William Shatner, aka The Shat, is possibly one of the most contentious figures in Trek Lore.
He’s charming, irascible, controversial, insightful, egotistical and laugh-out-loud hilarious. In one moment he can be self-deprecating, and in the next self-promoting.
And I love the crap out of him.
But I never used to. I didn’t like James T. Kirk as a character, and didn’t give any thought to William Shatner the actor until I watched the oft-debated Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I know most fans don’t like that film, but I do. In fact, in the last decade I’ve re-watched it more than any other TOS film. Yep, some of the effects suck, and Sybok… WTF?! But Kirk’s speech about needing his pain struck a cord in me and it shifted my perception of the character – and then I started to pay attention to the actor, in time for the wonderful Boston Legal.
As a person, you either love him or hate him. As an actor he’s both adored and mimicked, and even now and again ridiculed. As a director, he didn’t really get a chance to shine. There are some shots in ‘The Final Frontier’ that, as a film and TV major and a working actor and director, I just love. Bill has a wonderful eye. When you step back, you can get a feel for what he was trying to achieve, and you can see that he genuinely tried to honour each of the classic seven. It’s unfortunate that he was never allowed to fulfill his vision with Trek-V. I would have loved to have seen him get another shot at the directorial-centre-seat.
The Shat recently answered a bunch of questions via Twitter, and a new Trek news site I stumbled across a couple of months ago has all the news… including something I don’t think I’ve ever heard before, beyond the usual rumours – he was approached to play Captain Kirk on TNG.
The new site (old to some of you no doubt) is TrekNews and the article can be found here.
Go check it out, and take a swim through their site. It’s pretty damn good.