Star Trek’s original Kirk William Shatner is the subject of an extensive feature interview in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. The actor speaks frankly about his career and a bit about his Star Trek co-stars. Excerpts below, plus some bonus Bill videos as well. And Chris Pine, Star Trek’s new Kirk, is also the subject of a new interview, talking about his new film. Excerpts of that below too.
Shatner on acting and Star Trek co-stars
This weekend’s New York Time Magazine has an extensive feature interview with William Shatner, where he talks about his career in Trek and beyond. The full interview is worth the read of any fan of Shatner. Here is just an excerpt of Bill reflecting on his acting:
Shatner became an actor at 6, he said, when he realized he could “make people laugh and cry.” He grinned. “Sometimes they laughed when I played drama and cried when I played comedy.” Then, stentorian again, he intoned: “I. Have. Striven. For. Genius. All. My. Life. But I have known failure.” Shatner was interviewed once by a snarky British talk-show host, who showed scenes from Shatner’s TV cop show, “T. J. Hooker,” and asked, “What do you think about your acting?” Shatner replied: “Oh, I was terrible. How could I have played it that way?” Outside Starbucks, Shatner said to me: “If someone criticizes my acting, they may be right. Sometimes you shouldn’t work so hard” to entertain. Then, softly, he said: “I never thought of myself as a great actor, like Olivier. I was a working actor. I entertained people and always tried to be terrific at whatever it was.” His problem and his salvation. He played so many different roles that “people couldn’t define me like they could De Niro. I took whatever work came my way to pay the bills, even if it wasn’t a decent role.” His motto was “Work equals work,” which destroyed any hope he had of being taken seriously as an actor but also brought him longevity, wealth and fame. “I was always grubbing,” he said. “But I was saying the words somewhere.”
Shatner also discussed the strained relationship with some of his Star Trek co-stars:
I asked him about “Star Trek.” Serious now, he said: “I never thought it’d become a big deal, just 13 episodes and out. I didn’t think I was hard to get along with. There were a few disaffected actors who came in once a week. I had nothing to do with them. Friendly! I was working seven days a week, learning 10 pages of dialogue a day. They had one line! Then after the show was canceled and the ‘Star Trek’ phenomenon began, those actors would go to the conventions. They’d get applause, praise, and begin to think, ‘Hey, I was wonderful, and Shatner stole the spotlight.’ ”
NYT also has some video with Bill as well:
Bonus Bill Video: Jason Alexander’s Shatner impression + clips of Raw Nerve
Seinfeld star (and Voyager guest star) Jason Alexander is a huge Trekkie and big fan of William Shatner. He is one of Bill’s guests for the second season of his Bio Channel talk show Raw Nerve. In the Shatner Project video below you can see clips of Jason’s Raw Nerve episode, plus a post-show interview with Alexander where he talks about Bill and does a great version of the "Risk is our business" speech. Check it out.
Pine on Unstoppable
Star Trek’s new Kirk Chris Pine will next be seen in the Tony Scott movie Unstoppable, where he and Denzel Washington will try and stop a runaway train. Pine spoke to MTV about the new project. Here is an excerpt of Pine talking about working with Washington and Scott and how the new film is like "Star Trek."
MTV: What was your experience like with Mr. Washington and Mr. Scott?
Pine: Well, I grew up watching their movies. One of the first movies I ever fell in love with was "Top Gun," and I’ve been watching Denzel since "Glory," and on and on and on down the line. So, to work with two of my idols was just a dream come true, and I remember a point early on in the process when we all met in Tony’s office in L.A. It was me and Denzel and Tony and we’re kind of shooting the sh– and talking about life, and seeing if our schedules were going to work out to be able to do this movie. And then afterwards, I kind of had this out-of-body experience thing — "I just had a conversation with two of my idols, one of the best actors of all time, one of the best directors of all time. We were talking about maybe doing a film together if our schedules worked out!" [That was] one of those times when you really remember just how lucky you are and how grateful you are to be able to be in the position.
MTV: And for audiences who know you from "Star Trek," what are they going to get out of this film?
Pine: It’s a lot of fun. Like "Star Trek," it has the genetic code of the summer tentpole movie. It’s fun. It’s action-packed, and it’s got some really interesting, complex characters to kind of anchor the whole thing. And Tony always talked about how the movie was like a train. You know, once it gets going, it just does not stop, and Tony doesn’t give you much time to rest or settle in your seat before something happens.
Unstoppable comes out November 12th.
Chris Pine in "Unstoppable"