Sometimes the interviews that don't go to plan are the best ones.
"Here's the thing," William Shatner beams down the line from planet Hollywood before I can get my first question in.
"I have a wonderful hook for your story, and here it is; I'm going to Perth on March 9 and 10. I'm going to Adelaide on March 16. I have five days in between in which I don't know what to do.
"What is there to do in five days to see and taste and feel and absorb Western Australia?"
Suddenly turned into Captain Kirk's earthly travel agent, I throw the questions I'd spent hours preparing out the window and begin spitting out obvious ideas.
"Now hold on a moment," the energetic 82-year-old commands, sounding as authoritative as he did as the captain of the USS Enterprise.
"I'm gonna write this down, and with your accent you may have to slow down and spell things for me. OK, I'm ready. "DAY ONE?"
He spells out "R.O.T.T.N.E.S.T" after several tries. "What's the temperature there now? Can I swim?"
"Okay, DAY TWO?"
At the risk of sounding even more cliched, I suggest a ride through the Margaret River wine region on a Harley Davidson.
"Great! I own two Harleys. I'll bring one. I wanna ride myself. Which wineries should I go to?"
"What? L.E.E.U.W.I.N. Estate?"
Clearly, this interview wasn't going to go to plan despite my research on the larger-than-life celebrity who - as evidenced by his recent appearance at the Oscars - has made himself bigger than his iconic characters, which extend beyond Kirk in the 60s to T.J. Hooker in the 80s and Denny Crane in the noughties.
"Great! DAY THREE? And keep in mind I'm gonna have to do something in a car because my wife is not as in love with bikes as me."
And so it goes, all the way through to day five ("N.U.L.L.A.R.B.O.R."), with the elder adventurer forming an itinerary until my 15 minutes is taken up with playing tour guide.
He asks about Darwin, the fishing, the distances, the weather and - oddly - the hunting. Clearly, Shatner - or "Bill" as he prefers to be called - shares his famous alter ego's drive to boldly go where no man has been before.
"I've seen a little of a Australia but not all. I once flew a small plane through a thunderstorm to Coober Pedy, and I visited six or seven cities during my one-man tour of Australia last year (which didn't hit Perth). But I seriously mean I've always wanted to get to Perth, and here was the opportunity."
That opportunity is Shatner's headline appearance at Oz Comic-Con, a pop-culture and fan expo making its Perth debut after premiering in Melbourne and Adelaide last year. Also on hand will be MacGyver himself, Richard Dean Anderson, The Rocky Horror Picture Show's Patricia Quinn, Game of Thrones' beefcake Jason Mamoa, stars of shows such as Star Trek, Stargate and Farscape and enough comic book writers to beam fans up.
Yet Bill is also a very good sport, granting another 15 minutes for questions. So why does he attend two or three fan conventions around the world each year?
"Because they're fun. I get on stage. I sign a few autographs. I have some fun with the people. I promote whatever it is I'm promoting.
"And I get time to see the place and indulge and travel. So that works for me."
What are you promoting here?
"Oh, geez. I have a new animated film out called Escape from Planet Earth (the 201st film or television credit to his name). "I have a new album out" (his fourth of music and spoken word, of which he relishes the ridicule). "I've got a book I'm writing" (also his fourth). "I've even got an app for the iPhone out (it's called Shatoetry, where he lends his voice to whatever you type). "The list goes on."
Indeed, the energetic actor, originally from Canada, has merrily capitalised on Kirk's cult of personality and turned it into a one-man cottage industry. The once-handsome young Captain now plays on his geriatric celebrity; a kind of male Betty White who plays up to - and on - his glory days.
Yet his real reinvention came via the 2004 courtroom series Boston Legal, where David E. Kelly played on Shatner's career as an ageing eccentric has-been who lives on his former glories.
But it hasn't all been wine and roses for the Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy winner (for Boston Legal). Star Trek became a hit only after it was cancelled, leaving Shatner typecast and homeless in the 1970s. He's been married four times. He's starred in too many awful movies and shows to name. And he's come out as a showbiz survivor who's as mocked as much as he is adored.
"I never know if I'm being re-invented or resuscitated," he jokes.
"But more seriously, I like to think I've survived simply because I offer people some entertainment, and because I'm always busy doing something. I've got crazy legs - they just keep moving fast."
To that end, Shatner is planning to make another segment in his Brown Bag Wine Tasting web series while in Perth, and called for cameramen via his 1.3 million Twitter followers.
"OK, I've got your name and number now so I'll see you in Perth. Be ready to have some fun."William Shatner appears at Oz Comic-Con this weekend at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre. Details: ozcomiccon.com.
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