement and even giving out parenting tips.
Excerpts and VIDEO below.

Shatner: Abrams never called back
First up is an interview in Newsweek with this exchange on the new Star Trek movie.

Newsweek: What’s the latest on the upcoming “Star Trek” movie remake that J.J. Abrams is doing? Have you been hearing from him at all?
Newsweek: I know nothing. I had a meeting a couple times with J.J. Abrams, who actually came down one time to where we shoot “Boston Legal” to visit with me—and I don’t know what it was about. He never called back, and I’m not in the movie. I’m disappointed.

Newsweek: Were you offended?
Shatner: I would have liked to have been in the revival of “Star Trek.” More than that I’m fascinated by the business decision of not including that popular character and the actor who has a lot of popularity still, as opposed to anybody else in the cast who’s either unknown or not in the public eye particularly.

Newsweek: Why do you think you were left out?
Shatner: They, in all likelihood, couldn’t solve the storytelling problem and decided to ignore it.

Later in the interview Shat was asked about the stories that he would be going up into space, he brought Abrams back to answer that one too.

Newsweek: Richard Branson invited you to take a trip to space.
Shatner: It wasn’t free. They wanted me to pay the regular fee, the $250,000. I said, “No, you got it wrong, you pay me $250,000.” I never heard back from them. I guess they and J.J. Abrams got together.

Shat: Never give up, never surrender
William Shatner was the guest on the Kevin and Bean show on KROQ and was asked if he might quit acting after Boston Legal ends next year. Shatner said he wasn’t planning on quiting any time soon…

I’ll never retire. What I’m doing even now is planning movies that I have written the stories with and working with the writer and getting financing and direct it and that would take place next year [referring to Shiva Club]. And animated films that I am putting a package together and I think out of a lifetime of experience there is something I can bring to it. SO there are other avenues that are going on. I don’t know what other acting opportunities I’ll have, but I certainly won’t refuse them if they don’t involve a lot of time. … But time now is of critical importance to me.

Listen to the full interview at [towards the end of the podcast]

Shat talks parenting and Trek feuds

Shat was also the guest on Fox and Friends last week, and now video is on YouTube

Always the salesman
For those who prefer to listen to their books, Shatner touted how he does it justice in the audio version that he reads himself, telling ET:

I don’t think you’re going to find too many people better at reading a book, let alone my own book, than I can.

Sort by:   newest | oldest
May 23, 2008 2:16 am

I still think it’s a publicity ruse. He’s in it.

May 23, 2008 2:37 am

Strangely, I do too. Remember Shatner’s attempt at a “Punk’d”-style reality show? I wouldn’t put it past him…

Wishful thinking, perhaps, but given the nature of the project, and J.J.’s style, putting Shatner in as Kirk without anyone knowning would seem to be just the sort of top secret, uh, “impossible mission” that would get Abrams’ juices flowing.

SO.. how would you do it? How would you film a part with William Shatner, in a $100 million film, get him in to the picture, if only for a scene or two, and have everyone in the production process be “leak free”?

Here’s one way: Have him film another “DirecTV commercial.” He’s in costume, he’s saying lines, he says some gobbledygook … he’s in front of a green screen … everyone thinks it’s just another commercial…. and then, BAM, there’s your raw footage. Hiding in plain sight… Any “leaks” are leaks from the commercial. And no one gives two rats asses about it….



May 23, 2008 2:42 am

Yeh,, Im still hoping hes in the next Trek in some way,,,
however thats now a faint hope,,, *sigh

Man that really seemed like a lame interveiw with the guys from fox,

The Last Maquis
May 23, 2008 2:42 am

He’s So Gonna Be in it, and even if he’s Not he’ll Still Be in It Some how. He’s the Shat. He’ll Find a way. Damn it.

May 23, 2008 2:52 am

He’s like a baby that was stolen his pacifier.
Damn just look at him, Kirk never was that thick.

May 23, 2008 3:15 am

‘No, you got it wrong, you pay ME $250,000.’….’I guess they and J.J. Abrams got together.’… – Great stuff.

I don’t begrudge Bill being well aware of his value to both projects in the eyes of many. Branson would have garnered a lot of good will for his endevour had he convinced William ( ‘THE’ Captain Kirk’) Shatner to board on a free pass! You can just see the headlines now.

I myself was resigned to him NOT being in this long ago, and I just hope J.J. and his writer’s ‘storytelling barnstorming’ conclusion to ‘getting OLD Kirk in’ ISN’T just a brief shot of Bill’s photo in Spock’s quarters after all!

Never give up, never surrender Bill…hey, that reminds me, I know of a certain well-loved actor who be just perfect for that hoped-for ‘Galaxy Quest’ sequel if they ever get round to it…

May 23, 2008 3:29 am

With all these negative comments, he’s really shooting himself in the foot as far as a sequel is concerned.

May 23, 2008 3:33 am

I hope he is in it. It surely looks like he is not. This has to be one of the most ridiculous stories around.
1. JJ Abrams contacts Shatner
2. Shatner would love to be in the movie
3. Problem is the character was killed off.
4. Shatner not in the movie

The wonderful opportunity was to see Shatner and Nimoy together for one last time as Kirk and Spock. The kirk character need not have been brought back to life. A few simple scenes in a flashback would have been great. It would not require a backstory . It would have taken nothing away from the new cast.

I think the movie will be fine without him. However why contact him. If he did turn down a small role then shame on him. He should then basically stop blaming jj abrams. I think JJ should have put this to bed a long time before he did.

Captain Dunsel
May 23, 2008 4:03 am

Only 349 more days left to debate this folks. Does anyone have anything new to add?

Bryan with Pointy Nacelles and a large Dish
May 23, 2008 4:05 am

Horrible mistake him not being including in the movie….these beloved cast members are not immortal.
I agree with 8. Tom…a simple flashback to fill in some backstory would not require Kirk being brought back to life.
Either Shatner turned a small role down because of ego or time constraints….or the writers didn’t have the depth of skill to make it happen…..or Shatner asked for too much money.
All in all it is SAD this won’t and probably this opportunity will never happen again to have Kirk and Spock together in one last adventure.
SAD SAD SAD!@@#$&^*_+_)(*!) SAD

May 23, 2008 4:16 am

How do you give 150 million $ to a guy who tells you he can’t find a way to write captain Kirk in his Star Trek movie when the original actor wants in on the project and he’s doing better acting than ever on Boston Legal?

Why would you have meetings with William Shatner and never call him back?

Something about this whole thing doesn’t make sense…

And no offense to Mr. Nimoy, but TOS without Mr. Shatner = The Cage and Reunification (TNG). They need both to make this movie big…

That’s why I still think they’re hiding something…

Mr Lerpa
May 23, 2008 4:19 am

#10, don’t you mean it would be sad not to see shatner and Nimoy together again! try to remember that William Shatner is NOT James T Kirk.
Kirk is a fictitious character that will (with any luck) live on well past Shatner and Pine.

Also you will see adventure with Kirk And Spock… in 349 days time.

May 23, 2008 4:35 am

I think Shatners in it.. But I think – If they decide the movie will do well, Kirks appearance could be along these lines:

We all know its somthing to do with time travel. So what we might see, is a Back to the Future doc brown moment. Old Nimoy whispers somthing into young Kirks ear that we dont hear ( basically informing him of his demise). When Nimoy returns to the future, he’s at home, doorbell rings, he goes to the door and Kirk, is on the other side. They look at each other and hug (compleating a cycle of their relationship) from young to old. New fans will think “oh kirks still alive and their still friends”, old fans will think “HE’S ALIVE!!!”

Haha , this would be a classic set-up for a second movie.
Possibly a bit cheesy, maybe, but possible idea.

May 23, 2008 4:41 am

I like to believe the last shot of ST XI will be with Nimoy as Spock back home in his own timeline and answering the door.

The door opens and Spock’s reserve is shattered. He breaks out in an open smile and shouts, ‘Jim!’

The shot would work with or without Shatner in it. In fact it might work better if we never do see the Shat!

…the adventure continues…

May 23, 2008 4:44 am
Thank you Mr Lerpa! At least his press tour is over now and he’ll be guiet again so that he’ll quit getting the Shattites stirred up everytime he speaks. Look there is a way to put him in it, but it would only be a cameo. Using Spock to bookend the old era of Trek is brilliant since he’s the only one who’s been there from the beginning. Stop pooping on Nimoy and acting like the world will end without Shatner. I like Shatner, don’t get me wrong, but Mr Lerpa is right, this is a fictitious character and change is part of life. Things end, eras pass, but I want to see Kirk as a character and Trek as a verse live on for a long time with passion and vision. Those two elements seem to be present more than they have in a long time in Trek right now…Passion and Vision. I’m sure JJ, Bob and Alex worked to find a way to get Shatner in it. But let’s be honest here, I don’t want them to distract or ruin this film, their vision, just to find a way to get one old actor back. Could he still be making a cameo and it be a secret? Perhaps, but don’t hold your breath…I’d hate to see you all pass out and bang your heads on something pointy. Many of you need to learn how this business works because you speak from a deep lack of knowledge. CE
Captain Hackett
May 23, 2008 4:45 am

I am growing tired of his whinings and now I cannot stand him anymore.

May 23, 2008 5:10 am
Steve Ducey (sp?) was a relief weatherman when I lived in DC on one of the local stations, and this interview seems to just “jump the shark” early in thanks to the meaningless banter of him and these mindless co-hosts. You’re Canadian, so tell us about the kid who was left in the airport before the flight to Winnipeg (the babysitting bills!), and here’s a story and a clip about parents who left their kids to gamble in a casino in the US. I stopped the stream there. WTF, dude? Really! I’ve never watched “Fox and Friends,” but “vapid” and “stupid” are good ways to describe this piece. I assume they got to his new book by the end. “AJ: Stop trolling about this. If you think it sucks, make your own show!” Phlox and Friends! Phlox: “So, Bill! Umm, you seem to be Canadian. Can you describe what it was like to phaser that Ceti eel as it fell from Chekov’s ear?” Shatner: “What?” Phlox: “They are just delectably crunchy fried with some olive oil and basil! You overcooked him!” Steve Ducey: “Phlox? That was so funny, I forgot to laugh.” Phlox: “Steve? If you look at me…ever again, I swear I will kill you.” Shatner: “Can I go now? Or can we discuss my new book?” Phlox: “Bill, let’s discuss Star Trek for a moment. You’re peeved that J.J. Abrams couldn’t find a spot in the new film for you, is that correct?” Shatner: “That’s correct, Phlox. Star… Read more »
May 23, 2008 5:36 am

“Kinds are worth a great deal, but BEER! Come on”

Shat is once again reafirmed as my idol :-)

May 23, 2008 5:37 am

sigh… that;s “kids” not “kinds”

Maybe I need a beer ;-)

May 23, 2008 5:44 am

yawn… ;-)

May 23, 2008 5:58 am

I don’t think you’re going to find too many people better at reading a book, let alone my own book, than I can.

He’s right. It’s super. Everyone should get it.

May 23, 2008 6:07 am

If it’s true that Abrams didn’t call Shatner back – and I have no contrary information nor reason to believe otherwise – then this tells me all I need to know about Abrams’ wretched modus operandi in this regard.

May 23, 2008 6:09 am


…that somewhere behind the scenes, Abrams and Shatner are giggling like schoolboys and are just playing an elaborate ruse with fans and media. Think about it: If Shatner is INDEED going to in the film, why spill the beans now when we still have ONE YEAR to go? By the time STAR TREK XI comes out, a Shatner appearance would have been old news.

Best to keep it a secret, have the media think that Shatner and Abrams hate each other, then everyone will have a great, big belly laugh on the red carpet at the premiere.

That really would be awesome.

May 23, 2008 6:10 am

I know the morning show guys have to be so “on” and lighthearted but what a bunch of idiotic banter.

I did get to hear Shatner say the word “collage”. I’ll add that to my Shatner pronunciation list.

Wish he’d call me at 2:00 in the morning. I could tell him about Excaliber.

May 23, 2008 6:11 am

There’s healthy self-regard, and there’s arrogance.

Here’s arrogance:

“They wanted me to pay the regular fee, the $250,000. I said, “No, you got it wrong, you pay me $250,000.” I never heard back from them. ”

He doesn’t get it – the only end result of this exchange is that Shatner doesn’t go into space, and Branson moves on with *no*damage*to*his*interests*whatever.*

Same with the Trek movie, most likely.

May 23, 2008 6:13 am

Shatner sold out his Kirk character in Generations. He took that job and regretted it later. How come nobody is bitching about that?

May 23, 2008 6:39 am

I’m amazed at how many of you “buy” the things that “The Shat” says. He’s pulling “Shatwool” over your eyes. The “they should pay me $250,000” was all tongue-in-cheek. I think it was his way of spoofing himself once again: A money grubbing, I’m worth more than any other TOS actor, pompous…tin-plated dictator with delusions of Shathood….. It’s been AGES since I’ve seen “The Shat” give a totally serious interview. When he has, he’s been quite respectful. It’s when he’s spoofing that he says all this goofy stuff. HE’S PLAYING with ya, people!!!! Get a life!!! (Sorry, it’s just so fun spoofing him-I see why he enjoys doing it)

May 23, 2008 6:52 am

#27 –

Agreed. Can’t believe some here are taking the “you pay ME” comments so seriously.

May 23, 2008 6:56 am

If it’s not a publicity stunt and he isn’t actually in it… then it’s past time for him to shut the hell up already! I’m so sick of the arrogance and the temper tantrums – he’s like a goddamn child!!!

Grow up, Shatner… you are not the center of everyone’s universe!

May 23, 2008 7:06 am

#29-Tantrums???? “I’m Captain Kirk….it’ my ship, my ship!!!!!”

May 23, 2008 7:09 am

Shatner is a Legend, screw that if he really wants to go into space , start a webside and i will send hmm €20 to go into space , $250,000 meh all the fans will pay that lol

And everybody say he is full of arrogance. i am not staying he is not full of himself or believes he own hype , but maybe you have to take some of the stuff he says with a grain of salt , i say he gets along with JJ well , and the pay me stuff was just shat being shat .

May 23, 2008 7:11 am

They should have made him grandpa Kirk, the apparent storyline would have made this a slam dunk. I don’t know about these guys, mini skirts not short enough, changed exterior of the E, what else can they screw up?

May 23, 2008 7:24 am

Anyone who think’s Shatner is in this movie is just deluded. He’s not.
Not that anyone necessarily believes the official explanation that they couldn’t figure out a way to write him into the script. It’s all about money dudes. Just like Shatner explained about Spaceship One. Shatner’s price for doing the movie was too high, and they passed on him.
End of story.

May 23, 2008 7:28 am

Seriously now. Don’t be silly.

He’s not in it, it’s not some great master plan,


The shat being bitter about it and saying so in interviews is only going to hurt him, not the movie. It is only us, the fans who care about this (and I don’t care that much, to be honest) and not the general movie going public where most of the money is going to be made from.

He’s not in it because it would require a silly plot that most people wouldn’t understand in order to get him in, while tying the writers down so much it just couldn’t work. I wouldn’t be interested in a film that spent it’s entire time trying to reach some far fetched pre-defined aim just to please the shat fans, and neither would the general public. So the shat is right in one regard – it is a buisness (and also creative) decision – but not the one he wanted.

The most silly thing is this won’t be laid to rest. Not for 349 days anyway.

Dave Thornton
May 23, 2008 7:28 am

Im confused.
I’v never heard Mr. Shatner ever Insult nor “Bad mouth” anyone . When asked about the others who have said bad things about him, he has simply responded,, “Theyre just trying to sell books.”

Also; each time Mr. Shatner does an interview,
it isnt him that brings up the “Why arent you in the next Star Trek movie question” it’s the people doing the interview that ask it.

So I fail to understand how Mr. Shatners response of “Im not in it”, as well as “I don’t know anything about the movie” ,,, is considered complaining or bitching ? Perhaps the people conducting the interviews with him, should be the ones you should be telling to ,,,
“shut the heck up about italready?”

And Lately the only arrogance or temper tantrums i have indeed observed, have been from a few so called Trek fans who often confuse their Opinions with actual facts.

May 23, 2008 7:45 am

I could care less whether Shatner is in Trek XI or not. In fact, I’d prefer he wasn’t.

He doesn’t look like Jim Kirk anymore, and hasn’t for some time.

He looks more like Jerry Lewis who looks awful due to the steroids he has to take to combat his health problems. I bet Shatner is on the same kind of drugs for similar reasons.

Unless Bill could have hit the gym and lost 30lbs and trimmed up, it’s better that he not be Kirk. I’d rather remember the Kirk from the Series, or TMP or even the movies up to Star Trek IV. But, after that… He wasn’t Jim Kirk anymore. He was Bill Shatner playing dress-up.

I used to like Bill a lot, but he’s become too much of a buffoon. I watched his “Celebrity Roast”… What a pit of foul language! It was awful! It could have been much funnier and clean.

Time has passed Shatner by, he should be thankful for all the opportunities Star Trek gave him, and will gfive him in the future… But, gracefully let a part in Trek XI go.

I didn’t hear him push hard to get everyone in Generations….

US Taxpayer Dude
May 23, 2008 7:48 am

By golly, some people here are sooooo serious they can’t recognize schtick when it slap-sticks them in the face:

“No! You pay ME $250,000!” ROTFL! The Shat is an entertainer par excellence. He’s funny, subtle, over-the-top (Old WW1 doughboy term, BTW) and outrageous even while he’s self-deprecating.

An amazing talent, William Shatner. I do wish we’d seen more of him over the years. TJ Hooker and Rescue 911 were no doubt well-paying but he would have done well with “larger than life” Americana — either depicting them or merely telling the stories.

(Imagine Shanter’s portrayal of TR in “The Adventures of Teddy Roosevelt” or as narrator of “Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox” or reading about Davey Crocket and Sam Houston.)

May 23, 2008 7:54 am

Balock: That is a loaded question, “What else can they screw up?”

Let’s base STXI on “Tuvix” from VOY, where hilarity ensues when Kirk and Spock are merged in a freak transporter accident:

Working titles: “Kock.” Spirk”

It’s been done enough already by good TV writers, so this one should be error-free, I hope. I have some trust in the team. especially Mr. Orci, that

Dennis, I know you like ENT, but I believe Mr. Shatner was in talks to be in a season 4 ep, or arc, under Manny Coto, but priced himself out of the market pretty quickly. It would have been nice to know what that story was.

May 23, 2008 7:55 am

Oops. that, Trek XI is in capable hands!

May 23, 2008 8:01 am
#8—“The kirk character need not have been brought back to life. A few simple scenes in a flashback would have been great. It would not require a backstory . It would have taken nothing away from the new cast. ” The problem with that was, Shatner said (prior to filming), “I don’t do cameos”. It was only after the filming was wrapped that he indicated he would be okay with a minor role. #22—“If it’s true that Abrams didn’t call Shatner back – and I have no contrary information nor reason to believe otherwise – then this tells me all I need to know about Abrams’ wretched modus operandi in this regard.” You DO have Shatner’s inconsistencies in his story from one day to the next… One day he says he tanked Sulu’s promotion scene in TWOK to “look after Takei’s best interest”, and then he turns around in another interview and says, “That’s ridiculous. I never did that!” Before filming bagan, he indicated that he would not be interested in anything but a featured role in the new film. After production is complete, he is suddenly wondering why he wasn’t allowed to do the voiceover or appear as Kirk’s father or something. If he were anyone else, I bet you would question anything that came out of this guy’s mouth (given the obvious inconsistencies), but since he is “The Shat”, you give him a pass. I don’t get that… #35—It is not the fact that he is repeatedly answering… Read more »
May 23, 2008 8:01 am


If Shatner is in it, the entire cast and crew will have to keep it a better guarded secret than the Kennedy assassination and Roswell crash. I don’t see how it’s possible with that many people unless the only ones privy to the information were those on the set for his filming, and they’re keeping it in the can until absolutely necessary for editing. It would be a real hard secret to keep. Shatner could do it probably because he would think it’s funny, but a cast, crew and union labor workers? Keep in mind people taking spy-photos and famous people showing up on the set for tours.

My guess is with the minds involved in the writing and filming of this film, there is always a way to include the guy, hell we come up with some pretty good ideas ourselves. It’s really not that complicated. I (well, we) can only speculate and hope for the best, but a safe road to drive on would probably be to just assume he’s not in the movie and when it’s released, if he’s truly not in it, the disappointment will be at a minimum.

And in my honest opinion, I would love to see William Shatner in the movie, not just because he portrayed Kirk so well giving him character and depth, but because as a man, he’s just beloved. Watching him work makes me happy because he’s good at what he does and knows better than to take himself too seriously.

May 23, 2008 8:21 am

Chris Pine is now Captain Kirk. The Shatnerites need to realize this and get over it.

Captain Otter
May 23, 2008 8:41 am

Young Shat = Kirk, Old Shat = Denny Crane. His career is book-ended by two cultural icons. That’s genius.

The new movie and Shatner’s legacy are both better off this way. I just wish he and some of y’all could see that.

May 23, 2008 8:43 am

I’ve been on the “no” side of the Shatner debate all and I love the guy when he talks, and he was cornered on FOX to discuss nothing but stupid crap.

I met the guy on the street once, and he was running to a meeting, but he gave me 1.4 minutes of time. I think he’s a regular guy with a good heart and a good job.

What he also is is a brand, and we Treksters must realize that anything he says in public is pre-planned with a publicist through an agent, and then filtered through the PR/Corporate Affairs department of his publisher and/or producer depending on the project.

The “I am not in Trek XI” story is getting him press now, and more than anyone, he has the right to use it. He has a book out where Trek is mentioned prominently.

May 23, 2008 8:45 am
#42—While I agree it’s over with, I have to point out that Pine is not Kirk anymore than Shatner is. They are both actors who at one time or another have played the role of a fictional character. Shatner is the one we are all most familiar with, and let’s face it, is the one who helped us fall in love with the heroic Captain of the Enterprise. But Shatner is wrong when he says, “More than that I’m fascinated by the business decision of not including that popular character and the actor who has a lot of popularity still, as opposed to anybody else in the cast who’s either unknown or not in the public eye particularly.” First of all, the character IS included, and as always, Shatner overestimates his own “popularity”. As much as it is “poularity” among those of us who are fans of TOS, it is more “noteriety” (again, IMO)in the eyes of the mainstream viewer whom the new team is targeting as a big portion of the film’s audience. Moreover, I am sick of hearing how it was a “poor business decision”. Says who? Bill Shatner, the potential beneficiary? Please. Featuring Bill did not save STV, and Bill’s “popularity” was not enough to persuade Paramount to do a film based upon his return, nor is it enough for the studio to have made including Shatner in STXI some kind of prerequisite to approving Orci and Kurtzman’s script. As always, he is overstating his value to… Read more »
May 23, 2008 9:00 am

Okay, folks, let’s get a grip. Shat will always be Kirk, and Trek will always have that association. It would have been nice to plop him in the new movie, but he’s not in it, so its time for everyone to get over it — especially Shatner. I’m really tired of hearing him whine. It’s done, move on…..pleeeze…

May 23, 2008 9:04 am

Shatner IS Kirk. Pine has a good shot at inheriting the mantle, but it’s not a done deal. The new film has got to deliver for this to happen.

Anthony Thompson
May 23, 2008 9:14 am

1 through 4

I wish I could set up bets with you all and take your money on 5/9/09.

May 23, 2008 9:15 am

JJ didn’t call him back…

He sent him a letter and a script. ;)

May 23, 2008 9:15 am

47 The new film has got to deliver for this to happen