Walter Koenig puts up a strong defense for William Shatner’s acting in his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek: The Original Series
William Shatner has always gotten a lot of flak about how he played the part of Captain Kirk on Star Trek: The Original Series. Some say he overacted while others claim he simply couldn’t act. That, however, isn’t how Walter Koenig, who played Ensign Pavel Chekov on the series, feels, and he made his position very clear in a Virtual Trek Con where he does nothing but praise how Shatner played the part.
Koenig told a small group of listeners that he wasn’t sure the show would have gone on after the first season if it wasn’t for Shatner because he’s a strong actor and someone you gravitate to. And don’t tell Koenig that Shatner overacted because he’s very passionate about how much he dislikes hearing that.
"“Don’t tell me he overacted. I’m tired of hearing that. What we’ve got is a generation of actors whose lips don’t move. Shatner was there; he was involved. He gave himself to that role. He’s had an exceptionally long career. I just get so riled when I hear people today. I guess it’s people under fifty or something saying that he overacted or any of us overacted. I don’t think that’s true.”"
Walter Koenig stands firm in his belief that William Shatner was committed to the role of Captain Kirk.
The soon-to-be 87-year-old actor worked with Shatner off and on for almost twenty-five years. He was able to see how committed Shatner was to the role, and Koenig has no reason to come out now and say how excellent of an actor he is…except to tell the truth. He quite simply thought that Shatner was “quite talented.”
"“He identifies with the characters so well that you believe in that role. I think he was just true to the character and committed, committed to doing the best job he could. When Shatner screams “Khan!”, there are not a whole lot of actors who would go out on a limb and do that and take that much of a risk because there is a risk.”"
Koenig summed up his feelings on the topic of Shatner’s acting and how well he played the role of Kirk by saying that, while there other actors who could have been as equally as good, he doesn’t think anyone could have been better than Shatner. High praise, indeed.