One in a Hundred
TV and stage actor Christopher Larkin joins the cast of a new CW sci-fi series.
by RUTH KIM
Korean American actor Christopher Larkin makes no secret of his distaste for roles that perpetuate Asian American stereotypes. But he’s also the first to admit that, when you’re hungry for work, it isn’t always so easy to avoid those jobs.
“It’s a catch-22 of sorts. Sometimes those are the only roles available,” says the 26-year-old. “It takes strength. You know, I was waiting tables and working as a doorman in Times Square, and you would do anything to get out of those jobs. It takes a lot of willpower and not forgetting the power to say no, which is the only power you have, especially with your representatives trying to look out for you and progress your career. And at the same time, while you’re trying to progress your personal career, you’re progressing the image of Asian Americans. So, it’s a battle between that.”
Well, Larkin appears to be managing that battle quite well these days, sticking to his principles while also landing an exciting new—and non-stereotypical—role as a series regular on the new post-apocalyptic CW series The 100, premiering March 19.
When KoreAm spoke with the actor last month, he had just received confirmation of his character’s last name. Larkin plays Monty Green (“same spelling as the color”), one of 100 juvenile delinquents who are sent back down to the nuclear-war-destroyed Earth to see if the planet is habitable again. Surviving members of mankind have been living in a space station called the Ark, but when resources and oxygen start running low, leaders decide to unleash the 100.
“He’s a delinquent because of certain substances that he grew and harvested on the Ark, and that’s the crime that makes him expendable,” Larkin says of his character. The network has also described Monty as “a sweet, funny and likable kid who is the furthest thing from a delinquent.”
Before the series came along, Larkin admits he was already a fan of sci-fi. “I was drawn to it from the get-go, but this is my first series, [so] to be honest, I would have been excited at any show!” he says.
The actor gushes about the impressive visual effects featured on the show, which is shot in Vancouver, Canada. “Visually, it’s absolutely stunning,” Larkin says. “I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a world envisioned post-holocaust, so I think everyone has their own idea of what that is. It features the environment, certain creatures that are affected because they were left behind.”
Raised in Hebron, Conn., for most of his childhood, Larkin seems to have gravitated toward a career in acting early on. He played Hamlet in his middle school’s production of the Shakespeare play and attended a performing arts high school, which would further nurture his passion for the craft. Growing up in such a small town, Larkin was often one of the only, if not the sole, Asian at his schools. His upbringing is also painted by the fact that he was born in Daegu, South Korea, and adopted at age 4 months by an Irish father and French Canadian mother.
“I think it can impact people in different ways,” Larkin says of his background. “You know, there are always stories about people who are negatively impacted by growing up in like an all-white society.”
But, fortunately, he describes his own upbringing as positive. “It gave me a great background, and so, I didn’t have any issues with it.”
YOMYOMF fans may recognize Larkin from his role as “Bobby” from the YouTube comedy Squad 85, and the actor also had a role in the return of the series 90210. With a background in stage, having studied theater at Fordham University, Larkin also never strays too far from that platform. In addition to working on The 100, he is preparing for the production of Fast Company at New York City’s Ensemble Studio Theater, premiering on March 17, just two days before The 100’s debut. It’s a modern-day whodunit where members of one family are all going after the con of the decade.
Larkin says he’s enjoying doing both TV and stage work, each of which offers different challenges and rewards.
“With TV, the great thing is that it constantly stays fresh—you do a scene one day, and then it’s gone, you’re onto the next one, and you let go of all of the lines. And then you get to watch it at anytime! It’s preserved,” says Larkin. “With The 100, sometimes we have some really long days, longer than when you’re rehearsing a play, but it’s just the muscle needed to do a full piece of theater. It’s exhausting, I took a nap before this [interview]! I couldn’t help it. I got home and just crashed. It’s just a bit more intensive going through a play and running scenes over and over for months. But I think the ideal world would to be able to do both.”
This article was published in the March 2014 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the March issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).