Interview with Ian Anthony Dale of "Murder in the First" on USA Network - Primetime Article From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Ian Anthony Dale

Interview with Ian Anthony Dale of "Murder in the First" on USA Network 7/2/14

Ian Anthony Dale was a great guy to interview. He's so busy! And rightly so. Amazing actor.

Here is the our interview. I hope you enjoy it!

If the audio is not streaming well, please right-click on this link and save it to your computer. It should work better that way!


Here is the transcribed version by Gisele.

1. So why three names?

Ian Anthony Dale: Well, those are the names given to me by my parents when I was born. When I moved to Los Angeles, and I had to join SAG, they gave me the option of what I wanted my name to be, and I figured Ian Anthony Dale just has a better ring to it than only Ian Dale itself. I figured it's my real name, my full name, I might as well use it.

2. How did your role on the show come about?

Ian Anthony Dale: I auditioned for it. This was a pilot the season prior, and out of 30 pilots I read, this was one of the best, and I put it at the top of the list of ones I would like to get. I was just lucky enough that there was a role written in the script that was right up my alley, and fortunately, I had a couple of really good auditions for it, and this time around, I was the right guy for the job. But I remember when I walked into the audition, and I saw the back of Steven Bochco's head for the first time, and he's got this very distinguished head of white hair, and I'd never met him prior to this, so I see the back of his head, and I'm like "Oh, my God. That's Steven Bochco," and immediately my heart elevated a few beats, and it was kind of a surreal experience meeting him and reading for him, but I was able to calm my nerves and give a good reading, and lo and behold, I got the job. I read for Eric Lodal first, and then I read for Steven, and I was fortunate enough to get a straight offer after that. I didn't have to test for it, which I will take any day. It's so nice when you don't have to go in and compete for it, when they see you as the guy for it, and they reward you for it. It's kind of nice.

3. Have you ever had to do a preliminary video audition?

Ian Anthony Dale: Yeah, that's becoming more and more common in our industry when you have to self-tape, and it's interesting. It's really kind of streamlining the process. I know some people who actually just record themselves on their Facetime computer camera and then send that in. They literally have their lines written on their computer screen as they're looking in the camera. It seems like such an artificial process, but that seems to be the way the industry's going now. You just kind of have to go with the flow and try to stay current.

4. What did you like most about the role when you read for it?

Ian Anthony Dale: Oftentimes, I want to know how the writers came about writing a particular character, and for mine, I had the opportunity to ask Eric Lodal "How did you write this character? How did he come about?" He explained to me that he'd spent quite a bit of time in San Francisco, at 850 Bryant Street, which is where the police headquarters are, and saw a lot of young, ambitious, Asian-American men working there on the police force and in other various law enforcement departments, and he's like "I just want to be representative of the environment with the characters that I write." So, I really appreciate that, and I'm happy that I can be the representative of the Asian community in San Francisco with this character. I really love the fact that the character is so young and ambitious and yet he's the boss. He's younger than most of his team. He, therefore, has to walk this fine line between wanting to be their contemporary and also having to be the authoritarian. So, it's a character that is built for conflict to happen, and certainly, as the season unfolds, we'll see some of that conflict. I'm sure it's not always the easiest when you're the older better detective to have to take orders from this young hotshot who hasn't been there as long as you have and hasn't seen the things you have. So, I was drawn to the complexity of the character, and it's been a lot of fun.

5. Do you feel there are more and better roles now for Asian-Americans than there were when you started?

Ian Anthony Dale: Personally, as far as the opportunities that I've gotten, I would certainly say that, in the last several years, the roles have gotten better. I think it's a combination of our industry starting to evolve and also just me having put the time in and finally being rewarded with some good material. This is an industry that it takes time. There are a lot of 20-year overnight successes. I've been doing this for 13 years, so I've done my fair share of roles that were very stereotypical, insignificant, and I really don't have to do those anymore. It's nice to not have to do those anymore to survive. I can wait around for the Adam Noshimuris (Hawaii Five-0), the Simon Lees (The Event), the Jim Kotos (Murder in the First). It's nice to be able to work on characters that are 3-dimensional.

6. Which other roles have you done that are similar to Jim Koto?

Ian Anthony Dale: I've played some detectives in the past, mostly in a guest-star capacity, so I wasn't able to really invest in the character as much as I have with Jim, but I guess, like any character I play, I really gravitate toward characters who are struggling with something, who have some sort of complexity to them. With Jim, he kind of straddles that line between cop and politician, and he has this ambitious attitude where he always wants to get to that next rung in the ladder. That type of ambition will lead to conflict in his work and in his relationships, so I love playing characters that are dealing with some sort of internal struggle, and that's what Jim is dealing with. So, no, I don't think I've ever played a character quite like this.

7. Will we learn more about Jim Koto this season?

Ian Anthony Dale: We will. As the season unfolds, we'll start to see the weight of this case start to kind of mount on his shoulders, and we start to see Jim come unhinged. Toward the end of the season, my character gets some meatier episodes, and we get to see the true content of his character.

8. Have all the episodes been filmed already?

Ian Anthony Dale: They have. Yeah, we finished filming a little over a month ago. Now we get to sit back and enjoy watching them.

9. So your brother is a police officer; does he think the show is accurate?

Ian Anthony Dale: He's the best barometer I know for informing me whether or not something is authentic. I've been on shows in the past where he's like, "Man, that show is ridiculous. Stuff never happens like that. You don't call this item that or this." So, he's very critical, and I'm happy for that. So, with "Murder in the First," we spoke after he watched the premiere episode, and he's like, "I really like it, and it feels authentic." So, it was nice to hear that from him.

10. Some other shows focus on one case all season long, and then they don't catch the killer at the end of the first season. Can you tell us whether "Murder in the First" will be catching the killer this season or not?

Ian Anthony Dale: We will be.

11. Anything you can tell us at all about upcoming episodes?

Ian Anthony Dale: I really can't, other than we'll continue to peel back the layers, and we'll kind of introduce some more theories of who possibly could have killed Cindy Strauss, so the suspect pool will widen a bit.

12. Congratulations on your other role on "Hart of Dixie" as well. What can you tell us about the role of Henry Dalton?

Ian Anthony Dale: Well, he's this southern gentleman who comes from a very wealthy family. He's a doctor who works for Doctors Without Borders. He's kind of described as this too-good-to-be-true guy, and he will be the love interest of one of the regulars on the show. I don't know how much I can share at this point in time. I really haven't spoken to the right people about what can be revealed and what can't, but I know I can share that much. It's the first time I've ever played a southerner. I was on set the other day, and shot our first scene, and I had to go to the director and ask, "Hey, man. How does my southern accent sound? Does it sound okay?" And he's like, "Yeah, it sounds great." So, I'm having a lot of fun. It's definitely a little outside the box from what I've been playing the last few years, so it's always good to have a little fun with a character, and I'm certainly getting to do so with this guy. I am more used to drama, so being on a set where people are just loose, and it's kind of more light-hearted fare, it's fun. I like it. I could get used to that.

13. Did you do anything to work on the accent?

Ian Anthony Dale: I did. There's this really great dialect coach here in Los Angeles. His name is Michael Buster. He's kind of the go-to guy for just about every dialect you can imagine. I'd worked with him in the past preparing a British accent, so he's the first person I called when I got the job, and I worked with him over the weekend before I started work on "Hart of Dixie."

14. Do you know how many episodes you'll be in?

Ian Anthony Dale: I'm doing a couple to start the season, and that's all I know for sure for now.

15. Are there any problems juggling the two roles?

Ian Anthony Dale: No, we're not filming "Murder in the First" right now, so I'm free and available to work on other things. I'm just fortunate that TNT is kind enough to let me work during our hiatus.

16. Will there be a second season of "Murder in the First"?

Ian Anthony Dale: Not that I know of. I'm still waiting to hear, but I've got my fingers crossed. I remain hopeful.

17. You're very busy as an actor. Do you plan to write or direct as well?

Ian Anthony Dale: I do. I know that that's kind of the next step for me. It's the natural evolution for me in this business, and I have some ideas. Oftentimes when as an actor you feel unsatisfied with the opportunities that you're getting, the only way to change that is to create the opportunities for yourself. So, I have some ideas and some characters that I'd like to play that I may be the only one who ultimately writes that. Yeah, that's definitely in my future. I went to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for my college, and I studied film with an emphasis on directing, so I think I'd very much enjoy that responsibility.

18. Anything else you'd like to tell your fans?

Ian Anthony Dale: I'd like to let them know that I can finally say that I will be back working on "Hawaii Five-0," and I'll be returning for work on the island at the end of this month for next season's episodes. It's become one of my favorite places and certainly feels like a home away from home, for sure. I get a warm welcome every time I'm there, and I'm really grateful for that.


·       In TNT’s MURDER IN THE FIRST, Ian plays Lieutenant Jim Koto – an all-business lieutenant with movie-star good looks and a Stanford degree. He’s no-nonsense, clear-thinking and never one to jump to conclusions. Koto is always diplomatic and the ultimate professional, but he possesses a caring heart.

·       MURDER IN THE FIRST premiered on Monday, June 9th at 10:00pm/9:00pm ET/PT on TNT. Premiere night was #1 new series launch on basic cable this year.

·       Ian’s brother is a homicide detective for the Minneapolis Police Department. Anytime he has a question about authenticity, or anything technical, he’s the first person Ian calls because he has experienced it.

·       Best known for his recurring role as Adam Noshimuni on CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0”, Dale’s past projects also include “Criminal Minds”, “24”, “THE HANGOVER”, “American Horror Story,” “The Mentalist,” “Burn Notice,” to name a few.  

·       Ian just booked a recurring role on Season 4 of the CW’s “Hart of Dixie”, set to premiere in 2015.

·       Recently, Ian purchased a new home in Los Angeles. In his free time, Ian enjoys designing and creating custom furniture out of his home. When he first moved to LA, he was a carpenter for television and film sets.

·       Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ian’s favorite MLB team is the Minnesota Twins.

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Page updated 11/14/14

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