These days, our knowledge of celebrities too often originates with paparazzi images and snarky quotes by anonymous "insiders." After a while, it's easy to forget that stars are real people. That's why HuffPost Celebrity decided to launch the all-new #nofilter, a quick-fire question-and-answer series. Because how well do you know someone until they've shared their guiltiest pleasures?
George Takei has been gracing the small and big screens since the late 1950s, appearing in the Emmy award-winning television series "Playhouse 90", as well as films like "Ice Palace" and "Walk, Don't Run." But Takei got his big break when he was cast as Hikaru Sulu in the "Star Trek" television series in 1966. He went on to star in the first six "Star Trek" films and has done voice work for shows like "Kim Possible," "Hey Arnold!" and "Archer." Takei, 76, recently voiced S.T.E.V.E. in "Free Birds," which was released on Blu-Ray and DVD Feb. 4.
To promote "Free Birds," Takei chatted with HuffPost Celebrity and had a great time taking the #nofilter challenge.
First off, you're very present on Twitter. What do you like about it?
Well, Twitter is the town square of the 21st century. It's great for conversations, even though you get the criticisms from which you learn from sometimes and other times you just ignore because there are always the trolls there to deal with.
When's the last time you cried?
I'm one of these softies at movies and the theater. When I'm moved, I not only cry, I try to hold it back and it's like water collecting behind a dam, eventually it breaks. I don't sniffle, it really comes out! So, you wouldn't think so, but "Lone Survivor," the Mark Wahlberg movie, it's a wonderful film and at the very end, it was very moving and I got a little choked up and a little teary-eyed. Oh, but Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," Cate Blanchett's performance is powerful. Very much like Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) in "A Streetcar Named Desire." I've often heard the echoes of that. But I got all misty-eyed while watching Cate.
What's your guiltiest pleasure?
Well it's not very unusual ... it's deep, dark, bittersweet chocolate. I might justify myself by saying it's got a lot of antioxidants, but my doctor reminded me when I told him that that it also has lots of fat and sugar, so I feel guilty about that. I try to avoid it as much as I can, but when it's placed in front of me, I can't resist.
What's the silliest thing you've ever lied about?
I don't lie to often, I try to be as forthright and as honest as I can. But Brad [Takei, George's husband] and I are in a weight-losing contest. I'm much fitter than Brad is, and he used to be thinner than me, he was a great marathoner, but he let himself go, and I was able to persuade him to get on a diet. [laughs] And we're counting the poundage that we lost. So, I told him I lost two pounds last time we tested each other and he didn't tell me how much he lost, but actually I lost only about a half a pound. Isn't that silly!
If you could commit a crime and get away with it, what would it be?
It should be something really grandiose if I'm going to get away with it ... I'd somehow get ownership of Facebook [laughs] ... Wouldn't that be great if I could get away with it?
What happens in your recurring dream?
I'm one of those people that sleeps very soundly because, as I said, I stay fit and I exercise regularly and I have a lot to do everyday so when I go to bed, I'm really tired and I believe in getting as much sleep as I can get. Generally about seven hours. So, I haven't had a dream since I was in high school. That's when I had recurring dreams.
What’s the working title of your autobiography?
I have an autobiography out that was published in 1991 called "To The Stars." But I am working on my second autobiography as a matter of fact ... One thing that I did not deal with in my first autobiography was the fact that I'm gay. I was closeted up until that time and so this second book that I'm working on now is called, "Down To Earth." And it's about my discovery that I'm gay and my struggle with it ... I came out in 2005, prompted by Arnold Schwarzenegger's marriage equality bill in California. And so my book is about all that including my happy marriage and present times.
Is it okay to recline your seat on an airplane?
Of course it is, when it's allowed. They ask you to have it up when you take off and land, but these rules are sensible and I believe we should follow them. But a seat is meant to be reclined, and so when it's permitted, it's much more comfortable to be reclined.
When do you feel most anxious?
When I fly I feel anxious. Before takeoff and landing, those are the two points where there's the most potential for something to happen and so there's a slight anxiety. It's not terror, just the normal kind of "what if something happens" anxiety.
What or who is overrated right now?
I wish you gave me multiple-choice because I don't know ...
Let's see, have you heard of twerking or selfies?
I think selfies are fine. I get asked all the time to take a selfie. I can't walk down the street without posing for at least a dozen selfies. You know, because people recognize me. But what's overrated ...
I know, actors. I don't know what all this hoo-ha about Ryan Gosling is about. He's more often boring than not. I mean, he's an alright actor, but I don't think he's as gripping and compelling as people like Matt Damon or George Clooney.
Is a good friend hard to come by?
I think that I'm blessed with a lot of good friends and I've found it not difficult to find good friends.
Describe one time you thought "This is harder than it looks."
Usually, when I take on a serious role, initially it's always daunting. But once I really start working on it and personalizing the role and examining, then it's not as challenging as I thought.
What technology do you hope will be invented in the next 10 years?
You know, I travel a lot, and on "Star Trek" we had the transporter where you beamed one place to another. You stood on a pod and it shot energy through you and you sparkled and popped out seconds later and you sparkled at your destination and you popped in. I earnestly pray for the invention of the transporter. You can go anywhere without the anxiety of the airports and takeoff or security check.
What sense would you most be afraid to lose?
I'm a sensualist. I love taste, smell, sight, touch, hearing, music. But if I had to lose one of them, and it would be a horrible loss, I would give up the sense of touch. I want to be able to see, to hear, to smell and to taste.
When do you feel most at peace?
I feel most at peace when I'm on the patio on a beautiful day with my hubby Brad and looking at the flawless sky. Yes, that's when I'm at peace.