John Cho is the newest star of FOX’s “The Exorcist,” which yes, is a sequel to the 1973 film of the same name. In the series, which airs Fridays at 9 p.m., the 45-year-old plays former child psychologist Andrew Kim. But he wasn’t necessarily following a long held onto dream, or anything.
“I grew up avoiding those kinds of movies,” he tells Metro. “At first, I had an aversion towards horror, but then ‘The Exorcist’ came along. It’s been a lot of fun.”
The Seoul-born actor — who you may remember from the viral #StarringJohnCho campaign, a inclusion inspired movement that imagined a world where every leading actor is played by Cho himself — also knows it’s important to see his face, in particular, in the terrifying anthology series. “I had not seen Asian faces in American horror,” he told Entertainment Weekly in September. “It kind of tickled me to want to change that visual vocabulary a bit.”
We chatted more with the “Star Trek” alum about understanding the horror genre, religious influences and diversity in television.
What was it like coming into the horror genre for the first time?
I really had a great time working on the series. Now, I'm trying to learn mechanically what the horror genre requires: Where the camera should be, for example, because it's not just about music and special effects, it's about increasing tension. So I feel like I'm learning a lot about this genre and I'm really delighted to be doing it.
You guys are in the woods a lot this season. It’s very spooky.
That’s compelling to me. It feels epic changing not only place but also climate, atmosphere. Woods become mysterious when lit. You can see the beauty and danger of nature at the same place — the love and the wrath of God. You know, there are so many terrible things happening in the forests at night. That’s why people go and leave dead bodies there.
Speaking of God, you grew up Catholic. How has that influenced your work in this series?
Exorcisms and anything related to demons in general were a taboo in my family. But Catholicism was also a kind of taboo. So I am confronting all of that, all the taboos of my youth, in a single television series.
Why should people be watching this series?
The characters — and I'm talking about everyone, including Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) and Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) — and the new additions, they make the series very resilient. And the show explores why we suffer, why we love, all the important things in life. It’s a story people care about.
And it’s very diverse which is a great thing to see on TV.
I've been in other films and series that have been really diverse, like "Star Trek.” Directors and producers keep talking about diversity, but for me it’s so natural. And it was something that attracted me to this series: The cast was already very diverse, and you don’t really see that in horror.