For years, William Shatner has made millions trying to sell America on a website that helps users get discounts on airline tickets and hotels.
But for the moment, he’s a pitchman for something much more nostalgic: “Star Trek.”
The former Capt. James T. Kirk has been hyping “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage,” a concert tour featuring a live symphony orchestra that performs as footage from “Trek” movies and TV episodes is projected onto a 40-foot screen. The show beams down to Charlotte’s Belk Theater on Monday.
To be clear: Shatner himself won’t appear on this tour. The 84-year-old entertainment icon will, however, tell us about the show, his many projects and why he tweets so darn much.
Q. Have you seen this show?
A. I’ve seen pieces of it. It’s unique. Live, on stage, 35 musicians and the conductor are playing the music from “Star Trek.” ... So the music is played live, and on the screen are scenes from (the films and shows). What happens is the audience becomes aware of the music, and they’re startled by the excellence of the music. Then they become aware of how the music enhances the scene. And then they become aware of the importance – the critical importance – of music to the movies.
Q. What else are you up to these days?
A. I’m going out on tour again with my one-man show. Then I’ve got a book out in which I talk about my friendship with Leonard Nimoy (“Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With a Remarkable Man,” out Feb. 16). I formed a deep, deep friendship with him over the years, and the book is about how that happened and the evolution of that friendship, and friendship in general. And how in show business friendships are so ephemeral.
I’ve also got a new reality show coming out. And I’ve just been asked to do a Christmas album and I’ll start work on that later this year.
Q. You’re a quintuple threat. Or maybe even more than that?
A. Perhaps. Wait till the payoff comes and then we’ll know whether I’m a threat. ... Oh, and I helped design a motorcycle last summer and drove it from Chicago to Los Angeles and shot a documentary on it. I also designed a watch.
Q. I think you’re the busiest 84-year-old that I know.
A. Me too. And I don’t know any 84-year-olds.
Q. Another thing that you seem to be very active on is Twitter.
A. Yeah, I love the idea of being able to communicate instantaneously. It’s a means of communicating with my fans, a means of communicating with people who are interested in me. I’ll tell ’em about the concert tour, tell ’em about the book. ... We all know that all the old forms are broken. Publicity is better achieved on social media than on the traditional stuff.
Q. Do you ever imagine what your life would have been like if you hadn’t done “Star Trek”?
A. People forget that I was doing really well before “Star Trek.” I was in movies and plays and television series, so I was not an unknown factor. I was doing very well. But certainly “Star Trek” begat this celebrity thing, which begat all these other things, and so I’ve been eternally grateful to “Star Trek” and I have no compunction about speaking about it.
Q. Do you still attend “Star Trek” conventions?
A. Yeah, I’m going out there this year for the 50th anniversary (convention, which is Aug. 3-7 in Las Vegas).
Q. Those Trekkies can be a little bit scary, right?
A. You know, that’s the conventional attitude, but I’ve never found it to be true. There’ll come a day when somebody’ll hit me on the head; but up until now, nobody has.
‘Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage’
The franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Where: Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St.
Details: 704-372-1000; www.startrekultimatevoyage.com.