RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Actor William Shatner is having a moment. A couple of years after CBS canceled his Twitter-inspired “$#*! My Dad Says” TV comedy, Shatner is at the top of the tech world.
The former “Star Trek” captain, now 81, is featured in Blindlight Apps “Shatoetry”, which catapulted to the top of the entertainment app list on Apple iTunes last week on its first day of release.
The celebrity app allows users to choose from hundreds of words to arrange sentences, which Shatner will then recite in his trademark voice and style. There is also a mode that allows Shatner fans to collaborate on “Shatisms” and there are single-player challenges like creating Haiku and poetry.
Shatner, who is currently touring the country with his critically-acclaimed one-man Broadway show, “Shatner’s World,” took a few minutes to talk technology with Reuters.
Q: How would you like to expand this app moving forward? Perhaps adding music?
A: “Well, we have that in mind. Words to music. We have in mind holiday things. We have in mind events in your life, words so that you can use them as well. We will increase this if people love it and tell other people that they love it. When we get an audience we know that is worthwhile, we will add to it.”
Q: One audience you know you definitely have out there is “Star Trek” fans. Do you see any opportunities with special app add-ons for them?
A: “Well, yes. I don’t think we’ll leave opportunity unexplored, but I wanted to be very careful about how we introduce it so it is not something that is derogatory or stupid. I want to make sure that it’s used in the way it’s meant to be used, which is for your entertainment.”
Q: Do you see opportunities for other actors to work with you on this app?
A: “We hope that it becomes popular enough to interest people into doing some words.”
Q: So users would be able to mix your words with other actors’ words through this app?
A: “Yes. Exactly. Have them do keywords like ‘love.’ There are certain words that everybody wants to use like ‘love’ and ‘hate’ and words that you use somewhere in your conversation... Commonly used words that are positive, I think that would be a way of getting a well-known person to take a chance in interpreting that word several different ways and know that they won’t look foolish, or be made to look foolish.”
Q: How are you taking advantage of today’s technology to connect with fans?
A: “I’m using it in as many ways as feasible. I’m doing podcasts. I’m certainly doing everything else, Facebook, Twitter and all that kind of thing. I’m taking advantage of communicating with the people out there as much as possible, and this app is one of those ways.”
Q: What technology do you have?
A: “I have iPhone, an iPad and I will be getting an iPad Mini shortly.”
Q: How do you use those devices?
A: “I don’t play games. I read the newspapers. I’ve got a dictation sound-to-print app and since I don’t type very well, I find myself dictating to it and sending the notes on. It’s a truly creative tool with. Once you have a means of communicating - there’s so much wrong with the world and so many crises in the mix here that, if we can communicate faster and better, we may be able to fix them before the end of the world, as far as human beings are concerned.”
Q: How’s the tour going for your show “Shatner’s World”?
A: “I’m going to be in Connecticut and New Jersey this week. I’m playing about four different places that are just opening up now. My heart goes out to the nightmare that these people are in. I feel a little awkward in talking about providing a laugh or two, but on the other hand some people may need that, and that’s what I’ll be doing....I will be with my heart on my sleeve trying to entertain people who have had a great deal of hardship in the last week.”
Q: A lot of my friends in New York and New Jersey are still without power after Hurricane Sandy.
A: “I know, and hopefully by the time I get there, there will be power. And hopefully by that time, they’ll be of a mind to be able to want to be entertained.”
Reporting by John Gaudiosi, editing by Jill Serjeant and Marguerita Choy