Invited to Electric Entertainment’s pressroom at New York Comic-Con, I had a wonderful opportunity to interview both Korean-Australian actor John Harlan Kim and his costar Christian Kane from TNT’s The Librarians.
When asked about how they keep their characters fresh as actors after playing them four seasons, Kane said “I have to give a lot of credit to the writers because (it hasn’t happened in the past on other shows), but Dean has been gracious enough to let us know where the arc is going.” He added that the process gives them ample time to find their character within that arc and discover “stuff that is fresh,” both for the viewers and even for the characters themselves.
Kim added ”They [the writers] give you a completely different stimulus every season, so as much as we are the same characters, we’re being presented with all these new sorts of obstacles and things to face. That’s the fun thing now. By Season 4, everyone knows the characters, they understand the dynamic between them, and now we’re getting thrown into different situations where you’ll see how they react.”
Kim also teased that in the newest season, it’s “Maybe it’s not as expected,” but that cryptic statement was all that he could reveal.
Still, he admitted: “I think by now, we’ve got the pulse of the show down, and I think you guys are going to love it.”
Kane then went on to summarize the arc of the show as “We’re all becoming superheroes…. We have marks every season that we try to hit, but our main goal is to become a superhero.”
Of Kim’s character’s development, Kane said “He was always a great thief, but he’s got social skills now that make him an even better thief.”
Kane also spoke to his character’s transformation, “I was a bar fighter who thought I could fight, and now I’m a fighter who can actually freaking fight because I trained with the Monkey King.”
Kane additionally described how different it is working with Dean Devlin compared to Joss Whedon because Dean lets them improvise. “I worked with Joss Whedon for five years on Angel, and you said what was on the script. And it was great that way, and that’s how Joss works, and that’s how that show works. It’s like a play you can’t veer off. This show is different because we get to play… Not a lot of producers or writers will let you do that ”
Immediately after, Kane beseeched us to understand that he has nothing against Whedon, and that he really really wants to be in an Avengers movie.
Kim also applauded the leeway he enjoys four seasons in, saying “It’s nice to be able to have your own voice…. I can’t speak any higher of the freedom we get, especially in scenes.”
The two performers both admitted that they are quite different from their characters.
In spite of his character’s genius level intellect and linguistic mastery on the show, Kane explained that IRL he’s “very street smart. I was never book smart. It’s an acting job every day for me to show up.”
Similarly, Kane confessed that he’s not a master thief by any means: “I have a lock picking kit on set. I locked myself out of my car the other day. I’m closing the gap between me and my character.”
Kane quipped “It’s a long journey.”
Lastly, the two discussed how much they learn from veteran actor and costar John Laroquette, heaping glowing praise on him.
Kane described the experience as “Acting 101…. I walk in with a bag and whatever he puts out on the table, I put in my bag. I either use it that day or I keep it for 10 years from now.”
Kim confessed, “I think I weird him out by how much I just stare at him. I’m trying to be a sponge as much as I can.”
“I like the fact that with John Larroquette you can come in and be having the worst day and you always want to be the consummate professional so you show up, and before you know it he has everyone laughing and just so relaxed and comfortable that it’s just so hard to have a bad day around him.”
Season 4 of The Librarians premieres on December 20th.
Check out John Harlan Kim’s powerful story about the importance of Asian representation.