George Takei’s laugh is as recognizable as his voice, and you’ll hear a lot of both in the new documentary To Be Takei, which covers the 77-year-old Star Trek star’s life from his childhood in a Japanese American internment camp, to his journey from closeted actor to activist alongside his husband/business partner Brad Takei.
You also hear a lot of laughter when Takei takes our Pop Culture Personality Test. Watch the video and read a full transcript below. To Be Takei opens in select theaters and hits On Demand and iTunes Aug. 22.
EW: What movie did you see too young?
TAKEI: I came to New York in my early 20s. Which isn’t really too young, but I lived briefly across from the theater that was running Deep Throat. [Laughs] I did not see it. I felt I was too young. Actually, I couldn’t afford it. [Laughs]
What is your prized pop culture possession?
Pop culture collection… Richard Burton’s autograph. It was my first feature film, Ice Palace. He was a fantastic guy. He threatened to address it to Mr. Wang, because I kept calling him, initially, Mr. Burton, and he wanted me to call him Richard. It just didn’t seem right. But I was playing the character named Wang, so he said, “If you insist on calling me Mr. Burton, I shall call you Mr. Wang. Call me Richard.” And so from them on, I called him Richard. [Laughs] And this was in his pre-Elizabethan period. [Laughs] Taylor, that is.
What movie scared you that shouldn’t have?
My childhood viewing of Bambi. I’m someone who weepies uncontrollably, unashamedly. The death of the mother, and the hunter killing her—and then that’s when the damn breaks. [Pretends to cry]
Have you ever cried watching a movie on an airplane?
I don’t watch movies on airplanes. It’s the worst way to watch a movie. They stop it and have announcements, or flight attendants walk right in front of you, or they decide to serve you a meal while the movie’s going on. It’s the worst way. I have my earphones on, classical music, and I have my New York Times.
Final Score Do Not Disturb
What TV show do you plan your life around?
We TiVo James Spader’s show, The Blacklist. He’s a wonderful actor. And the girl’s husband [Tom, played by Ryan Eggold]—he is fascinating, mysterious, unknown, very attractive, but also a little creepy. Is he really who he is? Or is he a spy? Does he really love her? Or is he conniving?
What movie do you wish you could see again for the first time?
I saw Boyhood. It is a marvelous film. They’re using the aging of a boy for 12 years as the PR hook. I think it’s the substance of the film itself—the plot, the philosophy, and the beautiful moments, as well as horrific moments, in life that they catch. I’ve seen it only once so far, but I want to see it many, many more times. That’s the kind of film, I think, you make new discoveries with each viewing. You miss so much because you’re so engrossed in the moment that just passed.