Rich Ting, who currently appears in The Man In The High Castle, recently talked to TVGrapevine.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I am a 4th generation Chinese-Japanese American who was born in Torrance, CA, and grew up in both Southern and Northern California. At the age of only four, I began my training and studying of Tae Kwon Do, earning my 1st degree black belt when I was 13-years old. Raised in an athletic family, I earned Varsity letters in all four sports in high school: football, basketball, baseball, and track. While my parents stressed the importance of balancing both academics and athletics, my childhood dream was to earn an athletic scholarship and play Division 1 college football. That dream became a reality when I was recruited by various Pac 10 (currently the NCAA Pac 12 Conference) and Ivy League colleges, ultimately committing to play football at Yale University. As the son of a sports orthopedic surgeon, I fulfilled all of my pre-medical requirements but my true academic interest lay in the humanities. I graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History/American Studies continuing my academic studies in graduate school, where I earned both J.D. & M.B.A. degrees.
I am a Gemini. While many judge a book by its cover, my closest friends would say I am not only the comic relief of the group but a humble and appreciated person. Throughout my childhood, my mother always preached about the Japanese notion of “bachi” (commonly known as karma) and living a positive, healthy life. She would often teach me life lessons by explaining that every negative act committed would return and punish that person tenfold. This simple principle of “bachi” has continued to shape and influence me in my day-to-day decisions, actions, and overall mentality to live a humble, appreciative, and healthy lifestyle.
What are your current projects?
Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” (Season 4) & Cinemax’s “Warrior”.
What attracted you to them?
“The Man in the High Castle” was the first television series that I have ever auditioned and been cast for, in which I was already a true fan of the show since its Season One premiere. Once I was offered the role of “Captain Iijima,” there was no hesitation in accepting this invitation to join this Emmy-award winning series. It was nothing less than surreal to arrive on set and meet “Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido” (Joel De La Fuente), “Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith” (Rufus Sewell), “Juliana Crain” (Alexa Davalos), “Helen Smith” (Chelah Horsdal), “Robert Childan” (Brennan Brown), and “Wyatt Price” (Jason O’Mara). It felt as if I had been transported directly from my sofa at home to the High Castle alternate world/universe in the 1950-60s. I am truly honored, grateful, and humbled to have been welcomed into this Emmy award- winning High Castle family for its final season.
Prior to being cast for “Warrior,” I had always heard from past documentaries and interviews of Bruce Lee that he had written a treatment for a potential television series called “The Warrior.” I remember watching one interview in which Bruce discussed the notion of “The Warrior” and how it will never be made because it stars an Asian leading man. He continued to explain how Hollywood was not ready for an Asian leading man at the time (the 1970s) and as a result, the project would never be made. Once the audition process began for “Warrior,” I remember telling myself that this was the project I had been waiting for. It has been such an honor to be not only cast for this show but to also be playing the real character of martial arts legend and close friend of Bruce Lee, “Bolo Yeung.” This project has impacted me in so many ways due to my childhood connection with Bruce Lee, as he was the sole reason why I began studying martial arts at the age of four and he continues to be one of my lifelong idols. With the opportunity to work with his daughter, Shannon Lee, as well as director/executive producer, Justin Lin, executive producer, Danielle Woodrow, and writer/showrunner, Jonathan Tropper, words cannot express how honored I am to bring to life an idea, vision, and dream of the legendary martial artist and my childhood idol, Bruce Lee.
What are you most looking forward to the audience seeing?
In Season 4 of “The Man in the High Castle,” Captain Iijima arrives from Japan as Chief Inspector Kido’s new right-hand man. He is a loyal captain for the Imperial Japanese military regime and serves to carry out the commands and desires of the head Japanese officials back in Japan. Throughout the final season, Captain Iijima’s loyalty, as well as motives to Chief Inspector Kido, will become questioned as the murder investigation of the assassination of a significant character continues to reveal new evidence of who ordered the hit as well as the overall murder plot. There are numerous twists and turns for all of the remaining original characters, and I am excited for all the fans and viewers to see how creatively the writers of the show brought closure to each and every character at the conclusion of the season.
Cinemax’s “Warrior” is not just another Kung-Fu action show with “everyone” knowing martial arts and having exceptional fighting skills. It focuses on the political, racial, economic, and cultural backdrop of San Francisco during the late 1800s. The creative team behind “Warrior” wanted it to be a real drama with a martial arts, action element. They wanted to keep it “real” and accurate of the time period as well as show casing only a few characters that have exceptional fighting skills. The writer and producers have told me that they are determined to highlight specific fight scenes throughout the series in order to show the quality and high-level skill of martial arts fighting. Fans will definitely be captivated and drawn in whenever a select few characters, including myself, appear in a scene. They can anticipate danger, fear, conflict, and as a result, a “fight” will most likely be the outcome of such high-tension scenes.
What else are you working on?
In 2020, I will be playing the character of “Li Chang” on the first season of CBS’s new show called “Tommy,” starring Oscar and Emmy award winning actress, Edie Falco.
I was cast as the lead of a drama/sci-fi feature film, “Roma 96,” which will be releasing early next year.
I will be seen in the FX’s new series, “The Old Man” playing opposite of Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, Jeff Bridges.
I will also be seen in the feature film, “Prisoner of Mind,” in which I play the character of “Paul Nguyen.” The film focuses on the numerous illnesses as well as P.T.S.D. that our war veterans suffer from and experience upon returning home from war as well as addresses the issues of revenge, hope, forgiveness and the impacts and influences of religion, including Christianity.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
Based on the characters I have played and the images of me in the mass media, I think it would surprise people that I am a hopeless romantic at heart. I also love romantic comedies and am an ultimate “foodie” constantly searching for new eateries in every city that I travel to.
What are you watching on TV these days?
Obviously, I am watching Amazon’s 4th season of “The Man in the High Castle” as well as the latest seasons of “Goliath” and “Jack Ryan.”
Anything else you want to share?
Desserts are my ultimate weakness, as I am always ready to devour any kind of donuts, ice cream, cheese cake, and of course my favorite, carrot cake.