Takei Takes On Trans-Cultural ProjectsBy Michelle
April 27, 2004 - 10:25 PM
George Takei (Sulu) is involved in a myriad of new projects with an international focus, including producing a film about Tokyo Rose, taking part in a conference about Japanese-American internment camps during the second world war, and narrating an audio tour for an art gallery on Japanese and French painting.
Takei spoke recently to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin about his plans to become executive producer of a film about Iva Toguri, the woman convicted of being the World War II propagandist known as Tokyo Rose. In Tokyo Rose: American Patriot, Takei said, he hopes to tell her true story.
"Tokyo Rose has always been thought of as a traitor, a propagandist, and some have even suggested a spy," he observed, though Toguri was pardoned by President Gerald Ford decades after her conviction. Toguri is still living in Chicago, and since meeting her, Takei added, "I've been kind of nurturing this project for some time. I believe the best way for Iva to clear her name is with a theatrical feature film...she was an incredibly courageous woman."
Takei has hired Terry Sanders to direct the film and said The West Wing's Martin Sheen has read the script, but he cannot discuss casting until he has raised the money necessary to film the movie. He said he hopes to do most of the filming in Hawaii, with location shooting in Japan.
A member of the board of directors of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, Takei's own family was interned in Arkansas and California during World War II.
An Associated Press report stated that Takei would take part in a four-day conference in Jerome, Arkansas in September, the Conversation About Civil Rights and Social Justice.
The conference, coinciding with the 47th anniversary of President Eisenhower's decision to send federal troops to the desegregation crisis at Little Rock's Central High School, will focus on Arkansas civil rights issues, including the Jerome and Rohwer internment camps in the southeast part of the state.
Japanese-Americans interred as prisoners of war there, as well as others, will speak about their experiences. President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye are also expected to attend.
In a lighter vein, Takei narrates an audio tour for Japan & Paris: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and the Modern Era at the Honolulu Academy of the Arts.
A Canadian Press article describes the exhibit as a cross-current between East and West, featuring both French paintings purchased and exhibited only in Japan until recently and European-influenced works by renowned Japanese artists.
Takei, who called exhibit a landmark, said, "This is in the 'Star Trek' concept, as well," noting, "Alien civilizations are not that alien."
The exhibit, which will be displayed only in Hawaii, runs until June 6th.