George Takei, who is probably best known for is role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek, is the subject of a new documentary “To Be Takei” directed by Jennifer M. Kroot. 

Visit for more information

On July 28, we were invited aboard the Queen Mary 2 for an exclusive screening of “To Be Takei”, as George and Brad Takei embarked on their voyage to Southampton, England. Takei was participating in Cunard Line’s “Distinguished Insights Speakers Series at Sea.” Before the screening, guests were led up the transatlantic liner to the Chart Room for cocktails and canapes as George posed for photographers. Guests were able to mingle and enjoy the breathtaking view from the windows. Following, we were invited to the Royal Court Theater for a screening and Q&A. While the Chart Room incorporated a nautical theme, the theater was influenced by a more old hollywood feel with its gold detailing and star ceiling.

Below are some highlights from the Q&A with George.


What are you and Brad going to be doing on the cruise?

George: Well first of all, it’s going to be a wonderful experience. We are going to be talking about “To Be Takei” and “Allegiance”. I have two talks scheduled and then a screening, and another Q&A following that. Also, I have a book signing scheduled for both of my books. We’re going to be getting nice and busy but we’re also going to be thoroughly devouring our rich experience here.

On aging and later years in Hollywood:

George: Actually, as a matter of fact, my career seems to be blossoming. We have this documentary coming out and into the theaters on August 22 and Lorenzo is looking for a theater for “Allegiance” on Broadway.

How did the film come about?

Jennifer M. Kroot: Yeah, it was my idea. I was always an original “Star Trek” fan, but I didn’t exactly follow George’s career although I knew he did so many acting things over the years. But when he came out in 2005, I was just very charmed by his voice as an activist and opening up and presenting himself honestly, and then watching his career reignite was just so interesting. Then I read his autobiography, which was before he was publicly out, and it was more about the internment camps and his experience being in prison as a child. I couldn’t imagine Sulu was imprisoned by the United States government, I was shocked even though I knew that history in some way. I just thought about the obstacles that he had been through and also just really inspired by older people living their lives and doing positive things.

On why Brad decided to be a part of the film:

Brad: I am a very, very private person. To do this documentary was gut-wrenching for me, however, George and I felt that gay people should not be discriminated against and Jennifer gave us an opportunity for our story to be told and we felt that if fair minded americans got access to our private lives and saw that George and I are just a regular married couple that just happened to be the same gender maybe they would say they we shouldn’t be discriminated against. I hope it changes the hearts and minds of people so we can have a fairer country.

On international distribution:

Jennifer M. Kroot: The plan is to do international sales as more PR comes out, we’re just kind of waiting for the distribution to ramp up and then we’ll start really entertaining that. Starz actually has rights for North America, so it’s screening in Canada as well. We do have an exciting European premiere in the fall that I won’t announce just yet.

George: Last month, the State Department sent me on a speaking tour to South Korea and all up and down Japan. When I mentioned “To Be Takei”, there was great interest and hunger for this documentary there as well, so I think there is a definite interest for it in Japan, Korea, and England. I’ve done many “Star Trek” conventions in Germany, Italy, Britain, and Japan.

Relationship with William Shatner:

George: It’s not scripted at all. As you saw we had all the surviving Star Trek members in the film and he was there. We’re family, and like so many families, we have our eccentric crazy uncle.

What do you want viewers to take away from this film?

Jennifer M. Kroot: Well, a lot of things. For me, just that you can grow older and do wonderful and positive things and keep active. You can make big choices in your life like keep a closeted lifestyle for 68 years then come out and share that experience with the world. I think one really important thing is the parallel that the things that George faced as a child are really the same obstacles that we face now.

Struggles and Challenges:

Jennifer M. Kroot: Fortunately, Brad is really good with organizational skills and Brad also helped me get access to these people to interview. Howard Stern was someone that took over a year to interview and he said that he would only do the interview on his show. So I had to go on the Howard Stern Show to interview him which I found out only three weeks earlier. I took a crash course on learning about Howard Stern and promised myself that I would just roll with punches and the punches weren’t that bad, so that was stressful and challenging. It was challenging to get grants for this film, but I’m really thankful to have Brad with organizing their life and letting me in that.

George: Howard is a very savvy guy. I thought it was brilliant that he would only do the interview on the condition that it was on his show. Howard’s audience is very loyal, his audience will be flocking to the theaters I’m sure and we’ll be promoting Howard, as well.