William Shatner at 82: ‘I find age such a foreign concept’


The actor, 82, has a prog-rock album, Ponder the Mystery, for which he penned poetic lyrics.

A new album at 82?
As Spock says, “Live long and prosper”! I find age such a foreign concept. I have to be reminded. I still have the extraordinary feeling of adventure, striking out into unknown fields.

You’ve got great musical collaborators here.
Tops in the field. Billy Sherwood and Rick Wakeman [from Yes] and Al Di Meola, maybe the greatest living jazz guitarist, on my record? That put me away.

Was your style of speak-singing influenced by Rex Harrison?
I saw My Fair Lady onstage with Rex Harrison, and you’re right, he did what I’m doing exactly. I hadn’t thought of that until this moment.

You’re an experienced horseman. Any tips?
The art is getting into the horse’s head. Vibrating at the same frequency. It’s like a loved one. You’re breathing their breath, feeling their body. That’s what you do in horsemanship, as with any skill.

Is it true you fear space travel?
My fear is dying badly, through illness or injury. But what a glorious demise it would be to burn up in space.

ONLINE EXTRA: Shatner on the latest Trek movie

What did you think about Star Trek: Into Darkness resurrecting the old Space Seed/Wrath of Khan plotlines?
I have to be careful here about replying to you because of everybody’s sensitivities to it all. [Long pause.] I thought they could have gone another way. I’m sure that what they had in mind was doing a nod to the old Star Trek. But there were things in there that… I didn’t quite understand why they were there. And that’s as much as I can say on that. On the whole, the movie is a great ride. And there’s much that’s positive about it.

What does it feel like to watch Chris Pine playing an alternate-universe version of Captain Kirk, the character you helped make so indelible?
He’s wonderful. He’s good-looking. He’s physically great. He’s a good actor. He’s doing a super job, as is J.J. Abrams, doing a super job in directing, no question.

Did you enjoy seeing Leonard Nimoy once again playing Spock?
I coined a line with Leonard. I said, “You know you’re old when you go back in time and you’re still old.”