HEAT VISION

Christopher Plummer Was a Diehard Trekkie Before Being Cast in 'Undiscovered Country'

STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, Christopher Plummer, DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, 1991
Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection
The Oscar-winning legend, who starred as the villain Gen. Chang in 'Star Trek VI,' died Friday. 

It did not take much for William Shatner to convince Christopher Plummer to sign on for 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country — the legendary actor was already a Trekkie. The Oscar-winning Plummer died Friday. He was 91.

While speaking with Shatner for his 2011 The Captains documentary, Plummer revealed that he loved the original series and watched it often.

"I was a serious Trekkie when it first came out," Plummer told Shatner in the doc. "I was living in England all through the 1960s, but I watched you on television over and over again."

Quipping it was 100 years later when he was asked to join Star Trek VI as the iconic Klingon Gen. Chang, Plummer said he delighted in being bald and sporting the villain's eye patch.

"I looked a bit like [Israeli military leader and politician] Moshe Dayan in heat," Plummer joked. "And I had the most marvelous time playing with you guys again."

Plummer reprised his role from Undiscovered Country for the 2000 video game Star Trek: Klingon Academy. In that game, fans learned how Gen. Chang lost his eye.

Fellow Canadians Shatner and Plummer had known each other for years prior to working together on Star Trek VI, with both men having starred in productions at the Montréal Repertory Theatre

Shatner was Plummer's understudy in a 1956 production of Henry V at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Plummer could not go on one evening due to illness, which led to Shatner's big break. "He didn't do what I did at all," Plummer recalled in a separate interview. "Where I stood up to make a speech, he sat down. He did the opposite of everything I did. And I knew that son of a bitch was going to be a star."

Around 3 p.m., Shatner said via several tweets: "A gentleman whose name is Christopher Plummer died today. He was what I call a friend. What is the definition of a friend? Somebody you know intimately whose every breath and every thought that is so much like yours or can a friend be someone whose life is intertwined near and afar with great gaps of time between meetings? That was the kind of friend Chris Plummer was to me. I think the final picture of our friendship was in a documentary I was making in which I interviewed him at a theatre that we both played at — the [Stratford] Ontario Festival. We spent the afternoon laughing and rejoicing in our mutual experiences. That afternoon defined my friendship with Chris. I am so sad to lose him."

Watch the segment from The Captains below.

3:05 p.m.: Updated with a statement from William Shatner.

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