DISCOVERY’s Michelle Yeoh on Keeping Her Accent and Being a Starfleet Captain

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A new interview with Star Trek: Discovery actress Michelle Yeoh – aka Captain Philippa Georgiou of the USS Shenzhouarrived yesterday from CBS News, where the Malaysian star spoke on her role as a mentor to her Starfleet crew, a future with gender equality, and her own accent staying on screen for her role in the series.

First, she expanded more upon her previous comments about Captain Georgiou as a starship commander.

Captain Georgiou is an explorer by heart. She loves the universe – but she is a war veteran, and now is a time of peace in the Federation. She is one who still has hope for humanity; she believes very, very strongly that there is goodness out there – and [the Federation] will always work from that point of view, which is one of Starfleet’s principles.

We do not stick a weapon out [and say we] come to take your territory; we come in friendship. We work for equality, freedom, and cooperation – and that is what [makes up] the principles of who she is.

I love the fact that she has a great sense of humor. When she is on her bridge, her bridge is her family, and you can see the respect and the love. It’s like she is the father and the mother of them, and they trust her implicitly with whatever she tells them to do because she will navigate them away from danger and always into safety – and she nurtures them, she teaches them… and that is what I think a captain does.

She also spoke to her character as a strong woman of power, and how it’s representative of the hopeful Star Trek future we’ve come to know.

I’m so blessed that the filmmakers, you know, the showrunners feel that I represent such a strong, empowering role.

It is a blessing to be given the opportunity to make a stand, and say, ‘This is for the future. Whoever can do the job, just get it done – it doesn’t matter whether you’re a man, or a woman, or what race, because in the future, we are one race. We are humans. We’re from the planet Earth, and we work together; we protect our home.’

And it is important, because today we fight those battles, you know, sustainable development goals – one of them is gender equality, and empowerment of women. So it goes up there with the eradication of poverty.

You would hope that ‘Star Trek’ – which is set 200 years later – that all this would be definitely a thing of the past.

Finally, the actress addressed a question on if there had been discussions on her adopting a different accent for her Discovery role, like fellow captain Jason Issacs.

None of the showrunners, or my director, would come up to me and say, ‘Can you give me an American accent?’ They embraced [my accent] from the word ‘go.’ I think what’s really interesting about my accent is that it’s not American or British.

It’s sort of in-betweeen. Sometimes you hear certain words, and you think, ‘That sounds a little American, right?’ And then you hear something, ‘That sounds kind of British!’ Then, ‘That sounds a little Asian.’ But that’s what I am.

Star Trek: Discovery warps into action next Sunday night. Stay tuned for more news throughout the week as it breaks!