Shatner: Roddenberry Was A Chiseler June 2, 2008by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Shatner,TOS , trackback
It appears that William Shatner’s media tour for his autobiography “Up Till Now” may never end. In many of the previous interviews Shatner has noted that he thinks his former co-stars (in particular George Takei) should ‘let go’ of previous grievances, but in a new interview (and in excerpts from his book) it is Shatner who is airing a grievance…this time with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
Shatner on Roddenberry (from Parade interview)
He was a chiseler who wanted a cut of outside money his cast earned, demanded to be called ‘master,’ and prohibited poor Nimoy from using a company pencil.
More in the book
Although Shatner is known for his wry sense of humor, from reading his new book it appears he is serious about this issue. In “Up Till Now” Shatner writes:
After the first thirteen episodes writer/producer Gene Coon was brought in and Roddenberry became the executive producer, meaning he was more of a supervisor than working on the show day -to-day. After that his primary job seemed to be exploiting Star Trek in every possible way.
There are also more details in the book on what Shatner was referring to in the ‘chiseler’ comment he said to Parade. The book contains the recounting of a story from Leonard Nimoy about how he was offered $2000 (more than he made in a week) for a personal appearance on a Saturday and to make it he would have to leave an hour early on Friday. Nimoy gave notice a few days in advance but didn’t hear anything back until Friday. Then Roddenberry called Nimoy to his office. Roddenberry demanded that Nimoy give him 20% of his speaking fee as an agent, even though Nimoy’s agent had lined up the appearance. Nimoy refused and, again from “Up Till Now“, Nimoy is quoted recounting the following exchange between himself and Roddenberry:
“He looked at me and said, ‘The difference between your agent and me is that your agent can’t get you out of here at five o’clock on Friday and I can. And all it’ll cost you is twenty percent ”
“‘Gene, I can’t do that to this agent,’ I said. ‘He got me the job.’”
“And then he said, and I will never forget his exact words, ‘Well, you’re just going to have to learn how to bow down and say master.’”
Nimoy refused and eventually Roddenberry backed down and allowed Nimoy to go, but Nimoy is quoted in the book saying it “was the end of any semblance of a friendship” with Roddenberry. Shatner’s comment about the pencils is also in the book, recounting how studio later sent Nimoy a memo “informing him that he was not permitted to use the studio’s pens and pencils.”
For his part, Shatner notes in the book that he refused to go along with one of Roddenberry’s money making schemes.
Gene and I had a similar argument about a small medal of honor he wanted me to award to a member of the crew on the show. It had absolutely nothing to do with the plot–and everything to do with the fact that this medal was going to be sold by Lincoln Enterprises. The actors’ contracts called for a minimal participation in merchandise revenue and this was just a clever way to get around that.
More new pics of Shat at Parade
Shatner stilling ‘puzzling’ why he isn’t in Abrams Trek
In case you have been hiding under a rock, William Shatner still wants to be in the new Star Trek movie. In a separate interview with the UK’s Press and Journal, Shatner notes
I find it peculiar that I wasn’t asked. It was a great role that was written for me and as I aged, they aged the captain. I know that the director and producer JJ Abrams is a nice guy. I wasn’t hurt, but I was puzzled. I didn’t need the movie as a crutch professionally because I have so much to do but I’m amazed they didn’t solve the storytelling problems to incorporate me.
See the Shat tonight
William Shatner will be appearing on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, tonight (Monday June 2nd). We will update with video from that appearance by midnight Pacific)
Up Till Now is available now in Hardcover and audio
|Up Till Now (Hardcover)||Up Till Now (Audio)|