While attending the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival last week (where we reported he arrived with a ‘Star Trek wrist injury’) John Cho did a couple of interviews. The actor joked he got injured “going for the almond dispenser” at craft services, but also talked about fight training and also gave his thoughts on being a Korean American playing Sulu.
From Groucho Reviews, Cho on fight training:
…that the training was great. I really appreciated kind of a preparation time as far as fight training and stuff, because it was sort of like simulating the Starfleet Academy. And it just felt like we’d gone through something together. And it was exhausting, you know. So that just kind of put me in a kind of a military mindset.
…and if he is concerned about keeping in shape for a decade for sequels
Uh, yes, I’ve made a deal with the devil…..And hopefully that’ll—no, yeah, yeah, I do have some concerns, and we’ll see. But maybe my Asian genes will come into play
From New American Media, on how he feels about “playing a Japanese character, being a Korean American?”
I don’t feel like it has any particular bearing on this role because he is Japanese American. I wouldn’t take a part that is Japanese from Japan, or a recent Japanese immigrant, because I don’t think there is a way that I could do that accent really effectively and convincingly.
As far as the surname goes and cultural background, I think it’s irrelevant. I think it’s more, “Can you be convincing as an actor?” Sometimes you’re better off casting someone who is really from that culture because the role calls for an accent that’s going to be convincing. But I talked to George (Takei, the actor who first played Sulu) about it, and he said that (Gene) Roddenberry’s original intent was that everybody on the bridge of the Enterprise was supposed to represent the entire world. He said that Sulu was supposed to represent the continent of Asia. They didn’t have a specific cultural origin for him before the show was cast. Then George was cast and they needed to come up with a name. Gene was looking at a map and saw the name Sulu Sea and it bordered multiple Asian countries, and he thought that this was kind of a Pan-Asian name. When they came up with a first name, George is Japanese American, so they give him the name Hikaru. But the intent was not really to create a Japanese-specific character, the intent was to create a Pan-Asian character.
Injured doing something ‘important’
New American Media also had a pic of Cho (w/ bandage) and the following caption:
With deadpan sarcasm Cho said he hurt his hand doing “something very important on set.”
Image courtesey of New American Media