Takei On Casting ChoBy T'Bonz
May 2, 2008 - 4:25 AM
George Takei helped set J.J. Abram's mind at ease about hiring John Cho as Sulu.
As reported by Cinemaspy.ca, Abrams was concerned because Cho was Korean-American and not Japanese-American and Abrams thought it might become an issue with fans. "I did have breakfast with J.J. Abrams," said Takei. "He was concerned because he was going to cast a Korean-American actor and he thought there might be some discussion by Star Trek fans. I told him Gene's idea was to have Sulu represent all of Asia. Apparently J.J. didn't know that, so he was quite comforted by that background information and went ahead and cast John Cho."
Takei went on to explain that Roddenberry meant for the character of Sulu to represent Asia, not any specific country. "Gene Roddenberry was a real visionary and he incorporated a lot of his own personal philosophy into Star Trek," said Takei. "He felt that the Starship Enterprise was a metaphor for Starship Earth and the strength of this starship lay in its diversity coming together and working as a team in concert, each contributing his or her unique talents, unique vantage points and unique experiential background. That's what made the Enterprise that much stronger and more competent at solving problems and challenges. We would represent different parts of the Earth. He wanted my character to represent Asia."
Takei was pleased with Cho being cast, being familiar with the actor from other productions. "I am very happy with that casting," said Takei. "I knew of John's work from way before. I've been Chairman of the Board of Governors of the East West Players, which is the oldest minority theatre company in the U.S. ...and John appeared in about five or six of our productions. He was impressive in all of those productions."
Cho himself was a bit nervous about portraying Sulu, but a meeting with Takei reassured him. "He [Cho] was very excited, but also nervous about taking on this project and he asked me to have lunch with him," said Takei. "I told him, Don't worry. You're going to be fantastic. It's going to be a great career boost for you, as if you needed a boost, and before too long I'll be known as the old guy who played John Cho." To read more, head to the article located here.