taH pagh taHbe
May 15, 2011 1:39 AM   Subscribe

David Warner, on being Hamlet at the age of 23 in 1966, has played at least three different species in the Star Trek universe. Notably, as Chancellor Gorkon in Strek Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. But another Shakespearean actor, playing General Chang, was more apparent in that movie. Of course there is far more Shakespeare in the Star Trek Universe.
posted by Binliner (27 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Oh wow, this is pretty strange timing for me - just watched Star Trek VI for the first time in at least ten years the other night. Ha geez. I started to get really annoyed with all Chang's constant. nonstop Shakespeare quoting - he doesn't say anything BUT Shakespeare - take away the quotes and he has like three lines tops.

No fair calling a quote machine a character!
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:47 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Despite watching The Sound of Music at least weekly as a child, and becoming a trekkie upon adolescence, I didn't realize until very recently how similar Christopher Plummer and William Shatner's acting styles were. And of course that makes sense, as both are classically trained Canadians.

It made me realize that Shatner is not nearly as bad an actor as I thought, and Plummer is not nearly as good.
posted by lesli212 at 2:51 AM on May 15, 2011 [8 favorites]

Also, he's Sark/Dillinger/the MCP in Tron.
posted by oonh at 2:59 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

And of course, he was also Evil.
posted by crataegus at 3:31 AM on May 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

Shatner understudied for Plummer back in the day in Canada. Got his first big break in some play, probly the Bard's, when Plummer was ill, IIRC.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 3:40 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

He was Irenicus in Baldur's Gate 2.
posted by Splunge at 3:41 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

And Father Morpheus in Fallout, and Ra's al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series. If it's silky and evil, it's David Warner, across film, animation and video games.

Considering that he's never been out of work as a genre actor, it's strange to talk about Warner's career as sad, but his stage acting career was derailed by stage fright. There's a nice if fairly schematic overview in a Times of London interview here before his turn as Falstaff in 2007, and this slightly longer piece before he played Lear at Chichester in 2005.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:25 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

No fair calling a quote machine a character!

Shaka, when the walls fell.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:25 AM on May 15, 2011 [12 favorites]

I can recommend his early Morgan! if you haven't seen it...
posted by jim in austin at 7:06 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Note also that The Wrath of Khan also heavily referenced the classics -- Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, and Paradise Lost (in the original "Space Seed" episode).

Note also that Shatner himself is classically trained in the Bard, and can even do it in rap form.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:52 AM on May 15, 2011

(last link NSFW - profanity at beginning btw)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:52 AM on May 15, 2011

How coult TOS not be about Shakespeare? Shatner was a Shakespearean actor playing Kirk as Alexander the Great!
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:06 AM on May 15, 2011

Funny, I was just thinking about Gul Madred (Warner as the Cardassian who tortured Picard) today.

I always liked Garak's take on Shakespeare:
"I knew Brutus was going to kill Caesar in the first act!"
posted by dhens at 8:24 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine is an playwright, director and actor. He has in his office a programme from the first season of the Stratford festival which I was looking through once. The big catch that year was Alec Guinness as Richard III -- his photo gets a full page to itself -- but it was amazing to leaf through the back of the programme and see all the twenty-four-year-olds who are getting roles as Messenger and Guard and Second Soldier and whatnot: Shatner, Plummer, Bruno Gerussi, John Colicos, and as a bonus, Glenn Gould playing piano.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:40 AM on May 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

strek trek lol
posted by neuromodulator at 9:30 AM on May 15, 2011

You can't really talk about the influence of Shakespeare on Trek actors without mentioning Sir Patrick Stewart, who's going to be playing Shylock this summer.

Also, not necessarily so much about Shakespeare as about the theater in general, that clip of Bashir and Garak reminded me that the two actors in that scene, Alexander Siddig and Andrew J. Robinson, have done quite a lot of theater directing. (Before DS9, Robinson was probably best-known as "Scorpio" from Dirty Harry, and he used the "J." in his name in the DS9 credits to disassociate himself from that earlier role.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:42 AM on May 15, 2011

My favorite Star Trek related Shakespeare performance is this one.
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:36 AM on May 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

Re: Plummer being ill allowing Shatner to take over = my favorite IMDB headline ever:

Plummer: 'My Sex Injury Made Shatner A Star'
posted by jettloe at 10:51 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

"If it's silky and evil, it's David Warner, across film, animation and video games."

Darn tootin'!
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:43 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love David Warner. An often overlooked "that guy".
posted by 2N2222 at 12:14 PM on May 15, 2011

And of course, Dr Alfred Necessiter.
posted by mimi at 12:51 PM on May 15, 2011

That page is great. Gielgud, O'Toole, Jacobi, and Johnathan Miller all talking about the Dane?

posted by Trochanter at 1:31 PM on May 15, 2011

From the last link:

"Encounter at Farpoint"
Just a brief 2 Henry VI quotation by Captain Picard: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (IV.ii.74).

Surprising that they got this wrong. Encounter at Farpoint was mostly a horrible piece of writing, but nevertheless even from memory after having seen it exactly once, I recall that Picard also quotes Hamlet, knowingly altering its meaning: "What a piece of work is [a] man..." etc.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:11 PM on May 15, 2011

Argh. And that's what I get for trusting memory. That happens in a later episode. As the linked article shows. Oh well, at least I got to mention that Encounter at Farpoint was horrible.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:16 PM on May 15, 2011

Also WRT Warner: he played Jack the Ripper in Time After Time, opposite Malcolm McDowell (aka Dr. Soren in Star Trek: Generations; also, Alexander "Julian Bashir" Siddig's uncle) as H.G. Wells; the movie was written and directed by Nicholas Meyer, who also directed STII and STVI, and co-wrote the screenplay for STIV, which like Time after Time involved time travelers in San Francisco. (I swear, sometimes it seems like the entire Star Trek franchise was made by less people than were in my high school graduating class.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:23 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

David Warner, you are under arrest by order of David Warner!
posted by J0 at 9:27 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I always think of him as the evil genius in Time Bandits.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:50 PM on May 16, 2011

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