John Cho, in the second half of our exclusive interview, talks more about his upcoming projects, among them A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Total Recall and American Reunion. He also shares his thoughts on whether or not his Sulu is part and parcel of George Takei’s portrayal and talks about the surreal day that his son heard Cho’s voice coming out of a Burger King Sulu head.
Cho: It had been a while, and I think we were all starting to doubt it would actually happen. Particularly with Kal’s job, working at the White House, I didn’t know whether or not it was going to materialize. How fast did we get back into it? Pretty quickly, I think. It was really comfortable. Kal and I have a special bond. We’re like two Beatles, and no one else knows what it’s like to be a Beatle. So he and I just got right back into it.
What’s happening this time, and is it as crazy and raunchy as the earlier Harold & Kumar films?
Cho: Yes and yes. It is crazy and raunchy, but actually it’s also very sweet. It’s a genuine Christmas movie, kind of a feel-good movie, too. Harold and Kumar start out separated, and in the midst of saving Harold’s Christmas, they reunite.
You’ve got another reboot coming up with Total Recall. You’ve wrapped your part in that, right?
Cho: Yes, I’m done. It was a good shoot. I was very early on in it. I hear it’s going great. I saw a clip of it at Comic-Con and it looked terrific to me. That was a pleasure to work on, I’ve got to say. Colin Farrell, that guy can act. I’m playing McClane, so I run the Total Recall den. So I guess I sort of set him up on his trip. It’s a really fun piece.
Actually, would you say it’s a reboot in the style of Star Trek or more of a traditional remake?
Cho: It’s a remake. I’d describe it as a remake. It’s pretty faithful, I think. The first (film) wasn’t very faithful to the story. I saw a lot of going back to the source material. From what I’ve read, the elements are pretty similar. It’s just a different tone more than anything else, because the original was such an expression of (director Paul) Verhoeven’s personality, to me, and his sense of humor. So this is focusing more on the story and less on his take.
What else do you have either wrapped or soon to start production?
Cho: I just finished shooting American Reunion, which would be the fourth American Pie movie. That was fun. It’s why I have this mustache. It’s my funniest face, with a mustache. It’s the funniest version of my face. But this film is bringing back everyone from the original.
So, can we assume you’re playing the same character – John, a/k/a MILF Guy #2 -- you played in the first American Pie movie?
Cho: Exactly. I’m playing the same character, all these years later. It was fun to do. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who wrote the Harold & Kumar movies and directed the second one, wrote and directed this American Pie. It was just really a weird full-circle moment because they wrote Harold & Kumar based upon seeing me in American Pie, in that small role I had. They’d wanted to write the story about their friend Harold and realized there was a guy who could play him after seeing American Pie. So it was really cool and bizarre that this all came together the way it has.
And what’s next?
Cho: I don’t know yet. We were supposed to shoot Star Trek 2, or XII, this winter, but I’m not really sure when it’s going. So I’m kind of on standby.
Going back to Star Trek for a few minutes, do you feel like your performance as Sulu is in any way building to George Takei’s portrayal, or are they really separate characters and separate characterizations?
Cho: You know what? Let me get back to you after we do the second one, because I’ll be interested to know. For me, the direction I got on the first one was “Connect those dots, but don’t have it be spot on.” So I’ll be interested to know where we’re going, acting-wise, for the second one. There are a lot of decisions to make.
When the ramp-up to the release of the first film started, where was the strangest/most memorable place you saw your face? Was it on a cup at a fast-food restaurant? Was it on a poster in Timbuktu?
Cho: It was a domestic moment for me. My son was playing with the Burger King Sulu head. He pushed the button and it was my voice. That was really odd.
More for him or for you?
Cho: Probably for me. I don’t know if he made the connection. He’s three now and so he was just a baby when Star Trek came out. The other day he was playing with a Sulu doll we had laying around. He doesn’t really know who Sulu is. I asked him, “Does that look like Daddy to you?” And he said, “Yeah, it does.” But he still hasn’t really put two and two together yet.
You know that he will someday…
Cho: And I’m looking forward to it.
To read part one of our interview with John Cho, click HERE.