SAPAHM Guest: Amara Royce on George Takei

Hi friends! Gosh I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of May. Where has this month gone?!?! I’ve been really sick for most of this month, so I apologize for not being more “on it.” That’s not the important thing though. What is important, is that we have Amara Royce visiting with us today! Yes, another wonderful APAHM participant! May has been an embarrassment of riches, just like February and March! <3 Without further ado, Amara!

It’s an honor and a pleasure to be among the wonderful guests celebrating APAHM with Limecello and with all of you fine people!

As a writer of historical romance, I’m fascinated by history and, in particular, the intersections of different cultures in history. But today I’m not going to talk about my own writing. Instead, in what might win me the “Has Been Living under a Rock” award, I want to talk to you about the biopic To Be Takei and why you absolutely must see it! I know, I know. You probably all know about it already, and I’m behind the times. But just in case…

To Be Takei is a fascinating documentary about the life and career of actor/activist George Takei, who is most known for his role as Lt. Sulu in the original Star Trek series and films. In case you’re not already familiar with Star Trek, the series was ground-breaking in terms of diversity on the small screen. Considering the fact that it’s still rare to see Asian men in regular series roles, the fact that Star Trek included an Asian male pilot and an African American female communications officer is remarkable, and I’m sure seeing that diverse crew, one that acted as if diversity was normal—because it is or at least it should be—made a huge impact on me during my formative years.

Never Too LateBut the documentary isn’t just about Takei’s work as an actor on the show. In fact, that’s only one small facet of the film, which ranges from Takei’s childhood memories of living in a Japanese internment camp in Arkansas to his struggles with Hollywood typecasting of Asian actors to his marriage to husband Brad Altman. So many vivid and touching and sometimes deeply frustrating moments as we witness what he had his family (and, by extension, so many others in similar situations) went through! (There’s also now a musical based on Takei’s experience entitled Allegiance; it will be coming to Broadway in fall 2015.

The film moves swiftly, almost jumpily, and I suspect that’s because there’s just so much cover. Thoughtful, amusing, sweet, and sometimes heartbreaking, To Be Takei is, I think, a wonderful way to celebrate APAHM and to remind ourselves of the living history around us. Takei himself appears effervescent and indomitable and inspiring.

Coincidentally, this month Takei was awarded the 2015 JANM Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service by the Japanese American National Museum.

If you haven’t seen To Be Takei, go now!

Always a StrangerIt’s available on DVD and also on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon instant video, YouTube (rental or purchase), and other platforms!

If you have already seen it, well, it couldn’t hurt to watch it again!

So here’s a question for you: What TV shows or movies or books have you found particularly groundbreaking and why?

Amara is giving away a $10 gift card (Amazon or Barnes and Noble) to one lucky commenter!

About Amara: Amara Royce writes historical romances that combine her passion for 19th-century literature and history with her addiction to Happily Ever Afters. She teaches English literature and composition at a community college in Pennsylvania. When she isn’t writing, she’s either grading papers or reveling in her own happily ever after with her remarkably patient family. Website. Twitter. Facebook. Kensington Page.

Remember to answer Amara’s question – inquiring minds want to know – remember, groundbreaking things! Yay!

9 thoughts on “SAPAHM Guest: Amara Royce on George Takei

  1. Aliquis

    Hi Amara! Thank you for joining the APAHM festivities, and thank you Lime for celebrating the Heritage months again! I haven’t seen “To Be Takei” yet but I had heard about it. I’ve never watched Star Trek, but something I’ve found groundbreaking was Joy Luck Club the movie. I saw it well after it was first released, but I think a teacher showed a clip of it in school. I later watched it in high school, and read the book. I think I might like the movie more than the book.

    1. Amara Royce


      Thanks for your response! I too feel like The Joy Luck Club was groundbreaking! It was so refreshing to see an all-Asian, woman-centered book garner such national attention. I loved the novel TJLC and felt that parts of it really resonated with my experiences! I read the book first and then saw the movie, and I think of them as two separate things.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mary Preston

    George Takei is a very interesting man.

    As to groundbreaking I have to say the series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE by George RR Martin. I love the books & the TV show A GAME OF THRONES is incredibly well done. The series is so raw and complex with characters that are truly memorable.

    1. Amara Royce


      Thanks for your comment! He really is! And I suspect the documentary really only scratches the surface.

      I am fascinated by the series Game of Thrones and keep meaning to start reading the books. They’re just so big and such a time commitment! I agree the series is raw and complex–Martin is a master at worldbuilding!

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. ki pha

    Welcome back Amara!
    I definitely haven’t seen or heard this either so you’re not along under the rock. As for show, I’ve been enjoying Fresh Off The Boat. Yes, I know it’s somewhat an insulting and offensive way to term and type cast Asians but as an Asian myself, I thought it was okay to title a show. But of course it’s always controversial either way. Plus it’s an all Asian cast!!! That’s like never happened before in America! So that was a huge break through for us Asian Americans I’ll say.

  4. dholcomb1

    Soap had the first acknowledged gay character, I believe, though it was a parody show. It’s amazing how far TV has come. It seemed a big deal when Ellen and Rosie came out on TV. Now, no one blinks an eye.

    Ooh, I remember when LA Law used the “B” word–that might have been the first for network TV, too.


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