Trek CelebWatch: Takei Talks Roddenberry, Stewart Hits Manhattan, Nimoy v Colbert and More

In this week’s CelebWatch we got lots of George Takei, including talking about his first meetings with Roddenberry to his recent resurgent career. Plus Patrick Stewart converts Trekkies to theater lovers, Avery Brooks celebrates Abraham Lincoln, Nichelle Nichols talks Spock, Wil Wheaton goes to the dark side, Leonard Nimoy gets grilled by Stephen Colbert (we got the video) and much more!

A Lot of Takei… Oh, my!
Cinefantastique has part 1 of a 3-part interview with George Takei (Sulu) in which the actor talked Star Trek. Takei described his first meeting with Trek creator Gene Roddenberry thusly:

…my career changed when I met Gene in 1965. He was an extraordinary and unusual man. When you do interviews for a role, you usually sit in front of a lot of people but when I walked into his office, he was the only man behind the desk.

Takei noted that Roddenberry did not ask him about his work, but rather began a conversation, discussing the movies and the headlines of the time.

I later found out that he interviews everyone that way. He does his homework, and knows the people he wants and their acting abilities. He just wanted to know our thoughts, who we were, our passions and interests. We were all into the issues of the time. And that was important to Gene because that is what he wanted to talk about on STAR TREK, as well as put together a crew of what he saw was the construction of America in the future.

On the original Trek being canceled, Takei jokingly reflected, “We battled aliens and everything, yet in the end the real Klingons were the NBC executives.” Takei recognizes that Gene’s message exists in our world today, particularly with a diverse group of people working together on the international space station. He summed this up by saying, “We have STAR TREK in reality today.” Head over to Cinefantastique for more; Part 2 of the interview will be posted this Sunday.

The LA Daily News also has an interview with Takei, with the actor discussing his sexual orientation and the reason why he is popular again… and no, it’s not because of Heroes.

There are more people coming up to me all the time and asking me about Howard and my participation in his show. I do a week every quarter on the ‘Howard Stern Show’ and more people seem to connect me with that show than from `Heroes,’ it seems. It’s amazing.

And in even more Takei news, the actor will appear along with TNG’s Brent Spiner (Data) at the Ricoh Arena for Collectormania Midlands in Coventry, England, this March.

Takei expresses his elation in being this week’s headliner

Stewart’s Macbeth in New York
The critically-acclaimed production of Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart began its run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, as reported by Playbill. Performances runs through March 22nd, but don’t bother trying to get tickets… the engagement is sold out. So you will have to make due with the interview posted at TheaterMania in which he discussed his role in Macbeth… and the Trekkies who came to see Captain Picard on stage.

I have succeeded in sort of dissuading people from coming to a show dressed in Star Trek uniforms. I have tried to put it out there that I don’t look on that as a compliment. Still, I have to say since then, people I meet at the stage door or write to me often say, “We came to see this to see Captain Picard. I’ve never seen a Shakespeare play in my life or I’ve never been in a theater in my life before, and I loved it and I can’t wait to come see it again.” It’s so deep and satisfying to find that people are being converted from watching science fiction television to not just live theater, but classical live theater.

A similar interview can be read at BBC.

Author and reader Marty Beckerman sends in this mini-review:

One word: intense. Set against a bleak Soviet milieu with the original Shakespearean language, the director is clearly comparing Macbeth’s treachery to Stalinist politburo machinations. Patrick Stewart has even grown a mustache for the role, which he inhabits with increasing comfort and ferocity as the play progresses. Stewart’s reciting of Ye Olde English was easy to understand, especially compared to some of the other actors in the production. It’s clear where the gravitas that Stewart brought to Captain Picard originated, and at one point Stewart even whipped out the “Picard maneuver” and tugged the bottom of his jacket downward. No idea if this was a coincidence or an Easter egg to the TNG obsessives in the audience. Overall a terrific performance but don’t expect a happy ending.

If Stewart sees another audience member in Trek uniform…oh yes…there will be blood

Is The Force with Wheaton? has a new interview with Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) in which the actor/author expressed his geekdom and his love/hate relationship with both Star Trek and Star Wars. After proclaiming himself as “a huge, huge, huge, epic, screaming, geeky, owning all the toys Star Wars fan, Wheaton expressed his love for Trek:

I liked the Original Star Trek too. I remember playing “Star Trek” on the playground with friends. I always wanted to be Mr. Spock. But the real hardcore sci-fi nerd really didn’t start until I was on Star Trek:TNG because it exposed me to a LOT of science fiction. I was going to conventions, I was meeting authors, other fans, and I was being exposed to a lot of sci-fi things I never would have seen otherwise. It was reading Ringworld that finally pushed me into the hardcore, complete never-to-return-to-normalcy sci-fi fandom.

Wheaton also discussed the epic battle between Trekkies and Star Wars fans:

I’ve never been around Star Wars and Star Trek fans that have decided to have it out and throw down. My opinion is that Fandom Wars are the dumbest f—ing thing in the world. It’s so unbelievably stupid. At our core, we’re all geeks. We were all the total nerds that were picked on in school, and most of us have gone on to bigger and better things, and very nice paying jobs… just because this one likes Star Wars and that one likes Star Trek… I just don’t get why they have to fight over which one is better. They’re just different, big deal guys.

In the meantime, the actor revealed on his blog that he has undergone “major sinus surgery.” The actor is recovering, but must take it easy for a while, otherwise he could start bleeding… a lot. That’s not a good thing.

Nichols’ Bold Move
Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) discussed her role and experiences on Star Trek with the Daily Echo/Dorset Echo. Describing the background she created for Uhura, Nichols explains that she and Spock had a closer relationship than was ever evident on screen:

I created a relationship between Uhura and Spock as being her mentor and the person she looked up to. Uhura was the only one who could play the Vulcan lyre and the only one who had the audacity to sing a song teasing Spock.

She also recounted the flack which Gene Roddenberry endured when he cast a black female as part of the bridge crew:

…they told him he couldn’t do that. Gene said ‘I’ve already done it.’ They said ‘That’s not what you said. You said you were going to make a little change on the bridge because you were going to add a bit of color…we thought you were talking about the costumes!’

Nichelle Nichols still loves wearing red.

Burton’s Shippensburg Address
LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge) will deliver an address entitled “Our Journey Toward Enlightenment: From Dr. King to the Present” at the Shippensburg University’s Gifted Minority Scholarship Fund program. The program, which commemorates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, will be held at the University’s Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on February 21st… following a dinner! See The Sentinel for more details.

Brooks Talks Lincoln
Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko) performed at the celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s 199th birthday at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC on February 10th. According to The Courier-Journal, Brooks recited the story of Lincoln’s opposition to slavery and his determination to end it.

Brooks: “Lincoln was REEEEEAL!!!”

Nimoy v Colbert
We already know that Stephen Colbert has taken vital time away from his work defending America to give the proper respect to Trek (examples: here, here, and here). Last night Stephen brought on Leonard Nimoy to get to the truthiness behind Leonard Nimoy’s photography book “The Full Body Project.”

Luck o’ the Irish
Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien) received the “Oscar Wilde: Honoring the Irish” award today at a pre-Academy Awards party in Los Angeles, according to News Ireland. The award is given to Irish actors and filmmakers for their representations of the Irish in their work.

Shimerman on Union Banishment
Former DS9 star Armin Shimerman (Quark) gave his input on the reported banning of actor Randy Quaid from the Actors’ Equity Association. Regarding whether or not Quaid’s alleged inappropriate conduct should get him banished from a union, Shimerman tells Back Stage:

People are regularly not given membership if they don’t meet those qualifications. I would opine that if those qualifications are not maintained, there might be a right there to remove the no-longer-eligible member. But if a member is vocal about a union’s actions and finds those actions to be unjust or misguided, I would hope no union has the right to kick a member out for being a dissenter.

Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) will be attending the Chairman’s Awards Gala honoring actress Angela Lansbury on April 14th, according to Playbill. Why, you ask? Because Mulgrew is part of the committee of the National Corporate Theatre Fund, which runs the annual Gala. The event will be hosted by Michael McKean, who co-starred with Mulgrew as The Clown in the VOY episode “The Thaw.”


  • Mass Effect, the hit video game featuring the voice of Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), will be available for the PC this May, as reported by BusinessWire.
  • would like to see a romance between Jolene Blalock (T’Pol) and Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom.
  • Christopher Lloyd (Star Trek III) is currently shooting a movie based on Jack London’s short story Call of the Wild in Montana, reports The Missoulian.
  • Anthony Zerbe (Admiral Dougherty, Insurrection) will be bringing his one-man show, It’s All Done with Mirrors, to the Hayes Center on March 21st, according to The Mountain Times Online.
  • Michelle Forbes is currently starring in the HBO series In Treatment… which debuted on January 28th. Yeah, probably should have gotten that to you sooner…

Star Sightings
Last Friday Zach Quinto (the new Spock) was spotted walking the red carpet on his way into a pre-Grammy weekend party from People Magazine and Verizon honoring the rapper/producer Timbaland.

Spock’s got a beard! (Wire Image)

In Memoriam

  • Maggie Ostroff (73), assistant sound editor on Star Trek VI, died February 4th. Her other films include Patriot Games, Crimson Tide, and Armageddon.
  • John Alvin (59), designer and artist for the Star Trek VI movie posters, died February 6th. He created posters for over 135 movies.
  • Steve Gerber (60), co-writer of the TNG episode “Contagion,” died February 10th. As a comic book writer, he is most famous for creating Howard the Duck.

Star Trek VI posters deisgned by John Alvin

No celebrities were harmed in the writing of this column. At least, I don’t think they were…

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Never mind this, tell me about Pine’s performance! Is he Kirk????????

I hope Mr Stewart is truely happy and not just tasting sour grapes. Every comment I read by him, makes him out to be pretty bitter toward Trek. Sure, its not the “high-class” work he’s doing now, but would he be doing this play, on this stage, without the popularity that Trek brought him?

I would love to see his MacBeth. One of my favorites by the Bard.

“There will be blood” wasn’t that the tag-line for the film SAW?
Anthony you wave a heavy, No Trolling, No Spamming and No hijaking sword.

But I have to say the interviews you pull out every day are mind boggeling.
I don’t know how you do it!!
I’m allways impressed to see the new (Star Trek)stuff you continually put up daily. Amazing!!!

Takei – zzzzzzzz
Nichols – zzzzzzzz
Stewart – zzzzzzzz

Yes, I know…Stanky – zzzzzzz :)

That was a clever trick by Roddenberry to get a black cast member on board! It just shows how strong racism was back in the 60’s even so much so that Nichols wanted to leave the show for not being given adequate lines and was encouraged to stay there by Dr. King. They did not regret it! Nichols was one HOT MAMA! in her heyday!!! talk about “Hailing frequencies open”!!!!

I wonder if Nimoy and people like him will ever release books of obese, overweight men.

I understand his goal, but I think it’s taking it a little too far. Yes, we have a weird ideal of the human body (particularly the female body), but scienfically speaking there is a certain ratio of body mass to subcutaneous fat that is considered “healthy.” If a horse had as much excess fat as those women do, that horse would be considered obese, yet there are no clothes ads for horses that are establishing some sort of parameters for weight or size. There is a natural size (which varies) and unnatural sizes, be they extremely fat or extremely thin.

Nimoy’s goal is a laudible one, but in my opinion he’s going about it all wrong. Taking pictures of obesity is sending as much of an unhealthy message as taking pictures of annorexic women.

I think his message is more along the line of “if you can find these anorexic skeletons beautiful, then surely it cannt be such a big problem to see eroticism in very big women.”

I am firmly convinced that getting fat people to feel good about themselves in this manner is a good thing. I can’t see a single unhappy fat person giving up on their diet after looking through a Leonard Nimoy exhibition, it just in’t about health that much.

I don’t think the answer to get women to appreciate their bodies is to eroticise them.that’s just another trap.

I really like Nichelle Nichols and George Takei. It’s great to see them do some good acting on Heros. One tiny thing that bugs me though, and this is really tiny and silly, is when Takei is doing Star Trek interviews or appearances, he’s always doing the Vulcan salute thing. That’s Nimoy’s thing.


I dont think Patrick Stewart is bitter towards Star Trek. But he may get pissed off when people do not realise he has done many other things before and after ST-TNG

As regards people turning up to watch you perform live in theatre, dressed in Starfleet uniforms, that must be an awful distraction for a performer when they see them. Personally I do not think I would take it as a compliment under those circumstances.

However if you were a guest a sci-fi convention of some kind, you would have to downright expect it and be happy about it.

BTW there is collectormania13 in Milton Keynes 2-5 May 2008 and Patrick Stewart is attending. So I guess he is not really that bitter then……

The only people I’ve heard/read say anything about their being a problem with anyone being African-American on the show is Roddenberry and Nichols. Its a nice soundbite, but I don’t buy it.

George Takei doing the Vulcan hand sign is just a sign of him trying to fit in and be cool to the fans. He always comes off as trying too hard to be ‘out there’ like Shatner and ‘connected’ like Nimoy.

#3 – All you’re going to hear is negative stuff if you read comments at Trek sites when he’s not doing Trek-related stuff. When he was doing the show and the movies, he was very positive about it. All the “negative” stuff started when he would do non-Trek things and people would ask him about Star Trek and maybe one question about what he was actually trying to promote. (And not to mention distracting, but I think wearing a starfleet uniform costume to *anything* outside of ST that a ST performer is doing is disrespectful of what they’re trying to do…you know, something OTHER than ST. It just says: “Hi, I came to see you because I idolize your role and want to see you in person. Don’t really care so much about the details! Squee! Lookatmyuniform! And I hope your performance is a lot like the one character I idolize because otherwise I might be a bit bummed.”)

(And yes, I think Solow and Justman’s book is far closer to the truth of the series than any of the other books by the ST cast…except Nimoy. His books are the only ones that don’t contradict what they say.)

Just read this release from ‘wordsmith virtuoso’ Harlan Ellison on his thoughts concerning the writer’s strike ‘deal’. Those with a nervous disposition should look away now…

I hope Patrick Stewart’s irritation is directed toward the public nerdy behavior of some Trek fans and not a dismissal of Star Trek itself.

No doubt he’s aware that the work of Shakespeare was a product of the popular theater of the late 16th century. The intended audience was certainly not limited to a snooty upper class. Were he alive today, Shakespeare might be writing for television – even for Star Trek.


I have to agree. Patrick Stewart doesn’t seen bitter about Trek at all. Actually, from everything I’ve ever read about him, he cherishes the time he spent on Trek and embraces the fans.

I think he was just describing the great feeling that he had when a Trekkie can enjoy and appreciate his performance in something other that Trek.

And seeing someone in a Starfleet uniform would be distracting to a stage actor, even one as great as Stewart.

Oh yea and Picard > Kirk

It´s “Timbaland” and not “Timberland” ;-)
Nice to see Leonard Nimoy in this video!

In other news, the BBC online lists four websites as “related sites” in its current stories about “Star Trek.”

Three of the sites are official CBS/Paramount sites.

The fourth is


Of course, there was a black communications officer in “Where No Man Has Gone Before;” at that time NBC sent memos to producers working on shows for the network emphasizing the network’s desire that African Americans appear in prominent roles on their shows.

A more realistic and unbiased account of the relationship between NBC, Desilu and “Star Trek” as concerned casting and other issues can be found in “Inside Star Trek” written by Herb Solow and Robert Justman.

Hey, Anthony, you think the site could interview Solow and his wife (Yvonne Fern Solow, who conducted a long series of interviews with GR before his death)? You’ve already done Justman, of course.

Thanks for the tip on the new pics #16. Looks like closer versions of what we saw from the helicopter. Sulu’s outfit is very cool and the alleged Klingon looks great. And if it IS a Klingon…I couldn’t be happier. Ruffles have ridges, TOS Klingons do not.

The rusty set looks fantastic as well and appropriately “Klingon”. The actor said he would be “fencing” in this movie, it will be great to see the pics of Sulu’s swordplay tomorrow on the site.

Ice. Old school Klingons. Sword vs. Battle-Axe.

Love it.

And Patrick…please shave that squirel off your upper lip, it’s not doing you any favors.

I agree Dennis.
Inside Star Trek was a great read.

Funny, I was thinking Stewart looked pretty good in a moustache!

John Alvin was an amazing artist. He will be missed!!!!

I knew John very well. He was a wonderful sincere man.

The posters for Trek 6 are my 2nd favorite, ranking right behind the poster for TMP. Mr. Alvin was a very talented man indeed.

You know, I wish this column would also discuss a little bit more about upcoming places where I can see some of these people – particularly plays in the Washington, DC area.

Painted cinema art has lost a great talent. I never realized how extensive Alvin’s portfolio of work was.

Even Trek helped kill painted poster art, I swear the same pic of Patrick Stewart is used in atleast 3 of the 4 Next Gen posters, not so sure about Nemesis

God bless those viewers who can see so much in these(and other) spy photos, I can never make out as much detail as others seem too. Sulu in a Space Suit w/ Starfleet emblem right? Baldheaded dirty bad guy? Right?


I sometimes wear me Scottish thane outfit to sci-fi conventions…

Without his outfitting, Michael Dorn could change his name and get jobs unencumbered by Trekkers… unless ya saw that DS9 ep wherein Sisquo was a 1940’s pulp writer…

Sisko / Mr. Brooks to me had that same quality as Orson Welles had- strong and a bit scary (not intimidatin’ cuz ya also know his soft side– that not be a prison joke either)
well, Welles never carried heat like Hawk once upon a time…

and once upon a time brings me ta reversing tha polarity of this feature’s focus: (goin’ back fur Trek fold)
I recently saw “Star Trek: Benson” and wuz wonderin’ why how tha moral officer became so jaundiced and fuzzy when he clearly was not then and how the droopy guy had once been able to clearly contort to a correct human face?…

but goin’ backwards is not what we be about here? Or is it, ta boot or ta re-boot? That is tha question.

… arrr… Livin’ in tha past cuz it’s not gunna go away for ’em… confusin’… makes me start thinkin’ that maybe I want banishment… mayhaps with Marriett Hartley who’s also on the telly these days… I’ll take her past or present.


#8: Books of photography aren’t normally sold as medical journals or guides to health. It’s aesthetic, not scientific. He’s not _really_ a Science Officer, you know … he just played one on TV.

3. SolFlyer –

Patrick Stewart’s theatrical career was just fine before Star Trek came along. I am sure he would have enjoyed just as successful a career in Theater if he had never set foot on the Trek Sound Stages.

You know what convinces me that Colbert is a True Geek (and I say that with affection): he didn’t ask a single question, or make a single goofy comment or hand gesture about Star Trek. He obviously respects Nimoy and kept the conversation about the subject at hand.

Scott B. out.

“your attack on American values.” Love it!

I loved the Nimoy piece! It seems like he was really enjoying himself.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

Re: #6. Stanky McFibberich

You’re so cute. :-O


actually- There Will Be Blood – as you may well know, is the title of a film based on “Oil!” by Upton Sinclair. It features an Oscar-nominated performance by Daniel Day Lewis- a very gripping film.

Alas, I do not know if SAW had such a tagline. I’m not meaning to be snob, BUT I drink your milkshake.

Au Revoir!

Saying ‘oh my’ on Howard Stern opened an entire new career for George Takei.

#17 When you are up on stage with the the lights on and performing, you really cant see the audiance at all unless the fan boys in uniform are right in the front row. it’s actualy a very esoteric feeling, if you are truly into the performance, you lose sight that the audiance is even there, unless of course its an audiance parcipitation play.

Opps, that was for #16, my bad

another great celeb roundup from chuck…and it was Chuck Trotter and not I who put this together

MacBeth in stalinist russia? Damn, I want to see that.

I glean a little more of Nimoy’s meaning with each interview. LORD, I wish the shows/networks would grow up and just SHOW the flippin’ pictures! Do you see how they black-boxed the a**crack on a Matisse?? How lonely/desperate do you gotta be to derive onanistic pleasure from a half-centimeter of oil-painted a**crack?? I agree that Madison Avenue should be burned down for declaring war on the self-image of American girls. I also agree that Nimoy should go au natural — why the hell not? Let’s embrace the beauty of fit 70somethings. What’s good for the goose…

Also — Somebody’s got to have amateur vid of Randy Quaid as Falstaff. Please, please, please.

I think Patrick Stewart should keep in mind that without his success in Trek he’s Diner theater in England.

Great job, Charles Trotter. Couldn’t we just call this segment “What’s Up Chuck?” Loved the piece on Nimoy-Colbert.

Kudos to Trotter for the great stuff- love knowing that I can come here and find everything that is going on in the ST universe right up to the minute.

Nimoy on Colbert – fantastic! Does anyone know if he did the talkshow circuit with Shekhina? I know he did various interviews on the web and with reporters – that book definitely deserved the attention. I will be getting his autograph on my copy at Sci-fi Slam in April.

Garovorkin#41- Patrick Stewart doing dinner theater without ST? I don’t know his resume, Garvorkin, but I sincerely doubt that would be the case. He is a fine actor and I’m sure he had a career to be proud of before ST entered the picture.


No need to ridicule Patrick Stewart just because he doesn’t want to wax nostalgic about Trek every single minute of every single day. He’s had an extensive career in theatre, and that seems to be where he’s most comfortable. The fact is, the fans showing up to his performances in uniforms SHOULD be chastised. That’s not okay. What are they, 12?

Sorry about that Charles. Great article.
All you guys make up a great site!!!!!

#44 sean i am not ridiculing Patrick Stewart i am merely stating fact, without Trek his big career doesn’t happen . as for the silly fans dressing in costumes that sort thing comes with the territory and yes you have make allowances for that sort or thing whether you like it or not.

#27 , Nemesis had the worst movie poster of all Trek films.

The Picard Maneuver is really just the Stewart Maneuver. It’s simply what he does. The TNG uniform just made him do it more.

I bet that if you look at any of Stewart’s pre-TNG roles, you will see the Picard Maneuver turn up somewhere.

I could be wrong now…but I don’t think so.


Sorry Garovorkin, but what you said wasn’t fact – it was a cheap shot. We have no way of knowing what his career might have been like if he had turned down Trek, and it’s silly to pretend any of us has a crystal ball.

And no, he does not have to make allowances for that sort of thing. It’s inappropriate, period. If someone doesn’t have the common sense to know that’s not the time nor the place, then they simply haven’t been raised properly. He has every right to tell them so.

#49 Sean before trek other then maybe the movie excalibur and a bit role in 1985 movie lifeforce his career is pretty much in the shadows, can you tell me a major role had had before Star Trek other then the two thing Ive . mentioned because really i cant think of any. Trek was his big break and what defined his career, what got him noticed and in acting you dont get noticed your achieve success, that fact, again it comes with the territory. Let just agree not to agree on this one, no cheep shot as you out it was intended.
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