Watch: Paul Giamatti Auditions For Star Trek, Recreates His Iconic “Merlot” Moment In Klingon

Actor Paul Giamatti is an Oscar nominee and Emmy winner—and a Star Trek fan. He has expressed his interest in playing a Klingon, and thanks to a Trekkie journalist, he now has a sort of Star Trek audition to make his pitch.

Klingons don’t drink Merlot

Danish movie journalist and friend of TrekMovie Johan Albrechtsen has once again used a non-Star Trek promotional junket to recreate a Star Trek moment. As Paul Giamatti was promoting his award-winning role in The Holdovers, Albrechtsen brought up the actor’s previously expressed interest in playing a Klingon in Star Trek, and then persuaded Giamatti to recreate his famous “I am not drinking any f###ing Merlot!” moment from the 2004 wine-themed film Sideways in Klingon. The moment was then edited to create a new Star Trek “audition tape” with Giamatti as a Klingon captain, cut into a scene from The Next Generation. Check out the fun video from Moovy TV/:

It makes sense a Klingon would prefer bloodwine to Merlot. To keep things honorable, the expletive was removed from the line, and the Klingon translation was “Merlot vItlhutlhbe.” After recording the video, Albrechtsen reached out to the Klingon Language Institute, which deemed the effort “honorable,” pointing out “That tlh combination is tough to pronounce without a little live coaching, so can be forgiven.” They also noted how the line could have been made more emphatic to be a “refusal” to drink the Merlot, giving you “Merlot vItlhutlhQo’!” But they still felt for a nonprofessional Klingon, he did a “great job.” Surely if Giamatti is ever given his chance to play a Klingon in Star Trek, he would be provided with a Klingon coach to perfect his performance.

In a 2019 interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Giamatti said his “dearest wish in the world” would be to play a Klingon, but “for some reason, those jobs don’t come to me.” When Colbert said Giamatti didn’t seem “dangerous enough,” the actor admitted he was flexible, saying “Okay, I could be one of the silly blue guys, I don’t care what it is.”  He then apologized for the “silly” bit.

Giamatti does have experience doing sci-fi with heavy prosthetics. In Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes, he played the orangutan Limbo. He even shot a Pepsi commercial as Limbo.

He joins a growing list of famous actors who have expressed an interest in being in Star Trek, including Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig, Rosario Dawson, Nicolas Cage, James McAvoy, Mila Kunis, and others.

For more nerdiness from Albrechtsen and Moovy TV, check out his 2022 Avatar: The Way Of Water interview with Zoe Saldana about  Na’vi vs. Klingon.


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If only someone could come up with a proper script to match his talent . . .

Reach out to Melinda Snodgrass, she could write The Measure of a Fat Man (i feel okay saying this, since I put on 40 pounds recently and both look & feel awful.)

I remember reading somewhere that SIDEWAYS was the best fantasy film ever made: if Paul Giamatti could land Virgina Madsen then maybe the rest of us poor schlubs had some hope.

Yeah, I remember being weirdly jealous of Vincent Spano while watching (and rewatching) CREATOR in the theater back in the 80s, because Virginia Madsen was just such a combination of adorable and luscious (before she went all weird-platinum) in that and in ELECTRIC DREAMS, which i recently broke down and bought a digital copy of since it seems MIA on homevid dis (much like CREATOR … is there an anti-Madsen conspiracy?)

A few years later, I was spending an unfortunately long stretch living with a woman who was an absolute dead ringer for Greta Scacchi (this was during the short time span when I looked a lot like Kyle MacLachlan – some of the pictures we took together looked like somebody airbrushed them from movie stills, as this was pre-photoshop), to the point that when we went into a video store that had A MAN IN LOVE on display in the new release section, she turned the box around facing backwards, because it just looked exactly like her. I even had to rather massively tell my stepdad off when he saw a Scacchi movie called WHITE MISCHIEF and called me on the phone to ask if that is what my girlfriend looked like naked. (He’s dead now, so I can shout resoundingly, YES!)

Turns out she was on and off antipsychotic meds the whole time I knew her (though I didn’t know it at the time), explaining how it seemed like I was with Jekyll and Hyde, but it did prove the old Spock adage of wanting a thing and having a thing not being quite congruent (she actually destroyed every copy — hard and disc — of the first screenplay i ever wrote, along with a lot of other stuff, for which I have no forgiveness, even with her illness in mind.)

Damn, a Scacchi lookalike? My respect for you just went off the charts.

Honestly, as good as she looked, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t have.

She was that messed up. She even tried to get in touch with me a few years ago after decades of blessed radio silence, trying to get me to provide a personal reference for some business job. I felt like replying, “Sure, soon as you can go back in time and NOT hide all my pre-interview notes the day I interviewed Nick Meyer!” But I maintained radio silence. Don’t know whether that was maturity or just exhaustion, but I had had enough of her.

I had a similar relationship with a young woman when I lived in Fort Lauderdale. She was from Trinidad, and was gorgeous, looking a bit like Maren Jensen from the original “Battlestar Galactica.” She was also fairly nuts, but it did my insecure ego a world of good to be seen with her in public, so I carried on with the relationship long past the point it was prudent.

It’s the ‘bless the knowledge/curse the lesson’ thing, isn’t it? I have intense memories of how ‘fun’ it was to hang onto the hood of a car as it spun donuts, even though centripetal (centrifugal?) forces were slowly peeling me off and almost over the side between the wheels. It was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done (and I did it a bunch of times, at first while shooting a little super-8 movie and then even when cameras weren’t rolling), especially when I remember reading about other kids playing ‘Starsky&Hutch’ who got run over and killed doing the same moronic thrillseeking thing.

The funny thing with my version of ‘Greta’ was that her older sister had super great taste in reading and writing, and offered some solid criticism on my TREK specs before I submitted them. By that time I started to realize I was with the wrong sister, though in all honesty they were both the wrong sister, as the elder one wound up turning into a Holy Roller after she divorced her very nice first hubby.

Wow kmart, sorry to hear it, but then I was involved with somebody a year after after my missus passed, and it was an almost year-long nightmare, akin to your “A”. I lost my entire savings account as a result, so even though I am in better condition now, physically and otherwise, am not in a rush to get back in the “pool” so to speak, after having had my own “shark.” Made me realize how fortunate I was to have the lovely “S” in my life for our three too-short decades before awful the “big C” took her away.

Life goes on 4 years later, wiser thanks to “S” but now much emptier. Grateful for the lessons learned from the “T” person, but very much emptier without my beloved “S”

…as always, working on another project,

the Other

Christina seems to be free of the cancer for the moment, so the surgery and a rather brutal series of chemo sessions seem to have done their job (at the cost of massive neuropathy amid other side effects we weren’t fully advised on.) But even though it was caught as a stage one, it is clear cell ovarian, which always recurs, so we’re just living 90 days at a time between tests now.

Here’s to positive, healing vibes in Christina’s direction. Please pass along my good thoughts and best regards. To you also, Kev. <3

HA! Ironic considering Virgina Madsen did Star Trek :-P

“I put on 40 pounds recently” What??!! I’ve never heard of such a thing. Hope you’ve seen a doctor, Kev!

I’ve lost 100+lbs. since my wife of 30 years died suddenly, almost 4 yrs ago. Life stuff and non health issues can sometimes cause a seismic change in body weight. Stress can do it.

Well, that’s always the rub. I don’t even hate on INSURRECTION as much as some; still, it was a crying shame how much F. Murray Abraham (who gave possibly my fav performance of all time in AMADEUS) was wasted in that film.

Still, I’d love to see Giamatti in a Trek project, film or television.

I really thought Abraham was wasted in THE NAME OF THE ROSE, which is a good film I find myself not often rewatching. My fave with him is a relatively small role in THE BIG FIX (a movie that THE BIG CHILL probably wishes it could be), where he is basically playing a slightly fictionalized Abby Hoffman, who while still underground from the law, reinvented himself as a suburban-homed advertising man. Cooking burgers in the back yard while shouting ‘power to the people’ with a spatula in his hand is still just a classic image of hi for me, 45years later.

I found THE NAME OF THE ROSE to be a weird film in general, perhaps intentionally. While it certainly has plenty of atmosphere and good character actors, it doesn’t really seems to come together in the end, which could be why it is very hard to rewatch.

The moment when Connery is in the burning library and realizing he can’t save it is awesome, but tonally the rest of the film is just all over the place, and the Holmes references seem very heavy-handed. Yet Connery won a BAFTA for it. Kinda offsets THE PRESIDIO for me, in which he tries too hard to be emotionally compromised and it doesn’t work (unlike OUTLAND, where it did work. Weird that anybody’s best work would be done for Peter Hyams, and I say that even though I enjoyed my annual rewatch of CAPRICORN ONE this last weekend and look forward to the first three-quarters of THE STAR CHAMBER sometime soon.)

Weird that you mention Outland. I always found Connery’s role in that to be basically Bond in space. Don’t get me wrong though, it is one of my favorite Connery films.

I think the film is pretty stupid myself (you can read Harlan Ellison’s review of the film to get a far more entertaining description of its shortcomings than I can provide), but still rewatch it often because Connery brings such conviction to the role (plus I really love the miniature work and think most of the film is well-cast, though Boyle seems off. Killed me when I finally realized that the African-American deputy is the same actor who played Freamon on THE WIRE.)

I remember the ‘eyes only’ screen appearing in OUTLAND getting a big laugh in the theater, so the Bond connection does surface a couple times, but I think there’s more of a raw feel to his work here, like his wife leaving being a scab torn off, that seems authentic. The handball scene with Sternhagen really works for me.

My faves with him remain THE WIND & THE LION, MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, ROBIN & MARIAN, THE HILL, THE MOLLY MAGUIRES and his early Bonds, especially FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. I often wonder what NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN might have turned out like if they’d gotten Terence Young to direct it and keep Connery on course, because he seems to be verging on Roger Moore territory for parts of the film, and that isn’t playing to strength IMO.

Paramount would put him under 20 pounds of latex and make him unrecognizable.

You mean like every Klingon (and Alien) since TMP? Could you tell that was Mark Lenard under all that?

No, but I could recognize Christopher Lloyd and Christopher Plummer in III and VI. Couldn’t recognize Elba in Beyond.

A good actor can act even though he is in prosthetics and make up. You don’t recognize the actors in Planet of the Apes… John Hurt in The Elephant Man… Jeff Goldbloom in The Fly… Jim Carry in The Grinch… should I go on?

I know Roddy McDowall was one of the apes, but no… only recognized by voice. Goldblum was himself for 90% of The Fly. Carrey we have to agree to disagree about ‘good actor’. :-) Did anyone recognize Elba in Beyond? I doubt it.

Ironically, Paul Giamatti was in the Planet of the Apes remake with Mark Wahlberg (which is also posted in the article above.) And he had absolutely no problem acting behind an Ape make up.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying actors can’t act in make-up, I’m saying they’re often unrecognizable, which diminishes the point of hiring a big name in the first place.

Then why have Bradley Cooper as Rocket? Why have Vin Diesel as Groot? Why have Helena Bonham Carter in Planet of the Apes? Know what I’m saying?

I think most of the audience didn’t recognize Lloyd till the daylight scenes on Genesis, because I remember a kind of general murmur-titter when he was out strangling the worm. (reading that, I’m sure somebody is going to create a ‘Kruge out strangling the worm’ meme for masturbation jokes.)

I remember going crazy trying to figure out who was doing the ‘genesis is planet forbidden’ character, and had a good laugh years later when I finally realized I knew him from various BARNEY MILLER episodes as well as tons of other TV work. But he is totally unrecognizable beneath the latex and twigs stuck in his face.

I think most of the audience didn’t recognize Lloyd till the daylight scenes

I think the voice really did it for most in the audience, especially those who’d watched Taxi. That was Reverend Jim right off. But yeah, he is still pretty recognizable even with the forehead. The Fu Manchu mustache didn’t really disguise him.

And weirdly enough, I don’t know about the validity of this bit of trivia from the Insurrection IMDB trivia page but they were actually thinking about getting Arnold Schwarzzenneger for the role of Ruafo. Now that would have been totally bonkers and probably another Batman and Robin in the making.

I don’t remember hearing that, but I do remember Gene Hackman being talked up for a role, though I don’t know if it was Doherty or Ruafo. Hearing Hackman rework his CRIMSON TIDE shtick and say, ‘I’m in command here jean-luc, now kindly shut the f up!” would have been priceless.

I think this is the movie where Robert Downey couldn’t get insured. Assume he was up for Ruafo’s flunky, can’t imagine what else he could play.

Hackman as Doherty would have been awesome. Zerbe just comes out as a wuss in most of his scenes. He lacked that certain commanding element that a role like that needed.

I remember thinking Zerbe was ticking off franchise boxes at that point, having already done a Bond film and a few years later doing a MATRIX sequel. He was a really fine actor but the Doherty character seemed to be missing a vital component to the point of being a pushover for Ruafo.

Amen to that…

would be great … wishes …

Muchly appreciated by me was Mr. Giamatti’s performance as Abraham Zapruder (The 8mm home movie filmer) of PARKLAND, the only *sane* (IMHO) dramatization of the JFK assassination and surrounding events. Put him “on the map” for this Giamatti fan.

Doesn’t even EXECUTIVE ACTION count as sane for you? I just heard about a French film from 79 that is coming out on blu-ray and apparently very good as well, has somebody like Yves Montand in it, though it is set in an unnamed fictitious country.

I’ve always thought THE PACKAGE was a great riff on the JFK assassination, especially how they set up the patsy, which may well echo what happened with Oswald (sorry, falling down a rabbit hole again!)

I think for all his talent that Giamatti can be miscast. There was a movie with him and Clive Owen over a decade back that looked great in trailer form, but was just godawful, and neither of these guys (I consider them both excellent actors) could save it. Then again, Julia Roberts was in it, and except for CLOSER (again with Owen), I’ve never enjoyed anything with her in it, ever. If Roberts and Cruise worked together it would be the perfect storm, a movie I would never see under any circumstances

Off topic, I picked up the VOYAGE s1 pt1 set, but have found it kinda rough going. Finally after all these decades did see the Ellison ep, or most of it, and saw that instead of Cordwainer Bird his credit is Cord Wainer Bird, so I guess they screwed over his pseudonym too!

I’ve not seen EXECUTIVE ACTION, so don’t have an opinion on it. Recall that you and I have never had a lot in common as far as movie/TV interests, beyond the ST movies and a handful of other SF genre films. My interests were formed primarily by the cheapies of the ’50s and early ’60s releases and syndication TV airings of same, that friends of that time and I hungrily glommed onto, spurred by the ever-presence of zines like FM and COF, and the ragged newsprint paper Charlton anthology comics of that period. The only other “JFK assassination film” of interest (to me) was Larry Buchanan’s rushed (Dec 63-Jan 64) TRIAL OF L.H.O. feature, shot in the Dallas area mere weeks after 11/22/63. Interesting to see now as the first of the flicks on the matter (and was recently re-released as a $7.99 DVD).

As for VOYAGE, yeah S1 is turgid viewing to say the least. Other than the Duvall episode and a few others, I’m not a fan. It took the color of S2 to breathe some life into the show.

I remember that Sean Young and Bruce Davison and Robin Williams were gaga to do TNG, too.

They’re utter fools not to have jumped all over this Giamatti thing in ’19, it is like Whoopi offering way back when.

And Herb Wright even got Arnold interested, though I guess that went away when TPTB fired Wright for the second time …

And its weird, because I just picked up a used blu-ray of a TREK fanfilm called RENEGADES that has actually GOT Sean Young in it, along with the kid from T2, the PARKER LEWIS CAN’T LOSE guy and George’s Yankees boss from SEINFELD as well as various Trek alumni. Could only get through a few minutes of it, as I’m not a fan of these things, but the space VFX were definitely better than I would have expected, and a lot easier on the eyes than the stuff in the current batch of official shows.

I saw “Renegades” and noted with sadness how Sean Young managed to implode her career to the extent that a fan film was the most high profile thing she’d done in years. I don’t know if she was ever all that good of an actor, but if she’d minded her Ps and Qs there might have been a few more ingenue roles in the cards for her.

(Of course Alan Ruck also deigned to be in “Renegades” and just came off the career high of “Succession,” so you never know.)

Young’s interviews in that DUNE book I mentioned a ways back reveals a very practical Spencer-Tracy-style view of acting that surprised me given her flaky rep. She also thought that for all the hard work put in by most folks, that there wasn’t ever the synergy that she associated with big successful projects. (I assume she is referencing STRIPES, since BLADE RUNNER wasn’t really considered successful for quite awhile, except by a few filmgoers and me.)

I think the only thing I’d seen her in this century was a couple episodes of some reality show where everybody was an ex-alcoholic or something like that (I remember that another cast member was a rapper with a big clock on his chest.) I thought she came off very sympathetic, but perhaps it was just ‘act-ing,’ as Mr. Lovitz might say.

I came across a link to a Young interview from a few years back this morning. It mentions her being surprised she got passed over for Marion in RAIDERS after a couple of callbacks, and reveals Carl Reiner painting her in a very favorable light and Spielberg and Beatty in a not-at-all favorable light.

I remember reading in CFQ how Ray Bradbury was calling Spielberg ‘not a very nice man’ over how he hot-potatoed SOMETHING WICKED without ever saying a word, so it maybe shouldn’t be a total surprise to me, but I do have to also hink that maybe Young might have been considered too tall by some for Ford compared to original Indy Tom Selleck, who has like 5″ on him. Then again she got BLADE RUNNER with him, so maybe not (or maybe Ridley likes taller women, given his relationship with Joanna Cassidy and also casting Daryl Hannah on the film.)

Interestingly, she again talks about a kind of practical approach to doing the work and how it is more common with crew than with ‘stars’ which does make me wonder how much of her bad press is from disgrunted folks (for example, I didn’t know that James Woods lost his harassment suit against her, which may suggest it wasn’t genuine?)

All these actors keep bringing this up and Kurtzman has not been able to do one single cameo for any of them in the past seven years? WTF?

This tickles me so.

I want to see him follow it up with “I’m not drinking any f****** Chateau Picard”.

sour mead indeed.

Love it. He’s a national treasure, that guy.

Would live to see Dr. Boyce from “The Cage” appear on SNW. Paul Giamatti or J. K. Simmons would be great choices.

Once again, it is a HUGE honor to have my shenanigans shared by you lovely folks at TrekMovie! :-D And thank you all for the lovely comments – I’m still grinning from the “I’m not drinking any f****** Chateau Picard” comment!! :-D

That was fun. Thanks!

By the by, it might be worth mentioning here that Giamatti has a podcast called Chin Wag where he and guests discuss the paranormal and related tangents. I’ve yet to listen to all the episodes, but it’s probably a safe bet Trek comes up now and then. Anyway, a fun listen.

Awesome actor.

I can see him in Lower Decks.


Maybe there is a parallel Trek universe out there where Giamatti is Picard, Tom Hanks is Spock, Rosario Dawson is Worf etc… and we have yet to see it. Someone can visit that universe and make it happen. Also James McAvoy already played one young Patrick Stewart role, he can do it again if they ever want to reboot TNG.

Wow, it’s surprising how many celebrities are also Trekkies. I suppose it shouldn’t, however, considering how well-received Star Trek is. I have been on many film shoots as an Extra, and stood right beside Paul Giamatti on the set of “John Adams” (filmed in the early 2000’s in Virginia), as we shot the “tar and feathering scene” (of a character in the Colonial-era who was found to be a traitor to the Americans, and to which Paul’s character, the title role of America’s second president, did NOT approve of what was being done to the poor lad) and never knew Giamatti liked ‘Trek. There were a bunch of Trekkies on that shoot, as there were on every film project I’ve worked on. Go figure………….

Here’s a pitch: write an episode, or perhaps even a Short Trek, for the character in TOS referred to as “Herbert” – the “minor official,” as Spock termed, him, in “The Way to Eden” – and show why so many of that era’s hippies held him in distain, but “there is far more to him than meets the eye,” as the saying goes, proving that he is NO minor official at all…….

Here’s hoping HE DOES get that chance to be on Star Trek – they’re still filming multiple projects within the ‘Trek saga, so it’s always possible. Alex? Akiva?

I remember reading a good while ago that Rosario Dawson was a fan and would love to be in Star Trek. Wish they had found a role for her noting that “the other franchise” has already moved in her direction. .

Not all Klingons are mighty warriors or soldiers for the empire. I am sure there are Klingon clerks, history teachers, radio network executives, journalists, etc. I am sure Mr. Giamatti would be a great Klingon history teacher at an all-boys prep school in the early 1970s.

Or go in the opposite direction and have him be somebody like Metz in John Ford’s THE FINAL REFLECTION, a guy who is in charge of the secretest of secret forces. I always advocate for somebody filming REFLECTION, even though I’m not really interested in Klingons. It is just a great damn tale, still easily in my top 5 (or top 2) of all Trek novels I read.