Legion M and Exhibit A Pictures are partnering on a new documentary directed by Alexandre O. Philippe (Lynch/Oz), in which screen icon William Shatner takes off the countless masks he’s worn throughout his career, to reveal the man behind one of the most recognizable faces in the world.
The 91-year-old Shatner is best known for his legendary role as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk in various film and television projects over the course of 30 years. He also notably portrayed the titular character in Columbia Pictures Television’s police drama T.J. Hooker and won an Emmy for his role as Boston Legal’s Denny Crane, having notched a total of two wins and seven nominations over the course of his career, along with a Golden Globe and other accolades.
The documentary’s producers will be providing an early look at footage during a Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con later this month, with Shatner in attendance for a conversation moderated by filmmaker Kevin Smith (Clerks). Legion M, which bills itself as the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company, is also presenting fans with the opportunity to invest directly in the project. Unlike Kickstarter and Indiegogo investors, those involved with Legion M are doing more than just providing the funds to produce the film—they also own a share of any potential profits it will earn. Investment terms have not yet been released, but fans can sign up to make a non-binding, no-obligation reservation here starting today, with reservation holders becoming the first to know when the offering opens.
“I grew up watching Bill Shatner on a black-and-white television in Switzerland. My first memories of him are from Columbo and The Twilight Zone. He is a modern Renaissance man. Ubiquitous. Unavoidable,” said Philippe. “His range as an actor (Roger Corman’s The Intruder, anyone..?) 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.”
“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,” said Legion M co-founders Paul Scanlan and Jeff Annison in a joint statement. “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.”
Added Shatner: “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.”
Boasting more than 35,000 shareholders, Legion M has had a hand in developing, producing, and releasing nearly a dozen projects over the last six years, including Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis; Mandy, starring Nicolas Cage; Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello; and the recently wrapped Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose, starring Simon Pegg, Minnie Driver and Christopher Lloyd.
Exhibit A Pictures specializes in long-form documentary films that celebrate and deconstruct the defining popular trends and icons of our time. Philippe, Kerry Deignan Roy and Robert Muratore are original founding partners of the U.S.-based company, which first came together for the 2010 SXSW title The People vs. George Lucas. Since that time, the team has produced eight features, including Doc of the Dead, 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, Memory: The Origins of Alien, Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist and Lynch/Oz.
Philippe and Exhibit A Pictures are represented by Peter Van Steemburg of XYZ Films.