William Shatner Interview Outtakes: Star Trek Star on His Solo Show, Horses and Starbucks
William Shatner, as you can imagine, has a lot to say.
Now 80, the Star Trek legend opens his one-man show, Shatner's World: We Just Live in It, on Broadway Feb. 16, before launching the national tour at the Pantages on March 10.
Here are some outtakes from our William Shatner interview we featured in print this week:
Knowing all that you know, and all that you've lived through, what would you tell young talent today if they were trying to break in?
If they were trying to break in, I'd call the police.
Break in to the industry. Would you still call the police?
I used to say, get into the theater, play the great parts, get the discipline, the training. But the more I look at TV, those who are succeeding are kids with unique personalities and quirky ideas -- that seems to be more what's in demand than some disciplined actor. It may be a waste of time for those coming in to be trained.
[Shatner explains how, as a Canadian Shakespearean actor, he performed in New York as an actor in the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Then he chose to work in New York in the now almost lost art of "live TV."]
What precipitated the move to L.A?
Gradually the live TV scene simmered out, replaced by film, and that took place in L.A. So many actors left New York. [Among them, around the same time: Shatner's Star Trek costar Leonard Nimoy]
Did you come here looking for work or with work?
They sent for me, and I went back and forth. My first experiences here in film were The Brothers Karamazov. In TV, probably The Twilight Zone. Star Trek came along: I received a phone call from [Star Trek producer] Gene Roddenberry. He said that they had made a pilot, and would I come and see it with the idea they wanted to recast it, with me playing the captain.
Where did your interest in horses come from?
I was always interested in horses, but I did a film based on the life of Alexander the Great, and that experience, with that horse I was riding in the film, inflamed my -- inspired my latent love of -- horses. I don't have a ranch right now, but I have horses here and in Lexington, Ky.
Are there any political or social concerns in your show?
No, it's just me, all me, trying to draw some conclusions, and remembering.
[It's been 50 years since Shatner was on Broadway.]
Why did it take you so long to return to the stage?
I was invited a few times, but the scheduling, the relocating, the time away from family. ... So this is a short run. Finally, the situation is perfect.
You talk about New York with a kind of trepidation that doesn't come across in the way you talk about other cities.
It's the elite. The people who criticize, and the people who attend. Sophistication, that's the word. I want to be good enough to satisfy them.
After April, the tour will be over. What's next on your plate?
There are two horse shows I've got to compete in, there's my own horse show benefiting children's charities, then I've got to shoot a series that I host called Weird or What? [Discovery Channel/History Channel (Canada)] in May, then I've got contracts to do two documentaries that we've sold in Canada and I hope will sell here. They're about food, the nature of food, the other is who goes to conventions, who turns up at health convention, a Xena convention, a fantasy convention. And then there's the prospect of doing TV or movies.
You're doing well.
I love my life. I love my wife and my family. I love living in Los Angeles. I love my dogs and my horses. I wonder if you wear out. My health is better than it's ever been. My numbers are extraordinary.
What kind of dogs do you have?
Two dobermans. Cappuccino and Starbucks.