Shatner On Being Poor, Almost Dying, & The New Movie

Details Magazine has a new interesting interview with William Shatner where he talks about living out of his car after his run on Star Trek The Original Series, dealing with the death of his wife and (of course) what he thinks of JJ Abrams new moive (and his lack of involvement). Plus in a new video Bill talks about what keeps him going and what is next for the Shat.

Details Interview excerpts

Details: Is it true that after Star Trek went off the air you lived out of a car?
Shatner: A pickup truck, actually. It was the early 1970s and I was recently divorced. I had three kids and was totally broke. I managed to find work back east on the straw-hat circuit—summer stock—but couldn’t afford hotels, so I lived out of the back of my truck, under a hard shell. It had a little stove, a toilet, and I’d drive from theater to theater. The only comfort came from my dog, who sat in the passenger seat and gave me perspective on everything. Otherwise, it would have just been me counting my losses.

Details: Speaking of loss, there’s a spoken-word track on your 2004 album, Has Been, about discovering the body of your third wife, Nerine, after she’d drowned while mixing Valium with booze. Did you find recording it cathartic?
Shatner: I don’t understand closure, if that’s what you mean. That word never resonated with me. The epiphany I had, making that, was that we grieve forever. It’s as much a part of our life as eating, sleeping, and love. We live in grief for having left the womb, for having left the teat, then school, then home. In my case, it was leaving marriages, and the death of my wife. Making that recording was simply my way to express very deep feelings. . . . Death is an absolute marvel. I once had a great horse rear up and fall back on me, and in that moment I thought I might gain some clarity about the mystery—you know, the meaning of the universe suddenly illuminated, like in an orgasm—but it never came.

Details: So did you want to take another crack at Star Trek in the new JJ Abrams film version?
Shatner: He talked to me a few times this past year, but they shot in November and Leonard [Nimoy] is in it and I’m not. I’m disappointed. I’m not outraged, but I think it’s a stupid business decision, a stupid box-office decision. Here I am, still alive, still popular, on a hit show. It makes sense to put me in the thing. If they don’t, that’s fine. I just think it’s a silly oversight.

Details: So is that how you think of your Emmy for Boston Legal? And the millions of lives you touched as Captain James Tiberius Kirk?
Shatner: Careers are here and they’re gone. I enjoy performing, and I feel lately like I’ve reached the apex of what I can do as a performer. Even my memory for dialogue has never been sharper. But no matter how great we think we are, we’re nothing but the temples of Ozymandias—we’re ruins in the making.

Check out Details Magazine for the full interview

Shatner on what’s next for him
Here is another clip taken by the ShatnerVision team from Shatner’s appearance on PalTalk

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FIRST!! Mwhahaha…

The Shat is King. Always.

It was a poor business decision to actually name the new movie “Star Trek: Hold The Shatner.”

Go Bill, go! Awards- commercials- movies- music- Hope I am as active in my seventies.

It’s all a PR plot. Shatner is the star of the new movie, depend on it.

I agree with him, though (of course); I mean, it IS a pretty stupid business decision not to have Bill in the film. He’s a great actor, and I would love to see him on the big screen again, where he deserves to be. Having Shatner in any film would only improve the picture, so it couldn’t hurt to have him in it.

The man has paid his dues. Good to see him prospering…and enjoying long life.

He still sounds very sour!! Hey! Nimoy is going to make this movie a good one. Support your friend, I am sure he supported you with Generations. Nimoy’s business decisions with the movies always made money, The Shat’s ST5 well, need I say more???

Oh yay, William Shatner complaining…AGAIN.

Maybe they should hire Shatner to record a commentary for the DVD!

Or even a track where he dubs in his own verions of all Chris Pine’s lines…

Come on JJ,,

Bring the fans what they want!!


Ha ha.

And 9/11 was an inside job, wake up sheeple!

I think its not a silly business decision – i think the makers of this movie are quite capable of making a movie that can stand on its own two feet without having Shatner in it – however, he is entitled to be annoyed, he is the original Kirk and it would have been good to see him in the movie – who knows, we might get that chance, and if this spawns a new movie series, then theres no reason to believe we wont see him in Trek again but i don’t believe this movie will fail just because Shatner wasn’t in it.

If hes bluffing about not being in it hes doing a pretty impressive job. Ive thought like many others for a while that JJ’s keeping Shatner under his hat right until the end but Bill just sounds too hurt to be kidding us (however great an actor he is).

Unless even he doesn’t know he’s in it yet – but surely not?

What an awesome surprise an unexpected Shatner shot in the teaser would have been.

This thread should be fun.

Doesn’t Shatner get it? He died in Generations… it would take a very implausible and disappointing story point — like cloning or something — to bring kirk back looking as old as Will. Shatner looks today.

Now, I never read any of the Star Trek novels but oddly enough, I got one by Shatner for Christmas… something to do with his character being in the TNG era and saving everyone, including Admiral Janeway.

I hazard to guess, given his schedule and the amount of work writing a novel is, that he plots it and then has the co-writers “write” it. But ya never know.
Maybe he just dictates pages while in the shower. Perhaps that’s how we get passages like this:
“Prell, the Klingon commander, approached me and seemed extra-slippery in the rain. My phaser sounded like an exhaust vent as I drained it… it gently scrubbed through Prell. I repeated scouring him out like so much bacteria until just a smell like that of a moist wig filled the air. ”

Sorry Bill… you take enough ribbing as is : )

So he was living payday to payday on TOS. Sounds like everyone I know!

Shat has his great emmies,
y doesn’t he grant Nimoy a only-Nimoy-movie?

I mean, they would need 1 hour to explain how Kirk came back, that’s simply impossible and only a small cameo is too small for him. So better without him than unlogical and bad with him.

So when does the official word come. Is he in or out??? When is the point of no return. Are they really still working on this??

So, another whiney lament from a cheesy actor…..

This guy could have his own whine+cheese party!! :)

Perhaps Shatner could portray Kirk’s half brother- Sy-kirk.

I have to be honest, I don’t really think that throwing in a small part for Shatner would be that hard, even if he’s dead. There are *tons* of examples in movies and tv shows where dead characters have made apperances, either in 1) flashbacks or 2) artistic choices. An older Spock talking to a Kirk who really isn’t there except in his fondest memories could be a great way to just add a little flavor to the film and solidify it as a passing of the torch.

Anyways, just saying, the film doesn’t need to go all Search for Spock to have a little William Shatner in it

“silly oversight” …that’s an understatement. Here people harp on about the creativity involved with this project, and they couldn’t place him in it? It should have been all or nothing with the remaining TOS cast.

So much for the great creative minds at work on this. :P

“Who’s the greater fool? The fool or the one that follows?”

Here we go again! :D

He’s doing himself no favors. “Stupid business Decision” – that’ll really get him in the film.

Ugh. Please, please, please–do people need really to post these same points points about Shatner in the movie, ad infinitum? I think at this point that minds are made up, one way or the other.

What struck me reading this is what a really thoughtful, articulate guy Bill Shatner can be when he’s not putting out the snark. “Temples of Ozymandias–ruins in the making.”–that’s a pretty good one. :-)

#24 You took the words right out of my mouth!

I have a simple message for the Shat.


For all the put-on Shatfoolery, underneath it all he really is a deep, deep thinker if you read between the lines. He’s had it all, rags to riches, obscurity and fame, deep tragedy and joy…I raise a glass of Tranya to His Shatness!

#22 “a little William Shatner”

With the Shat being “larger than life”, that phrase “a little William Shatner” seems nonsensical…almost bordering on an oxymoron like “military intelligence”! :)

6. Batts – January 15, 2008 & 7. sean – January 15, 2008, etc.
I can’t find where he is sour or complaining. Please direct us to this. OR perhaps you misunderstand the term “complain” or “sour”.

He did state an opinion, which seems right on track. Given that Nimoy is in the film it seems remarkedly silly, no….;stupid… to omit the other actor that made the character iconic. If no Nimoy, then fine. But Given Shatner is more popular now than when he did Trek, it is dumb. Omitted his name forfeits many dollars.
I’m still excited about the film but I’ll just wait for the rental. Like many people. Had Shatner been in it, guaranteed additional revenue.
But of course the Shatner bashers wanted to use any excuse to ..well..bash him.

“25. Pr011 – January 15, 2008
He’s doing himself no favors. “Stupid business Decision” – that’ll really get him in the film. ”

Agreed. Hence proof he really doesn’t care. Just commenting on the poor decision.

The rest of the article was interesting. Thanks, Anthony.

The Shat made a stupid decision to have his famous character got killed off in the Generations movie; otherwise, he could be in the new Star Trek movie.

I don’t think the film will fail without Shatner in it. It will “make” its money back. I just think it will make about $60 million dollars less than it would with him in it. Face facts… people love Star Trek and people love Shatner. Nimoy makes the movie special, and he will attract more people. But it should be simple math. For every old fan that Nimoy attracts, the combination of Nimoy and Shatner would attract double, if not more so.

Not every Trek fan goes to see a movie because of Spock. I’m a Nimoy fan, but I am much more of a Shatner fan. To me Trek was always about Kirk. So, I may see the new Trek with Nimoy at the theatre, but I’m more likely to see the film on repeat viewings because of Shatner.

Funny how the members who claim to be so sick of William Shatner cannot resist posting here to…..COMPLAIN about Shatner.


Just swallow it: he’s a genuine entertainment legend, and along with Nimoy, the face of the entire franchise. You will never be able to forget him, silence him (or the fans who appreciate the man and his work) no matter how many negative posts one makes, so live with it, or bang your heads against the wall in eternal frustration.

Whatever gets you through the day.


I think that’s the best idea I’ve heard this year! I’d buy two DVDs just to show my support. :-) (btw, I think Star Trek DVDs had some pretty good commentaries; BRaga/Moore on Generations and FC, Frakes on FC and the unreleased Insurrection commentary you can find floating around on the net are great. Plus Okuda’s track, is a must-see for me. Maybe they should hire him, too, to do the ultimate fanboy-point-of-view track. Now that’s he’s no longer an insider. Would be cool IMHO.)

Perhaps Mr. Shatner could record the soundtrack for the new film.
I understand he dabbles in the music industry.

#36 … I couldn’t have said it better myself. Shatner is Star Trek’s BIGGEST PHASER. Not having him in the new movie IS stupid.

Ya know, kinda hard to say anything about Shat until after we see the finished product.


I’m not a Shatner basher. I like William Shatner. I am, however, tired of hearing him complain about not being in the movie. And yes, I know what complain means, and yes, he’s complaining. He continually expresses his disastisfaction with not being in the movie and that it’s a ‘stupid business decision’. That satisfies the criteria for a complaint. I would like to hear him say ‘no comment’ or at least come up with a new line.


Who wants to ‘silence’ him? Is he testifying against a mob boss? I’m only commenting on the fact that he says the same thing over and over again. I like hearing Mr Shatner speak, but I’d love to hear him talk about something else. Yes, they keep asking the question, but I’m sure someone as creative as he is can come up with a more interesting way to answer it.

It truly bewilders me that the slightest remark about William Shatner not being God Himself qualifies someone as a ‘basher’ that lives their life to say nasty things about him. Anyone that’s been with this franchise from TOS on knows that Bill can be very charming, kind and intelligent, as well as loud-mouthed, obnoixous, and egotistical. We all have some of those tendencies, and there’s nothing wrong with someone calling us out when we’re being annoying. It doesn’t make Shatner a bad person, it just makes him like everyone else.

#36 – Saying it don’t make it so, no matter how many “attaboys!” the like-minded chime in with. :)

shat is the shizz yo.. better be in the flick oh.. maybe just a cameo..

Ok. Time to get in a time line comment in here. Yes, Kirk died in Star Trek: Generations. Which was some 80 years after he was assumed dead in the Enterprise B mission. The new movie itself is going to be when Kirk and Spock first met at the academy. This is long before the Enterprise B mission and quite some time before TOS missions. If you remember during Kirk’s Court Martial, it was mentioned that he served on board the USS Republic where he filed a negligence report on a fellow officer as a Lieutenant. In the episode Obsession it was mentioned that he was on board another starship where his captain was killed by the cloud. Kirk said, “one of the finest officers I ever served with”. That statement alone indicates that Kirk spent some time on that other ship with it’s captain before he was killed. So if they want Shatner back in the new movie by all means let him in!!

Why isn’t Wil Wheaton in the new movie?
He has made the very same comments Mr. Shatner has.

(again I must say, Sorry Wil- you get enough ribbing. And yes, Shatner has been the very face of the franchise but what’s done is indeed done… until we see the movie and there he is! Singing in the Nexus. Or in his Lexus perhaps?)

rE: 42. Dennis Bailey – January 15, 2008
“#36 – Saying it don’t make it so, no matter how many “attaboys!” the like-minded chime in with. ”

Yes…no matter how many “attaboys” are posted by the anti-Shatner crowd, their collective screams & groans do not turn into universal truth.


To #41:

I absolutely agree with you.

I ain’t Shat basher. I love him as Captain James T. Kirk, but his persistent bickerings have outtired me.


Like it or not William Shatner is the face of Star Trek. To minimize his contribution to Star Trek is foolish. It may also be a major reason why so few people have had any interest in the series since his character was killed off in such a meaningless manner back in 1994. It has been all down hill since then and you know it.

It would have been a lot of fun to see Shatner as Kirk one more time. What a waste of talent. What a waste of the perfect opportunity to give the character a dignified ending + have Kirk and Spock (Shatner + Nimoy) walk off into the sunset.

My own interest is this project is almost non existent now. I thought for sure they would include Shater as Kirk in some manner.

I can’t believe that William Shatner wants to be involved in this film and is being denied by tptb.

What a waste…

#42 “Saying it don’t make it so, no matter how many ‘attaboys!’ the like-minded chime in with.”

Really? Then let’s examine what Compassionate God wrote, point by point, shall we?:

“he’s a genuine entertainment legend”

Indisputable. Just try.

“along with Nimoy, the face of the entire franchise”

Also very true. When the general public thinks Trek, they think TOS. And when they think TOS, they think Bill and Leonard. Surely no realistic person can deny they are the 2 most well known faces of the franchise.

“You will never be able to forget him”

Considering that we’re here debating Shatner 40 years after TOS, and that Chris Pine, if lucky, might get to play Kirk for a grand total of 3 movies, this is also true. Like him or not, Shatner will never be forgotten by us Trekkies. Ever.

“(You will never be able to) silence him”

Unless you’re planning to physically kidnap the man and gag him, this is also true.

4 for 4. Everything Compassionate God said made perfect sense.

Nothing against The Shat…I love him as Kirk…but this new movie DOES NOT NEED HIM. How many times must we have this discussion? It’s a new movie that’s hoping to reinvigorate the franchise and gain a new fanbase. Having all the old-timers in it would not do that. Frankly, I think it’s a mistake to have NimoySpock in it as well. Again, nothing against Nimoy…he’s a great actor and (seemingly) a great guy…but I wish the movie wasn’t (or supposedly) a time-travel story.