Emmy Award(R)-Winner William Shatner Stars in New Improvisational Comedic Mini-Series 'Invasion Iowa'
Premieres on Spike TV, March 29-April 1 at 9:00 PM, ET/PT
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Jan. 14 -- What happens when
dysfunctional Hollywood crashes into "small town America?" With the help of
some of his show biz cohorts, Emmy Award(R)-winning actor, William Shatner
brings improvisational comedy to a new level with "Invasion Iowa," a complex
comedy where the people of Riverside, Iowa are under the impression that
Shatner and gang are filming an independent sci-fi movie. Spike TV's first
ever mini-series premieres Tuesday, March 29 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT)
culminating on April Fool's Day, Friday, April 1.
"I fell in love with the people of Riverside," William Shatner said. "The
hardest part of this whole experience was containing my empathy for the
individuals who listened to and identified with the Hollywood dysfunction that
we played in front of them."
A crew team of producers, writers, and actors spent more than a year
planning this carefully crafted show, which lampooned the craziness of
Hollywood before an audience of "small-town America." "Invasion Iowa"
creators and executive producers Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and William
Shatner chose the city of Riverside, population 978, in large part for its
status as the "future birthplace" of Shatner's legendary "Star Trek"
character, Captain (later Admiral) James T. Kirk, who was born in the quaint
Midwestern farming community on March 22, 2228. Since 1985, thousands of fans
have gathered annually in Riverside for "Trek Fest." Traditionally held
during the last week in June, "Trek Fest" welcomes fans who come to celebrate
their love of the "Star Trek" television series, films, and lore. "Invasion
Iowa" has no connection to the "Star Trek" franchise.
"We went to pull one over on the people of Riverside, and the joke
ultimately ended up being on us," says Kevin Kay, EVP of Programming and
Production for Spike TV. "We were amazed by not only the kindness and
openness of the townspeople, but their understanding of the complexity and
comedy of this project."
The people of Riverside expected a movie shoot, but what they got instead
was a front row seat to some Hollywood-style insanity. Shatner played the
role of an over-the-top version of himself. His eccentric faux "entourage"
included his harried, neurotic assistant, his spiritual advisor, his flighty
leading actress, his Hollywood studio executive and his nephew/body double,
all of whom were played by improvisational comedic actors. As a thank you to
the townspeople of Riverside for being such good sports, Shatner presented
town officials with a $100,000 city service contribution and the cast and crew
donated $12,000 to the Riverside Elementary School Book Fund.
Here's a glimpse of the cast of characters in "Invasion Iowa" from the
talented improv actors:
* Bill's Spiritual Advisor -- "Steve"
Sweet and well-meaning, Steve advises Shatner on all aspects of his
life, from spirituality to finances to diet. Claims 956 deductions on
his taxes because he is 'spiritual father to many.' He is the world's
only known 'Bill Whisperer' and has the innate ability to calm Shatner
down just by whispering the right words. Steve is portrayed by Ernie
* The Studio Executive -- "Max"
A no-nonsense, vicious, Hollywood executive, Max is stylish and sexy,
but most men are too intimidated to approach her. She's the one person
Shatner fears and obeys. Max is portrayed by Garz Chan.
* The Actress -- "Gryffyn"
Gryffyn is Shatner's leading lady. She embodies every stereotype of
the Hollywood actress to the extreme: she's vain, insecure, unstable,
shallow, egocentric, promiscuous, a vegan, superstitious, flaky and
sexy. She has a "Winona Ryder" habit of stealing things from local
stores. Gryffyn is portrayed by Desi Lydic.
* The Assistant -- "Herb"
Herb is Shatner's ridiculously friendly assistant who is terrible at
his job. He thinks this job could be his big break, so he tries hard
to impress Shatner. As a result, Herb tries too hard and constantly
makes mistakes, making him more and more nervous. Herb desperately
wants to be a director and is constantly pitching bad ideas (It's
'Raiders of the Lost Ark' meets 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of
Doom!'). Herb is portrayed by Michael J. O'Hara.
* The Body Double -- "Tiny"
Tiny is Shatner's 'nephew,' longtime body double and irrepressible
hanger-on. The "bastard" son of a wardrobe assistant on the original
'Star Trek' series, Tiny grew up fatherless and wild. Shatner took
Tiny under his wing and helped raise him over the years, but because
Shatner always had such a soft spot for Tiny, he never enforced real
discipline. Tiny is the life of every party, over-the-top fun, and
completely uncontrollable by 'Uncle Bill' or anyone else. Tiny is
portrayed by Kirk Ward.
"Invasion Iowa" was created and executive produced by Rhett Reese, Paul
Wernick and William Shatner. Gary Benz also serves as executive producer.
The series is exclusively produced for Spike TV by Reese Wernick Productions
and GRB Entertainment. Peilin Chou, Vice President of Original Series for
Spike TV, serves as the Executive in Charge of Production.
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SOURCE Spike TV
Web Site: http://www.spiketv.com