Actor and social media icon George Takei appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher this week, and in the course of his interview he revealed the reason he can’t stand Star Trek co-star William Shatner.
During his conversation with Maher, Takei also addressed his attempts to get Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to address gay rights issues on the show, The Wrap reports. Fans have known for years that Shatner and Takei don’t get along, and the 77-year-old Takei didn’t shy away from revealing the reasons while talking to Maher.
“He is Canadian,” Takei pointed out. “And Canadians have a certain image of being even-tempered and friendly and all that,” adding “Well, he is a person who is that way… with himself. He is very self-centered.”
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Takei said that while the two actors have their differences, they are both professionals, and have been able to set aside their dislike to get their jobs done. “But, it’s with a lot of difficulty,” he added. Maher mixed up the Star Trek franchise with Star Wars in a comment sure to make fans cringe when he said to Takei that “It’s not like you’re going to drive the ship into a Death Star just to spite him.” Brushing off the mixed reference, Takei said, “The temptation is there.”
When the conversation switched to gay rights, according to Mediaite, Takei admitted that most of the original Star Trek cast knew that he was gay, with the notable exception of Shatner. “It went right over his head,” Takei concluded.
Takei is no stranger to politics. As The Inquisitr reported, he recently asked his considerable online fan base to donate to the Mayday PAC, a Kickstarter project aimed at mitigating political corruption.
The former helmsmen of the Enterprise also discussed his efforts to get Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to bring up the issue of gay rights during the show’s original run. Roddenberry used the show to address many social issues, particularly racism, but was wary of taking on the issue of gay rights, Takei said. Pointing out that Star Trek was blacked out in the American south following an interracial kiss between Shatner and actress Nichelle Nichols, Takei related that Roddenberry “said that if we push the envelope too far, then he wouldn’t be able to deal with any issues at all.” Though he admits he was disappointed, Takei says he understood Roddenberry’s point of view following the backlash from the Shatner-Nichols kiss.
[Image via HBO Watch]