TORONTO - After decades of being associated with the role of Captain Kirk in the "Star Trek" franchise while living in the U.S., William Shatner still has a penchant for sci-fi projects and Canada.
The Montreal native says he's attracted to "things that smack of the future" these days, like the new family comedy "Aliens Ate My Homework," in which he voices a talking plant. It's available on DVD, digital and on demand on March 6.
And his patriotism still runs deep.
In a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, Shatner had praise for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"I admire (him) as a true chip off that wonderful Trudeau block, he's a handsome, attractive man who gives a face to our country unlike anybody else — even France — and has the intelligence of youth that isn't corrupted by age," Shatner said.
He was also rooting for Canada during the recent Pyeongchang Olympics, noting "that beautiful ice skater, that beautiful lady in the couples, Miss (Tessa) Virtue, had me on my feet cheering."
And the 86-year-old Golden Globe-winning actor, who recently received the Order of Canada, debunked various news reports stating he's now a naturalized U.S. citizen.
"I love to go through customs in between Canada and America, because the Canadian customs officers always look at my passport and say, without exception, 'I didn't know you were Canadian,'" Shatner said.
"I hold a green card and I tremble in jeopardy just like everybody else. You never know when they might do something terrible about Canadians and their green cards."
"Aliens Ate My Homework" follows middle schoolers (played by Jayden Greig and Lauren McNamara) as they help a friendly group of extraterrestrial beings save the planet and battle an evil alien criminal. Based on a book by Bruce Coville, the film is directed by Sean McNamara and co-written by Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Judith Reeves-Stevens.
Shatner said he feels it's important to reach younger generations through projects like the film.
"I've got 15 members of my family within a mile's radius in Los Angeles here, so we have all kinds of little ones and ones that are growing up," Shatner said.
"They may not play my records or read my books, but they'll go see an animated film."
These days Shatner is focused on doing "a lot of stuff that is futuristic, smacks of humanity," he said.
"Things that are innovative appeal to me, so whether it's electric bikes or solar energy or virtual reality. I've got a lot of projects that are in — I love the word 'pipeline' — in one way or another, having to do with science fiction or the history or atomic energy."
Those projects do not include a return to the big screen as Captain Kirk in virtual reality form, despite news reports to the contrary, he said.
"I have no idea who would have printed that. That's weird," Shatner said.
"I was in a conversation with somebody, I don't remember who, and I said I've joined up with a virtual reality company named Ziva and they photographed me with 250 cameras over a day's work and photographed everything, and they can make me look older or younger.
"I said to somebody, 'That's the answer to how would I go back as Captain Kirk — they could make me look 50 years younger.'"
Another project of his? Recording a country music album with Jeff Cook of Alabama.
"They've written some wonderful songs and I'm really excited about it," said Shatner, who's released several spoken-word albums.
"Now, I can't sing and I think the best music is coming out of country music anyway. But I have a feel for the kind of lyric they have, so I hope that what I do will be acceptable."