Saturday, September 17, 2011


Oh Captain, My Captain

Entertainment One has announced that the DVD of William Shatner’s Star Trek interview documentary The Captains will available on October 4.

Directed by Shatner, the film has the original Kirk interviewing his fellow Trek captains Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Avery Brooks (Star Trek: Deep Space 9), Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager), Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise), and Chris Pine (the recent Star Trek movie).

There was no word as to what, if any, extras would be included, or when this film, which was shot in HD, would be available on Blu-ray.

The DVD will retail for $19.98.

J.J. Abrams signs on to direct ‘Star Trek 2′

J.J. Abrams is ready to engage. EW has confirmed that the insatiable media multi-hyphenate has signed on to direct the sequel to his 2009 hit Star Trek. (Vulture first reported the story.) The first film’s screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are penning the screenplay with producer Damon Lindelof, and the main cast — including Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto (pictured, right, with Abrams on the set of the 2009 Trek) — are all set to return. The untitled sequel was originally scheduled to come out June 2012, but the film has moved off of that date to give the writers enough time to polish the script.

Abrams’ first crack in the captain’s chair netted the reboot the highest-ever grosses for a Trek movie, pulling in $257 million domestically, and $385 million worldwide.

William Shatner Says “Star Wars Was Derivative of Star Trek” [Video]

William Shatner chimed in on the ever-popular discussion of which is better, Star Wars or Star Trek, in a video posted to his Youtube channel earlier today.

Star Trek had relationships, conflict among the relationships, stories that involved humanity and philosophical questions.” said Shatner. “Star Wars was special effects. It was ILM at it’s best. First of all, Star Wars is derivative of Star Trek, by what 10, 15, 20 years, something like that?” he added.

Shatner went on to discuss the special effects used in the Star Wars films, the original Star Trek films and JJ Abrams’ 2009 reboot.

Discussing the females in both franchises, Shatner said “Princess Leia, as beautiful as she was and as wonderful an actress as she [Carrie Fisher] is can’t compare to the marvelous heroines we had on Star Trek.”

“I’m not saying that’s just the only thing that makes Star Trek better than Star Wars. I’m saying the stories were better.” Shatner said.

“That would be the perfect union of Star Wars and Star Trek.” Shatner joked about a relationship between Captain Kirk and Princess Leia.

The complete Star Wars saga is set to be re-released tomorrow on Blu-Ray.

Watch the video embedded below.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Selling point: Spock's ear to be auctioned

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek (1979)
Case in point … Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek (1979) Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

Framed above the fireplace or simply sported by its owner, this is one movie collectable that would be a guaranteed conversation starter. One of the ears worn by Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock in the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture is to be auctioned tomorrow.

The appendage, one of Spock's most recgonisable features, is part of a pair acquired from the prop master on the film, and has been lovingly preserved.

"It was carefully wrapped up, which is important because silicone latex can deteriorate," a spokesman for the auctioneers, Premiere Props in Los Angeles, told the Daily Express.

"Spock's ears are an iconic part of Star Trek and fans across the world would love to own it – we've already had lots of bids," he said. Conservative estimates suggest the ear is likely to fetch around £700.

The half-human, half-Vulcan sidekick of Captain Kirk, commander of the USS Enterprise, Spock's curious appearance was initially a concern for producers who feared his satanic looks might scare children.

The ear is the centrepiece of a sale of more than 500 Hollywood props from dozens of films, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones and forthcoming slasher The Roommate. Other items include a Tom Cruise stuntman mask from Mission: Impossible (estimates $200 - $350), a pair of Cher's "personal pants … gold with gold sequins, bell-bottom style ankles, zipper on the back", and Charlton Heston's breeches from The Agony and the Ecstasy (no bids yet).

Meanwhile, Kevin Smith is helping meet the self-distribution costs of his horror film, Red State, by auctioning some of his personal memorabilia next month.

Items up for grabs include Ben Affleck's fake wings from Dogma, a burnt-out cash register featured in Clerks II and a foam rubber fist from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Leonard Nimoy's Transformers 3 Role Ends Star Trek Star's Retirement

Leonard Nimoy's voice role in the upcoming Transformers 3 will end the Star Trek star's retirement, just a year after he announced it.

Michael Bay, the film's director, tells Entertainment Weekly that initially he wasn't sure if he could afford Nimoy's salary. Nimoy has been very choosy about his roles in recent years, and his decision not to reprise his Mr. Spock character for Star Trek: Generations required the film's screenwriters to bring in other characters from the original Star Trek series to take his place.

"I was too scared to ask him," Bay says. "Plus, he's married to Susan Bay, who's a cousin of mine. So I had to be careful. I've met him at family functions. But he told me, 'I would be honored. I'm glad to be back!'"

Nimoy previously voiced the character Galvatron in 1986′s The Transformers: The Movie.

In Transformers 3, Nimoy will voice Sentinel Prime, the predecessor of Optimus Prime. The wreck of Sentinel Prime's body is seen in the teaser trailer, discovered on the moon in 1969 by the Apollo 11 astronauts. After he is brought to earth, he takes on the form of a fire engine for the film's climactic battle in Chicago.

The blockbuster Transformers film franchise is based on the hugely popular Transformers toy line by Hasbro. First released in 1984, the toys have inspired TV shows, comic books, movies and video games. Bay's 2007 feature based on the toys was the highest grossing non-sequel movie in 2007, taking in $709.7 million. Bay's sequel, 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, grossed $100 million more than the original.

Nimoy, who turned 80 last weekend, has been busy in recent years. He reprised the role of Spock in J.J. Abrams' 2009 Star Trek reboot, playing alongside Zachary Quinto's younger version of the character, and he's had a recurring role in the Fox TV series Fringe.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Star Trek Illustrates the Dangers of Facebook

Trouble strikes the Starship Enterprise when Mr. Spock can't stop checking his Facebook page.

Facebook is everywhere these days. It's obscenely popular - a year ago it overtook Google as the most-visited web site in the United States - and it's a good bet that almost everyone you know has a Facebook account. But what if Facebook had existed in the future - as imagined in the past - of Star Trek's 23rd century?

The video you see here attempts to answer that question. You see, in the original Star Trek, Mr. Spock was always looking into a mysterious black scanner box in order to report his scientific evaluations to Captain Kirk. According to this clip, though, Spock was really just using that time to browse his "Spacebook" list.

It's an incredibly well-edited clip - Spock's reactions to the things he reads (as posted by the other members of the Enterprise) are spot-on. It's also very clever in its complete lack of dialogue - nobody says a word through the whole scene, but the intention still comes through nonetheless.

I guess your coworkers finding those embarrassing photos on your Wall is still a problem two hundred and fifty years in the future, huh?

An audience with William Shatner

My interview with "Star Trek" legend William Shatner took an unexpected spiritual turn when he talked about the afterlife. Shatner has promised to communicate with me after he passes on.

I won't count on that happening any time soon. The actor who was Capt. James T. Kirk sounded too full of energy and merrymaking.

The actor, who turned 80 this week, speaks irreverently about his projects (including Priceline commercials), his TV series, his approach to life and his visit to MegaCon in Orlando. He will talk Saturday at that convention for sci-fi fans.


I started by asking the actor, who interviews guests on "Shatner's Raw Nerve," what makes a good interview. His response: "If the person you're interviewing can be heard."

I could hear him loud and clear.

What about the future of your CBS sitcom, 'Bleep My Dad Says'?

We did 19 shows. I thought we ended up in top 25. In my previous experience, that's a hit show. I can't imagine us not coming back. I had a ball doing the show. It's the first time I've done a four-camera show. I was shocked in the first few shows we did that it was neither staged nor live television nor improvisation. It was not stand-up. It was totally something unto itself, a hybrid of that, aided by my experience at conventions like I'm attending.

How so?

At those conventions, what I'm doing there is going up in front of audience and answering questions but trying to make answers a little fleshed out and amusing, and trying to keep them laughing and informed. I'm standing in front of an audience. I don't know what's going to come out of my mouth. That's the feeling you have in front of a situation-comedy audience, because I have an affinity for an audience. I seem to connect. I'm there with them. I feel their vibes.

How many conventions like MegaCon have you done over the years?

I don't know. I've been to Orlando more than once at a convention. I go to two or three in a year. Some years I don't do any. I used to try to get in as many as I could. One time I had done six or seven conventions in a weekend. I probably did Friday night, Saturday. I'd fly to Orlando. I'd go to Charlotte, then Atlanta.

Why are you going this particular MegaCon?

Because it's in Orlando and it's a big one. I'm free that weekend. I'm not busy that weekend. I'll take the opportunity. I bring my wife. We drive down to Tampa, where we have relatives. It's just what I do. I go and be as entertaining as I can. I will have worked, then I have fun.

What are people most interested in?

It varies. It can be: What was your favorite moment in 'Star Trek'? They may have seen something I've just done. I just talked to Daniel Ellsberg [who released the Pentagon Papers] for four hours, Jeffrey Wigand [tobacco whistleblower] for four hours, Sydney Biddle Barrows, the Mayflower Madam, and the ex-wife of the man who rescued baby Jessica and years later committed suicide. I interviewed them in a two-day period. Daniel Ellsberg and I bonded. Those interviews will be on a show called 'Aftermath.'

People at a convention might ask me about their personal life. I talk about horses. Over the years, I've acquired confidence that it will be all right. I'll talk about anything and maybe make a discovery. It's great fun for me. It's work, but it's a great pleasure. I'm not that crazy about signing autographs and taking pictures, but conventions seem to need that. Talking to the audience is a kick.


What kind of reaction do you usually get at these events?

Anything less than a standing ovation is a great disappointment to me. The reaction is one of two friends meeting. How often have you said, 'Let's go have a cup of coffee.' That's how it is.

What was your favorite moment in 'Star Trek' or did you have one?

The acting assignments were quite frequently challenging. I wish I had the knowledge of how to be an actor that I have now. I wish I knew then what I know now and could have applied it then. I see things I would have changed about my performance all the time. If we talk in 10 years, maybe I'll come to you when you pray. Remember, if you hear a voice it's me. I would probably say at 90 I wish I could have applied what I know at 80. Even though I look at my performance and say that wasn't bad, 55 percent of me is saying, 'I could do that so much better now.' I have a sense of satisfaction and a sense of dissatisfaction.

What did 'Boston Legal' and that character, Denny Crane, mean to you?

It was a wonderful five years that I did David E. Kelley's words. I've worked frequently with talented people. David Kelley is a genius. I was gratified and delighted to work with him. There seemed to be a — what is the word I'm looking for — when two people benefit each other — that seemed to happen with David E. Kelley. I'd do something on the screen, he'd see it and write more. We had a synergy. It seemed to be the creative process you might get in the theater. The author is in the audience and writes a new scene from what he'd seen. That's what's happening on 'Bleep My Dad Says.' These guys are fantastic. They're rewriting as you go along. The next day's rehearsal, the script can be entirely different and hugely improved.

Why did Denny Crane capture people's attention?

Given the license of the possibility he was approaching some kind of senility — that gave him license to do what he wanted to do. My late mother, many years ago, said, 'I can do anything I want.' I guess she could. I think that's what Denny Crane thought, 'I'm a big lawyer with a lot of money and I can do whatever I want.' There's something freeing about that. He doesn't have to do the conventional thing. He can do what he wants.


Your commercials stand out in the TV landscape; how do you approach them?

An agency five or six years ago said we're going to do this character, the Negotiator, and they gave me the script. They had a big motorcycle on the set. I got on this motorcycle with a big, fat rear tire and huge engine. I remember vividly the moment. I was thinking about the Negotiator. When I came back, I had the idea of character who is slightly insane about how good the product is. There isn't anything this character wouldn't do to get you a good deal. That became the Negotiator. This year it seems to have come to fruition. The last commercial seems to exemplify what I had in mind: soft-spoken, intense, crazy, ability to change disguise, be slightly CIA, all the characteristics of a crazy negotiator.

To what do you attribute your longevity in this business?

Health is everything. Energy, to have the health that allows you to have the energy and try and do all these things. I've put in my time to try to get good and I'm getting good.

Do you have more to say about when we'll talk in 10 years?

When the dirt starts hitting the casket. No, I think I'm going to be burned. As the last of the ashes burn, start listening.

William Shatner in a "Q & A with Captain Kirk" at MegaCon

When: Panel discussion is 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday; Shatner will be at the convention all day Saturday.

Where: Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando

MegaCon admission: Three-day pass is $60; one-day is $25.


The Shatner file


The Canadian-born actor has performed on television since the 1950s. His many TV appearances include "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Twilight Zone," "The Fugitive" and "Gunsmoke." He became a TV superstar with "Star Trek." That sci-fi landmark ran from just 1966 to 1969 on NBC but gained legions of fans through reruns and movies.

Shatner's other TV series have included "T.J. Hooker," "The Practice," "Boston Legal" and "Bleep My Dad Says." He won two Emmys, four additional Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe for playing the memorably off-the-wall Denny Crane first on "The Practice," then on "Boston Legal."

He showed a gift for comedy as the Big Giant Head on "3rd Rock From the Sun" and received another Emmy nomination. He has played talk-show host on "Shatner's Raw Nerve" and "Aftermath." He has sung. He has played pitchman. He has done it all in a way that commanded attention — just what you would expect from the man who was Capt. Kirk.