Monday, October 3, 2011

|INTERVIEW| The Mentalist actor plays it straight

When you've played a character day-in, day-out sometimes those traits start to seep off camera into real life.
It might be just to prank your friends but at other times it's totally unconscious.
Actor Tim Kang has found himself sitting at a bar with a friend and without noticing it will effortlessly lapse into the totally deadpan look of Kimball Cho, his character in The Mentalist.
"I've been in this character for four years and live with the other characters for 10 months of the year and that guy does manage to slip into my life," Kang says.
"I've done it with friends and they look at me strangely. I snap out of it and realise that's what Cho would do.
"When I did the Rambo movie in 2008 we were these tough mercenary fellows for four months. As a cast we would go out to a bar and just fall into that dynamic of that energetic space. I would snap out of that and wonder what the hell was going on.
"I have a stoic side to me but I don't live there like Cho does. Most of the time I'm an idiot, joking around with Owain (Yeoman as Rigsby) who is one of my good friends on the show."
Born in San Francisco, Kang has been a Los Angeles resident since 2006 after spending five years in New York working in theatre.
Off camera he's a very chirpy and chatty person who does most of his own stunts, which often mirror the rush he gets from being active in motor sports and extreme sky and water sports.
Kang is father to a two-year-old daughter, holds a masters in fine arts and a degree in political science and is about to launch his production company via a short film contest.
"I love, love, love what I do," he says. "It's a pleasure being on set and if I ever have a little free time I'll go and talk to the writers."
Kang returns in season four of The Mentalist in his role as the perfectly straight-faced investigator Cho at the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
After Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) shot his archenemy Red John at the end of the last series, Kang says the new season starts with a serious change in the team dynamic.
"Because of Jane's antics, we're a little more wary and cautious about who he is and whether it's worth closing cases and associating him with the investigations," he says.
"Towards the middle and the end of the series that will start to straighten out. Right off the bat it's all going to be treated with kid gloves. What happened has left the team second-guessing themselves. Who is he and are we doing the right thing?"
Cho's Mentalist trajectory started with people thinking he was the most play-by-the-book character ever, but it's shifted a little to understand that his motivation is a dedication to simply closing the case.
"He's the get-the-job-done guy, but Cho is now going to have to take a long hard look at how far he's willing to go and how far he's willing to bend and break some of the rules," Kang says.
Cho's mostly stony-faced attitude comes from his military training and special forces work, much of which still remains a mystery.
"Like anyone in something like the SAS, they're taught to think a little bit more for themselves.
"They are not robots that you simply give an order to. They break orders all the time.
"In the end, he's going to do what needs doing because he's a free- thinking individual that
can figure out how to solve a
Kang has been clamouring for his character to get a little meatier and this season that looks like it will come in the form of revealing more about his personal life.
The season-long arc is going to include a new love interest and a personal crisis which is "going to cause Cho to have to dig deep to get himself out of that mess".
"I think it will go a long way to explaining why he is the way he is; why he's a humourless and serious guy."

Special thanks to: SolMX from The Mentalist: Foro en EspaƱol

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