Chris Pine: I didn’t go to Shatner-ville

In a new interview with Crave Online promoting his new film Bottle Shock, the new James T. Kirk for  Star Trek, Chris Pine talked a lot about how he appraoched the role and specifically how he did (or did not) emulate William Shatner’s performance.. 


Excerpts from Crave Online:

Crave Online: …what did you bring to Star Trek?

Chris Pine: I think what’s new about this particular version of Star Trek and what J.J. and Bob and Alex were able to bring to it that’s new and really exciting is an incredible amount of humanity to the roles. For a project that can be so, there’s a lot of spectacle to it, there’s explosions and graphics and computer graphics and that. There’s a lot of, it is really character driven. You really get to see why Kirk is Kirk, why Spock is Spock, how this crew got together. He, I think they did an incredible job of casting. Bottle Shock is a good ensemble that works well together. You have to believe that these people would fight and die for one another. That’s what made The Original Series so good and I think they did that. When people see what Zach did with the role and what Karl did with his role, what Zoe did with Uhura, she really expanded on a role that I think people will be really surprised and really excited.

Crave Online: Did you try and emulate William Shatner?

Chris Pine: I think what J.J. set forth in the beginning of the whole thing was to pay tribute to what was done before, to respect what these men had already given us in terms of creating their characters and then to bring our own unique take on it. I think that opened up just really myriad possibilities. I never felt in particular, I don’t know about Zach but I’m sure he would say the same thing is, I never felt encumbered. I only felt, "Thank God that we were given such a great foundation for these characters because I don’t really have to do all that much different from what they’ve given us." Then J.J. being the kind of wonderful, positive creative force that he is kind of let us do whatever we wanted.

Crave Online: But are you ever tempted to do the Shatner dramatic pauses, just once?

Chris Pine: You know, really what Mr. Shatner did was very specific and very unique to him. All I really tried to do is do justice to what he did. I think if I went to mimic-ville, I went to try to do Shatner-ville, it would not have been smart. J.J. never really asked for that so it was finding the balance I think between what was done before.

More from Pine about Star Trek at Crave Online

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It’s been said before…I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS MOVIE!!!

First. Anticipation builds.

I wouldn’t mind a single Shat-delivery homage line. But other than that, this is good news.

I honestly have no idea what to expect. Mainly because I can’t imagine Kirk NOT sounding like Shatner – it’s the voice I hear in my head when I’m reading Kirk’s dialogue in various Trek books, comics, what have you.

That said, I’m VERY interested in seeing another take on Kirk (besides Cawley’s, which has really grown on me) that gets the character across without Shatner’s mannerisms and delivery…

Ugh, Cawley’s “Jim Carrey-inspired” Elvis impersonator? No, please no!

I think Pine will be just fine.

Why did these goons have to push my happiness back six months?

#4. I too have grown to like Cawley after initially dismissing him because he just wasn’t Shatner but who is? I think he’s done a fine job and his love for TOS definitely comes through. I’m just hoping Chris Pine gives the role the respect it deserves. Everything I’ve read so far indicates he has. Heres hoping…

Enough talk! Time for a preview!

Shatner’s Kirk has been parodied so many times that if Pine did go to Shatner-ville it wold turn the film into Galaxy Quest. Not that GQ wasnt a good film, but that is not the kind of movie JJ is making.

I agree. If he parodies Shatner you might as well bury the franchise.

I was watching the Princess Diaries 2 recently (I know, kind of scary). Anyway, watching Chris Pine, I was like, Yes, that’s Kirk right there. The way he smiled and the way he talked was just Kirk Kirk Kirk.

I think they cast the role perfectly. Of course, we’ll only know for sure when we see the movie.

i wish i had a house in Shatner-ville

I appreciate the fact that Pine is deliberately avoiding a Shatner impression. He has been in the unenviable position of portraying a character that everyone but Shatner (or Cawley) has reduced to a caricarure. I think people are going to be surprised that someone else might play Kirk while avoiding sinking into a bad Shatner impression.

Give me an arrogant/confident captain with some swagger and I’ll be happy.

I like Pine’s sentiment and enthusiam. He really likes this, his thoughts fall through a wormhole. I’m really really glad you ran this, it’s bizarre to read, like a transcript of an Arkham patient. Glad he’s not immitating The Shat, no way to reconcile the start and finish of the same sentence.

#11 you could go fishing in Kirk Creek and have a drink of ROmulan Ale at Bill’s Bar

Thomas — since when had Shatner NOT reduced Kirk to a caricature? One of the big fears of putting him in the movie is that you’d somehow get Shatner vintage STV. Maybe if JJ put a phaser to his head, Shat could call up the introspective, wisened aspect of his famous character for an appearance in 12 or 13. Otherwise, I’m still holding out hopes for a classy voice over, a la “Give me a tall ship and a star to steer her by…,” to take us into the closing credits.

Maybe it’s just me, but can you imagine Trek without Shatner? That being said, with his one performance, I think Jeffery Hunter would have made a great captain but he’s JUST NOT SHATNER!!!

Oddly, I will be driving through Pineville tomorrow – but I won’t be stopping.

“since when had Shatner NOT reduced Kirk to a caricature?”

First Season Kirk was no caricature.

Okay, I admit that at some point (probably STV) Shatner stopped doing Kirk and it became Shatner as Shatner. I was thinking of Shatner as Kirk in the 60’s TOS era. Anyway, based on StarTrekkie’s recommendation, I might have to watch the Princess Diaries 2 just to see Pine’s performance. I have seen nothing of his acting work.

Pan Always Bored Me-
“..can you imagine Trek without Shatner?”

Yes, I can. I can imagine four Trek television series without him.

You know, even Shatner didn’t do everything Shatner style. It’s not as if every single Kirk line was… WROUGHT… through… draMATIC!… (close up, throaty) …pauses.

This makes me so happy: “What Zoe did with Uhura, she really expanded on a role that I think people will be really surprised and really excited.” I hope this means Uhura’s a major character.

…Yeah, Pine just doesn’t have the guts to be Shatner :-) :-P

…Whoops. Meant that in the singular :-/

@15 yea drink romulan ale and blood wine at bill’s bar and get into fights with klingons,
then tell all women how big my starship is , thats the dream in Shatner-ville

#10:”I was watching the Princess Diaries 2 recently (I know, kind of scary). Anyway, watching Chris Pine, I was like, Yes, that’s Kirk right there. The way he smiled and the way he talked was just Kirk Kirk Kirk.”

Absolutely agreed. You know that last speech his character has, where he’s telling the nobles that if they’re smart they’ll make whatshername the queen and he ends up with “And just think how lovely she’ll look on our postage stamp” – I watched that and I knew this guy’s going to be a great Kirk. :-)

Star Trekkie, I watched Smokin Aces on HBO the other day, and after watching him on top of Ben Affleck playing with his mouth and I thought if Chris Pine can play this part he can do anything. That character was from downtown crazyville. Perfect practice for talking to people dressed up as aliens and keeping a straight face.

Shatnerville’s not so bad, but Shatsburg is awful. My cousin just came back from a week in Cabo San Shatner, and he said it was great, though.

Maybe Pine watched a lot of Denny Crane?

@26 someone should upload Pine’s key scenes from Princess Diaries 2 to YouTube. All i can find there now are sappy music videos made from the movie.

yes, please do

if Shatner was going to be in the movie, you would probably be hearing Pine singing a different tune. Be it as it is, unllike Zack, Pine had very little interaction with sour grapes Shatner, and thus he could take his role with his spin on Capt James T Kirk.

After watching a couple of episodes of ST TOS RM on the plane back from Vegas yesterday, I don’t think anyone could do justice to Shatners performance without having him in the movie.

This movie will be awesome, T minus less than one year to go.

BTW Zack and Nimoy were awesome together in Vegas, u really could tell they seemed to be not just actors working together, but friends as well.


…for die-hards and the general public alike to accept the new actors once they all walk on the screen for the first time. I imagine it’s going to feel like the umpteenth parody or “SNL” skit of STAR TREK. For the first 5 minutes, I’m sure a good chunk of people will be unconsciously waiting for a punchline!

If Pine WERE to fall into any “Shatner-isms,” the drama would be shattered and the audience will feel that that’s their cue to laugh.

Re #8. Anthony Pascale
“Shatner’s Kirk has been parodied so many times that if Pine did go to Shatner-ville it wold turn the film into Galaxy Quest. ”


I have thought for sometime that Kirk would be the hardest role to get right. Too much Shat and people would groan, not enough and the fanboys yell about not respecting canon.
And for the record, I LOVED Galaxy Quest!

Good answers from Pine. No Shatnerisms, please. I don’t want this movie to be a joke.

Pine simply needs to play a brash (perhaps even arrogant), passionate, loyal, and naturally dominant, alpha male leader his who is just as likely to solve problems with his fists and his…well… you know… as he is with his brain.

That’s James T. Kirk!

We also must remember that this Jim Kirk is a younger man, and likely has not yet fully developed into the command-grade officer we knew as the Captain of the Enterprise. I look forward to seeing such a “transformation” onscreen, as well as the development of the relationships among Star Trek’s “Big Three”.

The first trailer will enough to tell if this film is Star Trek or The Emperor’s New Clothes.

I completely agree with you.
Nobody could touch Shatner in season one. He was young, hungry, eager to prove himself and his acting was top notch.
Watch his face in particular. The subtlety of his expressions are excellent.
But sadly things deteriorated rather quickly to Shatner on all fours imitating a horse on that 3rd season travesty “Plato’s Stepchildren”
It seems that fame can sometimes make an actor become complacent.
Also the hectic schedule of television probably played a part as well.



Maybe it’s just me, but can you imagine Trek without Shatner?

No I can’t.

I think a little Shatner-ville would be nice. It’s a nice little town. somewhere between Mount Pilot and Mayberry.

I also think a really fine actor could find the line to do a little of his take and Shatner’s take. But that’s just me.

#39:”I also think a really fine actor could find the line to do a little of his take and Shatner’s take.”

There’s no reason a really fine actor would want to.

>>34. SPB

. . . If Pine WERE to fall into any “Shatner-isms,” the drama would be shattered and the audience will feel that that’s their cue to laugh.<<

No matter, Paramount’s going to be laughing all the way to the bank with this movie, whether Pine does a brand new, never before conceptualized version of Kirk or his version of the old stand-by. But the fact is, the franchise at this current time is dead, and the meager crumbs we are being fed is truly breathing new life into Trek just by the anticipation alone. . . . So for the record, I’ll give Pine a pass on his version of Kirk for now, the same goes for all the other actors and actresses stepping into the same big shoes that they all have to fill, and I’ll save my judgement till after I see it. I’m going in with the attitude that there will undoubtedly be somethings I’ll love, as well as somethings I’ll have to live with, but the fact of the matter is that I’ll be happy because Star Trek is back! I haven’t missed an opening day yet (yup, even TMP!). And hopefully, I’ll get what I paid for and Paramount will make more. . . LOTS more!

Completely off-topic, but there’s something I just noticed that I wantedto point out here:

If you take a look at the poster for the movie Tropic Thunder, look at the tattoo on Ben Stiller’s right bicep. Being the Trek fan that he is, I think it’s obviously an homage to the emblem of the Terran empire. I just thought I’d point it out.

There was an old Starlog article where Mr. Shatner said, “I am Kirk,” and went on to explain (I’m paraphrasing) the Kirk we see on television is embodied by William Shatner, and, therefore, the two could not be separated. Some people may have misunderstood what he was getting at, but, essentially, I think this is why we think Kirk and see Shatner. Being a Sean Connery fan, I had the same feeling about James Bond. Watching a new actor take on a role so closely associated with a particular actor is not always easy. It could be suicide for the actor (remember George Lazenby?)! Yet, I also used to think of Basil Rathbone eternally as Sherlock Holmes, but Jeremy Brett’s portrayal clearly stands on its own, and definitely won me over. From everything the new cast of Star Trek has said, it seems they are pointedly aware of their position/predicament. They seem respectful of the series and the actors and the fans, so this has got to be more than just a gig for them. I’m glad they aren’t going to simply “copy the habits” of the originals, and I don’t think they are going to do any harm to these roles.

I still don’t think delivering a line or two like Shat would be a bad thing. I’m not saying the whole performance.

It’s possible to pay homage to Shatner’s Kirk without imitating Shatner’s Kirk. It sounds like that is exactly what Pine did. Actor’s can be very subtle in their performances, from time to time.

Ugh, Cawley’s “Jim Carrey-inspired” Elvis impersonator? No, please no!

Why are some Trek fans bent on being so mean spirited and so willing to hurt others with their words? I have earned my living as an Elvis impersonator for over 20 years. In all that time I have never been insulted by one single Elvis fan, not one! and I have performed all over this country. Sadly, I can not make that same claim about my fellow Trek fans. I have been repeatedly insulted, for the last 5 years and I just don’t get why.
More than any of you, I was not happy with my appearance in my earlier film efforts, but I had no choice and simply could not cut my hair or there would have been no money coming in to make New Voyages. What I have tried to do with my performance, particularly of late is to echo some of Mr. Shatner in my Kirk, simply because so much of him and what he brought to the character is Jim Kirk, and also because we are deliberately continuing the original show, not re-imagining it, with a new spin.
As I have said before, My hat is off to J.J. for doing this, and for taking the chance to be kicked in the nuts by the likes of some. Chris Pine is a Gentleman. He treated me so well on set, He even told me it was a Pleasure to meet one of the other two Kirk’s. I was elated with his performance.
I just wish my fellow Trek fans would be less insulting, and try to live up to Star Trek’s ideals. Word’s do indeed hurt people, So think before you type.
James Cawley

And anyway…..why is it okay for Yelchin to pronounce all the “W”s like “V”s because that’s the way Koenig did it and not for Pine to do some Shatner?

Again, I’m not saying an exact imitation but I don’t understand the double standard here. Further more I think it’s incorrect.

Hey man, I like your performance and all your endeavors on your projects.

James Cawley – the hardest working man in Space/show business.

James Cawley — you ARE appreciated by fans for your hard work!!!!

As for Pine doing Shatner. Bottom line, whether you like him or not, there’s only ONE William Shatner. It would be parody or worse if Pine tried to immitate Shat’s style. I’m hoping he just captures the essence of the brash and cocky captain. And most importantly for me, that he and Zach have that chemistry like Leonard and Bill did.

I do like that Pine calls him MR Shatner!

Pine shouldn’t imitate Shatner. Shatner should have been in it as well. This movie will be fine and is a great event to look forward to. The only thing that does not make sense was this issue with Bill. They should have waited to see if they could work him in before meeting him. i find it hard to believe a flashback scene with Leonard would not work. A scene with Pine would be nice.