William Shatner Interview
On November 13, The Book Report welcomed William Shatner, best known as STAR TREK's Captain Kirk, but lately a bestselling author of books like his new QUEST FOR TOMORROW. Our interviewer was Sean Doorly -- Bookpg SD.
Bookpg SD: Welcome Mr. Shatner to AOL.
William Shatner: It is a pleasure to be with you in this auditorium --- maybe I can satisfy some of your hungering curiosity.
Bookpg SD: Why the new series for QUEST FOR TOMORROW?
William Shatner: It is an entertaining series of books --- I have a font of stories that I think should engross you --- hopefully not gross you. And I like to write.
Bookpg SD: Teen Illiteracy is one your causes. Are there any others?
William Shatner: Teenage illiteracy is an object for the QUEST FOR TOMORROW series and I personally have many other causes that I invest my time in --- namely children and animal charities.
Bookpg SD: PhineasBog: I am your biggest fan. Will we be seeing you in any feature films in the near future? (A question from TBR's message boards)
William Shatner: I am glad to talk to my biggest fan. The previous biggest fan was 350 pounds! As for other movies --- indeed I hope so. This morning, I was talking to a producer about GROOM LAKE --- a film from a script of mine. I would direct and act in it. It is about the mysterious goings on at GROOM LAKE --- area 51 --- the location for much airforce UFO experimentation.
Question: Why do you feel public interest in space exploration has declined, but interest in science fiction has skyrocketed?
William Shatner: Sci-fi films are the epic films of the day because we can no longer put 10,000 extras in the scene --- but we can draw thousands of aliens with computers. And space exploration at the moment is being done by machines which have little or no personality.
Question: Mr. Shatner, Do you like living in Kentucky? I am a HUGE fan of yours and Star Trek. Will they do a reunion show? Would like to see the old gang back together again! Capt. James T. Kirk Fan Forever Crafter 282 aka D.J
William Shatner: I love Kentucky and I love my horses and as much as I love the cast --- you can't put a saddle on Jimmy Doohan! Whereas I can with my horses. I think I will stick with the horses and wait for a reunion show at the moment just before Alzheimers hits.
Bookpg SD: Do you have any comments on how a few of the TREK actors have bad- mouthed you?
William Shatner: I think only fond thoughts about everybody and they needed something to sell their books on --- otherwise I am sure they love me.
Bookpg SD: Did you really have as much fun during the making of the series?
William Shatner: Absolutely --- there was a great deal of camaraderie.
Question: Were you a sci-fi buff before playing Kirk or did the series spark your interest?
William Shatner: I was and it did. I enjoyed reading all the classic authors like Isaac Asimov and Bradbury.
Question: What do you think are some of the qualities a great work of science fiction should possess?
William Shatner: The basic quality that any great story must have is a story that illustrates the human condition. In addition to that, the wide-ranging imagination of fictionalized science and the occasional obligatory sex scene.
Bookpg SD: Do you now consider yourself an author or actor?
William Shatner: I am both and a couple of other things. I am interested in a variety of things. I am fascinated by directing films, I love computer-generated art, I'm a sportsman --- mainly horses. I love show horses and western horses. And much more, but time and the chat room forbid.
Question: This is to Bill Shatner when he comes on. Hey Capt. how is that Klingon horse?
William Shatner: It grew a bump on its forehead and became a unicorn.
Question: Mr. Shatner, I was wondering if you feel that acting was more fulfilling to you, or writing, and why?
William Shatner: Acting is easier --- writing is more creative. The lazy man vies with the industrious.
Question: What is the current status of Tek World?
William Shatner: The current status is shutdown but it has had a wonderful life in the form of 10 novels, four movies, 22 hours of TV, comic books and its own game. If the USA Network had been wise enough, they would have renewed it.
Question: Captain Kirk. I'm very glad you can be with us tonight. <from your true Trekkie: Naomi H.> By the way, I think I ask for all of us when I ask...when will you be appearing in another Star Trek movie? (STAR TREK: RESURRECTION, doesn't sound that bad!)
William Shatner: There was only one resurrection --- look what that wrought! I think fate is not on our side. Write your local congressman.
Bookpg SD: How does it feel to be so adored?
William Shatner: It is not as bad as a sharp stick in the eye.
Question: What was your favorite Star Trek movie/episode to do?
William Shatner: Rather than talk about my favorite episode, why don't I talk about IN ALIEN HANDS which is at the moment my favorite book. I think you will find it to be a page-turner. I wonder if Jane Fonda calls her man a page-turner? But I guarantee you you won't be able to put the book down --- mostly because there is glue on the cover. But seriously --- it is a good read. And it is getting wonderful reviews.
Bookpg SD: Will there be any more QUEST FOR TOMORROW books?
William Shatner: Oh, yeah, I am working on the third one right now. DELTA SEARCH was the first one --- it's in paperback.
Question: Acting, directing, writing... Which brought you MOST satisfaction in your career and why?
William Shatner: Each satisfies another nerve center. I think the acting satisfies the need and desire for approval. Writing is truly a creative art --- putting word to a blank piece of paper and ending up with a full-fledged story rife with character and plot. Directing combines both of those and more --- it is very political as well and ultimately could be the most satisfying. I hope I will be directing more in the future.
Bookpg SD: Will you be writing anymore Star Trek novels?
William Shatner: Yes! The fourth will be called SPECTER --- it will be out next year.
Question: When will the book be available in the UK?
William Shatner: I am not sure --- check your bookstores --- it should be in the next few months.
Bookpg SD: Have you ever surfed the web for sites dedicated to you?
William Shatner: I personally don't know how to even turn on the computer --- but I have been told there are a lot of people who have sites. Well, they have lost sight of the fact that I will have my own site in the very near future --- watch for it!
Question: In one of your Trek films you went to the centre of the universe and met some big bad god like character. If I remember the film never really explained who he was or why he was there. Can you?
William Shatner: Logical explanations are not what to look for in Star Trek --- follow the premise or turn to Jeopardy.
Question: Your work on Twilight Zone was legendary. What was it like to work with Rod Serling?
William Shatner: He was one of the great men and he was a first-class writer. He also has that deep voice which everybody imitates.
Bookpg SD: How was it working with Roddenberry?
William Shatner: Gene did not have Rod's voice --- his was a hoarse whisper --- you could put a good saddle on him. But he was another creative mind --- which was admirable and that is what I did. I admired him.
Bookpg SD: Looking back did you ever imagine Trek would be so big?
William Shatner: That we would get renewed the next year --- that was the big concern.
Question: Which role are you the most proud of and why, and which role do you wish you had played and why?
William Shatner: Probably the creation of Captain Kirk --- I am very proud of that. It was a role that I had to work, mostly by instinct, because there was no time in the schedule to practice and rehearse ---everything was done immediately. When I look back on some of those films I think some of it is really good. Some I wish I could do over. All in all, Kirk's character is something I am very proud of.
Question: Hi! I recently saw you on Strange Universe! Can you validate anything you said on that show? What are some of your views on the supernatural? Thanks! :)
William Shatner: Remind me what I said --- I will certainly validate it --- although we usually ask people to pay for their own parking. I think the supernatural is a catch-all for everything we don't understand about the vast other parts of life that we cannot perceive. We know that there is a huge spectrum of light and a range of sound that we can't hear. So we dimly recognize that there is a whole universe that is beyond our abilities to comprehend. Even though we have mechanically amplified our ability to perceive. So the supernatural becomes that mystical unknown --- we refer to it as the unconscious, heaven, maybe even God.
Question: Are you starring in any upcoming films?
William Shatner: I am working on a four-hour miniseries --- based on my book MAN O' WAR. I have pitched the UPN network, an idea for a talk show that I would host. I mentioned GROOM LAKE before. I am working on the fourth Trek novel. As well as novel about the Star Trek Conventions. Mostly, I am trying to get the word out on IN ALIEN HANDS.
Bookpg SD: What is the weirdest thing that happened to you at conventions?
William Shatner: Let me count the ways --- I've had pies thrown at me, I have had naked things thrust themselves upon me. All in all, I'd rather have the pie. There have been the strangest costumes I have ever seen. But if you want to know the truth, the weirdest thing that has happened has been my discovery that people who attend the conventions are filled with love.
Question: Is there anything that you don't enjoy about being so well known as Captain Kirk?
William Shatner: Eating spaghetti in public. The precise instant that the spaghetti tip flips into your face, someone is sure to come over and ask for an autograph.
Question: Mr. Shatner, How many books do you feel you will possibly write for QUEST FOR TOMORROW?
William Shatner: I have been asked to write three --- but if the sales on IN ALIEN HANDS are big, HarperCollins will probably ask for more.
Question: Mr. Shatner, how does it feel to become a living legend, and to be able to come into everybody's houses by being on television?
William Shatner: I feel somewhat like a catburgler --- stealing the affections of the audience in the sanctity of their home BUT I feel good! In the words of James Brown "I feel good."
Bookpg SD: We are out time. Thank you so much for joining us tonight Mr. Shatner.
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