Shatner, Nimoy Reflect On Trek CareersBy Michelle
August 31, 2006 - 7:19 PM
William Shatner (Kirk) still has regrets about the things he could not accomplish with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Leonard Nimoy (Spock) would still like to know how his character's work on Romulus during the Next Generation era was resolved.
The two iconic Star Trek legends spoke with SFX for a special volume, The 20 Shows That Shaped Sci–Fi, for sale in the UK (via Sci Fi Pulse). "The character of Captain Kirk is pretty much close to me. It isn’t like I had time to put an artifice, a lens in front of myself," Shatner said, explaining that he often received the pages just before shooting and did not know the entire plots of episodes, nor what his relationship was meant to be with the other characters in the scene.
When he stepped behind the lens to write and direct the fifth feature film, the actor found himself in conflict with series creator Gene Roddenberry, who felt that a storyline with God would not work for Star Trek. Shatner disagreed. "There was a messianic character, which an army of followers, which presaged all that's happening now in the world. So I got all that right," he noted. "I also wanted the characters to be in conflict, and that would be resolved by their love for one another." He asked Paramount to let him redo the ending, but could not convince the studio that it would be worth the investment for DVD sales to create a director's edition.
Having recently received an award for charity work on the same stage that Christopher Plummer (General Chang) performed King Lear a few weeks earlier, Shatner said he wondered what it would have been like had he remained in the theatre to play such roles. "I understand Lear much better now than I would have done 30 years ago. The older you get, the closer you get to death, the more you understand what Lear was attempting to do," he said. "And at the same time I thought... 'That’s an awful lot of work!' Learning those lines is a real effort."
Nimoy said he believed that he had played Spock for the last time, though he would like to know the outcome of the ambassador's work in the Romulan Empire from the last time the character appeared. He explained that, contrary to rumours, he had not asked for Spock to be killed off in the second film, but agreed to film such a scene. "In the end, I asked for the script to be altered, because Spock's original death scene didn’t seem heroic enough to me," he said. "You’ve also got to remember that a lot of people were convinced that Star Trek II was going to be the last of the movies at the time."
The actor feels he did his best work during the original series' first and second seasons and during the third and fourth movies. "The third season was very weak in general, but it was especially not good for Spock," he recalled.
The full interview is in SFX's The 20 Shows That Shaped Sci–Fi. These excerpts are courtesy Sci Fi Pulse.