ROLE CALL: Capt. Kirk, Employed Male

William Shatner is working again. The old-school “Star Trek” dinosaur has joined the cast of “Miss Congeniality” as an embittered beauty pageant host. The film stars Sandra Bullock as a stalwart FBI agent who goes undercover as a Miss New Jersey pageant contestant in order to thwart a planned terrorist attack.

Shatner‘s last film role was in the 1998 sci-fi send-up “Free Enterprise,” wherein he poked fun at himself and his larger-than-life “Trek” character. More recently, he’s been paying the rent with those name-your-price-for-plane-tickets commercials.

WATCH OUT, OBI-WAN:What’s another week without a “Star Wars: Episode 2” casting rumor?

The latest addition to the short-list of hopefuls for the role of Anakin Skywalker is current hot stuff Christian Bale who, in case you haven’t been paying attention, plays the psychotic yuppie in the controversial flick “American Psycho.”’s gossip maven Jeanette Walls dropped the Bale scoop in her gossip column Wednesday, saying Bale is currently negotiating with George Lucas’ Lucasfilm Ltd. to play the much-coveted role of the pre-dark side Darth Vader. And, during a recent publicity tour for “Psycho,” the evasive actor answered questions about the Anakin rumors by saying, “You wouldn’t have heard that from me. My lips are sealed. End of subject,” according to Walls.

Other rumored Anakin candidates over the past few months have included “Dawson’s Creek’s” Joshua Jackson and James Van Der Beek, “American Beauty’s” Wes Bentley and “General Hospital’s” Jonathan Jackson.

The Anakin sweepstakes truly became a free-for-all when rumored heavy favorite Leonardo DiCaprio preemptively turned down the part in early April due to his “indefinite unavailability.”

Whether there’s any truth to the Bale gossip, the hard-bodied actor has proven himself capable playing sinister characters, and some fans apparently think he’s well suited to play Anakin during his transitional phase, as he defects from the goody-good Force to don his black cape, mask and noisy respirator.

As one Netizen posted on a “Star Wars” usenet newsgroup (rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc), “I’d say Bale would make a very interesting Anakin. He certainly does dark well.”

RYAN AND BEYOND: Daily Variety reported Wednesday that Meg Ryan is in talks with director Oliver Stone to star in the romance flick “Beyond Borders” with Kevin Costner.