As many fans of Star Trek know, William Shatner is always working on something. The guy is busy writing, acting, and directing projects at an incredible rate. Now, you can get four of his Trek-related projects in high-definition. For the first time, Shatner’s “The Captains Collection” is available to fans in a limited, special edition set.
Though he is incredible, Shatner had help creating these documentaries and this collection. Film producer David Zappone worked with Shatner on all of the films included in “The Captains Collection,” and says that this edition will give fans an inside look at so many personalities who helped create Star Trek through the years.
“The Captains Collection” includes the following films:
- The Captains – Shatner’s series of interviews with Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, and Chris Pine, which touch on the challenges of portraying a Starfleet captain
- Gonzo Ballet – a documentary created and directed by Shatner which follows the story of the Milwaukee Ballet’s show based on Shatner’s album with Ben Folds
- Chaos on the Bridge – an inside look at the first few years of The Next Generation, featuring interviews with those who were involved
- Get a Life – A fun look at Star Trek conventions, which was born from a sketch on Saturday Night Live, which Shatner hosted
“What’s great about this box set is it puts together all of my Shatner-directed documentaries I produced,” says Zappone. “You get The Captains, which was the first documentary that we did on Star Trek, but it wasn’t the first one we did in general. We did a documentary called Gonzo Ballet, which won a lot of awards, but it hasn’t really been seen, and it’s one this box set.”
Also included in this unique set is The Captains Close-Up, which features extended interviews with Shatner and the other Trek captains.
“The Captains Close-Up is 5 thirty-minute episodes based on each captain,” says Zappone. “This gave us the ability to focus on every single captain. And, you have a sixth episode of The Captain’s Close-Up with Christopher Plummer. It’s about 45 minutes of [Shatner and Plummer] on stage reminiscing on what an incredible career they both have had, and how their careers have intersected through the years.”
As many fans know, Christopher Plummer portrayed General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Both Plummer and Shatner are Canadian and shared a long history of overlapping projects.
“What I can tell you is that for me, as the producer of all these things, was resonates most with me is probably The Captain’s Close-Ups,” says Zappone. “Avery Brooks and I are still friends to this day because of that.
“Patrick Stewart loved his half-hour. Bakula, Mulgrew — the same,” says Zappone. “We put a lot of time and effort into those 30-minute pieces. I think we really captured the essence of each captain. It was tough in the 90-minute film because it was really supposed to be about Bill. I think we really achieved what I wanted to achieve within the half-hour show. I encourage everyone to watch those.”
Zappone points out that one interview that Shatner did for The Captains was extra special.
“The fun thing about the Scott Bakula interview was that the two of them had never met,” says Zappone. “So what you see on camera was truly their first meeting.”
Zappone says that out of all of the films in the collection, he is most proud of the documentary Chaos on the Bridge.
“That is about the three first tumultuous years of Star Trek: The Next Generation,” says Zappone. We interviewed everybody — Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Rick Berman, Tracy Tormé, and Maurice Hurley, who was the showrunner for the first few years and gave very few interviews.”
Zappone notes that also that the extended talk with Hurley was his very last interview.
“You get really the full story of what went on with those first two years on Next Gen,” says Zappone.
This collection of work represents 12 years of work between Zappone and Shatner, which started when Zappone met “Bill” at a charity horse show fundraiser.
“Shatner runs a charity horse show every year, and through this, he raises over a half-million dollars for various children’s charities,” says Zappone. “I was doing a movie at the time, this was 2006, and I was invited as a guest. I went ahead and bought tickets and was fortunate enough to meet him.”
The following year, Zappone attended the charity again and helped facilitate a large auction item donation. To say thank you, Shatner invited Zappone to the set of Boston Legal, the television show which Shatner was starring on.
“Without missing a beat, he told me about Gonzo Ballet,” says Zappone. “Then we spent the next year recutting it and redoing it and making it into something that became award-winning.
“We even went to Spain, where it was part of a big film festival in Spain in 2009,” says Zappone. “We showed it at the Nashville Film Festival, the San Diego Film Festival, and others. It became a really successful project.”
“The Captains Collection” is available to order now from Amazon, and the Special Edition “Captains Collection” from SHOUT! includes a vinyl record of Shatner and Ben Folds’ critically acclaimed album, “Has Been.”