For William Shatner, being a famous actor means being on guard against people wanting something from him.
Shatner, who plays a character on his new series who is a bit of a curmudgeon, is aware that fans might consider him to be a bit of a curmudgeon himself, so he explained why sometimes actors are guarded when it comes to dealing with fans. “…what I have to do is protect myself in public from people who want something because they see in the celebrity something that could be useful to them,” he said. “The actors who are popular always have to be on guard because somebody’s always wanting something, so that may appear to be unfriendly or curmudgeonly but the fact is we’re not.”
But as an actor, “You get used to it, and it just becomes part of your life,” said Shatner. One doesn’t have to be an actor though, to be wary of people. “A lot of people are after a lot of things. If you can live with that and use it and transform it, then you’re living your life.”
Shatner’s wariness with people extends to Sam Halpern, the model for the character that Shatner will be playing on $h*! My Dad Says, at least until Shatner gets to know Halpern better. “I don’t know him,” said Shatner, when asked if he liked Halpern. “You smile and you put your hand out. You don’t know whether he’s reaching for a dollar or being a friend.”
Shatner has come to terms with Star Trek fans, although he doesn’t quite get their devotion to the show. “I don’t understand it completely,” he said, “but I accept it without question.”
Does the obsession creep him out? “Not anymore,” he said. “We’re adaptable animals.”
$h*! My Dad Says airs tonight on CBS at 8:30 pm. Below is a video featuring Shatner talking about signing on to the series and about the character he plays.