Best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the hit musical, Anthony Rapp will star as Lt. Stamets, an “astromycologist,” or fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer who happens to be gay. Joining the cast as Stamets’s love interest is Wilson Cruz, who succeeded original “Rent” star Wilson Jermaine Heredia in the role of Angel on Broadway.
In a new interview with CBS, the two actors were tight-lipped about the specifics of their characters, but it’s clear they’re excited to work together once more.
“We’ve been in each other’s lives,” Cruz said. “We didn’t have to create a foundation for this relationship. There was already one of mutual respect and admiration. We had a running leap into this.”
Rapp, 45, agreed. “It’s such wonderful shorthand to get to work with a friend,” he told CBS.
The news got a special stamp of approval from George Takei. The actor, who originated the role of Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” in 1966, was less than thrilled after learning his character would be portrayed as a gay man in 2016′s “Star Trek Beyond.” The move was intended as a tribute to Takei, who came out as gay in 2005 and has been an outspoken LGBTQ rights advocate since then. But at the time, the actor felt the characterization went against “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision.
This time around, however, the 80-year-old couldn’t be more pleased.
Cruz, who has collaborated with Takei on a number of LGBTQ advocacy projects, said the stamp of approval meant everything.
“When I was announced, he tweeted out how excited he was to see this story play out,” he said. “I’m glad that he’s happy.”
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CORRECTION: A headline on a previous version of this story mistakenly referred to the actors as stars of “Star Trek Beyond.” This article also initially misstated the year that the original “Star Trek” series debuted.