John Cho prepares for fan frenzy as Sulu

March 11, 2008 6:36:40 PM PDT
John Cho thinks he has a cult following now as Harold in the "Harold & Kumar" movies - he ain't seen nothing yet.

Cho will co-star as Sulu in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek," due out next summer. He's shooting his last scenes this week as the Starship Enterprise's helmsman, just as he's promoting "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay," the "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" sequel that premiered over the weekend at the South by Southwest film festival.

The 35-year-old actor is fully aware of the pressure he and the rest of the cast and crew are under to please the legions of voracious "Star Trek" fans.

"Right after I got the gig, a friend of a friend e-mailed me and said, you know, `Congratulations, I'm so happy for you, and also I just wanted to impart to you how great a responsibility this is,' and, like, just went on for a while about how important it was and how `Star Trek' changed his life and how it's responsible for everything good in his life," Cho said. "And he also went on to claim that `Star Trek' is the predecessor to the iPod, cell phones and all that.

"So it is daunting, it's scary. Frankly, I'm not used to this kind of heat," he added. "Usually somebody asks, `What are you working on next?' and you tell them the name of the project and they're like, `What is it?' and you're like, `Uh, two guys go to a hamburger place.' They're like, `Yeah, right. Good luck with that.' And this is the first time everyone knows what I'm talking about."

Naturally, Cho can't say much about the film, given Abrams' typical reticence about his projects. (We know it's about an early adventure of Capt. James Kirk, Spock and their shipmates.)

"But I think he sees it as a favor to fans to keep everything on the down-low because he's a very enthusiastic moviegoer, and he wants to be surprised and he wants things to be kept from him until the last minute," Cho said of the director, who also created the TV series "Lost." "But it's been going great, what can I say except that it's really thrilling. There are a few dreams that you have when you're a little boy: It's cowboys and Indians, it's being on a spaceship. This is one of the great fantasies of my life."

"Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay," co-starring Kal Penn, opens April 25. "Star Trek" is scheduled to come out May 8, 2009.