Shatner On Trek Overacting, Denny Crane, and Politics

Possibly the last bit of the media tour promoting "Up Till Now” William Shatner sat down for an hour with CNN’s Glenn Beck. Unlike previous interviews, this one mostly focused on politics and personal issues, but Shatner did field some questions about his roles on Star Trek and Boston Legal.
Excerpts and VIDEO below.

Shatner denies over-acting on Star Trek

Shat defends Denny Crane as only conservative on Boston Legal

Full transcript
Shat was on the show for the full hour and there was much more on Shat’s views on politics, overpopulation, the death of his ex wife and more. Read the full transcript at

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We love you Bill…………..

Darth “Give a Shat” Ballz

glen back is a moron, regardless of his politics

Glenn Beck used to be a pretty entertaining guy, but lately he’s just turned into another Rush Limbaugh who is in love with his own voice and barely allows anyone with a dissenting opinion to speak. It’s a shame, because he used to be a reasonably balanced guy.

“You’re Glenn Beck, you know everything”
“Everything is hokey. Your show is hokey”

Glenn doesn’t even know Bill taking the piss out of him.

No doubt, those who don’t get Glenn Beck are the same folks that think a trek “canon discrepancy” is the end of the world. In the immortal words of “The Shat”, “Get a Life!”.

I don’t know much about Glen Beck, but he seemed to fire up Shatner properly, and get him to discuss some interesting topics.

I think Beck found the key: Butter him up. I would have liked WS to elaborate more on “over-acting.” The shots from “The Way to Eden” were hilarious.


I don’t like GB, yet don’t care about canon issues.

Make a nice change from the monotonous “So are you in the new film”, “Lets talk about the others hating you” standard set of questions. Still, I suspect we will see all this again come this time next year with the original crew doing the chat circuot.

They better not play “Heading Out to Eden” at Shat’s funeral (many decades from now)!

So how about some policing of the intolarant bigotry on this thread? I saw the whole hour with Glenn Beck and pretty much though Beck had the right attitude toward The Shat, whom I love as Kirk, but who is a fairly clueless Hollywood socialist at heart.

Frankly, I’d rather not hear about Shat’s politics because he is paid to speak other men’s words – no one wants to hear his own. This is what makes Boston Legal unwatchable to anyone with an IQ above room temperature and even a modicum of responsibility in this life.

Having said that, I do appreciate Shatner’s charitable work. He heeds the Biblical injunction to do so privately – he does not generally mention it.

Agreed #3
For lots of reasons.
Glenn Beck is a McCain hater.
He also sucks up to Big Oil.
He also brags about how he is
going to use old light bulbs forever.

I used to like Glen Beck, but his ego seems to have run amuck and his sense of logic has flown the coup.

I can’t stand O’Reilly and I can’t stand this jerk, I wish Mr. Shatner would go on a relevant show.

two things people shouldnt do here…get political and get personal…i see some people doing both

Agreed. It seems that IDIC applies everywhere but with ideas for a lot of people. True diversity must also include diversity of thought.


Sorry if I contributed to either, Anthony.

As with the posts from the interview on the O’Reilly Factor, it is implorable how people on this site take so much time expressing their political views or just how they feel about personalities that are not connected with Star Trek in any way, shape, or form. Comments posted here should be regarding Shatner, his involvement with Star Trek and what was brought up about Star Trek in general during the interview. I completely agree with Anthony and RedShirtWalking and since Anthony pretty much has the last say here, I would pay attention to what he is saying.

By the way, 14. anti-matter, what does it matter the relevance of the show the interview is on. It is the content and information that comes out of the interview that counts. That you can’t stand O’Reilly or Glenn Beck really is “anit-matter”.

Also by the way, 2. Tom, if you are going to call someone a moron, don’t look like a moron yourself and spell their name wrong. It’s Glenn Beck not glen back.

Johnnie what did I say about getting personal?

Sorry Anthony , Please forgive me. l won’t get personal anymore. I watched the clips and didn’t see anything worthy of the trashing going on here. They were good interviews and Shatner looked like he was having quite a bit of fun on the Beck show.

Shatner/Kirk are forever tied together as cultural icons and it is great to hear him reminise about what it was like.

I very much enjoy this site and I am sorry for any offense to you Anthony.

Denny Crane isn’t the only conservative on Boston Legal. Brad Chase is a conservative.

On topic – Bill was gracious and playful, and I’m glad we got to see that instead of the typical ‘WHY DID EVERYONE HATE YOU BILL?’ kind of questions. I do credit Glenn with focusing mostly on Bill’s book and stories from his early days.

Fantastic interview. I appreciate Bill taking up a stance on the most severe interior problems modern America’s facing.

Furthermore, he was witty and entertaining as ever, and I especially loved him teaching Beck the Shakespeare lesson.

Oh, and he doesn‘t deny overacting, he asks GB what exactly he means by overacting, and GB isn’t able to explain it properly. A couple of minutes later Bill explains that it’s more like “Pushing it to the limit” and explains to GB that this isn’t overacting but sometimes the only way to give people an idea of what it’s all about and of what you want to express (paraphrasing). I think in the end it all adds up to whether you like Shatner’s way of showing you what he wants to express or not; whether you like his portrayal of Kirk or not. You may call it overacting, but thing is – that’s the spirit he gave to Kirk, and that’s the spirit with which Kirk became one of the most iconic characters ever.

Shatner seems less flakey than I have seen him in a while, interesting…

Don’t care for Beck, but I gotta admit that it was a fantastic interview (actually, more of a conversation than interview). Shatner is a very engaging man.

I think Bill’s blood pressure got up, cleaned out some cholesterol probably too, giving us another year of the Shat


Great stuff! Shat’s still a genious though ;-)

A question I’d like to ask Shatner: Do you consider Kirk a conservative? or at least more so than yourself – and not in a over the top, wacky caricature like Denny Crane. If he’d say Kirk was more conservative than himself, in what ways? Perhaps in foreign policy?

When phasers are outlawed, only outlaws will have phasers.

Kirk for president!

@ 28. Steve

Now see, this is what Shatner was starting to allude to in the interview when he mentioned how the traditional roles of conservative and liberal (small c, small l) had become intertwined. Historically, “liberal” politicians were in fact the part of big business and the free market — liberal meaning things should operate with few restrictions — and conservatives were more akin to “conservationists,” who would never advocate a rash course of action. Down the years we see the roles slowly reverse, as the out-of-power older liberal parties merged with the Populist movement to birth things like the modern Democratic Party, for instance.

And then by the 1990s we see other strains emerging like “neo-liberalism” — which has a friendly, populist face, but in reality is more like the big-business-friendly liberalism of old — and “neoconservativism” which advocates American dominance of world affairs.

Where would Kirk stand in all this?

Well when you think about it, the Federation, and Earth specifically, is a very generous welfare state. We really haven’t seen any in-depth, canon explanation of the economics of the Federation, but it’s been said over and over again that “we don’t use money” and “the acquisition of wealth no longer drives us.”

Thanks to technology (matter-antimatter power generation, matter / food replication) there is essentially no scarcity in the Federation — everything is essentially free.

Given what we know of energy / food availability and population growth, you’d think that by 2267 the Earth’s population would have boomed to levels even higher than today (following the crash of WWIII), but it is often repeated in canon sources that Earth’s population is stable at about a billion people by that time — that raises interesting questions about population management and resource distribution.

Housing is another question. Right now, the most desirable housing is always in limited supply….but, seemingly, can anyone simply live anywhere they wish? Are there no longer “more” or “less” desirable cities or neighborhoods? (i suppose with the transporter, commuting isn’t such an issue anymore, but still…) Harry Kim was just an ensign when he joined Voyager’s crew, but he had an enormous, sunny loft space in San Francisco that you’d need to be a millionaire today to afford (compare that to actual military housing…)

So it would seem the ideals and principles of the Federation would be much less geared towards maintaining any kind of empire, or acquiring planets for their dilithium content, etc…Starfleet may be the navy, but there would seem to be a much bigger quotient of UNICEF, UNESCO and NASA in its DNA.

The whole point of STVI:TUC – aside from the “murder mystery” aspect of the plot — was an allegory about the fall of the Soviet Union, and having to come to terms with being the galaxy’s remaining superpower, forging a fragile alliance with a former enemy that needed help to survive.

Kirk was definitely hawkish about those events at the beginning of the movie, but then (as always) realized that the principles he’d sworn to uphold were being threatened from within…and he chose to defend them rather than let his personal grief get in the way. That element of self-sacrifice, of not giving in to petty revenge, is how Kirk changes through that movie…he undergoes a realization, and he admits he was wrong.

Interesting posting…29. BaronByng – As someone who lives in SF yes the price of housing is unreal! They must pay those Starfleet personnal a heavy sum in the future. Oops I forgot no money needed in the STAR TREK future or at least in the STNG ear.;) As much as I love that idea think hard about that one. How does one aquire a place to live if nothing is for sale. Think about it you could move find another free home and just keep the one you are leaving? How would things get done like running a power grid, etc. How would you motivate people to do those tasks or others. I guess you could have robots do those tasks. I have to say in the end result a form of money is like a very neccessary evil to have a society function in some way. Sorry I am getting a bit of the subject here, but the posting above sort of inspired me to type up these thoughts.

I do find Shatner an interesting character/fun actor and politics will always have a role at least in a small way in STAR TREK. Although with real life I find it hard to see our future playing out exactly like a STAR TREK one. But hey at least in the original series they did have a type of currency.

I do hope the future of earth is a hopeful one and fictional characters and stories like Kirk, STAR TREK etc. inspire humanity to work towards a good future of sorts.

Maybe it’s all about the self-organizing principle. The government creates a level playing field and enforces people’s rights, and everything else just arises up out of self-organizing local movements, volunteerism, a sense of community service. If there’s no money in the future, how does Sisko’s dad’s restaurant survive? I guess everyone just “finds their bliss” early on and does what they love…from the cooks to the purveyors of produce…. Now THAT’s an ideal society. :)

31. BaronByng – May 18, 2008

Look up “socialism” and “Big Brother”. I frankly don’t want the goverment determining what a “level playing field” is.

#31 – Tell me, Xai – what exactly would the problem be? I mean, the way that the Federation is limitlessly resource-rich shows that this “level playing field” will be a HIGH level playing field, not any Harrison-Bergeron-type garbage. And “Big Brother”? Are you kidding? Big Brother relates to totalitarianism, not socialism.

How people live in the future of Star Trek is the ideal way, I don’t see the problems here.

Re: overacting:

I just finished directing a play, and during rehearsals, I often found myself saying, “Shatner it down a notch” or “Shatner it up a notch,” to get the right level of broadness from my actors. They all knew what I meant.

#30–Yes, the concept of of the Federation existing without currency does create some issues which are unexplainable. We hear Kirk say, in TVY, that they use no money in the 23rd century, and TNG furthers that as well. However, TOS often referred to “credits”, which is obviously a form of currency. It is never made clear at all how a society functions without currency. We are all just supposed to accept that and move on. I can understand a society which does not pay for food and sustinence, but as you mentioned, how does one obtain housing, and are all dwellings the same? How did Kirk acquire the antiques in his bachelor pad? How did Dr. McCoy get the antique glasses for Kirk’s birthday? Are they actually replicated representations of antiques? What does Dr. McCoy barter with to obtain a case of Romulan ale? If not a form of currency, then what the Hell is a credit?

Is everyone in Roddenberry’s universe self-motivated to be productive? What motivates a person prone to laziness to be productive if not the struggle to pay the bills? What motivation does one have to be the best at their job…simple acknowledgement?

#34–I do not find this part of it to be ideal at all. Since you cannot change human nature, the absence of financial reward would seem to handicap a society’s advancement and not enhance it, since there is no motivation to do better than just adequate work.
While there have been many improvements in technology and knowledge, what has changed about human nature in the last 250-400 years? Not much. What makes us believe that human nature will change between now and the 23rd and 24th centuries? What will substitute for greed and the motivation of survival and materialism?

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for the way human beings in the ST Universe have evolved to view and treat everyone equally, leaving bigotry and racism in the past, and I can buy that ending hunger and nearly eradicating disease would alter a society for the better. But it is clear through ST canon that human nature has not changed in any way. There is still murder, war, selfishness, jealousy, envy, and pride, yet somehow greed and the natural desire to obtain something better than your neighbor has is gone?
I suppose one could argue that the Federation simply rewards those who do well with bigger and better things. However, that implies that the government owns everything and there is some big bureaucracy which determines who gets what and why. that implies not only a socialist form of government, but a class system as well. Perhaps because I am a business owner and a pure capitalist, I’m not a fan of that prospect. I supply products and services for which public consumption determines the demand…I am not in charge of a factory fulfilling a government quota. It is the competition in the market which drives myself and my competitors to constantly produce a better and better product and/or level of service. I assure you, it is not some noble idea of bettering the whloe of society or feeling of prestige which drives it. It is, quite frankly, the desire to build wealth. Personally, I supply higher-end retail stores. It seems as though in the ST universe, I might be obsolete, since we are all socialists by then. LOL…

Two weeks ago, a close family member underwent open-heart surgery in the best facility in the United States for such a procedure. That hospital is populated by surgeons from all over the world who left their native countries to practice here because this is where they can compete for the best compensation for their skill. Some of them come from nations who have socialized health care. It doesn’t take much thought to figure out what happens to the quality of health care in those countries when the talent leaves for better compensation.
I say this without the intention of stirring up a hornet’s nest on that particular issue, but to simply emphasize the value of open market competition driven by none other than…money. I don’t think the withdrawal of that factor would have a positive effect on the quality of much of anything…

#37—“I just finished directing a play, and during rehearsals, I often found myself saying, “Shatner it down a notch” or “Shatner it up a notch,” to get the right level of broadness from my actors. They all knew what I meant.”

So would I! LOL.

Shatner’s overacting is one of his charms as Captain Kirk. It isn’t really an insult. Not every actor, of course, could pull it off so endearingly, but he and anyone else can deny it all day. It is there for everyone to see. Satirists and comedians may crank it up another notch when doing a Shatner impression, but the excessive pauses and hilarious levels of exaggerating inflection in his speech on the set are legendary. Nick Meyer said he had to “wear Bill out” sometimes to get a take where he wasn’t overdoing it too much on the set of TWOK.

That was meant for #35, sorry…

The money issue in Trek is one that is always interesting to debate, and it is one which makes me recall my university studies of the roots of Marxism, and Kant’s theory of dialectic that history exists as the result of societal conflicts.

The resolution of one of these conflicts leads to a new order, which eventually will fall as the next opposition comes. And then a new order, blah blah. Until it ends. It’s been referred to as the “end of history,” when humanity perfects itself, and there is no longer the need for an opposition. This is the world of 23/24th century Trek.

Marx made the working class the “owners of the means of production” and then Lenin, Stalin and all the other idiots perverted the philosophy for imperialist purposes, and then destroyed millions of lives in many countries. Communism became anachronistic quickly.

There is a basis in history for the consideration of a moneyless society. But as Mr. Poopeyface mentioned, humans would never accept it.

Trek-era Humans would have to live in a benevolent dictatorship, or in some kind of organized anarchic society. In order to represent itself as a member world of a Federation, however, it needs a government, and it needs a currency to trade with other member worlds.

But in Trek, it’s a “suspension of disbelief” thing like warp drive and transporters.

I can’t remember if it was Robert Wise or one of the other ST movie directors who said it, but the director said that when directing Shatner, he’d do many takes of each scene until Shatner began to wear out and didn’t overact so much. Then the last take would be the one that’s printed and used. Pretty funny. Of course, Shatner would probably deny it.

In regards to the money issue – it has been stated in TNG era (FC – really, that explains it quite clearly, IMO) immediately comes to mind) a fundamental change in society occurred when humans realized they were not alone in the galaxy. It caused us to think in bigger terms and want to improve society as a whole – so greed thus became trivial. I agree that a monumental event like that would have to happen to change our instinctual desire to acquire wealth – or we would just evolve into the Ferengi :-)

Well, in #5’s first clip Shatner is playing Mr. Hyde. In the second he’s having a nervous breakdown. How subtle is his acting supposed to be?

Take a look at the winner’s of Academy Award for Best Actor in the last 80 years. About 99% of them are as subtle as a sledgehammer, culminating in this year’s award for Daniel Day Lewis. About the only exception to this I can think of is Adrien Brody’s performance in “The Pianist.”

#35. Beautiful. And truly, a measure of success. I would *love* to see my name become a verb.

If the final printed take of Shatner yelling “Khaaaan!!!!” is the “worn out” take, I’m dying to see what the first few takes were like.

Who’s with me in wanting to see Shatner do a one-man show monologue of his most memorable lines from the Star Trek shows and movies?