John Cho had concerns about 'Star Trek''s Sulu gay revelation
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In this July 7, 2016 file photo, actor John Cho arrives at the premier of "Star Trek Beyond" in Sydney, Australia. Cho says he had a few concerns about the film boldly going where none in the franchise has gone before — revealing that his character, Hikaru Sulu, is gay.
"Star Trek Beyond" cast member John Cho says he had a few concerns about the film boldly going where none in the franchise has gone before — revealing that his character, Hikaru Sulu, is gay.
Cho learned about the revelation in pre-production from director Justin Lin, who told him it was cast member/co-writer Simon Pegg's idea.
While Cho felt they "were saying something beautiful and positive," he was concerned about the feelings of openly gay actor George Takei, who played Sulu in the original "Star Trek" series.
"My concern was actually that he would feel like we were violating his personal life or usurping his personal life, because his character is straight but he's gay," says Cho. "I was concerned that he might feel like we were lifting from his personal life."
In a recent Facebook posting, Takei said while he is "delighted that the 'Star Trek' franchise has addressed this issue, which is truly one of diversity," he feels it was "less than necessary to tinker with an existing character."
Cho says he was also concerned about "how Asians would view" the decision and worried that the franchise "might be accidentally implying that sexual orientation was a choice."
"Because it's the same genetic person but in an alternate timeline, and (Sulu) has different sexual orientations in both, (I) thought that we might be saying the wrong thing about sexual orientation."
But in the end, Cho felt they executed the revelation correctly, with "a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of moment" in which Sulu embraces his same-sex partner, with whom he has a child.
"It doesn't feel like a bombshell at all, which is I think hopefully where we're going as a planet and as a species," he says.
"I think if we had made a thing out of it in the way it was filmed, that in 10 years we'd look back and it would feel anachronistic and out of time.
"Now, the movie can age well and hopefully 10 years from now, this sort of thing is common in film and in society."
A followup to 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness," "Star Trek Beyond" finds the USS Enterprise under attack by a new enemy, played by Idris Elba. The ensuing battle splits up the crew, who are also played by Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Sofia Boutella and the late Anton Yelchin.
The film pays tribute to both Yelchin, who died last month in a freak accident involving his Jeep, and Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock who died in February 2015.
Cho says watching the film brought on "a mixed bag" of emotions.
"The tribute to Leonard, which is beautiful, was already in the script and we'd filmed that. And Leonard's passing in general was more logical — he had lived a life and he was older, obviously, and had lived a very full life. So mourning him was different than mourning Anton, which is less logical and more bizarre.
"On the one hand it was tough to watch him and it was beautiful to watch our boy."
Part of the film was shot in Vancouver, and Cho took advantage of the landscape.
"I did the bike around the island there," he says. "Nobody told me how long that would be. It was longer than I had anticipated. I was solo, too. I took some breaks, I'm not going to lie."
"Star Trek Beyond" hits theatres on Friday.
- Editor:Albert | Source: The Associated Press
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