VIDEO: Walter Koenig On TOS Movies, Contrasting Nimoy & Shatner, Star Trek 2009, Davey Jones + more

Over the weekend Walter Koenig was the guest for the screening of Star Trek V in 70MM at the Royal Theater in West LA. The actor and I had a fun discussion with many humorous moments, talking about the Star Trek movies, the TV series and more. See below for highlights from the event plus full video.

 

Koenig on Star Trek movies and more

Highlights:

  • Knew Star Trek IV would be a hit once read the script, noting "it was a fast moving story, all characters are highlighted, and went back to our roots of making social comment, there was great humor and great action"
  • On problems Star Trek V "it suffered from a couple of things, and it was not the director…it did have to do with the script and it did have to do with the budget" "they didn’t know how to resolve the story with the budget they had"
  • Got him to say "Nuclear Wessels" (part 1 4:45) when talking about the "serendipitous" scene in Star Trek IV
  • Star Trek IV was his favorite noting "Chekov had his own music!" and he felt he was making a "substantial contribution"
  • Was happy the films had Chekov always getting injured saying "those were my big moments…that meant he was doing something important to the story"
  • Says the reason for all his on-screen injuries was his famous scream, noting it was OK on the original Star Trek for a young officer scream
  • Got the job of checking the Star Trek II script to make sure it fit with Trek after he gave the note to producer Harve Bennett that Spock can’t be killed in the second act (as it was originally)
  • However he admitted "there was no way" he was going to point out that Chekov was not a character on the show for the episode "Space Seed", making Khan’s line in Star Trek II about seeing Chekov before inconsistent with canon (although Koenig offered his funny story that explains this apparent inconsistently)
  • Takes "a little umbrage" with the notion that Chekov’s accent was "over done", but he does acknowledge that his inversion of V’s and W’s was more him, and that he didn’t do the Russian "melody" of speaking
  • Says Anton Yelchin is "a terrific young guy" and was honored that Yelchin chose to emulate his Russian accent
  • Feels that Yelchin is talented and hopes he is given a chance to "expand the role"
  • Regarding Star Trek 2009, he was Ok with changes made, including with Chekov, noting "nothing is sacrosanct…except maybe Spock’s ears"
  • "Really liked" the new movie and the pacing, but noted "there were some dimensions of character that was a little light" and feels it didn’t have "quite the dramatic substance" of the best original Films (II, and IV)
  • Says he only just last year met Davy Jones whose hair style he emulated on the original series and said Jones was "flattered" by Chekov. Koenig also joked "he still has a full head of hair" [Walter then took off his hat to reveal he no longer has the mop top – part 3, 3:50]
  • Wasn’t aware of any animosity between himself and George Takei and can’t remember any arguments and he "never felt competitive"
  • Contrasting directing styles of Nimoy and Shatner saying "Leonard directed by omission, so if he didn’t say anything to you, you were doing fine", but on Shatner: "Bill was just the opposite" [Koenig then emulates Shatner’s style of saying "that was so good"]
  • Says he anticipated problems going into Star Trek V and was ready to walk off the set if there were problems with Shatner, but it turned out that there were no problems and Shatner was "extremely reinforcing"
  • As for what he is up to next: his novel "Buck Alice and the Actor-robot" is being re-issued, and being adapted into a radio drama to be broadcast on Sirius and later released on CD/Download

Full video
(again thanks to my friend Jennifer aka bdbdb)

Star Trek VI in 70MM Trek this weekend – with George Takei

The summer series of 70 mm Trek films at the Laemmle Royal Theater (in conjunction with Ledjer Film & Theater services and TrekMovie.com) wraps up the original series films this weekend with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. George Takei will be on hand to talk about becoming Captain Sulu in the original crew’s final film.

Arrangements are currently being worked out to continue this summer movie series with the Next Generation films and the new Star Trek movie. More details soon.

EVENT DETAILS

What: Simply 70 Star Trek movie series

When: Saturdays at midnight in June and July [Final TOS movie – Star Trek VI, July 24]

Where: Laemmle’s Royal Theatre is located at 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025, (310) 478-3836 

Tickets: $10 for general admission. You can buy tickets at the box office or online at www.laemmle.com.

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Al
July 20, 2010 4:56 pm

Brave to show the scalp. Chops to Walter.

LordChancellor
July 20, 2010 5:00 pm

Pretty sure the event details were cut and pasted from http://www.laemmle.com I bet you’ll find the schedule on that site.

CmdrR
July 20, 2010 5:04 pm

Again, great to see Walter out and enjoying things.

July 20, 2010 5:10 pm

Great guy. Now, if they would just give him his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ™.

He’s the only original cast star that doesn’t have one.

July 20, 2010 5:20 pm

I appreciate so many things about this. Always loved Keonig and thought he was way underrated and underused. Really cool he was there. Really cool. I wish him well.

bill hiro
July 20, 2010 5:46 pm

A lovely, thoughtful man. I wish the best to him and his family.

Marc B. Lee
July 20, 2010 5:54 pm

Good to see Walter at his “always” best. Why he doesn’t have his star is beyond me and a bit pompous of the powers that be.

Good to see and hear you Walter.

kmart
July 20, 2010 6:12 pm

has he ever mentioned the idea he and De had for salvaging TMP? He mentions coming up with an idea for act 3 during 1978′ shooting that had interest from some, but Shatner hated it so it died stillborn. I have been wondering about this since march 1980 when I read CHEKOV’S ENTERPRISE but never seen it addressed anywhere.

Art Vandelay
July 20, 2010 6:14 pm

Where’s the article from STIV’s showing with Nichelle? I never saw it. Did I miss it?

July 20, 2010 6:33 pm

Part 4 of that video is hilarious! His stories about Nimoy and Shatner.

Lennier
July 20, 2010 6:38 pm

@ #5

He deserves it for Babylon 5 alone. Long live Alfred Bester!

Dr. Image
July 20, 2010 7:24 pm

Cool. He just gets better with age.
And “hats off” to his lack of rug (finally)!

CGren123
July 20, 2010 7:34 pm

It’s really good to see him back on his feet, especially after the year he’s had.
Walter Koenig was always my favourite of the TOS Actors (don’t tell Leonard Nimoy0, and I’m really loved this “Interview”

Patty W
July 20, 2010 7:37 pm

“Hopes that Yelchin is talented and hopes he is given a chance to “expand the role”

Actually, Walter said “Yelchin is very talented and hopes”…

No star this year. They vote again next year…. watch his site for details on how to help…

Sybok
July 20, 2010 7:46 pm

@ #11

You got that right!

Ran
July 20, 2010 8:12 pm

“there were some dimensions of character that was a little light” and feels it didn’t have “quite the dramatic substance” of the best original Films”

Spot on. Nice to hear this from someone who does not have to suck up to Hollywood.

July 20, 2010 8:30 pm

What a great video experience! Having seen Walter at a TREK convention in Chicago (later that same day he had a heart attack) back in the late 1990s, we (the audience) found him a wonderfully entertaining, incredibly bright, thoughtful and open to his loving fans.

Kudos to him and his family… and yeah, as someone pointed out, exposing us to the real him by removing his baseball cap (my hero!!!)

:-D

Buzz Cagney
July 20, 2010 9:12 pm

I’m very happy to hear positive things about Bill from Walter.
I’m tired of the animosity and this makes a nice change.

Chain of Command
July 20, 2010 9:14 pm

Great guy. Never pretentious. Just a genuine good guy.

Scruffy the Janitor/Vampire Slayer
July 20, 2010 11:38 pm

I was under the impression that the “star” on the walk of fame is purchased with private money?

Wouldn’t it be better if he had a statue in Russia instead? Melt down a few Lenin & Stalin statues?

I’m just saying…

Still, good article!

July 21, 2010 12:56 am

@20. You’re right about that; here’s the process (I assume Koenig has been nominated before):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Walk_of_Fame#Nomination_process

Silicon Avatar
July 21, 2010 1:40 am

Walter Koenig is awesome.

captain_neill
July 21, 2010 3:27 am

Cool. I am looking forward to meeting Walter Koenig again at Vegas in a few weeks.

DJ Neelix
July 21, 2010 3:56 am

What a true gentleman he seems to be. The most likeable person of all the TOS cast, followed by Nimoy (who’s also the funniest of all Star Trek cast).
I wish this man and his family nothing but well.

DJ Neelix
July 21, 2010 3:57 am

On a side note, this clip along with the Wheaton/Burton/Frakes panel (where they all wore slobby t-shirts) confirmed the prejudice that Americans are the worst-dressed people in the world…

Bob Mack
July 21, 2010 4:26 am

Technical question – how did you get the 4 different YouTube videos to play in sequence without having the user click anything? Great work!

Sebastian
July 21, 2010 6:26 am

In truth, I never really cared for his faux Russian accent (and I wished Anton Yelchin had NOT chose to emulate it in the new movie), but the character is part of the Trek family (whoever plays him) and it’s very nice to see that Koenig didn’t choose this opportunity to further any 40-yr old grudge-matches between him and Shatner.

Hope he and his family are doing well. : )

Scott B. here.
July 21, 2010 7:38 am

I saw Walter speak at a convention in 1982, shortly after TWOK came out. He didn’t bad-mouth any of his co-stars there, and in fact, told us how he had said to Shatner after they filmed Spock’s funeral scene that if TWOK had not been science fiction, that his (Shatner’s) performance in that movie could have gotten him an Oscar nomination. I agree that Shatner gave one of his best performances in that movie.

Walter is always a great interview/speaker. He has a subversive sense of humor that apparently gets him in trouble sometimes. That ST IV Hepburn story he told above is hilarious.

Scott B. out.

Anthony Thompson
July 21, 2010 8:05 am

24.

I haven’t met Koenig, but of those I’ve seen over the years (all except him and DeForest Kelly), George Takei was by far the nicest on a one to one level. He talked with each and every fan, not just a quick “hello” and autograph.

DJ Neelix
July 21, 2010 8:33 am

@29 Anthony Thompson
Yeah, they all seem(ed) like very nice people really! Bill Shatner is perhaps a bit more difficult person, perhaps he just doesn’t have chemistry with some people. He seems nice at times though.

Patty W
July 21, 2010 9:13 am

#20 – no, the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are not “purchased” with private money.

People are nominated and once a year, in June, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce votes on who to award a star to. The Muppets and Buddy Holly were among this years awards.

Once awarded, the person (or animal, in the case of Mr. Ed) has 5 years to schedule a ceremony to install it. The person or their reps are responsible for coming up with the money to manufacture the star and for the ceremony itself (mostly police and permits to close off roads).

George Clooney was actually awarded a star several years ago and apparently decided he had better things to spent the $25000 on.

For the info from the horses own mouth:

http://www.hollywoodchamber.net/index.php?page=13

(The money for Walter’s ceremony has been collected, BTW… just waiting for the vote….)

I'm Dead Jim!
July 21, 2010 9:47 am

I had the good fortune of meeting Walter at a local convention shortly after the filming of Generations. I was there working for TV news and we just chatted off-camera for several minutes while waiting for his appearance. He is indeed a sincerely nice guy. I cherish that moment. Just me and Mr.Chekov!

moauvian waoul
July 21, 2010 10:04 am

8. I saw De speak at a convention in ’93. He spoke of a different begining to TMP he wanted to do where he was covered in some type of shroud ( concealing his identity) on an alien horse when he got the call on the communicator (revealing himself) there was an emergency and the crew were being recalled. He didn’t mention anything about an ending though.

18. Yes. But he did expect issues and was prepared to walk off. Must have been a reason.

25. Sad but true.

Michael
July 21, 2010 10:36 am

Walter Koenig DOES have a star on the hollywood walk of fame, happened a few years ago. He was the last to be recognized.

Lt. Bailey
July 21, 2010 11:47 am

A wonderful insight with his comments about ST V. I cannot wait to see him at the Vegas ST CON.

CAPT KRUNCH
July 21, 2010 12:18 pm

Walter is a one brave soul to be out so soon after his tragedy…he is truly awesome!….SHAT doesn’t have the stones to take off his rug!

Buzz Cagney
July 21, 2010 12:28 pm

#36 didn’t he auction those stones off recently? ;-))

Harry Ballz
July 21, 2010 4:18 pm

37

Yes, which I bought, thus my posting name!

David P
July 21, 2010 4:42 pm

please give him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

cd
July 21, 2010 5:59 pm

Very funny! I love his impersonations! And that Star Trek IV Hepburn story was great!
Good to know he had a good experience on ST5. Good to see him doing well.

Buzz Cagney
July 21, 2010 9:09 pm

Harry, I hope you regularly put them on display for all to see!

Harry Ballz
July 21, 2010 11:28 pm

In an irregular gonad testicular showcase, no less! :>)

July 22, 2010 5:16 am

Koenig seems like a thorough gentleman. Shame he didn’t get a bit more prominence in the movies. ‘Nuclear wessels’ will never cease to be funny!

Buzz Cagney
July 22, 2010 10:40 am

Irregular you say? Are you sure they are Captain Kirk’s, Harry, because i’d always pictured them as being perfectly spherical with a core of pure steel!
Me thinks you have a couple of someone else’s nads there, mister!

Harry Ballz
July 22, 2010 2:11 pm

Buzz, it takes balls to make a remark like that! :>)

Buzz Cagney
July 22, 2010 9:05 pm

Certainly does, Harry. I don’t generally admit to having spent any time imagining anybodies knackers. But for Captain Kirk i’ll make an exception!
:-D

Buzz Cagney
July 22, 2010 9:10 pm

Hauling this back onto the subject of this story………
Harry, I’m quite a fan of Babylon5 and really enjoyed Walter as Bester. He really had the chance to perform in that role, to impressive effect.
I’m very interested in your thoughts on that show, Harry, as we have similar taste in Trek’s………

Harry Ballz
July 22, 2010 9:14 pm

Buzz, your reference to balls of pure steel is interesting, considering that many years ago Shatner gave an interview to Playboy, where they asked him some question and he basically answered (paraphrasing), “I can’t hear you over my balls of steel clanging together”

……..or something to that effect. Coincidence? I think not!

Buzz Cagney
July 22, 2010 9:19 pm

#48 that is spooky Harry. Seems my imagination and Shatners slightly overblown opinion of his equipment are as one! Thats worrying! lol

Buzz Cagney
July 22, 2010 9:19 pm

Is overblown perhaps the wrong phrase there? lol

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