Unless you really aren’t paying attention, ads for KIM’S CONVENIENCE have taken over the City these past few weeks. Billboards, bus shelters, you name it – CBC wants you to know about this groundbreaking new comedic series led by an Asian-Canadian cast, based on Playwright Ins Choi‘s play of the same name which won rave reviews. The Series, premiering Tuesday, October 11, 20169 PM EST hones-in on the inter-generational conflict between a family of Korean immigrants. We had the chance to chat with up-and-coming actor Simu Liu who not only stars in KIM’S CONVENIENCE as Jung, but also appears on upcoming NBC Series, TAKEN – both filmed here in Toronto.
1. Tell us what drew you most to your role on KIM’S CONVENIENCE and tell us about the casting process.
Liu: What drew me to this role is Jung’s troubled relationship with his father. I related a lot to the struggle of growing up with one culture at home and another at school, and I found a lot of catharsis doing scenes between Jung and Appa. My own relationship with my parents is not what’s on the show, but there are some definite similarities. I hope that a lot of children from immigrant families watching this can learn to appreciate their parents’ hard work and sacrifice in coming to Canada.
2. Tell us a bit more about your character Jung.
Liu: Jung is a guy who has a bit of a rebellious past. He ran with the wrong crowd in high school, got kicked out of the house, and ended up getting in a bit of trouble with the law. Jung begins the show doing grunt work at a car rental company. He’s confident, charismatic and a natural leader, and he’s made a commitment to make something better of his life. While he still keeps in contact with his mom and sister, Jung’s relationship to his father is still rocky; in fact, they haven’t spoken in almost ten years.
3. We see your extensive stunt work on your résumé. Tell us about some of the most dangerous work you’ve done thus far.
Liu: Oh jeez – well it would have to be on Heroes Reborn. I was on supposed to do a simple fall in the fight sequence but when we got on set the director wanted something more. So the coordinator asked if I could get clotheslined in the neck, do a backflip and then land on my face. I had practiced the stunt on soft floor before but we were on set already and I hadn’t rehearsed it. I was fairly confident in my abilities and we were able to get the shot!
4. We see you are working on two Toronto productions at once, TAKEN and KIM’S CONVENIENCE. How do you juggle both?
Liu: I gave up sleep for a few weeks! On more than one occasion I would be waking up at 5:30am to do a full 14 hr day on one set, have a car waiting to transport me to the other to work an 8 hr day, go home to shower and then be on set again at 6 the next day. I am eternally grateful to the production managers of both shows as well as my eternally dedicated agent Andrea Britton for making it possible to shoot two shows at once. Looking back it truly was the craziest, most memorable summer I have ever had.
5. Okay, you’re at a convenience store. We give you a $10 budget. What do you buy?
A bag of Jalapeño chips, an ice cream sandwich and a can of Diet Coke!