William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge


Gene's ideas about the future

and about man, are wacky doodle. Red alert, shields up! David Gerrold:

He was a flawed man. He had great virtues,

he had great flaws. I thought Gene was going

to come across the table at me. I saw first hand Gene's

battling with the studio. Rick Berman:

Gene was considered somewhat

of a pain in the neck, he was kind of a blustery guy. D.C. Fontana:

Gene wasn't the easiest

person to get along with but he stuck up for his beliefs

and his concepts. It was just a lot of

in fighting-- it was all chaos. Ira Steven Behr: There was

really scary stuff going on. There's a lawyer going around

looking in people's desks when they're not there. Brannon Braga:

I spent the first

couple of years just worried I was

going to be fired. Sir Patrick Stewart:

My agent was the first person

to talk to us. There wasn't a hope in hell that

this show would even make it

through the first season. William Shatner:

This film is about

the turbulent years that marked the beginning

of Star Trek:
The Next

Generation. How it got off the ground and survived the chaos

of the first three years. I became fascinated

with the struggle, not only the creative struggle, but the struggle for power. Those doors are opening up

on Stage 6 where the bridge for The Next Generation

was first constructed. Power is an ephemeral;

it's what is perceived. In order for power to exist

it has to be acknowledged by the people who

are involved in the work. What I began to see

was Gene Roddenberry the creator of Star Trek aging and

in diminishing health trying desperately to hold on

to his creative vision, his legacy, and ultimately

his power. Hurley:

Roddenberry had

an incredible loyalty, he was very loyal

to his friends. No, Gene screwed over

all his friends as well

as his enemies. You know, he had

a lot of demons. He was very perceptive,

had a high IQ. Gene was a historical

revisionist. Creative and contributive

and collaborative. - Very intimidating guy.

- His good nature. He could be a bully. But he was a nice man

and was a generous man. Gene had a way of making you

feel really good about yourself. He could inspire people

to do better than they believed

they were capable of. I just found him

a decent man. And had a lot

of worldly experience. A bomber pilot in the Pacific,

decorated Pan Am pilot

world wide. I had great arguments

about philosophy and

all sorts of things. He was a really

remarkable man, I thought. Gene was fun... but then later as things were

not going as well I think he got

sour. There's this twenty year

in the desert for Gene. He's the forgotten man. Fontana:

The things that didn't happen were disappointing

and very saddening. His wife Majel would go

to the conventions and they would sell

memorabilia and make

some money that way and that money helped

sustain him. When you're out of work

as a writer in Hollywood and you can't find it,

it's a difficult life. I guarantee you he had

a difficult life between Star Trek

and the first movie. We get back together

for Next Gen and for him it's like he's been called

back out of the desert and given a position

of power again. At the time Gene

Roddenberry was considered somewhat of a pain in the neck,

he was kind of a blustery guy who was not very agreeable. Everybody else forgot him after

Star Trek the motion picture, this epic disaster. Every aspect of it

got out of hand, this was a runaway train. He wasn't trusted

with anything. He had been relegated

to being the executive

consultant on the movies. They paid him very well. I think that

may have been enough. He had a big corner office

in the Hart building. He pretty much spent his days

in correspondence with people from

all over the world who had become

Star Trek fans. So they gave him this emeritus

status and he was a "has been." Arnold:

The Summer of 1986,

a special summer, Star Trek 4 about to come out,

twentieth anniversary

about to happen, and everything seemed

to be building towards

this peak. The studio had decided

to start developing

a new series. - Without Gene.

- Without Gene. The president

of the television group

was a guy named Mel Harris. He called me one day

and he said, "We're gonna do

a new Star Trek." The studio came to him

and said we want to start

a new series. Gene wasn't all that excited

about doing another Star Trek for Paramount. And so created this series

and Gene went, "Whoa, wait, no." He saw the studio

as an adversary. Gene and the studio,

it was a war. It really was. Gene says,

"No you're not doing

Star Trek without me, it's my property."

Gene had the power. Arnold:

They weren't

going to proceed, And he said, "Well,

damn it I can do it." Finally, after years

of trying to convince him to do a new Star Trek series,

he agreed. He didn't mean

to go in there and come out with

a new series in development. He was looking forward

to retirement in just

a couple of months. Gene agreed and we had a very, very

contentious negotiation with Gene's lawyer

from Bullhead City by the name of

Leonard Maizlish. Oh, Leonard. Gene's wacky attorney. Who, in himself, could be

a movie of the week. ( chuckles ) He was not the nicest person

in the world. A lot of people

hated Leonard. I can recall one day when

Leonard was almost clutching his chest and I'm

saying, "I hope you die." I personally never

had problems with Leonard. Gene wanted to be

the good guy so the lawyer

got to be the bad guy. Leonard was carrying the wrath

of Gene for all these years because Gene felt

he had gotten screwed

on the original series. Paramount owns the rights.

There was never any dispute

about that, but Gene Roddenberry

is the creator of Star Trek. Gene had as much celebrity

as the show itself. I actually thought he was

imperative to the DNA of a successful reboot

of Star Trek. So, what happens? I needed Gene Roddenberry

and I needed to make a deal and Leonard Maizlish

knew exactly where he had me. Pike:

Look, his job was to represent

Gene Roddenberry, and as tough as he was,

he did a hell of a job

at doing that. We made the deal giving Gene

a compensation package that was sufficient

to Gene and to Leonard. Paramount would still own

the property Star Trek, but Gene would take

his fair share out. And by the way... it was a handsome share. So, Gene said yes

to doing a series, and then suddenly he's startled

by his own statement. Yeah, I don't think

he was prepared for

what that meant. And he wasn't a fit man. Gerrold:

Every weekend Majel

would pour him onto the train and send him to La Costa

the facility where

they'd dry him out. Because of the drinking, because

of the recreational drug use, he needed to clean himself up. Which he did, over the next

couple of months. As everything

was being worked out, the I's were being dotted,

the T's were being crossed. Now it was decided, all right, Gene, you will

assemble your team. Does anybody have a concept

at this point? No, they had no cast,

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William Shatner

William Shatner, (born March 22, 1931) is a Canadian actor, author, producer, and director. In his seven decades of television, Shatner became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the Star Trek franchise. He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek, and has co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has written a series of science fiction novels called TekWar that were adapted for television. Shatner also played the eponymous veteran police sergeant in T.J. Hooker (1982–86) and hosted the reality-based television series Rescue 911 (1989–96), which won a People's Choice Award for the Favorite New TV Dramatic Series. Shatner also appeared in seasons 4 and 5 of the NBC series 3rd Rock from the Sun as the "Big Giant Head" that the alien characters reported to. From 2004 until 2008, he starred as attorney Denny Crane in the final season of the legal drama The Practice and its spinoff series Boston Legal, a role that earned him two Emmy Awards. As of December 2017, he is in his second season of the comical NBC real-life travelogue with other male companions "of a certain age" in Better Late Than Never. Shatner has also worked as a musician; an author; screenwriter and director; celebrity pitchman; and a passionate owner, trader, breeder, rider, and aficionado of horses. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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