Shaka Zulu wrote:
As for Hunter not wanting to be on the show, Hunter did want to be on the show; and expressed quite a lot of interest in his character, even going so far as to say that the show 'was based on the predictions that the Rand Corporation had projected for the future' (according to an article about Hunter in Starlog many years ago.) If it seemed that Hunter didn't want to be on Star Trek, it was because his wife though that he was too big a star for TV (the same wife that would later divorce him and take him to the cleaners!)
It's hard to know for certain given the lack of concrete details recorded. There's no doubt that Hunter's wife was prominent in his negotiations and that Roddenberry didn't care much for her manner. We don't know if Hunter was dictating what he wanted to his wife and she passed them on as-is or if she "revised" things to suit what she
wanted. I too read about how Hunter suffered some serious financial depletion from his divorce, which kind helps support the depiction of his ex-wife as a ruthless money monger.
If the interview was sincere, it does reflect a Jeffrey Hunter that saw "grand scheme" appeal to Star Trek. He seems to have "got it." But then, his responses could have been tailored to suit what was wanted, rather than what was real. Who knows.
One thing we all get hung up on is this small slice of Hunter's acting on The Cage. We don't know how he was directed on that shoot, how much the failure of Pike's previous mission would impact his demeanor of the character. In going by what I've seen of Hunter's other work, I never really found him as implicitly "warm and personable" as Shatner. Could he have grown into the role? Who knows... it's all speculation. He was a talented actor. Perhaps under the right direction, a more appealing personification of Pike would have emerged. We'll never know. But my money is still on Shatner having been the better choice (of course, that's easy too--we already know how it turned out).