Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto was highly amused after essentially being told that Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is a ‘bigger fan’ of Star Wars than his own sci-fi series.
The Hollywood actor, who famously played Spock in JJ Abrams’ movie reboot of Star Trek, appeared on BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg to discuss his new West End theatre show Best of Enemies, which will see him play Gore Vidal.
Vidal was a bisexual American writer and best known for his essays which challenged social and cultural sexual norms.
Kuenssberg probed Quinto for his thoughts on the inclusivity of the UK having its first British-Indian PM by making a tenuous link to Mr Sunak being a sci-fi fan.
The journalist asked her guest: ‘A lot of our viewers will know you of course from being Spock in Star Trek, our new Prime Minister we know is a Star Wars fan.
‘I’m told he has watched some Star Trek but he’s really a bigger Star Wars fan, I just want to ask you about that, we have our first British-Indian Prime Minister in this country.’
Quinto and his Best of Enemies co-star David Harewood couldn’t help but laugh at the remark as Kuenssberg continued: ‘Americans, there has been some commentary saying that there’s been a backlash that Britain has some racist feelings towards the new PM that has really been denied by people here, but how would you see that?’
The actor laughed again as he explained: ‘I think in the context of a Star Trek conversation, there’s so much inclusivity at the heart of that franchise and I feel like anything we can do to expand and challenge people’s expectations or rigidivity is what we have a responsibility to do and part of that is conversation, part of that is discourse and part of the honour of playing a character like Gore Vidal is not only was he an intellectual titan, but he was also a gay icon in many ways and had forward-thinking beliefs that were unimpeachable, uncompromised, ahead of his time.
‘That’s the kind of conversation that I’m interested in being a part of so to play a character that so truly represents that with real authenticity and integrity is something that I’m really excited to be able to do.’
Viewers were equally amused with Kuenssberg’s line of questioning, with one tweeting: ‘#BBCLauraK Not quite sure of the lead-in to Zachary Quinto’s views on first Asian PM by tenuous / tortured link via Star Trek to Star Wars. Awfully wrung out…’
Another agreed: ‘Tenuous question link. Very cringe framing.’
One viewer wondered: ‘Why did you ask Zachary Quinto about Star Wars and not about the play he was in? You asked David Harewood about the play. It seemed weird to do that and out of context.’
Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg is available to watch on iPlayer and returns to BBC One next Sunday at 9am.