'Tommy' guest star Rich Ting has a fanboy moment working with Edie Falco: 'She's one of the kindest actors'
Rich Ting is best known for his role as Bolo on the series 'Warrior', followed by the Emmy-nominated Amazon original 'The Man in the High Castle'. Among an array of interesting roles and appearances across various movies and television shows, Ting has proved his mettle as an actor. You can now see him feature as a guest star in CBS's latest hit crime procedural 'Tommy'.
Ting portrays Li Chang, son of a prominent Chinese family who is living in LA with his husband Bryan. Their adopted daughter is kidnapped and LAPD, led by Chief Abigail 'Tommy' Thomas (Edie Falco), takes on the case. The hunt for the abducted little girl leads to startling revelations.
In a candid conversation with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), the actor spoke about working on the primetime show and facing veterans such as Edie Falco and some of television's finest.
Tell us more about your upcoming role in 'Tommy' and what it is like.
I'll try not to spoil it for you but it is a very interesting character. I play the character of Li Chang, an Asian American settled in LA with his husband and adopted daughter. You will see how throughout the first half of the episode, Li is very strong and emotionally stable and in control of himself. But gradually, he starts to lose composure and gives into his vulnerability. That is when his character becomes more humane and exposes a completely different side. I think this is the fullest character arc I have played so far.
How do feel about working with Edie Falco?
You know, despite working for nearly 13 years in this business, I still geek out at opportunities like these. I totally had a fanboy moment when I got to work with Edie. She is one of those personalities whose work and career I have followed. Her resume, obviously, speaks for itself. It was really special working with an Emmy and Golden Globe winner like her. And literally facing her in all my scenes, made me learn so much about her.
I must say, she is such a professional person. You know, how it is always tricky to play a guest star; it’s like coming to someone else's house. The lead team always has their own rapport and an established chemistry among them. Then, you show up for an episode and your character is the focus. It is intimidating but Edie is one of the nicest and kindest actors I had a chance to work with and she never made me feel out of place. Rather, I felt we had worked together for years. It's incredible to know how grounded such people are, despite being so accomplished.
Your character of Li Chang sounds layered and intense. Would you say that you like such characters or would you rather play roles that are well laid out?
Yes, my character on 'Tommy' is indeed layered and I think the writers did an excellent job in creating that. But, whether a character is layered, complex or simple, I always go around the same channels. I would run a back story and give it enough context prior to working on it. My ultimate goal is to bring a real person to the screen and I like to prepare in depth for it.
Think about it this way. We are never doing one thing, but multiple things at a time. There are multiple layers to our characters at all times because as human beings we are not simple. So, I rather prefer layers in the roles that I play, and that makes me unravel different aspects of it at different times. For instance, Li Chang of 'Tommy' is an Asian American gay and married to a Caucasian. He is an alpha male and homosexual and a father figure to an Asian child. That's a man with so much happening right there, you know.
On that note, we look forward to seeing Rich Ting in the upcoming episode of 'Tommy' when it airs on March 12 at 10pm/9c, only on CBS.