Captain Kirk beams down to Maui next Wednesday, Dec. 30. At 84, William Shatner–star of Star Trek, T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, Boston Legal, S#*! My Dad Says and those Priceline commercials–is the latest to headline the Maui Celebrity Series. The living legend who began his career in radio will spend an evening with comedian Paul Rodriguez and crooner Brian Evans entertaining us at the Sheraton Maui Resort in Ka‘anapali.
Shatner and I talked story last week, when comedian Louie Anderson was still part of the act (last-minute lineup changes brought in Rodriguez). Enjoy!
MAUITIME: It’s such an honor to have you on the phone here today.
WILLIAM SHATNER: Well, thank you. I appreciate you saying that.
MT: I wanted to talk to you about your show here on Maui. What are we to expect from you? Is it a singing and dancing thing? Or a spoken word? Or talk story?
WS: No dancing. Brian’s going to sing, Louie is going to be funny and I’m going to be somewhere in between. I’ll not be as funny as a Louie and I won’t sing as well as Brian. How’s that? The three of us are getting together for an hour and a half of entertainment at the Sheraton and it will be a fun evening.
MT: Can we expect any classics like “Rocket Man?”
WS: Brian suggested we sing “It Was a Very Good Year,” so we’ll do that.
MT: Let’s talk about your career for a moment. Your career spans decades, you’ve starred in hundreds of projects. What work are you most proud of?
WS: I don’t know whether the word is proud. I’m grateful that I’m around and performing. I’m out these days on a one-man show.
MT: What are you currently working on?
WS: I opened on Broadway a while ago. And I’ve toured several cities and I toured Australia a couple of months ago. And now in late January, early February, I’ll be doing a number of American cities once more. So that’s going. I got a new series on television called Better Late Than Never, and I’m not sure when it’s going to go on. Maybe in the spring or maybe late this winter I’m not sure. But it’s on NBC.
MT: I’ve read rumors on the Internet you may be doing something with Stan Lee? Any truth to this?
WS: The Stan Lee thing is part of the Cinematic Graphic Novel–I’ve got a comic book. Ok, well it’s more than a comic book. I believe it’s a unique piece of entertainment that I’ve come up with and the team that I brought together to do it has really done fabulous work. It’s a camera moving through a comic book that has been drawn especially for this of a book that I wrote called Man of War. And it’s got music and sound effects and my narration. And you’ve got to read the bubbles.
MT: I enjoyed your autobiography, Up Till Now. I actually listened to the Audible version of it back in 2008. Any new books coming out?
WS: I’m working on a lot of things. I’ve got a book. Two books actually, coming out this coming year. The one that is coming out in February that I’m publicizing is called Leonard. It’s about my friendship with Leonard Nimoy and it’s about friendship in general. About how men try to make male friends and how less successful we are then women at it, and I don’t know why.
MT: So tomorrow [Dec. 18] is a big day. I think many in the world like to think of you as the leader of Team Star Trek and Team Star Wars is having an enormous day. How will you spend it?
WS: I’ll spend it praying to the God of J.J. Abrams that he does the same for Star Wars as for Star Trek.
MT: So you’re happy with his work with Star Trek?
WS: J.J. is masterful, absolutely. That’s going to be a big day for movies which probably will be the biggest movie of all time. Imagine being around for that?
MT: Talk to me about your Twitter feed [@WilliamShatner]. Is it really you snapping all of those one-liners back and forth? Because I really do enjoy it.
WS: Yeah. Glad you enjoy it. You do enjoy it, right?
MT: Oh, yeah.
WS: I’m looking for a little feedback–it’s not too much?
MT: No, it’s fine. I think the swipes you are taking are ok, but you need to be edgy for this medium, you know? But the second you pass the line, the Internet punishes you for it.
WS: Exactly, so it’s that line that you have to be really careful of. And you’re feeling is it’s Ok?
MT: Yeah. What else are you working on?
WS: I’m planning a documentary on a ride I took [on] a motorcycle, and this figure that is astonishing. I drove a motorcycle from Chicago to Los Angeles. On a motorcycle I helped design–go to Rivetmotors.com and you’ll see. And I’ve shot a documentary about it. I’m in the process of trying to sell it right now. We’ve got an astonishing number of hits while we were driving those eight days. We kept the Twitter feed alive and during that time, the figure I have is so astonishing, I don’t think it could be it. But it’s like a billion. And that’s the reason for this social media extravaganza. Kathleen? [Shatner muffles the phone while calling out to his assistant in the next room] So that’s one billion? One point three billion media impressions? We see that from $1,500,000? Incredible.
MT: Okay last question: it seems that we’re on the cusp of extended life expectancy. If you could live long and prosper, say to 300 years old, would you?
WS: Well, with certain caveats, like health? If all caveats are ok, sure. Different professions, different lives, you’d continue on in years, but you’d reorganize yourself every so often. Same dog! You have to have the same dog, but that’s it.
Wednesday, Dec. 30
Cover design: Darris Hurst
Cover photo: ManfredBaumann.com