The actor has stated that capturing his life and career through this project has taken on significant meaning as he approaches the end of his life.
Thinking about death is a common yet taboo perspective in our society. We often do not acknowledge that we are here for a limited amount of years to live on this earth and that we should make the most of them. When it comes to talking about something from an existential lens, we can always count on the Canadian actor William Shatner. The 92-year-old performer is all set to make an appearance in the documentary titled "You Can Call Me Bill," in which he collaborated with director Alexandre O. Philippe. According to him, capturing his life and career through this project has taken a significant meaning as he approaches the end of his life.
He told Variety, "I’ve turned down a lot of offers to do documentaries before. But I don’t have long to live. Whether I keel over as I’m speaking to you or 10 years from now, my time is limited, so that’s very much a factor." He added, "I’ve got grandchildren. This documentary is a way of reaching out after I die." As he has grown older, it appears that the productive actor has realized that memories can fade and at some point, we all have to let go of everything we have accumulated in our lives as our bodies decay. He said, "The sad thing is that the older a person gets the wiser they become and then they die with all that knowledge. And it’s gone. It’s not like I’m going to take my ideas or my clothing with me."
He added, "The moths of extinction will eat my brain as they will my clothing and it will all disappear." He also tried to break the misconceptions that movies create of how death looks like. He said, "There was a time when actors—and I include myself in this—would portray death by falling to the ground and your eyes would flicker and you’d slump around and then you’re dead. That’s not how you die."
William Shatner's arc basically reflects the trajectory of modernism:— Dieuwe de Boer (@rightmindsnz) March 28, 2023
- encourages others to dream and look to space for a bright future
- legacy is intertwined with the height of '90s liberal idealism and progress
- goes to space at the end of his life and sees only death https://t.co/v5ReN1l7fj
He added, "Ever put a dog down? When I have to put a dog down and I’m at the vet, I cup my dog’s head and I say, ‘I’m with you baby, I’m with you.’ And the injection goes in and the dog looks at me with love, and that’s it. You don’t know they’re dead. That’s how you die." The actor added, "It’s abrupt. My wife’s brother walked out of the living room and into the bedroom. There was a thud. His wife walked in, and he was dead. Death comes anew to all of us."
It is not the first time that Shatner has experienced the insignificance of human belongings and life. As of October 2021, he took a "space trip" that changed his worldview completely. Shatner embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime journey with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin. Business Insider reported that, at 91 years old, he became the oldest individual to venture into space. In his latest book, "Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder," Shatner wrote about this extraordinary adventure, expressing that his experience in space evoked feelings of sadness and grief.
He wrote in his book, "I love the mystery of the universe. All of that has thrilled me for years…but when I looked in the opposite direction, into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold...all I saw was death." He further explained that his preconceived notions about space were entirely misconstrued and he was unprepared for what ensued after the launch. Although he anticipated experiencing "the ultimate catharsis," he instead felt an overwhelming sense of grief during his time in space.