In a new interview, Star Trek Beyond star John Cho reveals that a kiss between his character Sulu, and Sulu’s husband was left on the cutting room’s floor.
“It wasn’t like a make-out session. We’re [Sulu and his husband] at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss,” Cho told Vulture. “I’m actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough. We’re two straight guys and had to get to a very loving, intimate place. It was hard to do on the fly. We had to open up. It came off well, in my view.”
Cho also reveals that in the film, his husband is played by Doug Jung, the screenwriter of the movie. The reason Jung was cast was because it was hard to find an Asian actor willing to play gay:
We were in Vancouver first and we finished up the production in Dubai and that scene was in Dubai and I was like, “Hey, so who’d you get?” They were like, “We can’t find anybody! Doug may have to play him!” It started out as a joke. I was like, “Haha.” And then at some point they were not joking. We definitely had trouble finding East Asians first off, and then actors willing to play gay. We had a guy and then his parents really objected. Basically, we couldn’t find an Asian actor willing to play gay in Dubai is my understanding.
Sulu having an Asian husband was something Cho pushed for himself:
Basically it was a little Valentine to the gay Asian friends that I grew up with. This may be presumptuous, but I always felt the Asian gay men that I knew had much heavier cultural-shame issues. This is probably more so for my generation than for yours, but I felt like those guys didn’t date Asian men because of that cultural shame. So I wanted it to seem really normal in the future. I thought that would be the most normal thing, that there was zero shame in the future. I don’t know if that hit or not, but it was something that I felt in my gut and asked for that.
Cho wanted Sulu’s husband to be Asian, knowing that it’s still rare to see two Asian men together as an on-screen couple. “There was something about this pairing that would seem very old-fashioned, and then something about it to gay men that would be radical.”
Star Trek Beyond hits theaters Friday, July 22.