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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with William Shatner
Aired November 20, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, beam me up, Scotty. I've waited years to do that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: You're off my list. I'm never going to come on your show again, because it irked me so -- for so long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The extraordinary William Shatner. Captain Kirk himself opens up about "Star Trek" and why his co-stars hate him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHATNER: What are you talking about? I thought I was loved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: How he'd like to be remembered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHATNER: Blazing in the sky with sky writing with fire, "Shatner."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And the greatest moment of his life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: What has been the single greatest moment of your life?
SHATNER: Doing the Piers Morgan interview. MORGAN: Well, obviously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: William Shatner, welcome. I don't mean to shock you.
SHATNER: You woke me up.
(LAUGHTER) MORGAN: Do you know, I look at you and somebody said to me, you're 80 years old.
SHATNER: Well, somebody said to me, you're 40. And, you know --
MORGAN: Forty-six, actually.
But, by the way, you don't look 80. You shouldn't be 80.
SHATNER: Well, I -- I don't feel 80 and I don't --
SHATNER: -- know how to deal with that.
MORGAN: You're evergreen.
SHATNER: I don't know how to deal with being 80.
MORGAN: Well, we're talking about this great book, "Shatner Rules," quite miserably. You don't want to be old and 80 and facing death, do you?
SHATNER: No. I mean as I -- as you've already read in the book, I -- I describe getting my 80th birthday, getting up and not wanting to get up and realizing that it had to get up because it could all end right now.
MORGAN: But you've been through this before, because you talk about your 40th birthday --
MORGAN: -- where you just laid in bed for days on end.
SHATNER: -- not feel 40. What have I done? What's -- what -- what -- what shall transpire?
MORGAN: Yes, but you've done a lot, that's the point. That's what I don't understand.
SHATNER: Well, again, that's relative. Done what?
MORGAN: Made some of the biggest TV shows --
SHATNER: I know, but I don't know what dark matter is.
MORGAN: Dark matter?
SHATNER: That's pushing the universe, expanding the universe.
MORGAN: Why do you need to know what dark matter is?
SHATNER: Because that could be the answer to the mystery of life. MORGAN: Do you ever want to find out the answer to the mystery of life?
SHATNER: I am intrigued. I'm -- I'm -- I'm -- I have palpitations about wondering what the mystery -- why are -- what's happening? What's going to happen? What is going to happen when we die?
MORGAN: Do you fear death?
SHATNER: I'm in torment. I'm in terror. I'm terrified. I envy the people who say, oh, well, I've got my name in the golden book and I'm going to be entered into the pearly gates.
MORGAN: What do you hope happens?
SHATNER: That this continues.
SHATNER: Can I go on and make a record here and there, write a book now and then, say hello to my wife in the morning? It would be great.
MORGAN: Have you ever had -- because you've -- you've worked unbelievably hard your entire life. You don't need the money. You don't need the success. You've had every success imaginable.
What drives you? Why do you still put yourself through this?
SHATNER: Piers, if you were given the opportunity to get a great interview, a great interview, but you're -- you're sick and you're tired and you're in your bed, wouldn't you get up out of bed --
SHATNER: -- and make it to that? And they would say, well, Piers, we'll have -- we'll have Anderson do it. And you'd say no.
MORGAN: Dear God.
SHATNER: Dear God.
MORGAN: Even if I was dead, I'd get out of the coffin if I heard those words.
SHATNER: Well, that's right. There would be a wrap on the fingers and you'd be slowly emerging and you'd come out. I'm going to do that interview.
MORGAN: Is that how you feel, the same way?
SHATNER: Yes, I'm going to do that record. I've got to play that part. I've got to write this book. I've got to say this thing. I've got to ride those horses.
I've got to.
MORGAN: Why? Why do you have to?
SHATNER: What will happen if I don't?
MORGAN: You might -- you might be able to relax.
SHATNER: Relax and do what?
MORGAN: Spend more time with your horses.
SHATNER: I've got to ride my horses.
SHATNER: In between this whole routine, I mean, I'm doing a lot of publicity for this book, a new record -- and then I'm going on a one man show. I'm touring Canada in a one man show. And in between Winnipeg and Toronto, I fly back to Los Angeles to ride in a -- a reining show for three days.
And then, after I finish the tour, two days later, I'm in Kansas City riding in another group of horses in another --
MORGAN: But this is the stuff of madness, William.
SHATNER: Is it?
MORGAN: I think so.
SHATNER: No. It leads --
MORGAN: Or does it keep you -- or does it keep you a young man?
As you said, you do not look 80. If you said you were 60, I'd be -- I'd believe it.
So what is it you're doing?
SHATNER: I look 60?
MORGAN: I think so. And I've had a lot of people in here who ought to look 60 --
SHATNER: And --
MORGAN: -- but thanks to surgery, look about 108.
MORGAN: So you're doing it right way. But I mean, it obviously works. The vitality is clear on you. It is an --
SHATNER: What a fortunate confluence of luck and DNA -- luck that the health is perfect and the DNA that must have come from a strong background and -- and nothing is bothering me. That's lucky. And energy is the key to everything that we're talking about. Energy is the key to creativity. Energy is the key to life. If you're not healthy and feel good, loving is very difficult to do.
MORGAN: That's very true.
SHATNER: And that's the key.
MORGAN: You've been acting for six, seven decades. You've been singing for all of that time, as well. You've been making hilarious commercials. You've done all sorts of stuff.
What is the one thing, if you're completely honest, that you enjoy above everything else that you've ever done?
SHATNER: I like making people laugh. Making people laugh is a joyful occupation.
First of all, the invention of the joke itself is a -- is a crafting art. A good joke about -- and it has to have commentary, as well, whether it's on the human condition or the political condition, whatever it is, with joke makes you laugh at the things that scathing, usually.
A great joke is a work of art. To be able to deliver that joke, to have the sense of comedy and the delicate timing that it takes to extract the most from that laugh is also an art form. Imagine creating a joke and being able to deliver the joke, like stand-up comics --
MORGAN: Do you like stand-up comedy?
SHATNER: I -- I wish I -- well, I do a form of it with enough good material. But -- and I take the material out of my life. But what I think of as stand-up material is George Carlin, for example -- just him right there. And I think I take too long to get to the laugh.
MORGAN: Your comedy now, a lot of it comes from television, where people are laughing a long time after you've taped this stuff. So you're not fancy. If comedy is the thing that really gets you going, do you not fancy taking the ultimate risk, and going on a stand-up tour?
SHATNER: Well, I -- I am, basically, in the one man show called "How Time Flies." I mean, the opening joke is have your cake and -- and my mother's whole thing is that --
MORGAN: No, I love this story. I love this story. This is -- this is from your book. I actually tore it out, I loved it so much.
Your mother, God bless her, had this wonderful thing where she would go to any restaurant, often with the entire family, and say it's her birthday and then you would all get massive amounts of cake.
SHATNER: Well, no, one piece.
MORGAN: One piece. But it was never her birthday.
SHATNER: For -- no. It was her birthday once a year.
SHATNER: And then she would go to a restaurant with all of us there --
MORGAN: I will say --
SHATNER: -- today it's my birthday. And so the waiters would come out and -- and sing, happy birthday to you. And mother would say, thank you very much.
And we, you know, in the beginning, we sang happy birthday, mother, happy birthday. And then after a while, we wouldn't sing happy birthday. And they would just get completely amazed and upset.
The maitre d' -- I heard the maitre d' once on the telephone, saying, I'm telling you, Shatner hates his mother.
MORGAN: What did she teach you, your mother?
SHATNER: What did she what?
MORGAN: What did she teach you about life?
SHATNER: My mother was an exuberant, silly lady. And that silliness, which, in her part, was a little overboard for the silliness. I mean you need to be silly to be funny. But you can't be too silly.
On the other hand, depending on what kind of comedy it is -- I mean, slapstick is silly. But slapstick is like the slipping -- the portentous man slipping on the banana peel. I mean, it's funny and it's cruel and it's -- and it's observant. But that's slapstick. It's outrageous.
When you throttle all that back, you've got drawing room comedy. And somebody drops a cup of tea. I mean, it's all related.
MORGAN: So you've been, I think, brilliantly, been able to laugh at yourself without ever crossing that line where it becomes a bit ridiculous. You -- you've managed to straddle that divide --
SHATNER: And that's -- that's the key. And you're working without a net and without an audience if -- but laughing at yourself, the whole irony of life -- I mean, the fact that we're here talking about me in the midst of all this chaos --
SHATNER: -- is a bit of a joke. So, it should take its rightful place in the -- in the -- in the important --
MORGAN: What's the best William Shatner joke you've ever heard?
SHATNER: The best William Shatner joke?
MORGAN: Shatner joke, yes?
SHATNER: I'm such -- I'm terrible at the jokes. I don't -- I can't remember them. I don't -- I can't, you know, they just --
MORGAN: What was the one from your roast that you found most offensive and yet funny?
SHATNER: Oh, the roast was -- oh, well, it was actor George Takei was given the line that was the line. I rode in on a horse on my -- on the -- on my horse. And the obvious line is: screw you, F you on your -- and the horse you rode in on, right?
So, somebody got the line. George got the line. But George dislikes me so much that when he said it, screw you --
MORGAN: No, he meant it.
SHATNER: Yes, he meant it. It wasn't funny at all. George, oh, thanks, George. You know, take it easy.
MORGAN: Look, we're going to come back to that and your relationship with your "Star Trek" colleagues, because that, again, is very amusing in this book.
I particularly also like -- and we'll come back to this -- your list of questions that you get asked at "Star Trek" conventions because you have to answer these things so bloody often, you now have every answer in the book. No need to ask you any more "Star Trek" questions. Leonard, definitely, the other four, not so much.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: OK, I need to just admit something --
SHATNER: I don't know what that was all about.
SHATNER: A lot of hullabaloo.
MORGAN: I have to admit something. I loved "Star Trek." I was a Trekkie. And I mean literally, bordering on going to a convention. I never actually did --
SHATNER: Why didn't you go to the conventions?
MORGAN: No, I didn't. I nearly did.
SHATNER: Why didn't you?
MORGAN: I should have done.
SHATNER: Why didn't you?
MORGAN: I would have done.
SHATNER: Why didn't you?
MORGAN: I just don't think they ever had one in my neck of the woods, a little sleepy village in the east -- in the south of England. But I loved "Star Trek." And I used to just crave "Star Trek."
SHATNER: You know why?
MORGAN: And Captain Kirk was like my idol.
SHATNER: It's part of the myth.
MORGAN: What is the myth?
SHATNER: Joseph Campbell. Everybody needs a myth. Every culture needs a myth.
A myth is this promised land of "Star Trek." The heroes are the captains who played the "Star Trek." The ritual is going to a convention, partaking of the autograph of the buying of the various --
MORGAN: Are you absolutely sick of it?
SHATNER: No, I'm not sick of it.
SHATNER: No, really. I mean --
SHATNER: -- to me it's like a cape that's following me. I don't -- I don't know -- how did the king get to be crowned? You know, or the -- was it the queen that was wearing the long cape?
I mean, someone has got to be lifting it. What -- it's -- it's there. It's behind me and it's part of why -- it's why I'm here, essentially, maybe. And --
MORGAN: Do you worry that when you finally leave us, the headline will be Captain Kirk dies at age 176 or whatever they can preserve you to?
(LAUGHTER) SHATNER: No. No, I don't care. You know, I say to other actors, Kelly -- Gene Kelly was a great, great dancer. And they say, who? Fred Astaire. Oh. Nothing is -- it's so ephemeral. It's so airy.
MORGAN: Is it, do you think?
SHATNER: It disappears.
MORGAN: Do you not worry about your legacy?
SHATNER: No. My legacy is my wife and my children and my grandchildren.
MORGAN: You know, I had an extraordinarily ground-breaking moment. I interviewed Nichelle Nichols about this when she came on the show.
You had the first interracial kiss that was shown on U.S. television. Did you realize at that moment how significant that was going to be?
SHATNER: Not really, although we had heard rumors that the Southern stations, some Southern stations might -- might cut it down. The context of that kiss is I'm being forced to do it by the alien. So, it wasn't like I was falling in love and ravishing this beautiful woman whose skin was darker than mine. It was I'm being forced as the -- as her boss, to kiss her. Subsequently, people talk about it and I think -- well, I guess it was important.
But, no, no. All those things -- anything you think is important now, we just brushed off back then, because in the hurly burly of making the series.
MORGAN: Your co-stars from "Star Trek," with the exception of Leonard Nimoy, Spock, who I know you remain good friends with, the rest of you -- well, not you, actually. They all seem to have a massive problem with you.
SHATNER: Because they're trying to sell a book.
MORGAN: Is that all it's about, really?
SHATNER: I -- as far as I'm concerned.
MORGAN: But when in doubt, whack Captain Kirk?
SHATNER: Yes. Why not? Everybody else does.
MORGAN: Were you surprised that they all started piling in -- he stole all my great scenes. He nicked my best lines?
SHATNER: They didn't have great scenes. They didn't have good lines. There was nothing to nick.
But I was shocked. I was interviewing. And I said, well, thank you. Great interview. Good night. They said, well, wait a minute, don't you want to know how much we despise you?
What are you talking about? I thought I was loved.
MORGAN: Do you care?
SHATNER: I care that somebody in this world dislikes me. And I care that the enmity has carried over to the point of where we're talking about it. It's absolute nonsense.
I mean, we're going to die. Go out the way you came in, with a little innocence. You know? It's ridiculous.
MORGAN: How has Leonard managed to avoid despising you?
SHATNER: He doesn't know me very well.
MORGAN: And presumably because he also got a lot of good lines.
SHATNER: He might secretly.
MORGAN: Are you good friends with him?
SHATNER: Absolutely. I think he's an admirable man and a great human being.
MORGAN: When you walk into a Trekkie convention, I mean, this must be like -- this is like the president --
SHATNER: Fifteen thousand people.
MORGAN: Going crazy?
SHATNER: Going crazy.
And, Piers, you don't know -- you're in front of them and you don't know what you're going to say next. How about that for balancing -- 15,000 people and you're in the actor's nightmare.
MORGAN: Do you have an opening line?
SHATNER: My mother ate cake. No. What would you like to know? Or I might say --
MORGAN: Do you say something like Captain Kirk? Do you give the --
MORGAN: -- disciples what they want?
SHATNER: No. It's -- well, I don't know what they want. And I, eventually --
MORGAN: Well, if I was at one, I'd want you to come out, do that --
SHATNER: What? What would you like? All right. Piers, you're at the convention. You're there.
Hello, and good evening. And, Piers, I see you sitting in the audience. What would you like to know?
MORGAN: "Beam me up, Scotty."
SHATNER: I hate you.
SHATNER: You're off my list. I'm never going to come on this show again. Because it irked me so -- for so long, "Beam me up, Scotty."
MORGAN: Did it? Why?
SHATNER: I had built up -- I thought it was derision. I thought it was derisive after a while.
After 30 years, I thought it was -- and then getting into the 40th year, I thought, what the heck? Why are they saying that? It must be their derision. They must be they're laughing at me.
And then, I go see Patrick Stewart. And he's this great Shakespearean actor.
And he's dealing with Captain Picard like it is Shakespeare. I'm thinking, my God, I used to do that. Why aren't I doing that? I said, I've been doing this terrible thing. I shouldn't get irked at "Beam me up, Scotty." I should say, I would if I could.
MORGAN: Yes. Embrace it.
SHATNER: Embrace it.
MORGAN: I should be guiding you through these conventions.
SHATNER: Well, do you have an ex-wife?
SHATNER: Embrace it.
MORGAN: It's funny you should say that, because when we come back after the break, I'm going to talk to you about marriage.
SHATNER: All right.
MORGAN: Or, in your case, marriages, and what you've learned about love, romance, divorce -- SHATNER: And all those good things.
MORGAN: I'm back with my special guest, William Shatner.
James T. Kirk was a bit of a lady's man, wasn't he? Very smooth.
SHATNER: Not a bit of.
MORGAN: Massive --
MORGAN: -- ladies man.
SHATNER: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: Have you been like that in your life, would you say?
SHATNER: I have.
MORGAN: Unashamedly so?
SHATNER: Some shame.
MORGAN: How much?
SHATNER: Well --
MORGAN: What have you learned about women?
SHATNER: They're hormonal, Piers.
SHATNER: Every day brings a different mood.
MORGAN: But what you haven't learned is just by saying that, you're making things 10 times worse.
SHATNER: No. You're making it better. And by -- you -- if you say --
MORGAN: Have you ever said to a woman, you're being hormonal, and it's made it better?
SHATNER: Well, not at that moment. It takes time to sink in, like a year or two. But if you, the man, realize that there are different hormones flooding into her body, 30 -- 28 to 30 days a month, and that each hormonal increment changes her mood from black to white and shades of gray, then you have -- you can go for -- you can deal with that.
You can --
MORGAN: But does your wife, Elizabeth, go along with this theory?
SHATNER: No. She refuses to believe it. No, I'm kidding. She's in the studio and I have to exit.
SHATNER: My wife Elizabeth is one of the great wives -- in fact, the greatest wife I've known of anybody.
MORGAN: Really? Why?
SHATNER: She's understanding. She's loving. She's patient.
She's her own woman. She's beautiful. She's passionate.
She and I do so many of the same things together that we love to do -- riding horses, the family, food. I mean, it's just wonderful.
MORGAN: And as I say, she's your fourth wife, obviously, you've been through some tragedy. One of your wives I saw last night nearing -- she died this awful death. You've also been married twice before that.
What have you learned about you through this whole process, about the type of woman you needed to be with?
SHATNER: I don't know whether it's the type of woman I needed to be with. What some people acquire from their parents and from their associations, is empathy, sympathy, understanding, sharing, equality. And other people mature later in life with those really ethical human traits.
I had to learn them over my experience. I had to learn to empathize more and be less concerned about myself. And those things you acquire during a lifetime, hopefully before you die.
MORGAN: I mean, does a Hollywood lifestyle, does being a TV star --
SHATNER: There's no such thing as a Hollywood lifestyle.
MORGAN: But there is, isn't there?
SHATNER: No, there isn't.
MORGAN: There's a particular kind of pattern of behavior --
SHATNER: No, there isn't.
MORGAN: -- if you're in this business.
SHATNER: No, there isn't.
MORGAN: You don't think so? SHATNER: No. I know there isn't. You, because part of your career was working in tabloid stuff and you were seeking the tabloid headline, for the most part, those tabloid people are not the working people of, in this town, for example, or New York or whatever, the centers of entertainment.
The people who work in the entertainment industry get up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, go to bed 8:00, 9:00 at night and they're working and creating stuff.
MORGAN: Look, let me call you out on this. I've interviewed people like Dennis Hopper, Charlie Sheen, Mickey Rourke, you know, people who like this who have been genuine hell raisers.
SHATNER: You've gone through the list of people who are addicted. And whether they were addicted at work, I don't know.
Now, it's true you've -- you've hit those tabloid people, wonderful artists, wonderful actors, all of them, they -- I don't know whether they did that at work. But if they did that at work too often, they wouldn't work. They weren't there.
Charlie, for example, says that, with the exception of occasional -- the occasional exception, he was there ready to work. I don't know. I have no idea.
But I'm telling you from my experience, and -- and let me just say that, from my experience --
MORGAN: Yes, but it's really interesting.
SHATNER: I've never seen anybody -- I can't remember anybody not coming to work. I've never not turned up for work. So --
MORGAN: Oh, I've heard that about you. You're like -- you're like incredibly reliable. You don't ever turn up late.
SHATNER: No. Late is --
MORGAN: You don't have a day off sick?
SHATNER: -- an anathema.
MORGAN: You don't have a day off sick?
SHATNER: A what?
MORGAN: A day off sick?
SHATNER: No, I've never been sick.
MORGAN: Always turned up?
SHATNER: I've never had an understudy. I've never been sick. I've -- I've been sick but I've turned up.
Most people, almost everybody does. That -- it's -- working is too valuable.
MORGAN: Does that annoy you then, that there has -- the Hollywood cliche, drummed up, as you rightly say, by the media --
SHATNER: Well, it is --
SHATNER: The -- people want to read about the -- the flagrante delic -- deli -- I've lost it.
MORGAN: You can't even say it, can you?
SHATNER: It's Latin, right, no. It sticks in my mouth like cake my mother used to make.
It is -- it is -- if your reputation is sullied by not turning up for work, not knowing your words, not hitting your marks, there are too many other people around who will. So, yes, there's an occasional celebrity who thinks that their importance is more than the group effort. But it's very rare. And I've never seen it.
MORGAN: We're going to take another break.
When we come back, I want to talk to you about the ethos of the books, "Shatner Rules" and the number one rule of Shatner life is to always say yes.
MORGAN: Back with William Shatner.
You're a Tweeter, aren't you, William?
SHATNER: I am. I don't physically Tweet. I have people who tweet. But I give them the impetus. I tell them --
MORGAN: What do you make of the social networking phenomena?
SHATNER: Well, I mean, it's extraordinary. It's -- it's a new facet to our civilization, if you will. I did -- Mr. Halperin wrote about his father, tweeted about his father, ultimately became a comedy, a half hour comedy that I was performing in.
It's instant communication. And we use it to tell the people who are interested what it is I'm doing, what it is I'm thinking, feeling, and what -- how they may share in it.
MORGAN: We talked earlier about mythology and the importance of it actually in people's lives. Is one of the downsides of Twitter, Facebook, and so on that famous people just give way too much of themselves, that they kind of kill the magic?
SHATNER: Yes. There's no magic anymore. That's true.
MORGAN: Does that sadden you? MORGAN: From a theatrical point of view, it does, because what was done with smoke and mirrors, and pulleys and wires -- now, the camera's focused on the wire. Here's how we're pulling him out, and here's the CGI. And you're seeing the bare bones.
When I was doing this half hour sitcom and the lines wouldn't work and the jokes might not work and we were given new jokes and there's 400 people watching the actor get the joke, and -- it was like a nightmare to me the actor who was used to covering over any mistake, so the audience wouldn't know that something else was happening. Here they were in on the mistakes. And I had to embrace them and the mistake and say all right, everybody, you're in on this mistake. And you have to tell us whether this line works or not. Only by your reaction do we know.
So it's a whole other area. Yes, the smoke and mirrors is gone. And that's a shame.
MORGAN: One of the great ethoses of this book really is you should always say yes. Tell me why you think that's important in life.
SHATNER: Well, I'm -- you've got to condition the word "always." I don't say always say yes. I mean, you've got to --
MORGAN: Pretty much.
SHATNER: Some discrimination.
SHATNER: Not pretty much. Yes. You have to -- the ethos is say yes. But -- I mean, use your sense.
The idea behind saying yes is it's easier to say no -- especially as you get older. It's easier to say no, I will not entertain that idea. No, I will not take a fresh look at something.
No, I will not meet that new person. It's easier to stay at home. It's easier to insulate.
It's more difficult and more dangerous to say yes to opportunity. But saying yes to opportunity is saying yes to life.
MORGAN: What has been the single greatest moment of your life? The moment if I said, right, I can replicate that moment for you right now. What would you -- what would you choose?
SHATNER: Doing a Piers Morgan interview.
MORGAN: Well, obviously.
SHATNER: Can you replicate that?
MORGAN: Well, of course. We can repeat it.
Let me make it the second greatest. SHATNER: Well, that's an impossible question. I mean, I'd go through my marriage to Elizabeth. I'd go through the birth of my children and my grandchildren. I'd go through the absolute ecstatic joy I feel at moments riding horses. I would go through the moment when the audience and I were in partnership, the feeling of unity between --
MORGAN: What's been the greatest professional moment?
SHATNER: There are -- Piers.
MORGAN: I'm pinning you down. SHATNER: No, no.
MORGAN: I've put a gun to your head. You have to say something. The one thing where you went, wow. That was it.
SHATNER: I have --
MORGAN: That's why I came into this.
SHATNER: I had a scene where I discover my daughter, my granddaughter. She's been gone seven years. I've been looking for her for seven years, on a television show. And I felt the moment and ad-libbed the dialogue and did things, unable to touch her and wanting to touch her, wanting to say and not knowing whether to say it. And I was totally invested in the moment.
Totally, the actor was in that one moment. And I think that's the moment, if I could put all those -- the ability to do that in all the moments in a part.
MORGAN: Is that what acting at its purest is? Is that what it's all about?
MORGAN: And do you live for those moments?
SHATNER: Exactly. It is in that purity that actors live for.
MORGAN: Let's take another break and come back and talk politics. I would imagine you've got some pretty strong views. And I want to hear them all. I want to suck them out of you, William.
SHATNER: Spit them.
DON LEMON, ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live in CNN newsroom in Atlanta.
Here are your headlines this hour:
Breaking news out of the New York City. Mayor Bloomberg announced the arrest of a 27-year-old Dominican Republic native on terrorism charges. Bloomberg describing Jose Pimentel as an al Qaeda sympathizer who is planning to detonate pipe bombs at a post office, a police station, and even against U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bloomberg said Pimentel, an unemployed U.S. citizen, is an al Qaeda sympathizer but apparently had received no support from that terrorism organization. He allegedly used the Internet to access an online al Qaeda magazine to learn how to construct pipe bombs. Bloomberg says police had been observing Pimentel since May of 2009. They decided to take action after he had acquired all of the material needed to build a bomb and intended to build three of them.
Here's a video release of the mayor's news conference showing how three bombs tied together could describe a car.
Again, New York City Mayor Bloomberg announcing the arrest of 27-year- old Jose Pimentel, accused of plotting to detonate pipe bombs in and around New York City. We'll have more on this breaking news at the top of the hour, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, here on CNN.
In other news tonight, the congressional super committee given the job of coming up with the plan to cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next decade looks headed for failure. Live pictures of Washington right now. There have been no decisions but sources tell CNN that an end of the talks could be announced Monday.
Without a deal, automatic across-the-board spending cuts will go in to effect in 2013.
I'm Don Lemon. I'll see you at top of the hour. Right now, Piers Morgan continues.
MORGAN: Back with William Shatner.
William, you've been very outspoken lately about politics in Washington. You said, and I quote, "This country is being torn apart by people with great passion who believe in their point of view. And to disparage that point of view is to lose the argument."
Do you believe that?
SHATNER: Yes. I believe it because I said it.
MORGAN: Not everything that Hollywood stars come out with they actually believe.
SHATNER: Well, that's kind of innocuous.
SHATNER: It doesn't take a side. It just says what's happening.
But that's true. That is what's happening. There's a fundamental argument going on in the country.
Let's take better care of our people. We can't afford to take care; let's cut back. I mean, it's as basic as that. And everybody says, well, we should cut back, because we can't afford to do that. But on the other hand, we can't let the poor people suffer.
I -- I'm -- I'm on the horns of a dilemma right now, example. I've been asked to back the groups that are against extracting oil from the sands in -- in Cali -- in Alberta. And I go, well, of course, they're destroying the environment. That's a -- the environment of Canada. It's pristine, for the most part. I've come out against gray farm salmon.
But there's a 2,000 mile oil line to be built to Houston and 20,000 jobs are on the line.
Now, what do you do? I mean that's a dilemma.
MORGAN: What are you going to do?
SHATNER: I don't know what they're going to do. But I thought, you know, I've got to let everybody work this out. I can't -- I can't think -- I've got to think about 20,000 people and I've got to think about the environment. I'd better stay quiet about this in -- in public apparently.
MORGAN: I mean, you can't, obviously, vote, because you're -- you're Canadian -- in an American election. But if you could, how are you seeing it all unraveling now?
SHATNER: Well, it's totally -- it's fraught with terrible decisions. We're spending more money than we've got. We've got to cut back. Where do you cut back?
There are people who are out of work and they're suffering and their kids are going hungry. You can't have that. You've got to spend the money.
It's a terrible, terrible dilemma.
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MORGAN: Intriguing musical style you have, Mr. Shatner.
SHATNER: Well, that's heavy metal, man. And when I finished that, I went -- and then I went to Zack Wild's studio, a guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. And he laid down his track. And I thought, what I've done is terrible. That -- what you just saw is awful.
So I had to go back in there and match his energy and match his --
MORGAN: Do you think you're a good singer or you're an entertainer? SHATNER: Oh, no, no, no, no. I'm not a singer.
MORGAN: You're more like a crazy talker.
SHATNER: A wordsmith.
SHATNER: I mean, these words are phenomenal.
MORGAN: Does it ever stray into singing, do you think?
MORGAN: Is it an early form of rap?
SHATNER: Yes. Well, rap is words and the rhythm of the words and the meaning of the words.
MORGAN: And on this album, you've got some amazing names in here.
SHATNER: Well, they add the musicality.
MORGAN: Featuring Richey Blackmore, Lyle Lovett.
SHATNER: Brad Paisley.
MORGAN: Sheryl Crow. An amazing collection of people.
SHATNER: I mean, there's 20 of the greatest musician alive today on this album. It's a monumental album. It's about Major Tom and what happens to Major Tom after he exits the capsule in the David Bowie song.
MORGAN: It's fantastic. And there you are, heading off.
SHATNER: Heading off into space.
MORGAN: Torpedoing it into space. Space basically is what it's all about for you, isn't it? Finding new frontiers, boldly going where no man has gone before.
SHATNER: Well, that's not space. That's the inner space. And that is an attraction.
MORGAN: Well, outer space --
SHATNER: Well, no, that is outer space. But what I'm talking about boldly going, all of us, in our inner space, where no -- where you haven't --
MORGAN: Where do you want to boldly go to next?
SHATNER: I'm going to go next door.
(LAUGHTER) SHATNER: Anderson is going to talk --
MORGAN: All right. Because of this irreverence, I'm now going to ask you what I really want to know.
MORGAN: These Priceline commercials --
MORGAN: -- right, which I didn't know a lot about, obviously, being British, and then I caught up with them. And I got the history.
That decision you took, when you thought to yourself, right, I'm not going to take a fee for this; I'm going to ask them for stock. That decision, was that the greatest decision you've ever taken?
SHATNER: It could have been. Well, what happened was I got stock. I got stock in a dot-com company. You know, Mr. Shatner, you're locked in for a year and a half. OK, I've got stock.
And the thing started going up. And I'm doing these commercials for a year and five months.
MORGAN: But when you watched the stock going up, what were you thinking?
SHATNER: I thought, I'm rich, I'm beyond -- beyond any concept of being rich. The owner of Priceline, the guy who thought of it, was a billionaire. He had more money coming to him as a result of the stock than General Motors. He was not going to endow a university. He was going to build a university.
So, the stock went up. But we're all tied down, locked in. And then the dot-com bubble burst. And we all still couldn't get rid of our stock. And we went, boom! It was worth pennies.
Everybody sold their stock. But what we didn't know was how great the company is, because from those ashes has arisen Priceline.com, which is one of the greatest --
MORGAN: And did you keep --
SHATNER: No! Got rid of that terrible stuff!
MORGAN: So all this stuff about you making $600 million.
SHATNER: No, I would have, could have.
MORGAN: But that's a bit different to making it. So, you didn't make --
MORGAN: Did you make any money -- SHATNER: No, listen. Buy the record, for God's sake, help me!
MORGAN: Six hundred dollars, I think, was what my stock was. And half of that in --
MORGAN: Let me ask something. Was your decision to sell your stock, when it bottomed out, the worst decision of your life?
SHATNER: It was the only intelligent decision to make.
MORGAN: But was it the worst decision you've ever made?
SHATNER: Well, what happened -- can you think of another dot-com company that exists?
MORGAN: A few.
SHATNER: Name me one. You see, you have to think about it.
MORGAN: I agree.
SHATNER: OK. So Priceline.com comes to mind because it had something to offer other than the air in dot-com.
MORGAN: So, all this sort of impression that you're this billionaire, actually, you need to sell a few records, don't you?
SHATNER: You've got to buy my record, and a few books, and the DVD.
MORGAN: Anything else?
SHATNER: And come in Canada when I do the one-man show.
MORGAN: We've got to bail you out.
SHATNER: I know. My kids got to go to college.
MORGAN: I'm so depressed. I thought you were a billionaire. That's why I was being so respectful.
SHATNER: No, that's a disparage.
MORGAN: Complete waste of both our times.
SHATNER: Beam me up.
MORGAN: Shall we just beam ourselves out of here?
SHATNER: Get out of here.
MORGAN: William --
SHATNER: A pleasure.
MORGAN: A Pleasure. I'm so sorry.
SHATNER: Me too. But don't cry.