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'Scotty' owed it all to Star Trek

But actor was bitter toward Paramount

'Beam me up, Scotty!" Now that he's filling the shoes of the late James Doohan as chief engineer Montgomery Scott in Star Trek, J.J. Abrams's reboot of the classic sci-fi saga, Simon Pegg better get used to hearing that phrase.

Doohan once told me he had lost count of how many times Trekkies stopped him on the street and issued that command.

We chatted in the fall of 1998 when the Vancouver-born actor was here to shoot the family comedy The Duke at Royal Roads. Doohan, 78 at the time, seemed frail but had a twinkle in his eye during a break from shooting his scenes as Chives, a veddy British butler at a country estate being inherited by a floppy-eared pooch.

Doohan said he didn't mind it when fans blurted out "I can't change the laws of physics, Captain!" and other classic lines.

"I've become a celebrity on account of Star Trek," he recalled, smiling. "So I have to live and act like one."

I was impressed by Doohan's candour. He didn't have much time for the Star Trek spinoffs Voyager and Deep Space Nine, he said. And he didn't hide his bitterness over how Paramount underpaid the series stars until it recognized its franchise value.

If he were alive today, he'd probably be shocked to learn Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, had a cameo in the new film.

"Not us older people. Paramount's not into that," he said when asked if he could see himself back on screen.

Doohan said he had no reason to stay in touch much with William Shatner and his former castmates, and he didn't mince his words on how he felt about them.

"Leonard is a great guy and, well, I think nothing of Bill," he deadpanned.

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It might sound like a New Age cliché, but "global oneness" is a concept that cannot be ignored.

It's a philosophy that now has unprecedented potential thanks to the Internet, says Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, founder of the web-based Global Oneness Project (globalonenessproject.org)

"I truly believe the web is the way forward," says the filmmaker whose non-profit organization is co-sponsoring, with Open Cinema, The New Narrative: Local Voices for a Global Future, a free multimedia event tomorrow, 6:30 p.m., at the Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St.

The event, part of a Pacific Northwest tour, will include a pre-show reception at 5:30, short documentary screenings, café-style conversations, a presentation by Orland Bishop, a pioneering community organizer, and a Q&A with Vaughan-Lee, 29.

"We've been creating films in web-based media on a variety of issues -- social, political, economic -- from the perspective of 'How can we create a more sustainable world?' " he explains.

The Marin County, Calif.-based filmmaker has spent the past three years travelling our "interconnected" world collecting stories, and filming and posting examples of how people are using compassion, respect and ingenuity to solve problems.

"Although they take place thousands of miles away, they're relevant. They're about our future and the problems we're facing because of unsustainable practices," he says.

Since 2006, the GOP team has interviewed dozens of people, including a Palestinian peace worker and a shaman from the Andes, working in the fields of sustainability, spirituality, conflict resolution and social justice.

"It's an idealistic notion that often stops in church or the mosque or on the meditation cushion," he says of global oneness's tenets of compassion and selflessness. "It doesn't often get put into practice."

He cites Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa as giants who embodied the values they espouse.

"We've also found people who believe in this so much and give themselves fully to it, in places where they don't have access to health care, or where there are food or water issues," he says.

Although Vaughan-Lee initially used television, the web took his cause to a new level.

"Most TV markets were not interested in showcasing this," he said. "They want entertaining shows that are part of the advertising revenue machine."

He recalls being astonished by streaming video and the potential for sharing media, even before YouTube.

"It created an outlet where people can share values that don't fit into traditional moulds," says Vaughan-Lee.

mreid@tc.canwest.com