Slice of SciFi and MeeVee have joined forces in order to bring scifi fans across the globe some of the best text interviews with many of your favorite artists, actors, and production professionals alive today in the world of science fiction, fantasy and horror.
For our first such enterprise we are proud to bring you an exclusive interview that MeeVee had with The Man himself – Mr. William Shatner.
With over 50 years in show business, William Shatner has done it all — drama (Star Trek, Boston Legal), comedy (The Transformed Man), and now game shows. Tonight, “Show Me the Money,” ABC’s latest stab at reality game show programming premieres. Billed as “Shat-tastic,” “Shat-tackular,” and “Shat-stounding,” SMTM is like no other show on television, combining variety, comedy, and lots o’ sexy dancers (including its Shat-terrific host). We were fortunate to speak with Mr. Tambourine Man, live via conference call. Here’s what he has to say about Howie Mandel, Star Trek XI, and his infamous call for fans to Get a life.
1) What drew you to Show Me the Money?
Game shows are usually cut and dry, spin the wheel, there’s your answer. This [one] was more of like a variety show. It had dancers and music. There was a sense of fun about the game that I hadn’t thought of before. I saw a deeper complexity in terms of entertainment. How do you build the drama? When someone is winning a lot of money, can you make them feel self-doubt? Can you make the audience teeter on the edge of every question? And then use the various tools that the game show provides — like the dancing girls, for one — to provide a sense of excitement and entertainment. All of that was much more complex that I had ever thought of. I think Howie Mandel does a really lovely job of being dignified and interested in the people and letting the people play. Deal or No Deal is really the most interesting show I’ve seen based on that thing.
The host is vulnerable, because very little is scripted. They’re in totally improvisational areas, and that’s very risky in terms of your entertaining. It’s risky, in case you’re not entertaining. It’s risky that you might say something inadvertently. There’s a great deal of theatrical jeopardy there. That appealed to me.
2) Do you think your dance moves will surprise your fans?
I’m not a dancer, but I like to dance. Very much like I’m a not a singer, but I like to sing. I guess I dance as well as I sing — which is not at all, and yet I enjoy it. So maybe I can communicate my sense of fun and enjoying these emotions and the movement to the audience. They’re going to quickly realize that I can’t dance, but I’m having fun.
3) Any news on the upcoming Star Trek movie with J.J. Abrams?
I met with Mr. Abrams, and they have a really good plot going. [They’re] trying to fit in Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk — the elderly ones. How you get a dead captain to communicate with [his] younger [self]? That’s going to be very arduous plotting. I’m going to be interested to see how they solve it.
4) Do you have any favorite shows on television?
I love to watch sports. I love to watch the news. I love movies. I never watch our shows. I don’t believe I’ve seen more than one or two Boston Legals, and I probably won’t watch Show Me the Money. I’ll get some feedback from people like yourself who say, “Yes, the dancing was all right,” because there I was dancing, wondering, “Am I making a complete idiot of myself up there?”
5) You seem to have a major presence on the internet with William Shatner DVD club, official site, etc. How has the use of this technology changed your interaction with fans and amongst the fans themselves?
I just read that there is work afoot to make the Internet be able to create answers, visions like the human brain, based on existing technology. And it becomes more and more complex and more and more interactive. The Internet could — in theory, possibly become a brain, have the complexity of the human brain — far-fetched, but not impossible. So, being aware of that, I keep stumbling around on how to use the Internet as it grows. It’s so easy as you get older, to say, “Well, that’s not the way it used to be done. That’s not the way we did it when I was your age.” I want to be aware and knowledgeable of the forefront of knowledge and taste and style of the days.
I [wrote] a book called “Get a Life,” which examines the constituency of the audiences that go to these Star Trek conventions. I found out, to my surprise, that they came to see each other. The audience had started to pool and mix among themselves and get to know each other. I was in a Star Trek convention in New York, a sold-out house of well over 1000 people, and this very question came up. I said, “I know that you’re here, not necessarily to see me, but to see each other.” They all sort of agreed.
6) A lot of critical success for your work occurred in the middle of your career, for example your Emmys for your work on Boston Legal. How did it feel to be recognized after so many years in show business?
Well as you can imagine, it was wonderful. I gloried in it. I accept it with a lot of humility, because it was a long time coming, a lot of work went in to it. I was grateful that things worked out.
Show Me the Money airs tonight (November 14th) on ABC. Check MeeVee for showtimes and details.
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