It’s not often one has the chance to sit down with a living legend, but when you have the opportunity, it’s not something you pass up. William Shatner surpassed everything I had heard about him. Perhaps he plays goofy to the crowd because he knows his audience, but when promoting his movie, Get a Life, a documentary examining in greater detail the subject of his book by the same name, he was all business. It may have taken him a lifetime to understand the historical impact he had on pop culture due to his role as Captain Kirk on the phenomenal Star Trek, but he’s not letting what he discovered go to waste one second longer. Continue reading about his discovery after the jump.
“I say get a life with joy and solicitude and understanding and luck. If you haven’t seen the film you’ll be happy when you see it. I did my due diligence by looking at the fans and realizing that the fans come to the conventions to see each other, to renew old friendships and be part of the community. That was the conclusion of the book I wrote. The documentary concludes something far more deeper than that. Yes all of that that I thought in the book was true, but it was only on a surface level. I was able to go on a much deeper sociological level as to why people come to Comic-Con, Star Trek conventions and what is the fascinating part of Star Trek and such and I use some fascinating examples of people and some very intelligent people who talked to me about what they teach.”
When asked if he himself had become friends with some of the fans who attend the conventions, it was a resounding, “No,” followed by genuine laughter. Shatner did go on to say, “But, there are actors who have and who have gone from being fan and star to being lifelong friends and go out for drinks and such. There is a fan who became [Gene] Roddenberry’s assistant who is now a force in Star Trek and he is in my next documentary. The documentary abounds with people who got married, have children and whose whole families come.”
One of the reporters at the table, an enthusiastic African American, shared his story of overcoming racial boundaries in the sixties due to Star Trek clubs in his school. Clearly touched, Shatner replied, “Well, that’s one of the edicts of Star Trek, if you will, is the commonality of humanity. Part of the acceptance, that I don’t even think of as subject matter, that I’m aware of what you must be feeling. The passion for Star Trek, the essence of Star Trek, the non-interference, the commonality of human beings, all those wonderful precepts that Roddenberry wrote about is one of the attractions of Star Trek.”
Having been on the journey with both his documentary and the Star Trek Captains conferences, Shatner shared what he has learned about himself during the extensive process. “What I discovered in Get A Life has really changed my way of thinking. I never got it, now I got it. That’s the thing. I never understood. And most people don’t. Most people right here don’t understand why Star Trek has the impact that it has. If what I learned in this documentary comes through you will understand. I use a shot where I roll back, with astonishment at learning something new, and then I say, ‘I never thought of it. It never occurred to me.’”
Is Shatner the quintessential Star Trek historian? “I never thought of myself that way, but the Star Trek people are starting to gravitate toward me. Whereas I was having trouble getting people to talk to me without large sums of money, people are thinking, you know, this is a good legacy for me, the actor, to have.”
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