Today is the birthday for Star Trek’s original Hikaru Sulu. George Takei is now 74 years young and still going strong. We here at TrekMovie wish George a happy birthday, and so we have some fun vids and catch up with the latest from "Oh, my Takei" including his new campaign against Hollywood "whitewashing" and a new clip from his new show Supah Ninjas.
Happy Birthday, George Takei – classic Takei videos
Today for George’s birthday, we take a look at some fun videos of George, from YouTube.
By the way, did you know George has been an avid advocate of mass transportation? He was even a member of the Los Angeles Transit board and he turned down a voice role on the Simpsons because it made fun of monorails, really. Here is a video of George (in Star Trek uniform) from 1984 promoting the Milwaukee Transit system (via CoasterChild).
Also, did you know that George appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation? Well actually not really, but he did appear on the Star Trek: Generation Enterprise D set to shoot a special promo for Paramount Home Video in 1993, check it out in this Birthday Flashback (thanks to our friend Veron Wilmur).
One of the best things about George Takei is that is a good sport. As a regular guest on the Howard Stern show, George is often the source of much humor, and he has even embraced the famous "Sulu Dance" song, using clips of his audio book:
Takei takes on Hollywood ‘whitewashing’ with Akira
A few weeks TrekMovie reported that Star Trek’s Chris Pine, along with a number of other actors, were on the short list to appear in a live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga comic Akira. The short list of anglo actors (which also included Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix lined up to play the characters Tetsuo or Kaneda caught the attention of George Takei, wondering why Hollywood wasn’t looking at Asian actors to play Asian characters.
Takei replied let his feelings known on Twitter, including linking to a petition "Akira epic fail–all actors up for Kaneda & Tetsuo are white? Sign & RT the petition here: http://ow.ly/4ALY4." Takei’s "anti-Hollywood whitewashing" campaign has got the notice of some in the media. Just yesterday Takei was interviewed by the big gossip site PerezHilton, here is an excerpt:
Were you surprised to find out Warner Bros. is courting white leading men for roles in the adaptation of Akira?
George Takei: It’s not a surprise because that’s been a Hollywood tradition. For example, when I was very young, I read Pearl Buck’s epic novel of China, The Good Earth. And that film, all of the principal major roles were cast with Caucasians. As a matter of fact, Luise Rainer, who played the wife, won an Oscar for that. Paul Muni was her husband. It’s an old Hollywood tradition that we’ve always been battling, not just Hollywood but Broadway too, if you remember Miss Saigon and the furor over that. So, no, I really wasn’t surprised, but the audience has changed now, and I’m surprised Warner Bros. is not keeping up with the audience. The manga and anime phenomenon is mostly white in this country. It originated in Japan, and, of course, it has a huge Asian fan following. But it’s the multi-ethnic Americans who are fans of Akira and manga. The idea of buying the rights to do that and in fact change it seems rather pointless. If they’re going to do that, why don’t they do something
original, because what they do is offend Asians, number 1; number 2, they offend the fans. The same thing happened with M. Night Shyamalan. He cast his project [The Last Airbender] with non-Asians and it’s an Asian story, and the film flopped. I should think that they would learn from that, but I guess big studios go by rote, and the tradition in Hollywood has always been to buy a project, change it completely and flop with it. I think it’s pointless, so I thought I would save Warner Bros. a bit of failure by warning them of what will most likely happen if they continue in that vein.
George in Supah Ninjahs
George Takei seems to be everywhere these days. He is doing viral videos, he is helping Social Security promote their website, and he is back on TV. Takei is in Nickelodeon’s Supah Ninjas, playing a holographic master teaching his grandson how to be a ninja. The show premiered last Saturday and airs every Saturday at 8:30 PM. Here is a new clip.
And here is an audio interview (from xxxX) with Take talking about Supah Ninjas.