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Old May 11th, 2005, 11:32 PM   #1
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Star Trek CNN Interviews George Takei and Anthony Montgomery

CNN Interviews George Takei and Anthony Montgomery


BRYANT: Tonight, another showbiz sit down. It`s part of our final trek special series. For the first time in 18 years, sadly, there will be no new STAR TREK series on the small screen when the current show ENTERPRISE, goes off the air this Friday. As of now, even more sad, there are no new STAR TREK movies in the works.

HAMMER: So we are mourning, but all this week we`re doing something special, bringing you interviews with the STAR TREK stars, past and present, spanning the last 40 years. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer is right back here with us on the bridge of the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT set with tonight`s last trek.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a fun and exciting week it`s been talking to all these people involved in STAR TREK series of one year or another. For close to 40 years now, George Takei has been recognized worldwide for his portrayal as Mr. Sulu on the original STAR TREK series. Joining us now live from Los Angeles is none other than Mr. Sulu himself, George Takei. George, welcome to the program.


HAFFENREFFER: We`ve been talking so much about the diversity on the original STAR TREK series initially and how, at the time, it was sort of a renegade decision to make it such a diverse cast in the first place. Was it discussed at all by the cast members originally?

TAKEI: Well, absolutely it was. And Gene Roddenberry, the late creator of "Star Trek" emphasized to us that the star ship Enterprise was a metaphor for star ship earth and that the strength of that starship was in its diversity, coming together and working in concert as a team. And so however daunting the challenges may have been, we were with the team that was able to look at that challenge from this perspective, that cultural angle, this historical experience. We were able to boldly go where no one has gone before.

HAFFENREFFER: And, indeed, you did. Your die hard fans are going to know this, but so many people don`t at this point. As a child, you and your family were sent to internment camps here in the U.S. during World War II. Since then, you`ve devoted much of your time in your life to sort of helping people through all that and talking about it and visiting them and whatnot. Elaborate a little bit for us if you would.

TAKEI: I think it`s important for Americans to know the full history of our country. There are a lot of glorious chapters. But unless we recognize the dark chapters, the points when we stumbled, then we`re likely to repeat that again. When World War II broke out, this country couldn`t tell the difference between American citizens of Japanese ancestry and the nation of Japan with which we were at war.

I was very young then and I didn`t understand what was happening, but I`ll never be able to forget that scary day when soldiers with bayoneted guns came to our home to order us out. We were taken from our home to the smelly horse stables of a nearby race track and, you know, housed there for a few months while the camps were being built. And once they were built, we were put on a train and transported halfway across the country to the swamps of Arkansas to a barbed wire camp with high, tall guard towers and machine guns pointed at us.

HAFFENREFFER: Certainly a frightening time in your life. I do want to give you a couple of questions here that we`ve been asking various cast members over the course of this week as we celebrate the final trek. Who was your favorite STAR TREK character, other than your own?

TAKEI: My colleagues are all characters that I`ve come to love and they`ve become friends as well. But I think amongst our guest characters, someone who was bigger than life was Kahn, Noonian Singh Kahn played by the great Ricardo Montalban. He was a bigger than life, dynamic and fantastic adversary. So I think he was the most memorable character that we had.

HAFFENREFFER: And final question for you tonight, will there ever be peace on earth?

TAKEI: Will there ever be peace on earth? We`re talking about the end is near for "Star Trek." We went through that, what, back in `69. And so we`ve experienced that. We know what that`s like. Leonard Nimoy created that Vulcan greeting, live long and prosper. And there`s, inherent in it, the wish for peace. So yes, I think as long as we keep our ideals in front of us, we will eventually have that kind of day.

HAFFENREFFER: Well said. George Takei, thank you for being with us today.

TAKEI: Pleasure being with you.

HAFFENREFFER: And warp speed Mr. Sulu from the past to the present now, joining us now from Los Angeles live is Anthony Montgomery who plays ensign Travis Maywether on the current series "Star Trek Enterprise." Anthony, welcome to our program.

ANTHONY MONTGOMERY: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

HAFFENREFFER: Tell me a little bit about your first recollection of the original STAR WARS series as a kid.


HAFFENREFFER: STAR TREK series, pardon me.

MONTGOMERY: The first thing that I remember was Nichelle Nichols in the original series, because I grew up in Indiana and unfortunately, it had a shady past with the Klan and I grew up during a time where blacks were supposed to be seen and not heard and this was the first woman that I had ever seen on television where nobody was demeaning to, nobody belittled her and she was a strength that I felt like I would be able to draw on in my own life.

HAFFENREFFER: Did that give you a great sense of pride when you got the job with ENTERPRISE to show up that first day of taping?

MONTGOMERY: Yes. It gave me a great sense of pride when I was at my agent`s office when I got the call saying that I booked the role. I didn`t know what to expect when I showed up the first day of taping. I just said I`m going to go in and be the best that I can be, nothing less.

HAFFENREFFER: I want to ask you a few of these questions as well. Let me ask you the character question first. Who was your favorite STAR TREK character, aside from yourself?

MONTGOMERY: For the reason I just stated, my favorite character would probably have to be Nichelle Nichols. Just because of -- just the regal elegance that she brought to the screen and I was very blessed to have met her last summer and it`s not just on the screen. She`s an incredible person in person.

HAMMER: Yeah, we spoke to her just a couple days ago and she really was quite remarkable.

MONTGOMERY: She`s amazing.

HAFFENREFFER: Final question here, do you believe in intelligent life elsewhere in the universe?

MONTGOMERY: You know, I think that it would be sad if this entire universe is just for us. So I don`t know, but I`d like to believe that yes, there has to be something else out there so that we`re not just sharing all of this space by ourselves.

HAFFENREFFER: Anthony Montgomery, thank you for being with us tonight.

MONTGOMERY: Thank you for having me.

HAFFENREFFER: And you can catch Anthony and the cast of ENTERPRISE when they reach the final frontier this Friday in a two-hour series finale on UPN. Karyn, thanks for correcting me back there as well.
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