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'Legal' Eagles Mix It Up at WGA

August 15, 2007 8:49 AM

William Shatner says he now gets recognized more often for portraying Denny Crane in ABC's "Boston Legal" than he does for being "Star Trek's" Captain Kirk.

With his recent Emmy nomination for playing yet another womanizer, one has to wonder, which of the two characters has bedded the most ladies?

"Denny Crane's had more time -- he's quite a few years older -- but Kirk's had more opportunity," Mr. Shatner told Blink.

And who's better in bed, Crane or Kirk?

"It depends on what planet you're on," came his reply.

Mr. Shatner was speaking to Blink at Tuesday night's "Boston Legal" WGA event in Beverly Hills, which was suitably mixed for a show that combines drama and comedy in equal measure.

Although "An Evening With 'Boston Legal'" clearly was timed as an Emmy campaign event, the guests avoided discussing the awards, instead focusing their discussion on the show's multiple facets.

Star James Spader observed that the show succeeds in its social and political commentary only because it tries to be more than just rhetoric.

"It doesn't just strive to do that. It does it at the same time it strives to be silly. And to be irreverent about itself. I would loathe this show if all it became was a platform," Mr. Spader said. "It's a strange mix of drama and comedy, and something funny, something farcical. Any one of those things by itself would be unbearable."

Showrunner and executive producer David E. Kelley said the show resonates on both sides of the political fence. "You'd be amazed how many letters we get from staunch Republicans thanking us for finally putting someone [like Denny Crane] on TV who tells it like it is."

Panel kept the audience in stitches, with even moderator Arianna Huffington getting in on the act, describing Candice Bergen's character "as if Murphy Brown has grown up and is having more sex."

"It's amazing David does this -- and that people buy it," Ms. Bergen replied.

When Ms. Huffington took to comparing the show's characters to Greek gods -- Shirley (Ms. Bergen) combines aspects of Aphrodite and Athena, Denny Crane represents Zeus -- Mr. Spader exclaimed in mock horror, "Zeus? You have no idea what you've done."

Discussion of the friendship between Mr. Spader's Alan Shore and Mr. Shatner's Denny Crane brought much laughter.

"As a stalwart Canadian I never held a boy's hand," Mr. Shatner said, taking Mr. Spader's hand, "until now. I never had that [male] friendship that dispensed with pretense and leveled with each other. I had it with women -- a lot -- but never with a guy. And never without sex. I just leveled them out. So it comes as a revelation to me to have a relationship with a guy that's more than who's on Monday night."

Mr. Spader revealed one male he counts as a close friend is fellow cast member Christian Clemenson. The two went to high school together and have remained friends, even playing brothers in the 1990 film "Bad Influence."

Also on the panel were producer Bill D'Elia and new cast member John Larroquette. Attendees included "Boston Legal" alum David Dean Bottrell, who played fan favorite Lincoln Meyer in season three.

-- Alex Romanelli

Arianna Huffington, James Spader, William Shatner and his man purse

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