John Wayne's Star Trek Premonition And 10 More Things We Learned From To Be Takei's Transatlantic Premiere

By Kristy Puchko 4 months agodiscussion comments
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There are some days where my job doesn't sound real. One of these days was the Monday I was asked to join George Takei on the Queen Mary 2 for the Transatlantic Premiere of his new documentary To Be Takei. Bused to Brooklyn, I boarded an ocean liner that's longer than the block I live on, more stories than the apartment building I live in, and more luxurious than any hotel I've ever stayed in. It was an appropriately grand venue for a documentary meant to encapsulate the remarkable life story of George Takei, a man whose had a massive impact not only on pop culture but also on politics.

After cocktails and canapés, I was directed toward an ornate and cavernous theater. (Full Disclosure: the boat was so big I got lost, and repeatedly had to ask dedicatedly grinning crewman to point me in the right direction.) Amid all the finery of Queen Mary 2, I enjoyed To Be Takei, which was afterwards complimented with a Q&A with the film's director Jennifer M. Kroot, and its stars George Takei, and his husband Brad Takei né Altman. The fruits of this fantastic event are below.



To Be Takei isn't only about George Takei. It's also very much about his husband Brad. I spoke with Brad before the film screened, and he confessed he thinks of the title as having a "double meaning," in that it applies to him too. After all, he has taken George's last name following their 2008 wedding. George seemed to concur, introducing the film as "the story of our lives…there's a guy named Brad Takei who shamelessly steals the movie from me." It's an overstatement to say this beloved celeb is overshadowed by his witty partner, but not by much!

There's no love lost between William Shatner and George Takei. They did three seasons of Star Trek together and six films, but while Takei grew close to the rest of his Starfleet crew, Shatner never warmed to him. Things came to a boil when Shatner publically complained he wasn't invited to Takei's wedding. Takei still insists he was invited.

New interviews with Shatner and his old colleagues Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, and Walter Koenig give a deeper look into this conflict. For Takei, Shatner's claim boiled down to publicity. He said in the Q&A, "I think that’s why he made a big fuss about not getting an invitation two months after the wedding (to promote his talk show Raw Nerve). I mean, that’s clearly irrational, but as you saw, we had all of the surviving Star Trek cast members in the film, and Bill is there. We’re a family and like so many families, we have our eccentric crazy uncle, you know, and our crazy uncle shows up when we have these gatherings and as Nichelle says (in To Be Takei), 'That’s our Bill.'"
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