William Shatner is on the phone from outside his horse ranch in California. The veteran actor, who’s been a household name since starring on Star Trek in the 1960s, is a longtime horse breeder. “I am in between shipments of horses right now,” Bill exclusively explains to Closer. “I’ve got my two dogs in the car with me, the sky is blue, and all the trucks are rushing by — the whole magic of life is passing me by!”
Don’t let him fool you. Nothing will ever pass Bill by if he can help it. Even over the phone, his enthusiasm and passion make it hard to reconcile that he’s about to celebrate his 90th birthday. “I have so few minutes left in my life that I’m tasting each one with delight,” he says. Bill is excited to be playing the leading man in a new romantic comedy, Senior Moment, which premieres in theaters and on streaming services on March 26. But that’s not all. The star’s full schedule includes more music, television, a book club and even a possible return to the Star Trek franchise. “Retire? Retire from what?” Bill scoffs. “I’m having the best time!”
Keep scrolling below for Closer‘s exclusive Q&A interview with William Shatner!
Tell us about your new movie, Senior Moment.
I play a former race car driver who has an accident in his beloved Porsche and has his driver’s license taken away. It’s the turmoil of losing his youth, seeing old age, and the new relationship he develops with a lady played by Jean Smart. It’s a celebration of the continuity of life and love and an affirmation that life isn’t over after 40.
That’s a great message.
Yes. And I loved doing the movie. It was so much fun, and I think it shows.
Did you know Jean before doing this film together?
No. We have always kind of nodded in each other’s direction over the years. This was the first time I was really able to appreciate Jean’s talents and beauty. She’s a lovely lady and a quality person.
Growing up in Canada, did you always want to be an actor?
Yes. I was on stage at the age of 6. I had done some camp plays. From that moment on, I never wanted to do anything else. And I never did anything else. I’ve never driven a cab or waited on tables. I made a living all by acting.
And then Star Trek became your breakout role in 1966.
I was a successful actor long before Star Trek. I was starring on Broadway and in movies. I was very popular on [the] radio in Canada, so I had done a lot of stuff. As a result, the people in Hollywood called me [for Star Trek]. I thought it was wonderful, so I agreed to do it.
Did you ever imagine it would become such a phenomenon?
No, that’s unimaginable. It’s 55 years later, and you and I are still talking about it. I’m even talking about the possibility of doing something else on Star Trek. It’s all beyond anybody’s imagination or ability to repeat.
What do you remember most fondly about shooting the original series?
My relationship with the cast. Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley were great pals of mine. The roles were written so well. It was a challenge to come to work and memorize those words and play all the characters that science fiction allows you to play.
What other projects have you been working on?
I am doing a show called The UnXplained. It’s a very popular show on the History Channel, and I’m enjoying it because it allows me to follow my curiosity. Next, I am going to do a book club. I’m going to interview authors. I love talking to people and finding out their secrets.
Wow, that’s a lot.
I’m also doing a new album called Love, Death and Horses. I have been doing it during the pandemic with a poet in New York, a musician in upstate New York and me here. We have been writing and performing it all on Zoom. It has been bought by a major label, and it will be out there in a few months.
That’s incredible. Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
It isn’t about what you achieve, because that’s ephemeral. It’s about what you do each day: the appreciation of life, people and events. If you take everything that happens to you as part of your story, that’s the journey of life.
You have such a positive attitude. Do you have any advice for people who are maybe feeling less upbeat during the pandemic?
If you’re struggling because of the pandemic, take this opportunity to focus on something, because you’ve got nothing but time. Focus on one thing and get better at it.
You are a grandpa. Do you love it?
It’s so special. I did get a great-grandchild, Clyde, who is the newest member of our family … I yearn to talk to [all my grandchildren] more, but you can only do so much. They have their own lives and are quick to rebel. I have to stay alive long enough for their rebellious period to be over to where they can accept some knowledge from me!
Ha! It sounds like you have been down this road before.
My daughters are going through their daughters’ teenage lives, so they are having some trouble. They’re suffering the ill that I suffered when my teenager girls wouldn’t pay attention to me! Eventually they come back.
How do you feel about turning 90?
I’m turning it upside down and celebrating my 60th birthday. I have been fortunate in being healthy. I only wish my shoulders didn’t ache.
Do you have any words of wisdom about getting through life with a smile?
What I tell my kids and anybody else who will listen to me is that the journey is the thing. It’s so clichéd that I am almost embarrassed. But the day-to-day journey of life is really what it is all about.
— Louise A. Barile, with reporting by Katie Bruno