A crowd-funded documentary about 91-year-old William Shatner is in the works, to be directed by Alexandre O. Philippe for Legion M and Exhibit A Pictures. Shatner, who has won numerous awards over his long career, is known for his iconic role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, as well as T. J. Hooker in the police drama of the same name.
Legion M, which claims to be the first movie studio owned by its fans, is also offering to share revenues with its fan-investors. While full details are not yet available, Legion M is encouraging fans to make a non-binding, no-obligation reservation that will allow them to be the first to know about the investment scheme. Further details on the project will be released at a panel during San Diego’s Comic-Con later this month. Shatner will participate in the panel, which will be moderated by filmmaker Kevin Smith.
Expressing his enthusiasm for the project, Philippe recalled how he grew up watching Bill Shatner on a black-and-white TV in Switzerland: “My first memories of him are from Columbo and The Twilight Zone. He is a modern Renaissance man. Ubiquitous. Unavoidable. His range as an actor is as staggering as the depth of his wisdom and curiosity; and I couldn’t be more excited by this opportunity to craft an up close and personal portrait of a man who fascinates me, through some of the important themes he openly tackles in his most vulnerable autobiographical songs. This intimate film will illuminate little-known and rarely seen aspects of Bill’s career and philosophy, and also reexamine some of his most iconic roles and cultural moments through a brand-new lens.”
In announcing their endorsement, Legion M cofounders Paul Scanlan and Jeff Annison said: “From make-believe starship captain to a real-life rocketman, William Shatner has led one of the most unique and best-lived lives on the planet. While we all know him from his iconic roles, the REAL William Shatner is even more interesting. We’re thrilled to be working with Alexandre and the top-notch team at Exhibit A, and excited to give fans around the world an opportunity to be a part of Bill’s legacy.”
Shatner himself was pleased with Philippe’s project, adding that “For years I’ve had people approaching me to do a documentary about my life, but I turned them all down because it didn’t feel like the right fit. Alexandre and I hit off right away, and when I heard how Legion M wanted to incorporate audiences to be a part of it, it was perfect. Fans have been responsible for my career — it only seems right that they should own this doc.”
Philippe’s most recent films include 78/52, a documentary about Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic shower scene in Psycho; and Lynch/Oz, a film about David Lynch’s long-standing admiration for another film classic, The Wizard of Oz.