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Sunday, November 28, 2021

William Shatner Talks Being A Romantic Lead At 90 In ‘Senior Moment’ And His AI Biography

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“To be cast as a romantic lead at this age, it was wonderful,” enthused William Shatner, who recently turned 90. “I glowed.”

In Senior Moment, the actor plays a sports car-loving retired NASA test pilot who gets his license revoked and swaps navigating the streets of Palm Springs for a new journey called love.

“I had the privilege of working in Palm Springs, which is a two or three-hour drive from Los Angeles. What I did was I stayed in Palm Springs during the week. We had Sundays off, so Saturday night, I would drive home and spent it at home here in LA,” Shatner recalled. “When I went back to Palm Springs each week, I was in a hotel. I led a monk-like life. I was totally focused on the movie. I had no dogs to take care of, no kids, no telephone calls, nothing. I focused completely on this movie and, and that’s almost impossible to do if you’re leading another life. Dogs are barking, there are children and your wife who need your attention, somebody calls, and suddenly you’re distracted. To have that moment to get away from all of it was something I hadn’t done in a long time.”

He added, “I mean, I love my home, I love my home life, I love the dogs and the horses, and I love the house, I really love my house, but it was still nice.”

Comedy is a genre the actor, who found fame as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek, loves to explore as often as possible, although his resume is peppered with notable dramatic roles and science-fiction. 

“By my estimation, across my career, I’ve done a lot of comedy,” he said. “When I started in Canada, I was the young lead in a play that was comedic, but these things are often not your choice. If you’re offered something, and it turns out that it’s serious, now you’re playing serious. Whenever I could find amusement within the character, I will go that way.”

2021 marks the 21st anniversary of Shatner’s notable performance in the smash hit Miss Congeniality. The comedy grossed $212.8 million against a budget of $45 million and spawned a sequel.

Shatner mused, “It doesn’t feel like it was 21 years ago. That’s a long time. Even the age thing doesn’t seem real to me. It seems like you’re talking to somebody else when you mention long careers and age. I’m always looking behind me thinking, ‘Who are you talking to? Who’s 90?’ It doesn’t seem real.”

“You are as you long as you feel. If 22 is your preferred age, you’re going to feel that way for the rest of your life, even when you’re doddering with a cane.”

The actor continues to work consistently 70 years after his debut but isn’t quite sure what specifically has kept him in demand for so long.

“The answer is probably that I was right for whatever has been offered. I guess I had a talent of some kind because I’ve been able to perform or write or make my albums and keep doing it.” Shatner confessed. “The alternative is that people would probably stop asking me to do things. I’ve had a number one blues album, a number one Christmas album, I’m working on an album at the moment, which will be very unusual, but I think it’s going to be terrific.” 

The Unexplained is a show I’m doing on the History Channel that is in its third year, and I’m hosting it. There’s a podcast about the future of science, and I’m going to do a book club where I interview authors of books that I’ve read. I don’t know, but it seems like, for me, if one thing isn’t working, something else is working, and I keep getting offers. I don’t do it deliberately. I love working, and I love what I do, but I’m not conscious about it. It’s there, and I like it, so I’ll do that.”

Shatner also has no plans to retire, but he’s already well prepared to tell his life story in a unique way. That’s not to say he’s been short of offers in that department.

“I’ve had more than one person say they wanted to interview me and my family and all that kind of thing,” he confirmed. “I imagine, given my age, people are probably getting a little story together about William Shatner, a well-known actor, dying today. It’s funny how as soon as somebody well-known passes, they’ve got this thing going. One of the things I’m into at the moment is something called StoryFile.”

“They sit you down for between one and five days, and they interview you in front of something like 100 cameras. It’s going to be a 3D interview of you, recorded on artificial intelligence. They process your interview and give you the film. From then on, you press a button, and somebody can ask you a question. The computer would then select the answer based on the words you spoke. From here on, for eternity, your interview, your image in 3D, and your answers are there. What could that do for lecturing? What could that do for science where, for instance, you can preserve the knowledge of scientists and ask them questions? Imagine if we could have done that with Einstein and ask him how he figured it all out. That technology exists today. Doesn’t that blow your mind? So, my biography is there. This five-day, 1,000 question interview is my biography. There are 30 hours of me talking.”

Part of that life story will inevitably include his work on Star Trek and the subsequent movies, his iconic work on several episodes of The Twilight Zone as well as T.J. Hooker

“A reboot has been in the works a couple of times, but it hasn’t happened so far,” Shatner lamented. “Hooker has to run fast, and he has to jump, and I don’t jump as well as I used to do. If I could walk quickly or the bad guy would slow down, I might catch him.”

“Seriously though, I don’t know. Maybe I’d be behind a desk, I was the boss, and I’d pound my hand on the desk every so often to show you I was still alive.”

Senior Moment is in select theaters and available On Demand now.

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