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Internet hero George Takei talks 'Star Trek' and Nickelodeon's 'Supah Ninjas'

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At this point, how much time each day do you spend on social media?
My hubby, Brad [Altman], is the real curator of the Facebook page. It’s gotten so big that we’ve had to take on some interns to help us out as well. While I’m off narrating symphony concerts, or I’m on the set, I can’t curate the memes that we have coming in — so Brad and the interns keep it going. The important thing is to be regular, to post daily. Also, posting funnies – funnies are the ones that attract people. And as the audience grows, I start adding some serious substance.

You’ve always been known for playing serious characters, but now you’re getting a lot of notice for your sense of humor. Do you think you’ve gotten funnier as you’ve gotten older?
No, no! That was always me. But as actors, they keep giving you serious roles, and so people will see you as that. But I’ve been me all my life.

I also wanted to ask your thoughts on the new Star Trek movies.
JJ Abrams taking on the Star Trek legacy was an interesting idea, but we weren’t quite sure whether he really knew Star Trek. But the clever guy — he came up with an alternate universe, so he had a free rein. And that’s more in keeping with the Star Trek vision that Gene Roddenberry set up, because Gene always thought out of the box. What JJ Abrams did was, he created that alternate universe, and then he had Leonard Nemoy in that first movie to bridge it. But it’s a good thing that we have younger actors playing us, because there’s a lot of running around in the corridors going on. And can you imagine Bill Shatner running in the corridors as he is now? [laughs]

But you’re still in sword-fighting shape.
Yeah, I’m a runner. I’ve done six marathons — and as a matter of fact, a lot of Star Trek fans have run with me. At the conventions I announce, “I’ll be running tomorrow morning, and if you’re at the hotel, we’ll run together.” Some Star Trek fans tend to be couch potatoes. At conventions, I’ve talked about, “If we’re going to be exploring space, we’ve got to be qualified to do it. We’ve got to be fit enough, because those journeys are extended, very long. And so we’ve got to have resilient bodies.” I’ve talked about the importance of fitness and healthy eating — fans tend to overindulge on watching shows and miss out on sleep, and so I tell them rest is important, good fitness is important, exercise is important. These are the rules of nature.

Have you see the trailers for Star Trek into Darkness?
No, I have not, and I’m eager to! That’s going to be opening in May, so it won’t be very long — you know, the older you get, the faster time seems to go. So May is just around the corner.

There’s a lot of chatter about whether Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be playing Khan.
That’s the buzz going around. And did you know that in three more years, Star Trek is going to be 50 years old? The gooolden anniversary. That’s really a phenomenon. I’m sure Paramount is already planning a movie to celebrate that anniversary. And probably a lot of ceremonials — a lot of hoo-ha.

And of course you’ll be front and center.
Absolutely! And I’ve been telling my colleagues to be healthy — “We want to last until then!” I’m the youngest of the lot, so I know I’ll be there, but I want my seniors to maintain their health so that we can enjoy the 50th anniversary. We’re going to miss Jimmy Doohan, who was a great buddy of mine. I called him my favorite drinking buddy. And De[Forest Kelley] was a sweet, gentle guy. They’re now no longer with us. Certainly they’re with us in memory, and they’ll be there in spirit.

It won’t be too much longer [before] we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Star Trek, and I plan on being there. The Vulcan greeting is “Live long and prosper” — and I know that I have good genes because my grandmother, whose hobby was collecting birthdays, amassed a handsome collection of 104. And so the 60th anniversary is going to be nothing for me.

Eventually, you’ll just appear at the anniversaries as a head floating in one of those little Futurama jars.
It won’t be just my head, it’ll be my whole body! I will be alive and intact, as my twin brother on Supah Ninjas is alive and intact.

Supah Ninjas‘s supah second season begins Feb. 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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Read more:
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