William Shatner to Join J.J. Abrams' Film Star Trek 11?
Sep 9, 2007
Is William Shatner joining the cast of the soon-to-shoot J.J. Abrams' film tentatively known as "Star Trek 11"? "I'm not. They haven't invited me to do it," says Shatner, who figures the movie forces have solved the problem of dealing with the aging version of his iconic spaceship captain character, James T. Kirk, by having a "dead Kirk." As for who'll play young, alive Kirk, "It seems they're looking for an unknown, so I have no idea. I don't have a finger on that pulse. I've barely got a finger on my own pulse," Shatner notes jauntily.
"I feel sort of like a wallflower. I'll watch the dance from the wings." Dash it all! But no tears for Shatner, who's incredibly busy with his own activities, including showing up at the Emmys Sept. 16 to see whether he'll win an Outstanding Supporting Actor statuette for playing "Boston Legal's" notorious Denny Crane -- again.
And that's also including "The Academy" -- Shatner's October-release book. "It's the story of young Kirk and Spock and the forces that molded them. I used the Darfur situation for what generates the excitement. A conflict in which there are child soldiers -- and Kirk and Spock are not much older than those child soldiers."
So Shatner's take on his and Leonard Nimoy's characters' early days will get out to the public way ahead of the film, which starts production in November. "It's a coincidence," he says. "In this book, the publisher is putting a fronticepiece saying that this is the artist's unique vision."
Shatner also has a recording, a newly created oratorio of "Exodus" with the Arkansas Symphony, coming out this fall. And he has a DVD coming out called "Gonzo Ballet" -- indeed. "It's kind of out there. The Milwaukee Ballet wanted to do a ballet based on five or six songs from my album 'Has Been.' They got well-known choreographer Margot Sappington to do about a half-dozen numbers. It was filmed with eight cameras, and with interviews showing how a ballet is born."
And then there's Denny Crane. What would Shatner like to see that randy ol' attorney do in the coming season? "I'd like to see him play Captain Kirk in the new 'Star Trek' movie."
ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU CRY: Sheryl Lee Ralph says the prevailing question she got while performing her HIV/AIDS-themed one-woman show, "Sometimes I Cry," throughout Africa was, "'Why would you (in America) let this happen to you? You have everything.' One woman looked at me and said, 'Even those of you who think you have nothing have more than most people I know,'" recalls Ralph, who wrote and directed the critically acclaimed show, in which she portrays a culturally diverse group of women coping with HIV/AIDS.
"What I found was we as women in America speak from the position of strength when we talk about the disease. But when you go to Africa, the women said to me, 'What do you think? I can just walk up to a store and ask for a condom? First, they're expensive. … And I don't have the right to demand my HIV-infected husband wear a condom.' They don't even have the right to protect themselves! Now, that's deep."
Ralph is scheduled to perform "Sometimes I Cry" Oct. 7 at the Howard Fine Theatre in Los Angeles and then head to the South for several dates. Meanwhile, she'll take time out to host her 17th annual Divas Simply Singing AIDS fundraiser Oct. 6 at Los Angeles's Wilshire Ebell Theatre, featuring such artists as Natalie Cole, Desiree Coleman-Jackson and "American Idol's" LaKisha Jones. Ralph, who earned a Tony nomination for the role of Deena Jones in the original Broadway production of "Dreamgirls," says the Divas concert will also mark a reunion for herself and those other original Dreamgirls, Loretta Devine and Jennifer Holliday.
ON A SAD NOTE: Australia's The Ten Tenors singing troupe had a jarring moment of coincidence when the announcement of their forthcoming U.S. tour -- with performances that include a tribute to opera great Luciano Pavarotti -- went out just before news of the great tenor's passing last week. "He was the inspiration for our group and my personal idol," said Shannon Brown, the group's musical director. The tour gets underway Sept. 23.
THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: If the much-nominated "30 Rock" comes away a big winner at the Emmys, Jane Krakowski will certainly be giving the credit to the show's top lady. "Tina Fey really blows me away because she's the star of the show, the head writer, the executive producer. She's always the one who knows her lines the best and always has a great attitude," adds Krakowski, who feels like her own comedic skills have grown since working with the people she refers to as the "comedy big boys." "They let us improvise things on set, which is fun. For me, because I don't write a stitch, when anything makes it in, I'm so proud."
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