はじめましてかれんさん! Hello Karen, and thank you very much for chatting to us today!
初めまして Thanks for having me!
Firstly, how does it feel knowing that The Boys is finally returning after the pandemic, which had delayed the start of shooting the new season?
What prep did you to do return to the character of Kimiko after such a long time away?
We were all eager to come back after a long hiatus due to COVID! I couldn’t wait to spend time with Kimiko again. I prepped a ton before going back but the most productive time I had was during the Canadian quarantine: alone with no distractions!
Every character that an actor embodies has a unique physicality to them and something that is so cool about your filmography is that you have played many roles where the way they express themselves through motion is fundamental to understanding them.
Between Season 2's Kimiko and Season 3's Kimiko how much or how little do you think she's changed in that regard and why?
Thank you for that observation! When playing Kimiko, I never want to lose the animalistic, creature-like movements she has in the comics. This was more prominent in Seasons 1 and 2. In Season 3, because she’s become more assimilated with modern society, she is slowly making a transition with her body movements and posture. I do incorporate it whenever I can though: in the way she sits, moving across the room, in action sequences, etc.
We've seen a really wonderful push for the utilisation of Sign Language in more TV shows and movies of late, with characters that use it as their main form of communication being put centre stage and celebrated in their own right.
As we've seen Kimiko communicate through her own special sign language even more in Season 2 than Season 1, how will audiences get to see the way Kimiko communicates with others - and perhaps, her own identity too - shift and change in Season 3?
The biggest difference is that she can now communicate with Frenchie. Her connection with him deepens because of it. Her sign language and ability to make connections builds her confidence, her sense of self and identity. She’s creating a place for herself. I’m hoping this expands past Frenchie to the other Boys characters as well so that she feels less like an outsider within this world.
This is a difficult time for a lot of members of not just the Asian-American community, but also the Asian diaspora around the world, especially after the pandemic. Yet characters such as Kimiko are a positive force by existing as fully nuanced and non-stereotyped individuals.
How aware were you of this going into Season 3 and what kind of conversations do you get to have - if any - with the writers and producers to ensure that Kimiko continues to be such a great character?
I’m so happy to hear that, thank you. Our writers and producers have been great at bringing up difficult political topics on our show across the board, and that also includes the topic of AAPI Hate. Our showrunner, Eric Kripke, is incredibly generous with open communication and collaboration, and is always checking in with us to see if there’s a way to improve our characters experiences.
As an example, Abraham Lim (Kenji) and I got an email from Eric (Kripke, our showrunner) about the Stormfront scene and asked if we were comfortable with the material. In regards to Kimiko continuing to be a great nuanced, non-stereotyped character, I think the writers have my back on that, but it’s important for me to always ask myself if we are doing enough. To not be complacent, in order to move the needle further.
The work you've done across your entire career has done much to help keep Asian- American representation very present. How conscious are you of your impact and have you ever had any fan interactions, or even messages from family or friends, that has brought that home to you?
Haha not at all XD I have no idea whether anyone cares about what I do, I try not to search myself on the internet. But! I have had really sweet fan interactions and letters written that I cherish dearly. If I can make a positive impact on one person, I’ve done my job.
With that in mind, if you could pass on a message to any Asian kids that would love to follow in your footsteps, what would you like to say?
This is not just to Asian kids but to everyone: it’s never too late to start. If you’re passionate about something there is always a way, and there’s no bigger advocate for your life than yourself!
Lastly, what songs or routines do you have to get in the zone before going onto set? Do you have a Kimiko playlist or perhaps any recommendations for our readers?
Obvious answer, but when I was preparing for Season 3’s Kimiko, I had “I Got Rhythm” playing on repeat. Drilling it into my head so I can sing and dance to it. I think after the scene was over I didn’t listen to it for at least a month!