Takei Recommends New Voyages Actor For New Sulu May 1, 2007by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Fan Productions,ST09 Cast , trackback
George Takei recently reprised his role as Hikaro Sulu in the Star Trek New Voyages episode "World Enough And Time." It is not yet known if Sulu will appear in Star Trek XI, but when asked by IGN who could be the new Sulu Takei immediately thought of his experience on the fan film
the guy who plays Sulu is a hot shot Washington, D.C. attorney… I saw the man who plays me, as Sulu, as a young man, and he’s a wonderful actor, a powerful actor. There’s one scene where he breaks down in anguish and it’s very moving. John Lim is his name, and despite his success as an attorney, after having done this he wants to be an actor. He’s talking about leaving his law career and coming to Los Angeles as an aspiring young actor. So I would recommend John Lim.
Takei also noted that Gene Roddenberry’s vision for Sulu wasn’t necessarily to be Japanese specifically…
When Gene Roddenberry was creating Star Trek, the Enterprise is a metaphor for planet Earth. The strength of both lie in its diversity coming together and working in concert as a team. So when he was casting he wanted us to represent the diversity of planet Earth. He wanted a character to personify Asia, but Asian names are nationally specific. Nakamura, is Japanese, Wong is Chinese, Kim is Korean, and he wanted someone who wasn’t a national representative, but an ethnic group representative. So he looked at a map of Asia for a name that would represent the whole of Asia and found in the South Seas, right off the Philippines, the Sulu Sea. And he thought "Ahh, the waters of a sea touch all shores." And so that’s how Sulu came about, so he’s not Japanese, he’s Asian. However because he cast a Japanese American actor to play him, he gave him the name Hikaru, which is a Japanese name. So he doesn’t need to be played by a Japanese actor to be consistent with Gene Roddenberry’s vision.
This does bring up the issue of casting and ethnicity and nationality. If the whole crew is in STXI, then Abrams has the opportunity to actually cast a Scottish Scotty, an African Uhura, etc, etc. For Sulu he can get an actual Japanese actor. When TrekMovie.com put forward a set of recommendations for recasting I went with global actors to fill the roles, but it is not really a must for the film. (I went with Shin Koyamada for Sulu)
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For the full interview, including some details on his upcoming appearances in NBC’s Heroes, see IGN
More on "World Enough And Time" at the Star Trek New Voyages Website