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To Be Takei

Quebec Premiere
  • USA
  • 2014
  • 93 mins
  • DCP
  • English
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Official Selection, Sundance 2014
Official Selection, Hot Docs 2014

“A unique blend of camp and conviction” – Ronnie Scheib, VARIETY

“Takei is a national treasure, and this loving documentary does him right” – David Schmader, SEATTLE STRANGER

At a certain point in George Takei’s life, the actor-turned-activist realized that in order to implement real change in the world, he had to stop hiding behind a facade and stand up for his core values and beliefs. This triumphant documentary, which chronicles his humble beginnings through the unmistakable cultural icon George has become today, delivers a heartwarming, stand-up-and-cheer message that proves once and for all, as his slogan says, it’s okay to be Takei.

Born in Los Angeles in 1937, George Takei’s childhood was painfully marred by his family’s imprisonment in a Japanese-American internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The agonizing life lessons he learned staring through the camp’s barbed wire fences would stay with him forever… and help mold the burgeoning young actor into STAR TREK’s brave Hikaru Sulu, one of the first – and most beloved – Asian characters on American television. Countless television roles (and six blockbuster STAR TREK films) would help cement Takei as a constantly-working talent, but it wasn’t until 2005, when he came out as a gay man, that his life’s work would truly present itself. Catapulted into the media spotlight, George’s unmistakable voice instantly became the voice of millions of hushed LGBT men and women. Supported by his longtime partner Brad, Takei went where no actor had gone before… and realized that his greatest mission still lay ahead of him.

Featuring Howard Stern, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and a bevvy of other celebrities who have left their mark on Takei, the film offers an intimate looks into George and Brad’s private life, from their early courtship to their 2008 marriage. TO BE TAKEI paints an affectionate portrait of a man who is simply impossible not to love… and of a multi-faceted activist responsible for changing literally millions of lives with his fighting spirit and uplifting, passionate voice. George Takei is more than an actor, and more than an activist. He’s an icon who has become larger than life for good reason – and taught us all that it gets better. TO BE TAKEI charmingly chronicles the life, love, and mission of a true American hero who – with good reason – makes us all say, “Oh my…”

— Ted Geoghegan