Takei's Claims About Shatner

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by CoveTom, Apr 13, 2022.

  1. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know this is an old toipc and I'm not trying to rehash the Shatner/Takei feud. Goodness knows, that's been done to death. But there is one specific claim that Takei has made repeatedly that I got to thinking about in re-watching some YouTube interview clips.

    He repeatedly says that they would be shooting a scene where Sulu would be speaking to Kirk and the director would be setting up for a close-up on Takei. And then there would supposedly be whispered conversation between Shatner and the director and the shot would be changed to a close-up on Kirk's reaction with Sulu as the off-stage voice.

    But I was thinking: is there even one scene in all of TOS where that's true? Can you think of a single scene where Sulu is speaking to Kirk and there is no coverage of Sulu? I can't think of a single instance of that being the case. Now, I know it's been a long time ago and memories can be faulty, but that all seems just kinda... made up.

    Examples:

     
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  2. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm no expert, but it runs counter to anything I've seen or heard about filmmaking. To consciously not get a close-up of the person speaking in favor of someone else listening? I seriously doubt it. You always get what you need just in case. If there's any shots where we see Kirk when Sulu is talking, that'd be a choice made in the edit bay.

    But do I believe Shatner would try to make a case that a shot of him is better than a shot of someone else? Absolutely.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2022
  3. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Moderator

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    I have heard this in person from George, and Grace Lee Whitney and Yvonne Craig. Shatner had a way of "jokingly" (har har har) going crosseyed (or similar) during the other actor's closeup in a scene - and this has been reported in several interviews over the decades by others. ie. the closeup of Shatner, taken before or after the other actor's half of the scene, ends up being the one used, because George, Grace and Yvonne were taken by surprise and usually messed up their own take.
     
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  4. somebuddyX

    somebuddyX Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The only thing I thought of was not involving Takei but whether in "Plato's Stepchildren" Shatner messed up takes where he and Nichelle didn't kiss so they'd have to use ones in which they did.
    With Takei there's his story about TWOK and Shatner messing up the dialogue about Sulu getting his own command. But we've heard the voiceover and can hear it didn't happen, and more that the dialogue sounded unnatural and boring.
    With people deliberately messing up, I can't help thinking of Supernatural where J&J intentionally try to get people to mess up and crack for the fun of it. Misha and Alex were like chewtoys. James Marsters said in a video when they were doing his closeups one of the boys grabbed a shoe and was smacking him in the balls to get him to break. Was Shatner a smartass like this and the other guys didn't like that? If everyone's in on the joke it's just ripping, but otherwise maybe they just thought it was bullying.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2022
  5. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Exactly this. Takei's claims are absolute bullcrap aimed at the gullible.

    Shots are filmed according to the director's deliberate task plan. If and when a day player like Sulu had a line, the director would get him on film saying it. And later the takes are chosen and assembled into a coherent narrative by the editor.

    We know from the movies that Takei, Nichols, and Koenig were disturbingly unskilled actors. The fact that they came off as well as they did in The Original Series is proof that the directors gave them all the takes they needed to produce one decent line reading.
     
  6. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I think "disturbingly unskilled" is a little harsh. If all three were that bad that they needed to be given dozens of takes on a weekly to get things right, they never would have been brought back. Particularly actors without a contract. There ain't no time for that on a weekly series. In regards to the films, I think it's more a case of being rusty or uninvolved. Or even badly directed.

    Koenig was great in Babylon 5. That was not an unskilled actor. And really, the worst performances I saw from all three in the same place was in TUC. So for that, I blame the revered Nicky Meyer. He may have had his hands full getting Shatner tired or some shit, but Doohan, Takei, Nichols, Koenig and worst of all Whitney all gave either leaden performances or chewed the scenery. Not even Shatner himself got such poor performances out of the cast in TFF. The supporting cast were all fine in the films until then. And it's not like they had a ton to do. They had "moments." TVH gave them all fun bits of business but I don't remember a distractingly bad performance out of them for that.

    But I totally agree, Takei is fulla shiite.
     
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  7. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I love George Takei...but this whole routine gets tiresome.

    Like....really, REALLY old.
     
  8. Foxhot

    Foxhot Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It sounds like you're condemning them merely for being glued to their posts in the majority of the episodes. And no proof is offered for your boldfaced lie. You obviously haven't seen TRUCK TURNER. And even Sonny Corleone once trembled at the wrath of Chekov. The only thing disturbing about Takei is his NAKED TIME scream, and that's McCoy's sadistic fault.
     
  9. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Takei's performance in TUC never stood out to me as particularly good or particularly bad. But once "Flashback" came along, I thought his performance in TUC was really, really good in comparison.

    Kor
     
  10. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He wasn't awful in TUC but he was a tad on the hammy side. There was an overall tendency to chew scenery in this film. Nimoy and Kelley were fabulous.
     
  11. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I revere the pair of Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer. By himself, I prefer Meyer to not get within 10 feet of Trek.
     
  12. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Takei is a career-long whiner who allowed the post-NBC explosion of TOS into cultural phenomenon to con him into thinking he--as an actor, or Sulu as a character was part of this "equal opportunity program" that did not exist. He was not important enough to the series to receive the focus he lied about Shatner "taking" from him. Even when he was on screen, rarely was he the most compelling character in the scene.

    Still, if he's Hell-bent on spending his twilight years trying to spew lies about a man he hardly knew, its his time--and life--to waste, which only fills the file of that life with unending, obsessive hatred.
     
  13. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This doesn't ring true to me either. No way that a director is regularly going to have a messed up take and just move on and leave himself with no usable take. Perhaps it goes unnoticed once or twice, but as an ongoing thing? Not a chance. Plus, if Shatner was deliberately messing up take after take on a regular basis, you can bet he would be called on the carpet by the studio. He may be the star, but proper professionalism would still be expected.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2022
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Honestly, I just don't care about Takei's whining on this front. Shatner was one of two (or three) stars of the 1960's Star Trek, Takei was not.

    Was Shatner a dick to his co-stars? More than likely.
     
  15. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    The reason I have sympathy for Shatner's coworkers is that I have been Shatnerised. I was contracted at a place years ago and my contractor supervisor at a meeting said when asked what his team of 3 was up to actually claimed that he had done my work. He said "I changed this program. I spoke to Systems Ops, etc". All things that I had done. Not even a We LOL. My other team member came out of the meeting fuming saying if he did that to her he was going to correct him straight away. because it made him look better and made us look worse so his contract would be renewed and ours maybe not.
    So Shatner either uses his power of persuasion with the director to get more closeups or if that doesn't work makes a funny face. I can see how that could be annoying if your living depends on how pretty you are. Like casting directors saying I saw so and so guest actress on Star Trek last week. She was stunning, whatever, let use her.
    Personally I thought all the closeups went for an excessive amount of time and if I had to choose the closeups it would be Shatner but that doesn't make it fair to the other actors. So they have a right to complain. And if you consider them to be bad actors then they need all the more closeups to get other work I suppose..
     
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  16. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My point is not that people shouldn't be upset if those things happened. My point is that I don't believe they happened. I think Takei is making things up out of whole cloth. Much of what he says doesn't pass the smell test and even a casual watching of TOS episodes shows it's not true.
     
  17. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Day players don't have much cred, with budget, and time during production they're normally the ones who have to work within what the director, producer and the leads have to adjust. Shatner was the lead and it was his show and it was struggling, not only that he was in the battle of a divorce while having to raise 3 children, he knew what those day players could produce and so did Nimoy and Kelly. The scenes had a much better punch if it was executed by Shatner, Nimoy or Kelly and I believe the producers understood this. Whether the producers lied to the day players to make them feel better but this method is common. The Stars come first and they can make a scene a lot better because the viewers wanted to see Captain Kirk. There's a lot of evidence from the series to see where the 3 leads took lines from the day players; just check out Spock having more engineering prowess in the 3rd season; I mean he was actually talking Engineer jabber right in from of Scotty:ouch:
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    A "closeup" is by definition a "single" on a single actor. Shatner couldn't mess up a someone else's single because he wouldn't be in shot. Think about it.
     
  19. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    I thought it was he said Boo or something in the middle of their closeup take so they had to use his instead. See its such a technical thing that it has some credibility. I mean if there was this global lying conspiracy of everyone against Shatner why didn't they say he stole our lunch or something - something everyone could understand?
    Not saying 100% it is as bad as they say but not saying that he didn't do it at all. I don't know I wasn't there.

    I suppose its like a basketball game where someone hogs the ball in case someone else drops it. The fans don't mind but the other players do.
    Anyway watched Metamorphosis today and everyone seem to share closeups.
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    This presumes Shatner hung around to do off-camera lines for other actors' closeups. Often leads don't, as they may go to their dressing rooms to rest or work on their lines for the next scene on the schedule. Such closeups are not necessarily shot at the same time as the main coverage, especially for minor characters.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2022