INTERVIEW: Ricky He Gives Insight into Kenny’s Romantic Woes and More To Come on FROM Season 2
Disclaimer: This FROM interview has been edited for clarity.
FROM season 2 sees Deputy Sheriff Kenny Liu battling the lingering trauma of his father’s violent death and the revelation that one of the new passengers to arrive in the town is Kristi’s long-separated fiancée.
Actor Ricky He spoke to us about these intense storylines, his collaboration with Harold Perrineau, as well as the technical process behind the safety measures for handling guns on the show.
LadyJenevia: My first question is, Kenny has had a thing for Kristi, whose fiancée is now in the town. To what extent are Kenny’s romantic woes weighing on him this season?
He: That’s a good question. It’s layered, right? I mean, it’s extremely layered because, obviously on top of that, it’s been weeks since his father was brutally murdered. He’s obviously still grieving that but I do think that like our everyday lives, we carry this grief and we carry this emotional burden on our shoulders but we don’t necessarily let it take over the entirety of our lives. I think that that’s kind of where it’s at with his heartbreak cute boy moment. Obviously he’s devastated but at the same time, I think he just keeps trucking along. Something that’sever present in the back of his mind is, he tries to be the bigger person, whatever that that might look like for him. Otherwise he’d just be crying every episode and that’s that’s not very fun yeah.
LadyJenevia: I love Kenny’s mother and she’s a character that I will happily accept an unrealistic level of plot armour for if it means that she stays safe and unharmed so how do you feel she influences the way you understand and portray Kenny as a character?
He: I’d always imagined that prior to his dad developing dementia, I always felt like in a traditional Asian household they’re kind of both the stick. There isn’t really a carrot and a stick but I do think that Kenny’s inspired by his mom’s willingness to help people and her willingness to take care of people. I think that that’s where he actually derives a lot of that from. He looks towards her as an example for how giving and how relentlessly providing she is. That’s the general relationship that they have. With him and his dad for example, he was lacking a little bit of that direct father figure so he looks towards his mom for her cues and caretaking and love.
LadyJenevia: Being that you play a character who is a deputy sheriff, you’re shown to be handling guns so I was wondering if you had any prior experience handling guns in an acting capacity and if you could share a little bit about the safety protocols used on set when handling them.
He: For the most part, on a day-to-day basis, unless I’m required to take the firearm out of my holster it’s actually a half gun that we use. What happens is there’s a rubber gun that they cut in half and then they hot glue together but it’s fully rubber. It might as well be this with tissue paper so they cut it in half and they glue it into the holster. I’m proud to say that on our set we’ve been really diligent in in terms of handling the firearm in general. Even the the times that I had to pull out my firearm for any any type of action, we very meticulously made sure that the gun was safe and everyone on the set knew that it was safe. It’s definitely something that I’m relatively inexperienced with so I think I walked in with just trying to learn how to make sure everything was safe because it’s a scary thing and it’s a whole different prop. Anytime you’re introducing prop to any scene it comes with its challenges, let alone something that’s potentially dangerous.
LadyJenevia: A lot of your scenes across both seasons have been with Harold Perrineau who is the reason I started watching the show because I think he’s incredible.
He: He’s the goat!
LadyJenevia: Yeah, he’s amazing. What have you gained as far as insight goes about be it the craft of acting or maybe how to conduct yourself on set, from being able to work so closely with him?
He: I’m very lucky and fortunate to say now that Harold and I, I feel like we’re very close friends. I’ve said this before but early on in the work, I decided that like Kenny looking up to Boyd as a father figure, as a surrogate father, he actually takes a lot of his cues, his mannerisms and his behaviours from Boyd, so sometimes you’ll notice even the cadence of what he’s speaking, it’s almost… it’s not mimicking Boyd but it’s like he’s trying to learn to be a man with Boyd, and in that exact same vein I as Ricky He look up to Harold so much. There really isn’t a better person to learn from and he is as much a leader for the show as Boyd is for the town. I did an AMA on Reddit at one point and they were asking about working with Harold and I think at some point during the season I said to Harold, ‘Working on the scene with you kind of feels like I’m like rolling with a black belt.’ There’s not an antagonistic or violent [dynamic] but he’s stunning me. It’s like we’re like tussling and trying to figure out how it works and just trying to make it better every single time and it’s something I’m very grateful for.
LadyJenevia: What can you tease about the back half of the season? I’ve only seen as far as episode six so there’s a lot I’ve seen but a lot I have not seen.
He: Episode six is pretty crazy though, right?
LadyJenevia: Yes, very good!
He: It does get better. I can’t say too much but you’re obviously gonna be left with some questions but you are also actually going to take away a few answers, and it starts to get pretty fucking crazy.
LadyJenevia: Love that.
FROM season 2 is available to stream on MGM+.
Watch my interview with FROM cast members Ricky He and Avery Konrad here:
Watch my interview with Harold Perrineau and other FROM cast members here:
Browse more of my reviews in print and video form.