• Chris Pine admits needing to tone down his William Shatner-style acting in Star Trek (2009) to make the role his own.
  • J.J. Abrams directed Pine to embody Captain Kirk with “less Shatner” to avoid mimicking the original actor too closely.
  • Pine acknowledges the challenge of balancing homage to William Shatner’s Kirk while also bringing his own flair to the character.



Chris Pine reveals J.J. Abrams’ biggest direction when filming Star Trek (2009) was “less Shatner.” Pine took over the role of Captain James T. Kirk in Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek movie trilogy, which includes 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and 2016’s Star Trek Beyond. To play Kirk, Pine researched William Shatner’s iconic performances as the original Captain Kirk, and he may have adopted too many “Shatnerisms” at the onset of Star Trek (2009).

Chris Pine appeared on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! podcast to promote Poolman, a new film he wrote and directed. Host Peter Sagal asked Pine about playing Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and how much of his performance was based on William Shatner’s. Read Pine’s response and listen to the podcast (Pine joins around the 20-minute mark) below:

I think the biggest correction that J.J. [Abrams] ever had for me was ‘less Shatner.’ Because it’s so deliciously fun. I mean, anything from how he sits in the chair to how he does a double take. There are many… the Shatnerisms are long and deep, and they’re beautiful. They’re beautifully crafted.


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J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek 2009 saw the young Kirk and Spock join forces to save Earth. A deep dive into how Star Trek 2009 ended and what it all means.

Chris Pine Made Captain Kirk His Own, But Will He Return In Star Trek 4?

Pine is waiting to play Kirk again

With J.J. Abrams reining in Chris Pine’s “Shatnerisms”, the actor evoked William Shatner’s essence in his performance while making the role of Captain James T. Kirk his own. Pine embodied Kirk’s youth, vitality, and daring, balancing his mistakes and recklessness with incredible acts of heroism. But Pine’s version of Captain Kirk also matured throughout J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies; in Star Trek Beyond, Pine’s Kirk was more seasoned and commanding as the Captain of the Enterprise.

The next
Star Trek
movie is an untitled
Star Trek Origin
Paramount officially announced will hit theaters in 2025.

Along with the rest of the Star Trek cast, Chris Pine has been waiting for the chance to play Captain Kirk again. Nearly a decade after Star Trek Beyond hit theaters, Paramount Pictures is mounting new Star Trek movies. Star Trek 4 now has a new screenwriter in Steve Yockey (The Flight Attendant), and this next prospective sequel is looked at as the “final chapter” of the Starship Enterprise led by Pine’s Captain Kirk. Since Captain Kirk would now be in his 40s in Star Trek 4, it will be fascinating to see how Chris Pine plays him and whether he will lean into any William Shatnerisms.

Source: NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! podcast

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies are streaming on Paramount+

Star Trek 2009 Movie Poster

Release Date
May 7, 2009

Paramount Pictures

Roberto Orci , Alex Kurtzman

Chris Pine , Zoe Saldana , Zachary Quinto , Simon Pegg , Karl Urban , Anton Yelchin , John Cho , Leonard Nimoy , Eric Bana , Bruce Greenwood , Winona Ryder , Tyler Perry

127 Minutes

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