SELFIE: John Cho on Playing the Romantic Leading Man - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SELFIE: John Cho on Playing the Romantic Leading Man

September 30, 2014 by  


John Cho has been a familiar presence in television (SLEEPY HOLLOW, GO ON) and movies (the STAR TREK franchise, the HAROLD & KUMAR franchise), but with his new ABC comedy, SELFIE, he’s taking on a new challenge with his character, Henry: the romantic leading man.

I sat down with Cho to talk about SELFIE, social media, working with Karen Gillan, and more…

Were you familiar with PYGMALION/MY FAIR LADY before you landed SELFIE?
John Cho: Yeah. I recently watched it. Actually, it was such a quick turnaround of me accepting the part to the table read and all that that I didn’t watch it [before the pilot]. But I was certainly familiar with the concept as part of popular culture. But I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t seen it [before this].

It seems most people are familiar with the concept [even if they haven’t seen it, though].

You really have kept so consistently busy between film and television. When you look at television pilot scripts, is there something specific you need to see in it in order to potentially tie yourself to the show for a long-term commitment?
JC: I never know how to say it in a sentence — sort of “you know it when you see it” — and it’s a matter of what’s in front of me at that particular time, too.

For this one, I don’t get a chance to do romantic leading man stuff. Not that it’s particularly romantic, or particularly leading. But it’s an idea I don’t really get offered much. And Karen [Gillan (Eliza)] is a wonderful actress, and I met with [SELFIE creator] Emily [Kapnek], and she’s the one that put it over the top for me because she’s super smart and incredibly funny. And I thought, maybe we can get a series out of this.

Because that’s the real thing: obviously the structure of PYGMALION or MY FAIR LADY is close-ended. Is there someone who can keep it going and stretch it out and have interesting things develop?

Had you seen Emily’s previous show, SUBURGATORY?
JC: I haven’t. I didn’t. I’m embarrassed to say that, too. I was not in the loop.

I only watched clips because SELFIE came up. I saw it and I thought, from what I was seeing, it was really well done.

What was your first meeting with Karen like?
JC: She was on long before me, but they had trouble finding Henry. They came to me, and then it was just a whirlwind. We met at our first table read, and jumped right into it. So that was a question mark. But I had heard good things, and we’re all professionals, and we got right down to business. I will say, she’s a tremendously cool person, and that always helps. She’s funny in real life. We get along very well.

Henry sets out to help Eliza connect with the real world more, but, obviously, Henry can and will change some of his own world views as the show progresses. Is there anything in particular you hope to see him do in season 1?
JC: I would like to see him take personal risks, as I would for any character, probably. But he seems to be in a precarious position by letting [Eliza] into his life, and I’d like to see that shake him up a bit. I’m not sure where that will go, exactly, but I’d love to see him try things he’s uncomfortable with. I think that would be funny.

Will his helping Eliza impact how well he does his job?
JC: I’m sure it bleeds into his work life…I think it would be fun for him to start failing at work for the first time in his life.

Social media plays such a huge role in the show. When you took the role, was there a thought about what ABC might require from you for a show that’s so social media heavy? (Whether it’s tweeting more, etc?)
JC: I suppose I should [tweet more]. No one’s asked me to. I did have to think about it…I feel very self-conscious about it.

I’m not a comedy writer, and it’s the perfect way to generate jokes. It’s the perfect form for jokes. I follow mostly comedians and it’s great to get a joke of the day. But that’s not necessarily me, either. I don’t know where I fit into social media.

Was this an urban myth that there was a tribe in Africa that thought when you took a picture you lost a piece of your soul? In a way, it’s true. One atom at a time, I think you might. And maybe it has something to do with the fact that you’re not doing something else, but there is some truth to that, I think. I feel emotionally spent after taking a lot of pictures. I can’t explain why. So there is that.

Traditionally, this story is geared towards a potential romance between Henry and Eliza. If you had your way, would you prefer they dove into that quickly, or would you rather they wait a few seasons?
JC: That’s not for me to answer, but for me, it seems like it would be wiser to slow down. You savor it. Smell the soup. Take a picture of it. [Laughs]

I think people need to get invested in who these individuals are before they get invested in who these people can be together.

Although, if [CHEERS’] Sam and Diane proved anything, it’s that post-breakup is interesting, too. It’s amazing they kept it that interesting.

Since this isn’t the kind of role you’re used to, did you do anything different to prepare for it?
JC: I don’t know if there’s anything different in preparations with the scripts. I find that this is the hardest thing in comedy for me to do — play the straight guy. I have had difficulty with that in the past. I have a problem with trying to be funny in comedy. And I think it’s something a lot of people probably struggle with. Not everyone is supposed to be funny. But that is probably my big, big challenge. Take it easy.

Is it difficult to not laugh at Karen when she’s spouting out some of her more ridiculous Eliza lines?
JC: Oh, we would just laugh. She’s a good laugher. It’s good, for me. It gives me something to do when I’m not making her laugh on-camera — make her laugh off-camera.

But that will make good blooper reels!
JC: Yes. She loses it a lot. It’s funny to see women lose it, beautiful women lose it.

You guys were hilarious together during the TCA panel for the series — it felt like authentic chemistry.
You know what was interesting about that panel? We ended up talking more about Karen being Scottish than me being Asian. And I consider that a social triumph that we sort of skated over that.

What I like about it is it doesn’t feel like a concession, it feels like they’re embracing and running with it, and being ahead of everybody…but it does feel like the network’s attitude is really cool.

Absolutely. And you did get a taste of that with your role on SLEEPY HOLLOW, too.
It’s remarkable the public gets so underestimated so often. Just being an actor of color, and seeing the reaction, and where it’s coming from, it seems so silly — it’s just one of those things that when the gauze is removed and you’re seeing clearly, of course. But of course people aren’t pining for exactly one color in television and movies. Of course. It doesn’t make any sense.

I would say ABC is being aggressive about it. Because there’s being open [to change] and being aggressive.

SELFIE premieres tonight at 8 PM on ABC.

Follow @GiveMeMyRemote and @marisaroffman on Twitter for the latest TV news. Connect with other TV fans on GIVE ME MY REMOTE’s official Facebook page.

And be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel at

Filed under #1 featured, Selfie


6 Responses to “SELFIE: John Cho on Playing the Romantic Leading Man”

  1. sustainable development on September 15th, 2015 1:33 pm

    You actually make it seem really easy with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually something that I think I might by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and very vast for me. I’m looking ahead on your subsequent post, I¡¦ll attempt to get the dangle of it!

  2. wellness on September 30th, 2015 10:04 am

    I am no longer certain the place you are getting your info, however great topic. I must spend a while learning more or working out more. Thank you for great info I was on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  3. Porn on October 11th, 2015 9:27 pm

    I want seeking at and I believe this internet site got some genuinely valuable stuff on it! .

  4. horny on October 13th, 2015 12:16 pm

    Hiya, I am genuinely glad I’ve discovered this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and internet and this is actually frustrating. A great web web site with interesting content material, that is what I need to have. Thanks for keeping this web-site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not discover it.

  5. on October 26th, 2015 12:38 pm

    I have learn some just right stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you set to create one of these wonderful informative web site.

  6. EzPinoy Online Tv on October 31st, 2015 2:39 am

    Great help from this weblog! Thanks alot for the info I needed