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No ganja on the U.S.S. Enterprise By Richard Crouse Metro Canada May 10, 2013

John Cho Sulu Star Trek Into DarknessJohn Cho is best known for playing Harold Lee, the investment banker and pothead from the Harold & Kumar movies. Not exactly the kind of guy you want behind the wheel, but in Star Trek Into Darkness he is Sulu, the senior helmsman of the USS Enterprise.

Harold and Sulu are as different as the fans they attract.

“They’re more sober,” says the actor of his Star Trek fans. “They call me John Cho. The Harold fans call me Harold.

“Star Trek fans have been wonderful. I’ve been blown away by the variety — there are fans all over the world. There are fans of many generations and they are thoughtful people. I was fearful of them. People worked me into a frenzy about how the fans might take a dislike to the things I did, but they’ve been very warm.”

Interestingly, he didn’t consider himself a Star Trek fan when he signed on to take over for George Takei in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the series.

“When I was a kid I thought the original series looked goofy because of the velour and all that,” he says. “But when I was doing research for the first one I went back and watched them and I realized I had seen them all. I didn’t realize how much I had consumed over the years and how much I liked it.

“I think what I liked about it as a kid is that it was overtly intellectual. They had a way of dealing with issues that didn’t speak its name. They talked about racism and poverty or whatever, but they perfected these worlds; an almost sterile environment in which you could discuss an issue.”

Playing Sulu has earned him some new, unexpected fans.

“I was at Griffith Park Observatory in L.A. with my family and we were going to see the big telescope and it was closed to the public, but there was an astronomer in there who (recognized me) and he said, ‘Come on in. I became an astronomer because of Star Trek.’”

As for the future of the series, Cho says, “(I’m) part of something bigger than yourself and it is a special feeling.”

“I have a checkered past. I’m known as a stoner,” he says. “I’m a father now and I’d be happy to make more of these and have my kids watch them.”

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