|Up Till Now: The Autobiography|
By William Shatner
GLENN: Hello, William, how are you, sir?
SHATNER: Really great. What about yourself, Glenn?
GLENN: Very good.
SHATNER: I didn't vent. I was just talking and things got out of hand.
GLENN: Here's the thing. There's -- because we walked off the set and there is a betting pool going on right now. Everybody is pretty clear that you walked on the set really not being the most comfortable with me.
SHATNER: No. Whoever -- I was fine.
GLENN: No, no, no, we know that you're fine and we know that you weren't intimidated. I'm not referring to that. It's just like you're not really a fan.
SHATNER: No, that's not true, Glenn. I am a fan in a way, the way you'd be a fan of a fire.
SHATNER: You look at the fire, admire the fire, the blazing fire. You might even put your hand in the general direction of the fire.
SHATNER: For warmth.
GLENN: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
SHATNER: But beware.
GLENN: So -- that's exactly what we all believe you thought. So now when -- you, I believe, are the first guest that I've ever had that did not walk off the set after an hour, that kind of went, you know what, he's not really a fire; I kind of like the guy.
SHATNER: I did. I did walk off the set -- are you fishing for compliments?
GLENN: No, no, no, I'm fishing for the truth, William Shatner. I'm fishing for the truth.
SHATNER: The truth is you are a nice guy. You just, you hold an occasional odd position. That's all.
GLENN: Okay. Now, I would like to go over some of the -- I want you to know that the episode hasn't even aired. You know that.
GLENN: And I'm already getting complaint mail from Trekkies.
SHATNER: You're kidding.
SHATNER: Should I leash them?
GLENN: Well, just, I'm afraid of them.
SHATNER: No. They're like a small ember compared to you.
GLENN: Let me ask you. You're telling me with a straight face that you've never been afraid of people who buy and wear plastic pointy ears?
SHATNER: Well, if the ears, if they were wearing just the ears, there's nothing to fear.
SHATNER: It's the self-protrusions coming out of their costumes.
William Shatner may forever be best know his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek.
GLENN: I just, three random e-mails that I pulled out, out of the many, many that are pissed that I didn't ask you.
GLENN: Oh, yes. Here we go: I can't believe that you didn't ask him why each episode was referred to as Stardate. What does that even mean? I guess we'll never know. Thanks a lot, jerk. Let's see. What is the actual color of the original command tunics is another one.
SHATNER: Well --
GLENN: And I like this one, too. What is it like to be beamed up? How come you guys had that technology so long ago on your show and we still don't have it today, plus what was your favorite planet that you visited while you were doing your space travel on TV and which one would you like to go back to.
SHATNER: Wait a minute. That sounds like a question for me, not for you.
GLENN: They are all -- no, no, they are all questions for you.
SHATNER: Oh, I see.
SHATNER: I have no answer for any of them.
SHATNER: I mean, it was a fantasy, wasn't it? It was just a television show.
GLENN: Do you ever, do you ever -- have you ever actually said that to somebody? "It's a television show. Get a life."
SHATNER: I do say it a lot, and they at times unequivocally deny that and accuse me of trying to obfuscate because it really was a window into reality. No, 99.9% are just having fun.
SHATNER: That one tenth, as I'm sure you well know.
GLENN: Yeah. Did you see Galaxy Quest?
SHATNER: I did. It was very funny.
GLENN: Obviously a parody of --
GLENN: That's kind of -- in your book up until now, you talk about you didn't know that the rest of the crew hated you.
SHATNER: Well, wait a minute. That's overstated a little.
GLENN: Well, that's what I do, William.
SHATNER: A couple of people didn't like me and I never understood why and I still don't to this day.
GLENN: Who didn't like you?
SHATNER: Nichelle Nichols and George Takei.
SHATNER: Nichelle Nichols, that's Uhura, right?
GLENN: You made out with her.
SHATNER: Not I, not I.
GLENN: You had the first interracial kiss with her, did you not?
SHATNER: Yes, again the fantasy of Star Trek. And, you know, Barbara Walters has written an autobiography and admitted to certain sexual activities, and I don't -- I haven't read her book but I've got to figure that the book contains a lot of stuff other than what she wrote about in her affair with a politician.
GLENN: May I ask --
SHATNER: So my point is this: The media pounces on some issue that in this case, for example, on my book, up until now, is a minute thing in which the breath it takes to say, for 40 years somebody's got a feud with me, or a feud on that part, a dislike of me, is not worth more than the breath I've just stated because --
GLENN: So what was the -- why did you put it in the book then?
SHATNER: Because it was one of those things that people say, you've got to write about that. And so I refer to it. But because it's something you can attack, you can use and it's succinct. You know, somebody didn't like you; oh, yes; no, they didn't, as opposed to other things I write about. So put in its proper place, a couple of people didn't like me on the set and I didn't know it. That's the funny part or the part that I find astonishing about myself. I mean, are you aware of your staff and their likes and dislikes in the hurly-burly of doing three hours a day and then your night show? I mean, your --
GLENN: I do. I fire anybody who doesn't like me. What? I have people that listen and eavesdrop and then we fire them if they say anything bad about me.
SHATNER: Yeah, you don't know that. You don't know what they're thinking. You don't know what they're saying to each other unless it were to come out. My point is, you can't be -- you should be, but you can't be aware of everything going on around you. So in doing ten pages a day, year after year on that show, I guess I must have been ignorant about this.
GLENN: So if that's not the -- you are saying the media pounces on that part. So then what is the part that you say, "I wish somebody would pay attention to this; this is the most important part of the book"?
SHATNER: Well, no, there's no more one important part than the other. The book is a snapshot of the beginning to now, up until now, and there are many subjects brought up. And I can understand people's interest in this, but it irks me that it's so minuscule, somebody not liking me for 40 years and my not knowing why, nor being able to get out of them yet why.
GLENN: Well, George Takei. I've talked to him a couple of times.
SHATNER: Have you?
GLENN: He's an odd duck. So there you go. Because I'm riddled with ADD, I've got to go back to Barbara Walters, more information than you ever wanted to know about her?
SHATNER: Yes. You've got to ask the question, why would somebody do that?
GLENN: I have no -- she was so classy, she was -- I mean, she was really, you know, the first woman of news. She went on to The View and so she did that and so she's kind of tainted her image on that a little bit and now she's going to go out being known as somebody who was like a sex kitten breaking up this marriage. It's disturbing.
GLENN: But more profoundly is why would she choose to do that? And I saw an interview in which she said, you know, I really don't know why I did that, why I wrote that.
GLENN: But she continues to do it.
SHATNER: Exactly. And so what is it? Is it publicity for her book or is it breaking out of her age, trying to free? I mean, that's the mystery. Not so much that she had this affair and wrote about it. Why is she continuing --
GLENN: I have no idea.
GLENN: There was a conservative media watchdog group I've never heard of and they said, "Barbara has sunk to the very level of other attention-starved celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Steve-O from "Jackass." Walters' people came back and said this conservative watchdog group seems to have lived a sheltered life in a doghouse. Again I go back to your point, it's not information anybody wanted.
GLENN: It's not information that's important.
SHATNER: Exactly. It's not information that's important. And not only that, it's an autobiography. She's writing about herself. She doesn't have the authority to out somebody else. I mean, you do all the harm you want --
GLENN: To yourself.
SHATNER: -- to yourself but don't harm somebody else in the process.
GLENN: All right. In the middle of the interview you said something and I just wanted to come to you for a solution.
SHATNER: All right.
GLENN: I don't agree with you on the problem but I'd like to hear your solution.
GLENN: You said almost every problem we have right now is due to overpopulation.
GLENN: And I said there are just too many stupid people on Earth. You said there's too many smart and stupid people. So what is the solution to overpopulation?
SHATNER: Well, nature, nature eventually will take care of that problem like they did, like nature does with animals. We're overgrazing. So when deer multiply, when the natural order of things is disturbed and predators are taken away, for example, the deer, they overpopulate, they eat too much of the food and they starve. And we're going to -- if we don't curb -- how do we stop the overpopulation? I guess it's by education and saying you've got to have less children, you can't have all the children you want anymore. There's a difference in the world now. Or nature will take care of it.
GLENN: How many -- well, I just want -- I mean, in 1968 they said by 1980 the world would starve to death. Food production --
SHATNER: But there's no question that technology has increased the yield per acre. But in increasing the yield per acre, we have defiled the planet even more. By putting more fertilizer on the ground, we have the runoff and we have the seas dying as a result of all the fertilizer.
GLENN: Do you believe that the Earth takes care of -- and I mean this as a sincere question. Do you believe that the Earth takes care of problems in the way that this cyclone hit or this earthquake in China? Is that the Earth saying, enough?
SHATNER: Well, no. The cyclone itself is a natural order, but the number of people killed, which would have been three in another age, is now tens of thousands. And that's the result of overpopulation. The population of the world is taking over niches for living space and agriculture that they wouldn't have done before. So they are on low-lying islands that are inches above water level or cutting back mangroves like we did in Florida in order to get land and ultimate, whereas nature would have softened the blows of some of these disastrous storms, now that isn't taking place. Eventually and when that will happen, it's hard to predict. But we know it's not going to be that far away. Nature will be killing more and more people because there are more and more people to be killed. They're in the way of these natural forces.
GLENN: William Shatner is with us. Can you hang on for just a second? We're going to take a break and then we'll come back.
SHATNER: Absolutely. I'm enjoying it.
GLENN: See, now he can say that, but I don't necessarily know if I believe him.
SHATNER: It's true.
GLENN: William Shatner from Boston Legal, Star Trek, yada, yada, yada and the new book "Up Until Now" is in bookstores. We'll continue our conversation in just a second.
GLENN: Back with William Shatner. He's got a new book out called "Up Till Now." What is your favorite book that you've made?
SHATNER: Gee, I don't know. Early on I did some really fine films, judgment at Nuremburg probably could be part of that.
GLENN: That was good.
SHATNER: That was a great film. You know I was -- you read that commercial on meat so well, it was --
GLENN: Oh, boy, here we go.
SHATNER: No, no. You really think -- you know where I'm going?
GLENN: I think so.
SHATNER: It's a great commercial. I mean, you did it so well. Yes?
GLENN: Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.
SHATNER: I didn't know -- I thought I would surprise you with the amount of energy, about the amount of energy it takes to make a steak, and I love steak, too. It's just I'm getting guiltier and guiltier about eating it.
GLENN: Not me. You know what? You give it up, I'll eat your share. I'll eat your share.
Listen, I want to play some -- this is from Boston Legal.
GLENN: You don't have it? Oh, you don't have it. I'm sorry. I thought we had the clip. We'll save that. You know, what do you think of Patrick Stewart?
SHATNER: I love him. He's great and he's apparently wonderful in -- what am I saying apparently? I saw him. He's wonderful in Macbeth.
GLENN: When did you see that?
SHATNER: I saw it in Los Angeles.
SHATNER: He played in Los Angeles.
GLENN: I just saw it last night.
SHATNER: What did you think?
GLENN: The best -- I've never seen anything on stage as good. I hate Shakespeare but I like Patrick Stewart and I heard this was really, really good. This was absolutely unbelievable.
SHATNER: You can't say you hate Shake --
GLENN: Yes, I can.
SHATNER: No, Glenn, the science --
GLENN: I hate Shakespeare. It's, I hate somebody who I was forced to read when I was in high school.
SHATNER: There you go.
GLENN: And it's ancient dated language. The guy was a writer for, you know, Three's Company in his day.
SHATNER: Well, but here you have -- you loved Macbeth.
GLENN: I did love Macbeth.
SHATNER: So you can't say you hate Shakespeare. You hate Shakespeare badly done. You hate Shakespeare that's force-fed.
GLENN: Have you ever, have you ever done Shakespeare?
SHATNER: I was a member of the Stratford Ontario Company for three years.
GLENN: Can I tell you something? I think your dramatic readings are brilliant. Why don't you do more?
SHATNER: I do a lot.
GLENN: Really? Give me one. Do you have anything off the top of your head?
SHATNER: Well, there's a CD out right now called Exodus, it's an oratorio in which 350 voices, a choral group, a 72 piece orchestra and me doing an abbreviated version of Exodus which has gotten great reviews.
GLENN: Wow. If I only knew what an oratorio was. I wasn't listening when they taught me Shakespeare.
SHATNER: Well, you would enjoy this. You would enjoy this, I'm sure. But Glenn, your education is lacking in certain areas.
GLENN: Well, and I'm going to let you have the last word. William Shatner, "Up Till Now," he will be on television tomorrow night, CNN Headline Prime, 7:00. Thanks.