Hi Reddit! This is Justin Lin, director of Star Trek Beyond. You may know me as the director of several films from the Fast And Furious franchise. I’m joined by John Cho who plays Sulu in Star Trek Beyond. You may know him from the past Star Trek films, Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle, and the TV show Selfie. You can watch the trailer for Star Trek Beyond HERE. Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters on July 22!


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Justin: Hey guys, thanks for joining us! It was fun, and I guess there's nothing left to say but--

John: Live long and prosper! Let's do this again.


Comments: 255 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

Mysteryman10050 karma

Hey John Cho, How did it feel to play a teenager at the age of 26 years old in American Pie? Did it bring back any memories?

StarTrekBeyondAMA71 karma

John: Yeah I guess I was pretty f-ing horny when I was a teenager and that's the experience I was drawing upon as an actor.

Justin: How did it feel by the way? because I remember when we were shopping for franks and we started making Better Luck Tomorrow you were the MILF guy.

John: Yeah it was so weird -

Justin: American Pie

John: I do remember being like - oh! I was out of the country when that movie was released. And when I came back people were just like shouting "MILF" at me and I was very confused for a few days. Because I...I didn't make that connection. And that movie was so big, I mean I had a line in the movie and I was famous for that line and it was very bizarre. And I always say that being recognized for that movie let me know that fame wasn't all it's cracked up to be early on.

IronSidesEvenKeel48 karma

How big of a role does sexual identity play in StarTrek Beyond?

StarTrekBeyondAMA340 karma

I'm here to talk about Rampart.

lewis212740 karma

What's it like finally getting to work together again after all these years?

StarTrekBeyondAMA40 karma

John: It feels like one in a million, in terms of these alternate timelines (I've been thinking a lot about alternate timelines lately), that it would happen this way. It's bazaar and special feeling to get started with someone, then watch them take over the world, and then come back together and not just work together but work together on something meaningful. That's the weirdest twist in this strange tale and it was an honor.

Justin: Yeah, very much an honor. I remember just starting off, working with John, back then there weren't a lot of opportunities for Asian Americans, especially on screen. As my career progressed I would sit in on auditions and it was very clear to me that it was an issue of opportunity. I knew the talent was there. In the last 15 years I remember moments, I was in the Dallas airport when I found out that John was gonna be Sulu and I was so happy. It was really cool, I remember getting that call from JJ and deciding to do Trek. I just couldn't wait to meet up. It's been great to work with someone but at the same time be a fan from afar. To know that he always had it but just seeing him grow. That's the thing that I really enjoy, the fact that it's been a decade and a half and to see John grow and know that there is still a lot in the tank. It's definitely very emotional.

Kamala_Metamorph32 karma

Yay! Thanks for doing this!

John, you've had a huge variety in your roles, from bad-asses like Sulu and Demetri, smart guys like Henry and John Kim and Harold and Steven, amoral bombastic megalomaniac villains like Roger Whitacre or Big Murder or Jefferson or McClane or Chip, double agents like Andy, unpredictable loose cannons like Teddy or Chau, or resourceful like Larry, and angry guys like Thanh or Steve.

If there was a Survivor, or Hunger Games, between all of your characters,
who would be first to fall, and which two would it come down to in the end?
(And where would John Cho fall in this group?)

StarTrekBeyondAMA26 karma

I could answer with certainty that John Cho would fall first. Who would be the last man standing? I want to say Sulu is a winner. I think he is super ambitious, resourceful, and trained in a lot of things. I feel like he has a skill set, Starfleet is obviously a military but he has a lot of combat experience, plus he's got scientific know how...I'm going with Sulu.

waitreally31 karma

Justin, can you address the rumors that your editorial team is the best in the business? Can you also address the rumors that I started that rumor? Thanks. - Jesse

StarTrekBeyondAMA39 karma

Justin: I can 100% confirm that the people that I work with in post editing editorial are definitely the best in the world. The only thing they're a little weak on is consuming fast food with me late at night. Like they all puss out at some point.

sabine_strohem_moss13 karma

Hi John and welcome back! Star Trek Beyond is premiering today in the Philippines and I'm so excited to watch it! I've loved all the DubSmash Trek that's been happening! So awesome. I'll be sad when you run out of them.

You said in your AMA last year that you sometimes randomly make up songs about the people you're working with. So I wondered about the backstory to the deleted singing in the shower scene about Maria in H&K2. Did you improvise most of those? (p.s. That scene is adorkable.)

I don't want to be a jazzhole, but, in the course of this Q&A, if you are inspired to sing something random (and then tweet the video), that would be amazing.

Do it for Reddit. For Reddit, John. :)

StarTrekBeyondAMA17 karma

John: Sabine, at first I thought this was a reference to Rape of the Sabine Women the famous painting - but now I'm concluding that it is your name, Sabine. Which is close to the Sabina - a character from The Unbearable Lightness of Being, one of my favorite books. Not a big deal but I read a lot! I'm sorry. What a douche I'm being. Just - whoever's transcribing this. Please delete that. The question was - yes! I was just riffing trying to make up as much as possible because we didn't have the rights to any songs - because there was 0 budget. So I had to make up like 30 different tunes. And I remember the weekend before I was throwing out all kinds of ideas and that's what we ended up with.

StarTrekBeyondAMA9 karma

John: Some people, I believe Zoey--well first of all, Zoey did start it, and I think she sent it to me first and then it caught ablaze. Some people sang, but most of us just lip synced, and I was just reminded of that because the most embarrassing thing is to look at yourself doing the dubsmash, and I just found a video of Chris Pine in his cast chair lip synching a dubsmash, and if you don't know what's going on it is the most preposterous looking thing there is.

skituate12 karma

Wow, thank you both for doing this AMA, I'm a huge fan of all things Trek, and it truly is an honor to think you could read this!

John, what did you do to prepare for the role of Sulu for the 2009 film, and how has that changed over the course of the three movies in terms of how you approach the character?

Justin, being a bit of a Trekkie yourself, where, if applicable, did you draw your inspiration from when attacking this movie?

And if I can go beyond two questions, both of you what are your favorite episodes across any of the series?

Thanks so much!

StarTrekBeyondAMA24 karma

John: You know, as I've said before I'm not that complicated of an actor, but I was very happy to have had stunt training for the first movie. I felt like doing that, we didn't know what the fight sequence was gonna be at first, so ended up just like training in all kinds of different martial arts, and obviously not getting good at any of them, but getting introduced to different kinds of martial arts. It was really useful in the sense that I felt like it changed my body language through the film. And partially it was just putting on the suit and being on the Enterprise, but I felt like I had to get rid of this contemporary American thing that I had going, and doing the fight training, and some combination of those factors I feel like gave Sulu a different body language and demeanor from John Cho. And then also, we were doing it altogether, and it felt like there was a sort of boot camp mentality, and that was the most useful thing from the first movie.

Justin: For me, when I started, I felt like it's been 50 years of Trek, and it's time to maybe try to deconstruct Trek, to deconstruct the Federation, to deconstruct certain philosophies or ideals that maybe we might not even take for granted. And by doing that, through these beloved characters, ultimately hopefully by the end of the movie it kind of reaffirms to all of us why there's been so much passion for all these characters, and for Star Trek. That's what I went in with.

And then I think when we started talking, it felt like the Enterprise was also such a big character aside from the ensemble cast, that I felt if we were gonna deconstruct it, at least in this version, I think we took it on a very literal sense, and took it down. And by doing that, it also kind of stripped away the home or security blanket of all these characters, so we could put them in situations that hopefully we haven't seen, or even interaction between each other that we haven't seen before. Because, my engagement with Star Trek started with the original series, and it was on reruns. I loved it, and I think after 3 or 4 or 5 viewings of the same episode, over the course of a few years my brain went into a kind of fan fiction mode, because I was always kind of curious what these characters did off-screen, because I was watching the on-screen stuff over and over again. And it was kind of a dream come true to be able to share that, along with the cast, to share that with everybody else.

chadfail12 karma


So I heard that you all played pranks on each other during the filming of the previous 2 films. Did anyone play any pranks this time and what's the best prank you've ever pulled?

StarTrekBeyondAMA24 karma

I don't remember...we're not like a prank group...we're musical, there are a lot of musical instruments around, we goof off singing but I don't recall mean pranks. Carl Urban kept threatening, and continues to threaten, to get Chris and Simon back for what they did on "Into Darkness." He was constructing a very elaborate, dark, illegal plan in Dubai. Thankfully it did not come to fruition. I really mean it, I was considering as a friend stepping in and saying "people may get hurt man."

sweatybronson9 karma

JUSTIN: Star Trek has one of the more rabid fan bases... Did that affect the way you approached the film in any way? How did you go about trying to make a film that Trekkers would enjoy, but which would also appeal to a wide audience?

StarTrekBeyondAMA17 karma

Justin: You know, when I first started on the Fast franchise, I didn't know anything about cars. But I also realize that it's people's passion, and I wanted to really respect that. Luckily with Star Trek, it was part of my life; it was part of my family and something dear to me. But at the same time, I also acknowledge that there are people who are much more involved, and their passion supercedes mine. And I think as we were making it, you sit in these meetings sometimes or you read stuff online and people are saying, "Oh, maybe you should take Star Trek here or there or wherever," but I always felt like we had it. Star Trek has it within itself, its DNA.

I love the idea of these great characters going on this shared journey, and at the same time, the sense of exploration and discovery. That's something that had a big imprint on me growing up. And at the same time, the mandate or mission statement of Star Trek is to be bold, and it's to try new things and introduce new ideas, characters, worlds. I felt like that was the job, was to respect the fans, and try to do that. And if we do that, I think non Trek fans will also enjoy it, because it's really about this emotional relationship that I hope to build, that we hope to build.

And like my son is 7 years old, and he's a big Star Wars kid, and he's never really watched Star Trek. I hope that he can see this and be engaged, and want to find out more, because there's 50 years worth of content. And by the way, it's multi-medium; multi-generational and multi-medium. That's what's so special about Star Trek, is that it doesn't just exist in feature. It exists in TV, it exists in many different forms.

thanagathos8 karma

What past Star Trek episode (from all series) would be the best to watch before going to watch ST:Beyond?

StarTrekBeyondAMA21 karma

Justin : Oo...I think Cobra Maneuver is pretty cool. It kinda embodies a lot of what I love about Trek. I think the original pilot is pretty good. And also Amok Time and Enterprise Incident. Those four to me in a way captures a lot of the character moments. And I haven't actually watched a lot of them since I was a teenager, but I think those four to me, right off the top of my head kind of just jumps out.

Reign_Wilson7 karma

John Cho! You're awesome! Justin Lin! You're awesome! Can we take a moment and recognize how great working on Star Trek must have been?

StarTrekBeyondAMA16 karma

John: Let me just say that, I appreciate your work on The Office, first off.

I just want to say that there's something otherworldly and amazing about having started your career with someone, watching them and admiring them from afar, as they take their career to new heights, and then reuniting on something meaningful to the both of us, and knowing that all the way through, it was never lost on us and we never took that for granted. It was just a spectacular opportunity to bookend our friendship. So it's bizarre, and wonderful.

Justin: It's really interesting, because when John and I started 15 years ago, you know I was making the Credit Card movie, and it was an indie movie. Back then obviously there was no money, so everybody just came on because they either believed in the script or the project. And that spirit was so strong, and in a way something I treasure. And then, going and doing the studio films, it's always been I think one of the big challenges for the film makers, to make sure that, yeah, there's money and people are being compensated, but let's show up and be passionate, you know. To be able to meet up 15 years later, and to do this film with all the physical challenges that were ahead of us, that's something I take a lot of pride in. Everybody on this set, in the cutting room, everybody went above and beyond, and that's something that's really rare. And again, I think when I took this on, I wanted to make it the biggest budgeted indie film ever, and I really am very fortunate. And that's due to the people that got together to make this.

John: It is amazing that all these years later, that you still look for things you're passionate about, and people who are passionate to be with. I wouldn't have guessed that, when I started, that that would be as important as it is. And pretty much to anyone who's doing good work, that's what's important to them.

I_smell_awesome7 karma

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

StarTrekBeyondAMA16 karma

John: u/Ismellawesome...Also when I was single that was my come on line. I like clam and garlic.

Justin: What!

John: Thin crust, clams, and garlic.

Justin: It's a great band name.

John: So good! Because the clam juice like soaks in. Oh so good. Red sauce. So good. With cheese! Oh we gotta try it tonight!

Justin: I'm assuming we're just talkin' about your neighborhood pizzeria. Versus like high-end pizza. But if you're just calling like, Domino's…

John: Don't call Domino's

Justin: But if - that's what I'm taking the question to be. I'll go with sausage and jalapeños.

OstriMonk6 karma

Mr. Lin –

If you were on board with the Star Trek reboot series from the beginning, what would you change?

Similarly, is it difficult to continue someone else's story/project?


StarTrekBeyondAMA14 karma

Justin: Well, I've done enough sequels to know that every time you get an opportunity, it's not just a given. It's something that you earn, you know. And it gets harder and harder because usually the hero's are going to have to go through whatever journey they have to go through is what kind of compels and deepens that relationship with the audience, and so, you know, I felt very fortunate when I got the call from JJ that, at least in this reboot timeline that the crew, the enterprise crew, hadn't gone on their 5 year mission yet. So I felt like there was still a lot to be explored, and in many ways I'm very thankful to JJ for really creating his own timeline because now I feel like I can explore these characters that have been so beloved for 50 years, but yet we can experience together things for the first time.

packpeach5 karma

Who wins the dubsmash competition on set?

StarTrekBeyondAMA8 karma

John: Zach Quinto wins the lip synch portion. He's the absolute best at lip synching. I win from an overall musical curator angle. I feel like what I bring to my dubsmash game is song selection, and camera movement.

Justin: The camera work on his dubsmash is amazing, you kill me.

John: Not that Justin is not sarcastic.

Justin: He's shooting my next movie, haha.

John: Note the sarcasm, haha.

themeaningofhaste5 karma

Thanks for doing this, I look forward to seeing Star Trek Beyond in uniform on Thursday night! Question for John: How did you prepare to take on the role as Sulu? Did you go back and rewatch lots of episodes and try to emulate George Takei's performance, avoid it entirely and come up with your own interpretation, some mix of the two?

StarTrekBeyondAMA14 karma

John: u/themeaningofhaste, I'm going to think about the meaning of that for a long time.

I did go back and rewatch a bunch of episodes, and I didn't want him to be an imitation of George Takei, because I don't have his larynx, it's just a very weird, unique biology that produces that voice. But I also wanted to be sort of in the world of George Takei's performance, if that makes sense, so I guess it's a blend of the two. In short, I thought you should get the impression that my Sulu could be related to George Takei's Sulu, but maybe not the same person. Is that a good way of explaining it?

mrweista5 karma

Hi Justin and John! Love to see you guys hanging around reddit and doing an AMA for us. Here's my question for Justin:

How much are you interested in box office?

Is it more like: 'I care about box office predictions for my movie, and know that this movie is a hit/failure in BO relatively fast'

or 'I'm always surprised about how good or bad my movie did in Box Office, and someone needs to tell me this'?

Kacper, fan from Poland

StarTrekBeyondAMA9 karma

Justin: I really find out as everyone else finds out. It's a very interesting process because when I first started with Better Luck Tomorrow, a credit card movie, it really only got notice and life through the critics. Now with the bigger studio films, what I like is that I find out at the same time as everyone else. For me once I finish a film, that's it, it goes out into the world. Now I have a 7 year old, I used to think that making a film was like birthing a child but it’s not. It's actually like raising a child and now the film's out in the world, it's like going off to college.

foodsexreddit5 karma

For both John and Justin: What is your go-to karaoke song? (And is there a chance that this will appear on dubsmash soon?)

StarTrekBeyondAMA11 karma

John: For fun, Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones. For romance times, Hello by Lionel Richie.

Justin: I'm not big in karaoke, but I would always go with La Bamba. I think La Bamba is the one.

John: Oh, that's really hard.

Justin: I think it's the only song for some reason I know the lyrics to.

John: Last one is...what's that Young MC song?

Justin: oh uh..Pump It? Not Pump It.

John: "Your best friend Harry has a big--"

Justin: Oh You Want It, You Got It

Is there a chance that these will appear on Dubsmash soon?

John: Me and Carl did Beast of Burden. Did he release it? I can't even keep track anymore. It's happening. I'll release, if he hasn't done it I'll--Oh he's going to because he asked me for it, and when he asks I know he intends to put it up.

Kamala_Metamorph4 karma

Hi Justin! Thanks for joining us.

I love YOMYOMF, and had my heart broken in Better Luck Tomorrow because of [The Spoiler].

Thank you for all the efforts you made for this Star Trek movie, from stepping up to the plate with the time crunch, and including all the awesome guest stars. What was something you found a challenge in creating this movie, that we wouldn't think of necessarily? Any behind the scene stories that haven't come out yet?

StarTrekBeyondAMA9 karma

John: That's a good one.

Justin: The blueprint, maybe?

John: The blueprint?

Justin: Yeah, like on the Enterprise, the blueprint.

Justin: Yeah, that was a thing that I was very surprised when we were talking about taking down things. Deconstructing the franchise, one of the things we wanted to do was destroy the franchise, and I realize when we were looking at at least a current iteration of the Enterprise, there had been no blueprint for the ship, and there hasn't been. I went through all of the Paramount archives and everything. So it really felt like we had to rebuild the ship to destroy it at the same time.

John: Interesting, because that's the souvenir I took home.

Justin:I'm very serious, I collect blueprints of sets I work on, and it took a long time for me to get this blueprint. Maybe it's because it didn't exist.

Justin: So we just want to be clear that, you know, I know there's other blueprints of Enterprise, I couldn't find any of them, by the way in the archive, but at least the one that I was taking apart in this reboot, there was no blueprint.