To Be Takei
DOXA Documentary Film Festival
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Vancouver Playhouse
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George Takei started his career in film and television more than five decades ago, but he is still most familiar as Mr. Sulu, the helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. Over the course of his career, George has been variously an actor, a politician, and an activist, but never has he been more fully himself than right now. The decision to come out as a gay man, in active support of same-sex marriage, launched him into the public eye in a whole new way. Possessed of deliciously wicked wit, as his more than 6 million followers on social media will attest, George Takei has reinvented the very idea of celebrity. In his 76th year, he has become an Internet meme!

George’s Star Trek colleagues including Walter Koenig (Chekov) and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) weigh in on George’s third act, with affection, affirmation and something akin to wonder. As a child, George and his family were sent to a WWII internment camp in rural Arkansas, an experience that indelibly shaped him, and formed the inspiration for Allegiance, a 2012 Broadway musical. Director Jennifer Kroot (It Came From Kuchar) follows the peripatetic actor and his husband Brad, as they navigate a busy schedule of theatre rehearsals, convention dates and requisite Comic-Con appearances. It is the smaller, more intimate moments between George and Brad that most charm, as they go jogging, deal with aging parents, and fuss about like any old married couple. The only villain of the piece is William Shatner (AKA Captain Kirk) whose feud with George over a missing wedding invitation reaches a hilarious head at Shatner’s public roast. George tells him in no uncertain terms, “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on!” He could be saying this to the dominant paradigm itself. George Takei gets the last, best, laugh, as he becomes most fully himself, and helps others to do the same. -DW