Phil Weyland worked in Hollywood for decades as a dialog coach and stand-in for the stars. This meant that when the crew on set needed to test the lights or focus the cameras on a mark, the stand-in would fill that role rather than the show’s star. He also served as a dialog coach, helping the stars remember their lines quickly.
He started acting and directing in his native Texas at an early age. He met DeForest Kelley, who fans know as Dr. Leonard McCoy from The Original Series. Weyland directed Kelley in a stage production, and they eventually became friends. From this point, Kelley asked Weyland to be his stand-in for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Weyland was on the set for nearly every significant moment and scene for the first seven Star Trek films. From the dull sets of The Motion Picture to the 114-degree heat on Generations, Weyland was there.
For Star Trek: Generations, it was the end of working on a Star Trek set for William Shatner, whose character did not survive. The torch was passed to the next crew. This cast was anchored by Sir Patrick Stewart, who Weyland says is the consummate gentleman.
A Sticky Situation With Sir Patrick
Most will remember that the scene where Picard meets Kirk for the first time; it was in a cabin in the woods in the Nexus. In reality, the cabin is in Kern County, California, and it was here where Weyland had a humorous encounter with Stewart.
“I leaned against a tree and realized that I was covered in [tree] sap,” said Weyland. “So I went inside to the cabin, and Patrick Stewart comes in.”
The gentlemanly actor walked into the cabin and looked around for a moment.
“I thought he said ‘sticky,’” said Weyland. “I said, ‘You betcha! You’d better be careful and not get it all over your costume.’”
“No, no,” said Stewart. He pointed at the furniture. “Stickley!”
It turns out that Stewart noticed that Kirk’s cabin was decked out entirely with the Stickley brand of handcrafted furniture.
Heated Emotions on High
Later on, the shoot when the production moved to the Silica Dome, located in the Valley of Fire State Park, near Las Vegas. It was here where the film crew constructed the scaffolding where Dr. Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell) would try to reach the Nexus wave.
Though it was a beautiful and picturesque spot to film the final act in Captain Kirk’s 30-year career, Weyland said that the June desert heat made the production treacherous.
“It was so hot… when I came down [from Silica Dome], and I was out of my mind,” said Weyland. “I told the assistant director that I wasn’t going back up. I couldn’t believe that I was saying it, but I meant it. Later I drank 14 glasses of iced tea.”
When it came time for Shatner and Stewart to act out Kirk’s final scene, they too endured the heat. Shatner asked that a crew from Entertainment Tonight not film the death scene, as was initially planned.
“[Shatner] was emotional about it,” said Weyland. “For different takes in the scene, he was laying down on the catwalk with a towel over his head. I went to him and asked if he needed anything, and he said, ‘no, baby, I’m fine.’ I said OK.”
When they finished the scene, Weyland thought about the Kirk character’s longevity and thought that only Peter Faulk’s Columbo might have been around as long as Kirk. Weyland said that it was emotional for him to see the end of what had been an iconic character.
“There were tears in my eyes — I’ll admit it,” said Weyland. “And he looked over at me, and he said ‘Phil! Don’t worry. We’ll work [together] again.’”
Weyland laughed when he remembered this moment.
Later Reshoots on the Mountain
Even though the scene was reshot later when weather conditions were much cooler in September of 1994, Weyland said that it just was not the same. The reshoot was ordered after test audiences were not satisfied with the original ending.
“I did not do the second version of Kirk dying,” said Weyland. “I was on 90210 at the time, and I had a part coming up. I sent a [colleague] over to take my place.”
“I’m figuring that by that time, he’d already died once, and that was the real ‘dying,’” said Weyland. “He did it the first time, and he thought he was really dying. The second time was like ‘well, we’re doing it over,’ so to speak.”
“It was a do-over,” said Weyland. “And I can’t imagine that he was as emotional as he was the first time.”