Over the weekend the Japanese American Museum unveiled their new exhibit about the life of actor and activist George Takei. The original Sulu was on hand for the event and so was TrekMovie.com. We talked with Takei, took a lot of pictures of the exhibit, and got a video of Takei’s opening night speech.
George Takei Museum Exhibit Opens In Los Angeles
On Sunday, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles launched a new exhibit titled “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei.” The JANM is very near and dear to Takei, who is a major donor and sits on its board of trustees. It also is where he and his husband Brad were married in 2008.
The new exhibit, open through August 20th, explores Takei’s life and career as an actor, activist, and social media icon. A curated selection of artifacts from Takei’s diverse experiences and achievements tells a story about the social history of America during his almost 80-year life.
Interview: Takei on ‘Captain Sulu’ Star Trek series idea following Star Trek VI
On Saturday there was a gala event to open the exhibition. After Takei’s speech (which you can see below) TrekMovie had a brief moment to talk to him about the exhibit, Star Trek, and some more recent projects.
TrekMovie: You saw the display of your [Star Trek VI] captain’s chair and table and teacup, how did that make you feel?
George Takei: Nostalgic.
TM: Weren’t you trying to get a Captain Sulu show going? Weren’t you pitching that some time ago?
GT: I thought that was obvious from the way Star Trek VI ended. And the fans. I wasn’t pitching it; the fans were bombarding with a tidal wave of emails. But Paramount, they don’t hear.
TM: What would a Captain Sulu show be like? What kinds of stories did you envision?
GT: I am a hired actor. It’s up to the studio to determine how it’s going to be.
Takei on lunch with Trump and Allegiance tour
TM: We saw the Celebrity Apprentice autographed photo in the exhibit. What was it like working with Donald Trump?
GT: We were doing a press conference to promote the show. I knew Donald Trump had a position against marriage equality. That was an issue that I had been campaigning on. So with all the press there I thought I would get him on record. As a press conference was winding down I said, “Mr. Trump, I’d like to host you to lunch so that we can discuss marriage equality,” fully expecting him to demur, perhaps saying he had a full schedule and didn’t have the time. But, he surprised me. He said, “That might be interesting. I might learn something from you. So yeah, you’re on. Have your people call my people.” It took a long time, about three months, but we finally had that lunch. The first thing he said to me was, “You know what, George? I went to a friend’s gay wedding. It was beautiful. You gays do everything with such good taste.” [laughs] “You gays.”
Takei also confirmed that he is planning on taking his Broadway musical Allegiance on the road, noting it was his legacy. The tour will be doing shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and possibly Portland. There will be a new touring cast. but when asked if he will reprise his Broadway role he said yes, adding, “I said it’s my legacy!”
For now Takei said he was returning to New York this week to resume rehearsals for his starring role in the off-Broadway revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Pacific Overtures.” The play opens April 5th and tickets are on sale now at classicstage.org.
Photos from the Takei exhibit
Takei’s Star Trek career:
Takei’s career outside of Trek:
Takei’s life and advocacy:
Video of Takei’s speech
Watch George Takei’s opening speech in its entirety:
For more on the “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei” exhibit, visit the Japanese American National Museum website.