So, I got Epix this weekend for free and they showed William Shatner's Captains where he interviewed all the former Starfleet captains including Chris Pine and Christopher Plummer. It was pretty damn good. Shatner chronicles the lives of the actors and why they choose these roles. I will divide this up into the people who were interviewed instead of going back and forth like the movie did.
Patrick Stewart: We spend a lot of time with Patrick mainly due to the real life friendship between him and Bill. He talks about how a teacher gave him a role in Merchant of Venice and he felt like he knew the material already. He listened to Alec Guinness on the radio doing Shakespeare and always felt like he knew the material. He signed a six year contract even though he knew nothing of Hollywood and it scared the hell out of him at the same time being told the show wouldn't last a year. Earlier on he had a meeting with the TNG crew and chewed them out for having too much fun on the set. Yet, he learned you can have fun on the set and still give good performance. Bill reveals that he thought people were having him fun with him by saying "Beam me up, Scotty." He never wanted to do the conventions and after 15,000 showed up in NYC, he did them. He resented the role til the head of a major airplane company told him, it inspired him to do build his company. Patrick agreed people seem to look down on him too and he knows his tombstone will read Captain Picard more so than the Shakespeare works and he is ok with that. Patrick does get emotional about the running theme through out which is Star Trek is a marriage killer. Powerful stuff.
Avery Brooks. Avery Brooks is either insane or the most in touch man alive. He and Bill sing about philosophy while Avery plays on the piano. It is surreal and having meet Avery in person, I don't know if he was fucking around with Bill or I caught him on a good day when I meet him. Avery says he took the role for the single parent angle as well as defending humanity to a higher being. Shatner brings up the piano stuff in the Convention he is at and seems to take a shot at Avery. Either way, it makes for good TV.
Kate Mulgrew. Funny note is Bill hid in a cardboard box in Times Square with a sign that said captain inside when Kate sees him. This seemed to be a very tense interview where Bill seems to be hammering home the point that a woman may not be able to be a starship captain or even Secretary of State. Kate seems to take offensive at that and explains she was a single mom raising two little kids working 18 hour days on the show. She talks about how her kids til this day resent her for Voyager work. She also comes back at Bill saying he is part of the all boys' club that is Hollywood. Bill takes a bit offense to it and they have a nice back and forth about gender roles in Hollywood. Kate admits not knowing who Bill was or what Trek was when she signed on to her multi-year contract.
Scott Bakula. Probably the most down to earth interview. Bakula says he turned down Archer at first since he was a huge Trek fan back in college. When they told him, it was a prequel he signed on, because he knew he couldn't fill the roles before him. He loved the man friendship on the Star Trek which kinda explains why he seems to be enjoying his new TNT show. He does admit, his crew couldn't capture the magic of the TOS and he felt the show failed on a lot of levels. His marriage like Bill and Patrick before him failed. It really seemed that Scott enjoyed meeting his boyhood idol and Shatner seemed to have a good time talking to him.
Chris Pine: Now, the main event. Shatner challenges Pine to an arm wrestling contest that Shatner loses 2 out of 3 to the kid. Pine says Shatner left a historic trademark on the character and doing an impression of Bill would have been silly. Instead he took certain mannerism and went from there. Chris talks about how he hated acting when he was growing up until he did a piece in high school and it all came together. Not too much with Chris mainly due to the fact that Shatner is talking about how people got their roles, life aftewards, marriages and death which really Chris is really not there yet to talk about.
All in all, we get a good look at why these people were chosen for their roles and how it affected their lives. Other Trek people show up to talk about how their captains helped on and off the set. Bill interviews Christopher Plummer and we find out Bill was his understudy during his Shakespeare days. Its a short, but interesting interview. Bill talks about blacking out once and how he used it for Kirk's death. He has some interesting Kirk stories along the way. If you like Star Trek, I recommend it or any of the actors as well as you get a good idea minus Pine what their life was like during that period of time and the aftermath of doing that type of work.
(edited by lotjx on 25.7.11 0815) The Wee Baby Sheamus.
Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Originally posted by Mike ZeidlerChristopher Plummer? When was he a Cap'n? Seems an odd addition to the core concept.
It's also a shame Jeffery Hunter died so young.
ETA: I'm sad that this isn't a series. I'm kind-of a fan of Shatner's Raw Nerve, and would like to see the interviews extended a bit.
(edited by Mike Zeidler on 25.7.11 1041)
"In 2011, Plummer appeared in the feature length documentary The Captains. The film, which was written and directed by William Shatner sees Shatner interview Plummer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre where they talk about their young careers, long lasting friendship, and Plummer's role as General Chang in Star Trek VI. The film also mentions how Shatner was Plummer's understudy for a production of Henry V at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and that after Plummer had fell ill Shatner was forced to take the stage and thus earned his first big break."
The latest episode of Simmons podcast has him chatting with another Grantland co-founder, Malcolm Gladwell, in which they discuss the site's fate. Its interesting in that Simmons lets Gladwell play the heavy, so he can seem like he's being fair to ESPN....