William Shatner on Denver Comic Con and saying yes to all the right opportunities
In true Captain James T. Kirk style (or the style of whatever heroic character he's portraying, for that matter), William Shatner has come through to save the day once again -- taking the place of Denver Comic Con's original guest of honor, Stan Lee. (The ninety-year-old comic icon had to bow out last week because of scheduling conflicts.) Star Trek fans will now be treated to not one, but two original cast members of the most popular sci-fi television show in history: George Takei, the actor who played Hikaru Sulu on the original series, will be shaking hands and signing autographs alongside his longtime friend and once captain at the Colorado Convention Center on Sunday, June 2, the third day of Comic Con.
Shortly after Shatner agreed to step in, we talked with him about Denver Comic Con, as well as always keeping life interesting by saying yes to golden opportunities.
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William Shatner: Chester, how are ya?
Westword: I'm good. My first name is actually Britt.
It's what? It's Britt? All right, I won't call you Chester anymore. I'm liable if I alienate you, and you could write something terrible.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
I have learned this. Thanks for taking my call. Where were you flying in from?
I flew into Chicago from Los Angeles. I've been here for about half an hour, but this is cool. I'm glad I'm able to talk to you.
I appreciate it. Just to start things off, let's talk about Comic Con a little bit. You've done a lot of these over the years, so what does it mean to you? Is it connecting with fans, or is it just fun now?
Well, it's both. It's connecting with the fans, and you know I am always turning things out. I've got a new record coming out at the end of summer, and a new television show coming out at the end of the year. It's good for me to go out and tell the fans about it, and see what they think of it, and also see their reaction to the things I have already done. This helps me to do something better the next time. This interaction between the fans and me is really valuable to me. It's good to be enthusiastic with the opening of this movie, [Star Trek: Into the Darkness], as well as playing some of my old movies. It's all niched in together, so that's why I'll be in Denver in order to celebrate all that with the fans.
Do you think having, like you said, a record coming out, a book coming out, and a new TV show coming out, that you are able to give your all to each project?
Well, I don't do them all at the same time. I've been working on the record for six months with Billy Sherwood of the band Yes, and the TV show is already filmed and will be playing on the Syfy channel, and the book is being written as we speak.
Do you watch any of the television shows that you make?
No. I try to stay away from them, actually.
Do you watch any television?
I watch a great deal of television -- from movies to sports -- but the last thing I'll swipe to watch is something that I'm in.
Why is that? Do you struggle watching yourself?
I don't like to look at myself. It's like showing you a picture of yourself and saying, "See this? See that mole on your face?"
Do you have problems with identifying your own imperfections in that way?
Yes. Exactly. As you know, they multiply. When you read something that you have written, and you think, "Oh my god! I chose the wrong word!" Nobody else notices, but you do, and it looms very large on your horizon.
With that said, do you read your own book? Do you do in store readings, or meet-n-greets?
No. What I prefer to do at [in-stores] is just to sign them, rather than read them. I understand authors do that, and it can be quite celebratory, but I prefer to get with the people a little more one on one.
You've done a lot of stuff: You've had your solo show touring around the country, in Canada, Australia; you've done television; you've hosted your own talk show of sorts. Do you feel like those are things that are defining you, or is it constantly changing because you are involved in so many outlets?
I don't know if anybody can really be defined by one thing, or by several things. We are all complex, and we are all a mosaic. I'm not trying to leave a legacy. I just find these things interesting to do. Somebody said to me, "Would you like to do an album?" I say yes, and find some interesting people to work with, and we produce what I think is going to be a terrific album. That's a source of great joy. I'm not trying to show some aspect of me. I'm just having fun.
Continue reading for more from Shatner.