Time to bury the hatchet

Ge­orge Takei says he just wants to make peace with Wil­liam Shat­ner.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SHOWBIZ - By Steven Zeitchik

Ge­orge Takei and Wil­liam Shat­ner haven’t ex­actly had a warm re­la­tion­ships in the four-plus decades since Star Trek went off the air, as any­one who saw the Shat­ner Com­edy Cen­tral roast in 2010 will re­mem­ber.

But the man who played Helms­man Sulu wants the man who played Capt. Kirk to know: he thinks Shat­ner’s re­sent­ment of Takei is ginned up. And he wants peace.

“Bill, ‘fess up,’” Takei said when asked what he would say to the ac­tor if he were sit­ting in the room. “This is all an act. He com­plained about not get­ting in­vited to (my) wed­ding. ev­ery­one knows we did send an in­vi­ta­tion.” Takei added, “Why have this ten­sion?”

Takei’s re­la­tion­ship with Shat­ner isn’t the only thing on his mind th­ese days. The Star Trek vet­eran and out­spo­ken gay-rights ac­tivist is the sub­ject of a new doc­u­men­tary, Jen­nifer Kroot’s To Be Takei, which world-pre­miered at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val

Pi­o­neer: last month.

In it, the ac­tor, 76, and hus­band Brad Takei can be seen go­ing about their day in Los An­ge­les – there’s a hair­cut, there’s the watch­ing of a Takei com­mer­cial, there’s a spir­ited walk through the neigh­bour­hood – as his colour­ful life story is told in a se­ries of mon­tages and flash­backs.

As a young boy, Takei was sent with his par­ents to a Ja­panese in­tern­ment camp for sev­eral years dur­ing WWII, an ex­pe­ri­ence that deeply shaped him. He would go on to be­come one of the first Asian-Amer­i­can ac­tors with a reg­u­lar role on prime-time tele­vi­sion and an early pi­o­neer as a ma­jor celebrity who is gay, if for years not quite openly.

The ac­tor, who in per­son has a sim­i­larly rich sing-song many will rec­og­nize from his roles, said he made the doc­u­men­tary for less the usual rea­sons than a de­sire to show that he and Brad have a life very sim­i­lar to many straight cou­ples.

“When you say ‘gay cou­ple’ some peo­ple think cham­pagne foun­tains and Liza Min­nelli,” Takei said in an in­ter­view. “We had a nice wed­ding, but it was no dif­fer­ent from or­di­nary wed­dings. This was an op­por­tu­nity to change peo­ple’s per­cep­tions.”

The ac­tor con­tin­ues to sub­vert ex­pec­ta­tions in other ways. He has be­come a so­cial-me­dia hero, ac­cru­ing 5.6 mil­lion friends on Face­book thanks to his fre­quent and hu­mor­ous posts.

He said de­spite the fact that many posts were on sci-fi and other Comic-con-friendly sub­jects, he de­vel­oped his so­cial-me­dia pres­ence pri­mar­ily to ed­u­cate peo­ple about Ja­panese in­tern­ment dur­ing WWII, some­thing he says he’s shocked to learn that many younger peo­ple know noth­ing about.

Takei said he has few re­grets in his life, though he wishes he and his part­ner, who’ve been to­gether a quar­ter-cen­tury, had had chil­dren, and also wishes he had come out ear­lier. (It was not un­til the 1980s.) He ex­plains it as a func­tion of pro- fes­sional sur­vival, but says in per­son that he does have doubts about whether he should have waited that long.

(If you’re cu­ri­ous, Shat­ner does ap­pear in the doc­u­men­tary, but for just 10 min­utes and ap­par­ently with a num­ber of re­stric­tions.)

Takei con­tin­ues to act – there have been nu­mer­ous TV ap­pear­ances, in­clud­ing the turn with Jimmy Kim­mel a few years back that went vi­ral as well as a scene-steal­ing part in Larry Crowne in 2011.

right now his fo­cus has been on the­atre – his mu­si­cal about Ja­panese in­tern­ment, Al­le­giance, is pre­par­ing for a trans­fer from San Diego’s old globe to Broad­way. He said his dream role would be a stage ver­sion of Death Of A Sales­man.

“I’m a lit­tle past the right age, but there’s the il­lu­sion the­atre pro­vides,” he said, with a sly smile. “The val­ues in that play are very Asian – work hard for the fam­ily, have high ex­pec­ta­tions of your son, put your wife on a pedestal, make the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice for fam­ily. You could even say Wil­lie Lo­man com­mit­ted hara-kiri for the insurance.”

And, he added, “The sur­name could even be Asian. Lo-Man.” — Los An­ge­les Times/McClatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

Ge­orge Takei is one of the first asian-amer­i­can ac­tors with a reg­u­lar role on prime-time

tele­vi­sion in the united States.

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