William Shatner's new book, Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder, is "an assemblage of essays covering everything from his historic spaceflight in 2021 to his deep reverence for the natural world."
The book is co-written by Joshua Brandon, and the director, producer, and writer, sat down exclusively with Distractify and shared life lessons highlighted in the book, what stories didn't make the cut, and more.
Check out our Q&A below. (Editor's note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Co-Author Joshua Brandon talks William Shatner's new book 'Boldly Go.'
Distractify: How is Boldy Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder different from William Shatner's previous memoirs?
Joshua Brandon: I'd like to say that this book is a lot more introspective; he really did sit down with a thought of, 'I got something important to say.' It's about more than just, 'Here's what I did in the '70s or the '80s, or here's what I did while I was on the set of Star Trek.' He really wanted to talk about the interconnectivity of the universe and our place in it.
I read that this book is filled with stories and life lessons. What is maybe one that stands out to you?
JB: I would say, his philosophy of sort of trying to say yes to as many opportunities as possible ... it certainly came through in real life, because I think that's why he agreed to do this one with me. But he sort of says, like, 'Stop and smell the roses, and then smell everything. ... So I think the thing that stands out for me is to just try to be aware of moments, try to be aware of, you know, if a song comes on, or someone plays you a song, don't just sit there with your arms folded ... try to be open to absolutely every moment, because we have so few of them when you really think about it.
With so much life lived, what maybe didn't make it into the book?
JB: There was one section of the book where the chapter wasn't really gelling with with the rest of the book, it was kind of a little bit of a walk down memory lane of things he's done and finding something useful in all of them even though they may seem like regretful work decisions. And then there was some great stuff in there as well, particularly about his two appearances on Columbo. ...We talked about his appearance in the '70s and his appearance in the '90s, and there wasn't anywhere that those particular passages would fit anywhere else.
JB (continued): But it also included a little bit of a musing on some of the lesser well-known or lesser well-loved projects that he'd done. And one of them that we talked about very briefly, was American Psycho II: All American Girl starring Mila Kunis. And it's generally held to be one of the worst movies, most reviled sequels ever made. Bret Easton Ellis tried to have it banned, and we talked about it, and [William] said, 'Look, yeah, it was a bit of a turkey, but I got to work with Mila Kunis, she was up-and-coming and a wonderful actor, just starting out in her career, and I got paid and really, you know, sometimes you don't have a choice. That's what you got to do.' So that stuff didn't make it into the book. But I still really enjoyed hearing all about it.
Were there things in his life that William did not want to include in the book?
JB: We did have those conversations. It wasn't so much 'don't write about this' ... it was more than not excluding anything, but trying to give the readers something that was new, even bringing a new perspective to any stories that happened to be retold. When it came to Star Trek, he did say, 'Look, I've said so much about Star Trek.' So we didn't have any plans originally to discuss it too much.
JB (continued): The place that we do discuss Star Trek a little bit other than little bits and pieces here was all about when Bill interviewed Stephen Hawking. ... And at the end, [Stephen told producers] 'Look, I'll do this interview, but I get to ask Shatner a question.' So at the end of it, he's like, 'Okay, here's my question. What was your favorite episode [of Star Trek]?' And Shatner just laughed, because he thought, 'He's going to ask me something about the universe. He's going to ask me something, I've got to study, I've got to know what I'm talking about.' So that was a bit of a launching part of the book to go into what he told him that night, about "City on the Edge of Forever," [Shatner's favorite Star Trek episode].
William Shatner's new book Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder is now available.