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October 9, 2015

William Shatner says Captain Kirk was a good hero

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 10th 2008 1:06PM
KirkTo many people, William Shatner is a beloved TV icon. To others, he's a shameless self-promoter, a commercial pitchman for everything from margarine to hotel rooms. Few feel neutral about Shatner, so this story may come as something of a surprise. William Shatner rarely watches himself on TV and film. Like a lot of actors, when he works, he's in the moment and doesn't go back and study what he did and why. It's been working for him. As Denny Crane on Boston Legal, he's won two Emmys in the last three years.

He's also not watching his old TV shows. In fact, it wasn't until recently that Shatner actually sat and watched Star Trek. "I haven't seen myself playing Captain Kirk in a long, long time," he said. So when he saw the episode called A Piece of the Action, in which the Enterprise has to interfere in a planet that's built its society on the model of a Chicago 1920's gangster movie and threaten to kill each other, he watched it. Kirk dons a Fedora and pinstripe suit to beam down to the planet and broker a peace between the warring factions. Oh, and the episode is a comedy! It wasn't as campy as Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack in Robin and the Seven Hoods, but they may have used the same costumer.

Anyway, Shatner didn't reach for the remote. "I watched it now, from my perspective of 40 years later, and I thought, `You know, that's rather good.' It's a starship captain trying to do the accent, the Noo Yawk accent, trying to play tough, trying to be one of the guys. It's not quite right, but it's what a starship captain would have done-a decent imitation, enough to fool those guys but not the audience."

Reflecting on the character of Jim Kirk, Shatner said, "He was a good hero. He made decisions. He was forceful. He was compassionate. He was the instigator. He fought hard and long physically and emotionally. He carried the dilemma of whether to intrude or not to intrude. It was all the classic forms of good Greek play making: The hero has the dilemma and resolves the dilemma."

Whether Shatner will feel that good about the upcoming (2009) Star Trek movie in which Kirk and Spock and McCoy and the entire Enterprise crew will return, but with new actors in the roles, remains to be seen. Chris Pine has been cast as James T. Kirk. All Bill is saying now is that he's kind of sad that he's not involved. True, this is sci-fi, but Kirk perished in the 1994 feature Star Trek Generations.

Meanwhile, don't be stunned if Bill Shatner snags another Emmy nomination for Boston Legal. The nominations will be announced on July 17, 2008.

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i think kirk was more a human captain then any of the others. i mean picard was 99% flawless, no ego.
i really dont think people will evolve and become so selfless no matter how many eons pass by.
shatner did his best in a role where there was no comparison at the time.
today's picards, adamas, etc.. have all taken a little something from the original james t. kirk.

June 11 2008 at 4:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, he really nailed that bad accent. What's his excuse for the rest of his Kirk portrayals?

June 10 2008 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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