Shatner Recalls Career For SAGBy Michelle
August 27, 2004 - 8:43 PM
The ongoing successful career of William Shatner was the topic of discussion during an appearance at a Screen Actors Guild appearance in Los Angeles, where Captain Kirk discussed his Emmy nomination, early television career, audition process and involvement in the music industry.
Shatner's official web site posted a report on the actor's appearance July 19th as a guest of the SAG Foundation's Conversations series, created to allow well-known actors to share their experiences. As hosted by Todd Amorde, the evening featured both one-on-one discussion and questions from audience members.
Early on Amorde asked Shatner about his youth in Montreal, where he performed at camp and in school plays before being convinced by his family to major in business at McGill University. Though his early career was in live theatre and radio, he found parts on television and said he thought his ability to remember lines was a key to his success there, since many radio actors were accustomed to working with scripts in front of them. He recalled a live fight scene with Lon Chaney, Jr. in which the actor, rather than going through the motions of the fight, recited the verbal instructions for the choreography rather than performing it, as they had in rehearsals.
Shatner compared filming Star Trek to filming Boston Legal, saying that the show which made him a legend was very technical, shooting ten pages a day, whereas his newest series films 5-6 pages a day. Because of the pace, he said, filming the television show was actually more exciting than filming the movies. In discussing playing Kirk's evil alter ego in "The Enemy Within", Shatner noted that anyone "can tap into your reptilian brain fairly easily if you’re driving down Curson", the cross-street upon which the Screen Actors Guild building is located and where he got lost, making him late for the appearance. He joked that the worst aspect of being on Star Trek was having to listen to "Beam Me Up Scotty" constantly.
Though Shatner indicated that he would be afraid to fly in the space shuttle, he said that while he initially feared he would have trouble with the memorization for Boston Legal, he is enjoying the series and would rather not answer the question of whether Denny Crane is senile or cunning yet. To be an actor, he added, requires truthfulness and energy, plus "a hard heart to withstand the rejection." The Emmy nomination for The Practice, he said, was "a great honor" and "almost better than winning...almost."
For more of Shatner's SAG appearance, see the original article at WilliamShatner.com.