Friday, September 22, 2017

TGIF FEATURE: Michelle Yeoh keeps her accent in Star Trek Discovery

A new Star Fleet captain is in town. Michelle Yeoh plays Captain Philippa Georgiou.

WHEN PEOPLE first hear Captain Philippa Georgiou speak they'll definitely notice the accent. That's actress Michelle Yeoh's real accent.

The Malaysian-born Yeoh said the producers and show runners of Star Trek Discovery, the latest iteration of the Star Trek franchise, embraced the accent, which she describes as a cross between American, British and Asian.

She's well aware of carrying on the traditions of the iconic science fiction universe set forth by creator, the late Gene Roddenberry.

“I think everybody pays homage to the original because they are the original, so the essence and spirit of how we started out … is very much there,” Yeoh said. “It’s about inclusion, raising the diversity, reflecting on what’s happening with us as a human race and going forward with strength and compassion. It is all there. I think this is the real spirit of what it is to be Star Trek.”

When the trailer was first released featuring Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green, who is African American, there was some grumbling among some of the white fanboys who believe that the future is full of white people.

The producers of Discovery were surprised by that online backlash. “If you don’t understand that diversity and everyone being included is part of Starfleet and the Federation and ‘Star Trek,’ then you just don’t get (the franchise). Especially in the future, we just feel that everybody would be represented on a starship — from our planet and beyond,” said co-showrunner Gretchen J. Berg.

The original Star Trek with Captain James T. Kirk also had a multi-racial crew, a Russian, a Scot, an African American and - or course - Mr. Sulu as portrayed by George Takei.

“I understand when I’m sitting in that chair and I’m coming across as an Asian woman captain, it means so much to women of Asian descent everywhere around the world,” Yeoh tells the Daily News.

“Because it just tells them that we are recognized to be in a position of power,” adds the 55-year-old actress. “It is very empowering and it is very inspirational. In the past I didn’t used to think about it, but now I can understand how powerful a motivator it is, especially for (young girls). They’ll think, ‘If she can do this, I can do this.’”


Writing for the show began the day after the elections last November and taping of the first episode began right after the inauguration so - as Star Trek and Roddenberry have always done - Discovery will reflect current events, the same way the original was a metaphor for civil rights movement and the cold war.

The Klingon's desire for racial and cultural purity, for example, reminds us of that small sector of American society who are white supremacists. (And if you don't know what a Klingon is, shame on you.)

“Star Trek has always been about hope and this show is no different. Because we all need to have hope, especially (with) the climate and the tension and the craziness when you turn on the TV,” says Yeoh, who volunteers as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador committed to female empowerment.

Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sunday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, before debuting new episodes on CBS All Access weekly. The Talking Trek after show launches Sunday following the debut on CBS All Access.

Star Trek Discovery will go where no other Star Trek has gone before.  Fans of the franchise are fanatical about the universe created by Roddenberry but whether or not they will fork over money to watch the show is another question. The first two episodes will be on network TV but the rest of the 10-episode season will be shown on streamed on CBS All Access. The cost for CBS All Access is $5.99 a month ($9.99 without ads) or $59.99 for a year ($99.99 without ads). Now that's something to get upset about!
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Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/tv/warm-tv-blog/article174330551.html#storylink=cpy