George Takei Talks Returning to Internment for AMC’s ‘The Terror: Infamy’

Ed Araquel/AMC

It’s 11pm on the set of AMC’s horror anthology The Terror, and the full moon illuminates a meticulously re-created World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans.

Detainees have been followed to the facility by a vengeful ghost causing bizarre deaths and maimings. Strangely, the victims are all associated with innocent Chester Nakayama (Derek Mio), an ambitious U.S.-born college photography student imprisoned with his emigrant parents.

On this bone-chilling March night in Vancouver, Mio and George Takei (Sulu of Star Trek), who plays dignified former fishing captain Yamato-san, look down at the latest corpse. Beside them are Chester’s shaken parents — hardworking fisherman Henry (Shingo Usami) and superstitious Asako (Naoko Mori) — whose traditional ways frustrate their all-American son.

The internees “look to Yamato-san for how to put a stop to the threat,” says Takei (above, second from left, mourning another loss). “He’s the only one who’s read the Kaidan [Edo-era Japanese ghost stories that suggest ways to contain angry spirits], but he’s not all-knowing.”

But knowledge is exactly why Takei, 82, was brought on as a Season 2 consultant by new exec producers Alexander Woo (True Blood) and Max Borenstein (Godzilla). In the 1940s, at age 5, he was imprisoned in a camp with his family: “I was behind those barbed-wire fences and living in those tar paper barracks. Now I’m going back.”

Mio’s paternal grandfather was also detained. “It’s an interesting way to tell this story — the parallels of the terror of what happened in this historical context with the terror that is haunting these characters,” he says. “Chester is facing supernatural demons and real-world ones: the war, the government, and his struggle with what he should do and who he is.”

The Terror: Infamy, Season Premiere, Monday, August 12, 9/8c, AMC