William Shatner is currently promoting his book on Leonard Nimoy, and in one of his interviews, he explained that chemistry can be real, or it can be something that is courtesy of acting ability.
There may be chemistry without genuine affection, according to Shatner. “There’s a great deal of talk of chemistry, and it’s overrated in that good actors look at each other and talk to each other with the intention of what the author wrote, and they perform to that intention,” said Shatner. “You may work with someone, but you don’t want to invite them to dinner. You don’t actively dislike them, but they’re not your cup of tea. And you’re not going to tell them that at work because you want the work conditions to be pleasant. So you might say, ‘Hey, I’ve got half a sandwich left, do you want it?’ or ‘I’m going to get coffee, can I get you one?’ You put out all the aspects of a relationship that, in your mind, isn’t there. That’s what some actors can do with actors they don’t have chemistry with. And good actors should have chemistry even if they’re not friends.”
The chemistry that fans saw between Shatner, DeForest Kelley and Leonard Nimoy was real though. “Now, there are a lot of actors who really like each other and also have chemistry,” explained Shatner. “De and Leonard and I had that. We really liked each other. So we didn’t have to pretend, and I’d still get Leonard or De a coffee and they’d get one for me. Or we’d play jokes on each other, out of fondness and not distaste. But, what I’m saying is, an actor can act chemistry. You’ve seen a lot of great scenes between actors who didn’t like each other. And it works the other way, too, you know. People can be friends and not have chemistry.”
And speaking of Nimoy, Shatner admits that conventions won’t be as much fun for him now that Nimoy is gone. “without Leonard there, for me it is diminished because we had so much fun on stage together,” he said. “Part of the friendship was based on the humor that we evoked from each other on stage. You can be much more frank, I guess, and take little conversational facets while joshing each other on stage, which you wouldn’t ordinarily do over a meal or something. So, we learned a lot about each other just by kidding each other and making each other laugh on stage. We will never do that again, and that’s a very sad thought.”
Shatner will be doing several conventions this year and is “hoping to do a show for the Fiftieth anniversary.”