In the 16-year history of the MTV Movie Awards, there have been fights, laughs and more than a few surprises. But there has only been one William Shatner, the 77-year-old star of “Boston Legal” — best known as Captain Kirk on “Star Trek” — who brought the celebrity crowd to its knees with spoken-word renditions of the Best Song nominees at the first-ever Movie Awards broadcast.
Even after nearly two decades of showmanship, it remains one of the program’s most memorable moments. Now if only Shatner could remember it.
“I was concussed,” the veteran actor recalled of the day he filmed those parody videos. “I don’t remember doing the songs!”
According to Shatner, he was contacted to perform the songs — which included Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” from “New Jack City,” Guns N’ Roses’ “You Could Be Mine” from “Terminator 2″ and the winner, Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do” from “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” — only “a week before [filming]. “I thought, ‘Wow, that would be interesting. What fun!’ ” Shatner confessed. “So I said, ‘Great!’ ”
Scheduled to perform midweek (in those days the awards show was taped, not broadcast live like it will be this Sunday ), Shatner chose to go horseback riding the day of his shoot.
“So that morning of the afternoon I was going to be there, I went to ride some of my horses, and I got on a 3-year-old horse. Boom! The horse went up in the air, and I was knocked unconscious. I was out, apparently for a half an hour,” Shatner said. ” ‘What happened?’ They told me what happened. ‘What happened?’ They told me again. This went on for a couple of hours, and I went to the doctor’s.
“So I’m now driving back to Los Angeles and dimly I remember there’s something I have to do, and suddenly it occurs to me that I have to sing five songs for MTV!” Shatner continued. “I make a U-turn, go to the studio, and I’m in a dressing room with manure still in my ears!”
But a concussion was far from the only complication with Shatner’s shoot, he said.
“I said, ‘You know, I don’t sing, I do lyrics, so I need an instrument that carries the tune and I need rhythm instruments — anything,” he revealed. “And I’m trotted out to the stage, and they have bongo drums and a xylophone to carry the tune. And I’ve got to sing a song like ‘I Want to Sex You Up,’ which has six words. That’s the song!”
Watch video of Shatner’s performances now, particularly “I ‘Want to’ Sex You Up,” and you’ll notice a loopy, almost stoned quality to his renditions — no doubt the result of his severe concussion. In fact, the whole thing played like an Andy Kaufman joke, Shatner now laughs, with an audience unsure of what to make of his crazed renditions.
“The idea of failure and being laughed at never sort of occurs to me because it happens all the time. I’m inured to failure,” Shatner told MTV News. “So when they played it in front of the audience, and I was at home watching it, I heard the audience mutter. By the second song, they were starting to laugh, [but] by the third song? We had them!”
Check out the MTV Movies Blog for Shatner’s picks for Best Fight.
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