Star Trek fever will finally allow indie director Robert Meyer Burnett to make a sequel to his cult-fave 1999 Trek-themed Free Enterprise, which starred Eric McCormack and Rafer Weigel as aspiring filmmakers who meet William Shatner (playing himself in a cameo). Seeking his advice on their careers and love lives, the boys deal with midlife crises with references to sci-fi films such as Trek and Logan's Run.
Ten years later, Burnett is gearing up to make his own Wrath of Khan, and this time, Shatner—who was famously cut out of the new movie—will have the last laugh. We spoke with Burnett exclusively last week in Los Angeles, where he was promoting the horror film The Hills Run Red, which he produced and which drops on DVD today, about how the movie will be Shatner's revenge.
1. Shatner returns. "We met with Shatner a couple months back," Burnett said. "We [had] talked to him over the years about it. There's one story element that he has always maintained that we keep."
2. Shatner preaches the Torah. Shatner, who is Jewish, will preach from the Jewish holy books. "There's a plot element where he actually becomes a rabbi," Burnett said. "That's something that he's constantly reminding [me]. He's like, 'That's still in the plot?' I'm like, 'Yes, there's actually a scene atop Masada with him.'"
3. Shatner's art imitates life imitates art. Burnett's going even deeper into the theme than he did the first time. He wants to tell a story about the fictional filmmakers who cast McCormack and Weigel in the first movie. "The way we're going to do it is we're going to recast the leads, and they're the characters that actually made the original Free Enterprise," Burnett said. "So we would have Rafer and Eric come back and do cameos playing the actors. Or we could bring the regular cast back. It depends. Whatever would get the movie financed."
4. Trek and Shatner sell. Now that financiers know Trek can put butts in seats, they'll want a piece of Burnett's loving homage to the franchise and its most famous captain. "Finally," Burnett said. "I think obviously the success of the new Star Trek movie [attracted financiers]. I think it's time. It's time."