The special theatrical limited re-release of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is this month, and William Shatner is sharing more memories of his time on the movie set.
Shatner had seen Ricardo Montalban‘s work before the two appeared in Wrath of Khan together. “As a teenager, I was from Montreal, and I’d come down with my parents every so often to New York City just to see New York City,” he said. “And now I was in my late teens, and I was down in New York for the first time by myself and I went to see a musical. And I saw this dancer who really was good, a handsome man, dancing, and I thought, ‘Well, what a remarkable dancer, and you don’t see good looking men dancing.’ And then I went to a movie and I saw the same guy and he was a good actor, a Latin lover, thought, ‘Wow, this guy is really terrific.’ So I noticed Ricardo Montalban before I met him. I was aware of this guy who looked really good on film.
“Then I met him, and then we worked together, and he had ridden horses and I was so interested in horses, and he was quite an athlete, and he had a sore hip. And then it just degenerated into, he totally became totally incapacitated. And the fact that I didn’t do a scene with him together has only latter day been aware and sad about.”
Shatner also shared his reaction of the time to finding out that Spock was going to die in the movie. “I’m sitting in Harve Bennett’s office, and he’s describing the death of Spock and I’m shocked,” said Shatner. “You mean we’re going to kill Spock?’ And ‘Yeah, and he goes into this room and this plastic door and he puts up his hand.’ And I said well, ‘Kirk would put up his hand to the door and they would touch and slide down.’ I acted out what the way I thought the scene would go, which they ultimately did the way I thought of it, so I was not only privy to the way it was going to go, I helped plot the outline of the way it would look.”
Shatner was unaware that there was talk of bringing back Spock in a future movie. “Nobody told me that there was some thought about bringing him back,” said Shatner, “and that Leonard [Nimoy] leaned over, McCoy and whispered ‘remember.’ I said, ‘What’s that all about? Why are we killing Spock? Why are we killing Spock?’ And they said, ‘Well, Leonard doesn’t want to do it anymore. I was thinking God, if Leonard doesn’t want to do it anymore, what’s going to happen to Star Trek? If we were to make another film? Well, that’s the way that went. They never told me.”
What does Shatner remember best about working on The Wrath of Khan? “Well, long time ago,” he said, “my acquaintanceship, burgeoning friendship, with Ricardo Montalban, although we never were in the same scene, I saw him frequently at his home or we’d eat someplace together. He was a lovely man. I cherish my memory of him.”
Sponsored by Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan will appear in six hundred theaters throughout the U.S. on Sunday, September 10th, and Wednesday, September 13th, at 2 and 7 PM both days.