He who has the most dialogue, wins

Today, Startrek.com posted Part 1 of an interview with Norman Spinrad, who wrote the classic Star Trek episode, “The Doomsday Machine.”  It turns out that someone in the cast had  the power to eliminate dialogue from his fellow actors.  It almost ruined a scene.

Spinrad recalls, “While I’m on the set I see that William Shatner, in between takes, is sitting somewhere. He’s got the script and penciling out Spock lines, because he had something in contract saying that he had to have the most lines, that Nimoy couldn’t have more lines than he did. So, Marc Daniels, who was the director, starts to shoot this. Five blown takes. I’m there. It’s really an [un]usual honor. You’re not really supposed to stick your nose into this. But I can’t stand it finally. I know what’s wrong. There’s a reaction line from Spock that’s missing. It just can’t work (without it). So I call Marc Daniels over into the corner. I said, ‘Listen, Marc, the reason you’re having trouble with this is because of the missing Spock line that Shatner took out. I know the whole reason why that is. We can’t put it back in, but maybe you just tell Leonard to grunt. Can you get away with a grunt?’ And that’s the way they shot it. ”

Read all of Spinrad’s account here.