High-powered legal teams have been called in to help ensure a planned flight into the lower reaches of space by veteran US actor William Shatner can go ahead.
Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, is due to blast off next week on board a rocket operated by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space travel company, Blue Origin.
A spokesperson for Blue Origin said 90-year-old Shatner had been preparing for the mission by undertaking special training flights that simulate zero gravity. (main picture)
“Mr Shatner is very eager to take the flight which is scheduled to blast off from our West Texas space base on October 12,” the spokesperson said.
“But the demands he and his agent have delivered to us since we announced he’d be on board are causing us real problems.
“For starters, Mr Shatner has insisted on ‘top billing’ whenever the mission crew is mentioned,” the spokesperson said.
“He’s been paying particular attention to what he calls the ‘supporting cast’ and has been ringing us every day asking who will be playing Dr Spock given that his old pal Leonard Nimoy died a few years back.
“He has also demanded that we install a rotating ‘captain’s chair’ for him in the Blue Origin spacecraft as well as sliding doors that open and close with a ‘whooshing’ sound.”
The spokesperson said Mr Shatner had demanded full approval of his “script”.
“When we asked him what he meant by that he explained that Neil Armstrong had some lines ready to use when he set foot on the moon and he wanted to be similarly prepared,” the spokesperson said.
“He wants to see the so-called script well before blast-off so that he can rehearse his impromptu remarks for the moment when he reaches outer space.
“He apparently is very worried that he might deviate from his trademark acting style and accidentally deliver the lines in a subdued and natural manner and put emphasis on the words actually needing emphasis.
“Mr Shatner is also insisting that his lines are written in an extra-large font on cue cards – in both English and Klingon – which would mean we need to send another two people into space just to hold the cards.
“I don’t think he realises the flight takes less than 15 minutes, so he’s putting everyone under a lot of pressure for a very short performance.
“It’s all getting far too complicated and lawyers on both sides are now trying to sort out his demands to see what is possible to achieve,” the spokesperson said.