INTERVIEW: John Harlan Kim Talks The Librarians

John Harlan Kim in The Librarians Episode 401 - AND THE DARK SECRET. Photo by Allyson Ward Riggs

Actor John Harlan Kim stopped by Cultured Vultures to discuss season 4 of The Librarians. The series returns tonight for a two-episode season premiere. TNT will follow up with two episodes each for the next two Wednesdays.

Thank you for joining Cultured Vultures today. How are things treating you?
Things are good. Back down under this month and enjoying it. It’s pretty exciting and the premiere is already two days away (note: the interview took place on Monday).

With The Librarians premiering on Wednesday night with a two-episode premiere followed by two consecutive weeks of back-to-back episodes, what are fans in store for this season?
(Laughs) I think as far as The Librarians season 4 goes, I guarantee that it’s going to be just a lot of fun. They essentially—as you know, you guys have joined us on these action-packed adventures. The adventure just gets bigger, better, and more exciting to see. I’m really stoked for you guys to see it. I think this is our best season yet.

How has the on-set chemistry changed since the series started?
Well, definitely, I think just like with any other production, your third year in the shoot of the character, you’re still trying to find their (inaudible), their voice, their walk, and just different quirks of it. Coming into this fourth season together, we essentially hit a very comfortable level of familiarity in how our characters relate in their relationship and their dynamics and all the others in The Librarians universe. It’s definitely as exciting as it was to come back for this season and definitely was this sense of alright, back to work and understanding our jobs and characters much better than we did four years ago.

What all do you bring to the character of Ezekiel Jones that wasn’t in the script when you originally auditioned?
I think a little bit of color and an accent. I mean that quite literally. I don’t think they had a Korean-Australian twenty-something-year-old kid in mind when they originally sent out the casting notice. The only thing really listed was his name and said he (inaudible), and that that he was a man of mystery. I felt like that was the coolest thing about this role in going up for it. I get almost the unknown and this freedom to play him in a way that I thought I could best portray Ezekiel Jones. Along with it came of a lot of the arrogance, the sort of snarky comments, frowning, and all of that, I just sort of get down and very comfortable. Whatever that says about me as a person in real life, I’m not too sure.

Were you familiar with the original Noah Wyle movies when you went to the audition?
I was not. As soon as I booked the gig, I eventually went back and I literally sat through all three films in one sitting. So definitely meeting Noah in the middle of production was a little bit of a trip because I had just seen him on screen for about six hours a week before so that was pretty cool. It was obviously awesome to meet such an experienced veteran. I have loved working with him from that day on.

Your first role came during the Spielberg/Hanks HBO miniseries, The Pacific. What was the experience from working on that series and what did you take from that as you’ve gone further in your career?
It was my first-time role. It’s probably the perfect first step into acting. I was in the episode, “Okinawa,” which was directed by Timothy Van Patten, who obviously his work speaks for himself. I recently had just started Game of Thrones and saw that he directed the pilot to that so obviously he’s doing well. He was sort of my first taste in the TV/Film industry. For a 14-year-old kid on such a progressive step at that level, it’s just exciting. I guess the first bridge in what I hope to be a very strong foundation for a successful acting career. The scene we shot was with Joseph Mazzello and Rami Malek, who is so established in the industry, I couldn’t have asked for a better first day on set than that. In memory, I look back with a massive smile on my face.

How has your life changed since joining the franchise?
I would say that obviously my life is pretty much the same. I live a very juvenile lifestyle, which is conduced to a diet of burritos and watching (inaudible) when I’m in LA. On-set professionally, leaps and bounds. I feel like I’ve grown since I started. Now actually, the more that I think about it, it’s been nice to have such a neat and incredible project for some of my formative years. I think I booked the show on the day of my 21st birthday. It’s kind of given me such an amazing chapter to sort of look back on one day and bewildly ecstatic about the success of the show and it’s still kind of a weird thing to be talking to you about the fourth year and counting that it’s been on the air.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been four years. I remember binge-watching the three movies to get ready for the series.
(Laughs) I think you and I were probably watching it at the same time. I can’t believe it. In some ways, just certain things I picked up along the way on the journey and how I carry myself now have definitely changed, improved, and matured. On the other side of the same coin, I still feel just as belly-eyed and excited as I was the first day that I walked on the set of Okinawa.

Have you done any comic cons and if so, what have the lines been like?
I’ve done New York three times and Baltimore once. I honestly wish I had gotten into the comic con circuit a lot sooner now. There were many fun things and it’s like a big fun carnival. I couldn’t believe it. I think I only had two appearances in New York but I was probably there the entire weekend. I guess I was there the entire weekend because I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to be around it. I think that it’s a great opportunity for a lot of creatives to get together and, if anything, inspiring to be around that kind of energy. I’m so glad that comic con has become the big sort of hot phenomenon. I can’t wait to get back to do a few more. I feel like I’m fairly young in my comic con career.

I got to see Christian Kane’s line from afar when he was at Wizard World Chicago and they were crowded. I had hoped to interview him but his line was just so crazy to where I wasn’t able to.
The Kaniacs are a strong one. I will say that I’ve seen their power first-hand. I think Christian has developed such an amazing rapport with his fans. That’s why they support him so much. He’s so good to them and they’re so good to him. Their interactions are so sweet and genuine. I think that’s what so great about him. He has such an open and honest relationship with his supporters. I admire him for that.

Outside of The Librarians, is there anything else that you’re working on?
Not at the moment. Just sort of enjoying some of the time in the moment and seeing how things unfold. Eventually, I’ve just got my (inaudible) straps for a few seasons of The Librarians right now. I’m taking everything as it comes and just enjoying my time off when I got it—and focusing on a few things and picking up skills while I have a chance to do it. We’ll see how things (inaudible).

Thanks again for joining us and have a happy holiday season.
Happy holidays and absolutely, mate. Thanks!

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