Daily Dish: 7/9/2016

July 25, 2016 GMT

George Takei, Simon Pegg spar over making Sulu gay

LOS ANGELES -- By presenting the character of Mr. Sulu as a gay man in the new “Star Trek” movie, the film’s makers had intended their choice to be a tribute to George Takei, the actor who originated the role in the 1960s TV series.

Takei came out in 2005 and has since become an icon in the LGBT community. But Takei doesn’t regard the choice to make USS Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu gay as a tribute. And, his objections have put him at odds with the makers of “Star Trek Beyond,” including star and co-screenwriter Simon Pegg.

In an interview Thursday with the Hollywood Reporter, Takei called the choice “unfortunate.”

He said he never asked that Sulu be transformed into gay character. In fact, he said he would prefer for him to remain straight, as he has long been depicted over the 50 years of the “Star Wars” TV show and films.


While Takei said he’s delighted that the new film features a gay character, he doesn’t like the retrofitting of Sulu’s sexual orientation at this stage, saying it is a “twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought.” Takei is referring to TV producer Gene Roddenberry, who created the fictional universe back in the 1960s as a way to present a positive, progressive vision of the future.

In the new film, due out July 22, Sulu is played by actor John Cho. The revelation that Sulu is gay comes in a brief, subtle scene in which he’s shown as the loving father of a young daughter in a same-sex relationship.

Pegg, who co-wrote “Beyond’s” screenplay and who plays Scotty in the reboot, said he “respectfully disagrees” with Takei’s objections, the Guardian reported.

“He’s right, it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now,” he said. “I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humour are an inspiration,” Pegg said in his statement. “However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.”

WWE wrestling’s Heath Slater helps flood victims

SOPHIA, W.Va. -- Professional wrestler Heath Slater has returned to his home state of West Virginia to help with flood relief efforts.

Local news outlets report that the wrestler, whose real name is Heath Miller, spent Thursday volunteering in Clay County.

Miller began the day loading supplies at the Sophia Fire Department Bingo Hall and then left with volunteers to deliver items to flood victims.

The wrestler hails from Pineville and graduated from Wyoming East High School in 2002. He’s been with World Wrestling Entertainment since 2010.

The June 23 floods killed at least 23 people in West Virginia.

Snoop Dogg gives Kobe a Lakers-themed convertible


LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant received a one-of-a-kind retirement gift from rapper Snoop Dogg: a Los Angeles Lakers-themed convertible.

Bryant retired from the Lakers in April after 20 seasons in L.A. He posted a picture on Twitter of him and Snoop standing by the purple and gold car Wednesday.

Snoop Dogg put up some shots of the car on Instagram . Its hood features pictures of Bryant alongside other Lakers greats like Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But the biggest picture is one of Snoop in a Lakers jersey.

The rapper is a well-known Lakers fanatic. He once showed off his personal Lakers-themed basketball court during a tour of his home on “MTV Cribs.”