Season 2 of AMC's anthology series The Terror, subtitled Infamy, tells the story of a paranormal entity stalking a Japanese American family while they are sent to an internment camp. While the show elevates the real-life horrors Japanese Americans faced during WWII with supernatural aspects, the show's real-life roots were always in the cast and crew's minds. Star Derek Mio recalled to PopCulture.com during our recent phone interview about how numerous members of the production had loved ones who were imprisoned at the camps during the era. However, there was one notable member of the cast who lived through the atrocity: George Takei.
Takei is known to millions worldwide for portraying the landmark role of Lt. Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, in addition to his roles in Mulan, Kubo and the Two Strings and numerous other projects. What many of his fans may not realize is that Takei and his family were forced into internment camps during the war. The 82-year-old shared his memories of the camps with Mio and others during production, adding to the gravity of the series.
"Whenever we went out to eat or in between setups, he (Takei) always took the time to share about his experiences," Mio said. "Him being such a young kid, it was almost like he was going away to camp he almost felt like. He thought the searchlights that followed him at night when he went to the restroom, it was like they were doing him a favor, like lighting the way for him, but he didn't realize the horror that his family had to go through."
He added, "It was super special to be on this project with him, him having been in the camps, and him being such an advocate for spreading the word about the camps because a lot a people still don't know that they existed."
Aside from sharing his life experiences with the cast, Takei also shared his wisdom, advice and encouragement to them. Mio glowed about his time working the acting great and revealed that even he became star-struck about working with the "legend."
"I remember a scene when I was acting with him, I told him I almost froze mid-scene. I told him after we cut that I just couldn't believe that I was acting with him," Mio recalled. "He's a legend, not just in the Japanese-American community, but and also of Hollywood. He was very supportive. He said, "Well, someday people are going to say the same thing about you, 'I can't believe I acted with Derek Mio.'" He was just super generous with his time, and we really took his lead as well in treating the material with a great level of respect."
The show itself, which is two episodes into its season, promises not only a meditation on the plight of Japanese Americans but also startling J-horror thrills pulled off by some of the best talents working in TV today.
"There are certain social and political things that are definitely relevant to our show, but at the core of our show it's a great horror show, and we're just excited to bring the J-horror genre to the horror world," Mio said. "It's something that horror fans in the mainstream really haven't seen, but we're just excited to tell this story and to thrill the audience, and just make it a very visceral viewing experience for them. I think they're really going to enjoy it and go along for the ride."
He added, "It is a true honor (to star in the show), and not just because it's a show that features an all-Asian cast, but because it's a story that hasn't been told before, that is underrepresented, but it's being told at such a high level, and it showcases the talents of the entire cast and the crew. It is a great moment, and hopefully studios and audiences can see that when it's done right, it can hold up against the best of the best out there in the landscape, and I think it does."
The Terror: Infamy airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
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