John Harlan Kim – The Librarians
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What is new this season on “The Librarians” and with your character Ezekiel?
A) Well, this year we get to see the Librarians face questions about themselves and their current posts with the Library. They’re now aware of the responsibilities and the weight that comes with the gig and have hit this almost comfortable point where fighting demons and trolls and the whole world of magic is just another day at the office to them. We see them ask themselves where their paths will take them and whether that be with or without the Library. Ezekiel, himself, has the least to question personally, but that just comes with the territory of being the youngest of the group and not feeling the need to settle down just yet.
Q) How was he originally described to you?
A) Ezekiel was described as a world-class thief and an international man of mystery and I’m the complete opposite. I’m terrible with secrets and have zero mystique or allure about me. I’m an open book. That’s what makes playing the ever-cool Mr. Jones so interesting for me. The writers did a sensational job of creating a complex and intricate character and I like to think if only I was cooler that I’d be just like him. Unfortunately, we all know that’s a pipe dream, but I appreciate the show allowing me to at least pretend I was that cool for four years now.
Q) What was it about the role or series that initially made you want to be a part of it?
A) The show is a blend of all of my favorite genres into one big fun action packed adventure. Dean Devlin had already invested three films into this series so I got to join a universe that had already been propped up on its feet with a wonderful tone set far and wide. It was an absolute honor to walk in and carve out Ezekiel’s own piece of that world and I’m eternally grateful to both figuratively and literally receive the invite to the Library. It easily stands out as my greatest accomplishment to date.
Q) What keeps challenging you about this character?
A) He’s growing up. When he first walked into the Library, he was a kid just like me. Now, we’ve seen him transition into a young man and I’m so psyched to have an almost parallel upbringing alongside my character. That’s the cool thing about having been on for four seasons so far – I’ve not only had the chance to play a character in some of his most formative years, but it’s mirrored my own upbringing too albeit on a much, much bigger scale obviously. Ezekiel’s fighting evil Egyptian gods and I’m learning how to cook for myself frying an egg. But still, similar arcs.
Q) What is it like to play a character who is also playing a role himself?
A) As in his false bravado? I think that’s what’s great about jumping into any role as an actor. A lot of people are acting in their day-to-day lives in the real world; we put on a version of ourselves that may be partly true, mostly true or a completely inaccurate representation. My job is to figure out why this particular individual acts the way he does. In Ezekiel’s case, I think if you had a good “insecurity reader” on you then it would be apparent that a lot of his confidence and carefree attitude early on may have been somewhat fabricated – not all of it but definitely to an extent his arrogance served as his defense mechanism from being hurt or taken advantage of or whatever it may be. I love getting into the finer details and understanding why. It’s one of the best parts of the job.
Q) What kind of prep work goes into the stunts you perform for the show?
A) There is a lot of running so there’s definitely a baseline of fitness required. In the offseason I work with my coach Dave Tuinauvai and he has me ready for the long 15-hour days that may come our way. The cast and I get put through our paces for sure; I’ve realized saving the world requires many sprints towards and away from things. For the rest of the stuff that gets a little too crazy, I’m fortunate enough to have been doubled by some of the best in the business. All of our stunt coordinators have been top notch too, running us through fight choreography and all the action scenes. We recently lost a legend of a coordinator in Buster Reeves and in stepped equally as much of a legend Tim Eulich. So, we’re very lucky. There’s so many stunts on a show like this so we’re in constant contact with those guys and they do a spectacular job. Also, having Christian Kane around is pretty much having another professional stunt guy on set anyway.
Q) With such a great cast, you have to have some fun behind the scenes stories. What are some you can share with us?
A) [Laughs] Yeah, it’s absolutely a lot of fun behind the scenes. Unfortunately, usually at my expense, but I suppose that’s a part of being the baby of the group. A lot of laughs come from my native accent. Being Australian I say a lot of words differently to how an American might say it. We recently debated the correct pronunciation of both “leprechaun” and “shawarma” and I can’t tell you how funny it was trying to get through a scene when we each thought it was the other one who sounded funny. Not exactly language barriers, accent barriers I guess.
Q) What do you think it is about The Librarians that has made it such a fan favorite series?
A) We cater to a neglected audience: families. Noah [Wyle] described it as a vacuum effect where essentially the “in” thing to do right now is make an edgy, gritty show that has some darkness to it – it’s what the most popular shows are doing. I suppose within that; however, the supply for shows that are not just suitable but also entertaining for grandkids as well as grandparents were hard to come by, and that’s a void I think we neatly filled.
Q) You are a part of social media. Do you enjoy the instant fan feedback you receive to episodes?
A) It’s fun to live tweet with fans and involve them, they’re awesome! We’re so lucky that they are just a super interactive bunch and it’s always nice to hear what you’re doing well or what you could work on. It’s funny, I’ve probably befriended over a hundred people who have reached out as fans of the show. Everyone from Dean through Rebecca [Romijn] to all the writers are watching with our audience and they’re so accessible and great with the fans. When they give us their time to shoot a comment our way, it’s reciprocated as much as possible and I think that’s why we have such a special connection with our fanbase.
Q) Fans would love to hear more about the “Point of Salvation.” Can you give us an update?
A) Not really much to update. It was a fun episode to shoot. Jonathan Frakes deserves full credit for the way he handled a green, nervous, younger me and the way he challenged me to show the best side of my work up until that point. I told Frakes that I wanted it to be the best episode of anything that he’d ever directed and he really got up and about with that. We’d worked closely before on the “Fables of Doom” episode, but for this one he threw the training wheels off and just let me take a swing at it. Jeremy Bernstein penned a great ep. The cast got around me and were super supportive. Just awesome. I love them all.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I hope to make you proud. Thanks so much for supporting the show, everything you do means the world to us and there are no words that I could ever use to verbalize my appreciation accurately. You’re just incredible. Hope to see you for a fifth year together!