Today is William Shatner’s 87th birthday and he wants the world to know he is very much alive, even if something you saw on Facebook says otherwise. To celebrate the original Captain James T. Kirk we catch up with what this multi-talent is up to, as he talks about the past and future of Star Trek on the eve of his tour of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan screenings.
Bill takes on Facebook over false death report
Yesterday some users on Facebook had a bit of a scare when a sponsored article from “Avocet Retail Sales” announcing William Shatner was “found dead” showed up in their feeds. This can be seen from a tweet sent to Shatner, with a shot of false report, below.
Unsurprisingly, Shatner was not too pleased with this, firing off a Photon tweet to Facebook asking how they could allow this kind of thing, adding “Thought you were doing something about this?” in an acknowledgement that the social media giant has faced a lot of criticism recently over allowing false and misleading information appearing as news.
After being notified in such a public fashion, Facebook did remove the page reporting on Shatner’s death and he thanked them, noting he is “not planning on dying.” Good to know Bill.
Thank you. I’m not planning on dying so please continue to block those kinds of ads. https://t.co/9f3k3uN5z4— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) March 21, 2018
Shatner reflects on ‘Star Trek II’ as tour begins this weekend
This weekend Shatner begins his tour of screenings of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in the Midwest and Northeast with the first stop in in Milwaukee, WI. Speaking to Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinal, the actor reflected on what made Wrath of Khan work. He notes that 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture “didn’t get good notices,” adding “It moves slowly in the beginning, but you’re kind of captivated by the intrigue. … It’s a good story.”
The actor feels that part of the reason the sequel worked better, was that it was more relatable as it showed Captain Kirk dealing with middle age, noting “As time went on, we tried to give [Kirk] more character.”
And speaking to Milwaukee Magazine, he points to actor Ricarco Montalban as a key to the success of Wrath of Khan:
I think Ricardo Montalbán, who was in the original [“Space Seed”] segment in Star Trek and did the movie, was magnificent. I had seen him years before, but I didn’t quite know him more than to nod in his direction. But I got to know him after making the movie. He became a wonderful acquaintance of mine. I was with him close to the end. I wasn’t there when he died but close to it. He was a wonderful dancer in his earlier years and a wonderful actor and leading man. On top of all of that he was a wonderful guy. I appreciated Ricardo Montalbán more than anybody.
Looks back and forward for Star Trek
In the same interview with Milwaukee Magazine, the actor discussed the impact the original Star Trek had on science fiction:
I think it did a lot. I can’t quantify that. I don’t know how specifically. But Star Trek the series and many of the movies were good science fiction stories. The concept that you need a good story to make a good sci-fi movie became prevalent. I read a lot of sci-fi before I became connected with Star Trek and I got to meet some of the wonderful science fiction writers, who I don’t think are alive today. Science fiction before Star Trek and after Star Trek, I think science fiction propelled Star Trek into being and Star Trek enhanced science fiction from then on.
And when asked about the future of the franchise, Bill gave his thoughts on what might come from the (possibly R-rated) Quentin Tarantino Star Trek project in development, saying:
[laughs] God knows what he’s going to do. He’s a madman. He’s been a fan of Star Trek for a long time. I’ll be as interested as everybody else to see what he does.
Trip to Destination Germany added to Shatner Star Trek Con charity contest
William Shatner recently launched a new charity contest to win a prize package that includes a trip for two to join him at the Star Trek Las Vegas Convention this summer. This week Shatner announced another prize, this time to join him at the Destination Star Trek Convention in Germany. For more information, visit omaze.com/shatner.
Shatner working on Christmas album too
In a recent update we reported that William Shatner is working on a country music album. He has since revealed he is working with Jeff Cook of the band Alabama on that Heartland Records release. But, that is not all on Bill’s musical menu for 2018 as he has revealed to the Journal Sentinel that he is also working on an “an offbeat Christmas album” saying “I’ve got all my tracks down.” Previously Shatner provided his unique rendition of “Good King Wenceslas” to the 2009 compilation album The Sounds of Christmas 2009.
Acknowledging the variety of all of his continuing projects, Shatner said “I have to make people laugh and think,” adding “I’m busy on all fronts.”
Happy Birthday, Bill
That’s it for this Shatner update. We hope you all join us in wishing Bill the happiest of birthdays.