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William Shatner will always be best known as a television legend, who was the first of many Star Trek captains when the original television series made a cultural impact on viewers, and the science fiction genre, in the late '60s. A lot of surprising new information about Shatner has still slipped through the cracks, despite the many interviews and countless books he has written in the past. His new memoir is no exception, as the actor reveals that he and Leonard Nimoy weren't close at the very end of his life, that he once did mushrooms in Amsterdam with his wife because he always loved Alice in Wonderland, and also admitted that directing Star Trek V: The Final Frontier wasn't a particularly good decision. Here's what he said:
I had a choice. I could accept the compromise or refuse to direct the movie. I made a mistake; I accepted the compromise, which doomed the picture from the beginning.
His words come from his new memoir, Live Long and... What I Might Have Learned Along the Way (via TrekMovie.com), which is hitting store shelves on September 4. Star Trek V was the first and only Star Trek film William Shatner directed for a reason, I guess. When his original story idea for the installment wasn't given the mark of approval by series creator Gene Roddenberry, they had to creatively compromise, which produced less than exceptional results. Star Trek V: Final Frontier opened in 1989 to the lowest numbers of the film series, with $52 million (when adjusted for inflation), according to Box Office Mojo. The much more successful film before it, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, received much higher acclaim and $109 million (with inflation) upon opening.
While William Shatner recently showed his support to fellow captain, Patrick Stewart, who will soon be reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the actor has distanced himself from the franchise in recent years and has shown a bit of weariness with the franchise. When asked about what Star Trek character he would play if not Kirk, Shatner answered he'd be willing to play a Red Shirt, because they die quick and the actors are on to the next job. Shatner was also critical of his friend Leonard Nimoy's appearance in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, and said the actor played a useless role, while he also recently admitted that he would not be interested in reprising his role of Captain Kirk.
It's difficult to understand the toll it can play on a person who has been known for an iconic character his entire life, especially with Trekkies being such devoted fans. William Shatner has been invested in and attached to the Star Trek franchise since it's over 50-year-old history began, so some regrets are sure to be among his many accomplishments and accolades. And, while it's unfortunate that directing Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is among those regrets for Shatner, at least he seemed to have learned from his mistake.