Star Trek producer: 'I did not like Gene Roddenberry'

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan ... best Star Trek movie of all time, right? And we have Harve Bennett, the producer who reinvigorated the franchise after the failure that was Star Trek: The Motion Picture, to thank for that. But it turns out that Bennett and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry actively disliked each other.

During a Q&A given at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland, Ore., where Bennett was honored at a special showing of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the producer talked openly about his rapport—or lack of it—with Roddenberry. He said:

I did not like Gene Roddenberry, he did not like me ... I found him to be egocentric and difficult to work with. That does not diminish his contribution, his genius and that special ability that Gene had which I would call promotional genius. He knew how to take things and make them instantaneously important.

Talking about William "Captain James Tiberius Kirk" Shatner, Bennett was a bit kinder, saying of him:

He is what you see. If you wanted to define a matinee idol, it would be Bill Shatner. He's got a wonderful ego, there is nothing he can't do, he's physically brave and will dare to do anything. He is stubborn, he thinks the world of himself [pause] as a coverup because he is really like every other actor, scared sh-tless.
About Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in the original series and films, the producer mused:
I never understood why Leonard became an actor, he is a pure intellect ... Very bright, very gifted, and there is something about his non-acting that makes him an authority figure. You put the ears on him and it all came together ...

Harve Bennett admitted he had a hard time convincing Nimoy to come back and play Spock for Wrath of Khan after the complete disaster that was The Motion Picture. He had to offer the actor a deal he couldn't refuse, namely Spock's demise. Bennett revealed that he told Nimoy: "Listen, I'm gonna give you the greatest death scene in motion pictures."

And Bennett did. And the rest, as they say, is history.


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