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Interview with Tina Huang of "Rizzoli
& Isles" on
This was so much fun! We got off on a couple of gabby
tangents. Ms. Huang is a very nice lady with so much passion
for her craft and for her fans. She plays a goofy
scientist on "Rizzoli & Isles", and a serious doctor on "General
Hospital." She's getting over a cold, so I hope
you can hear it well. Don't miss the show, which is always
good. It returns June 16th for season 6!
Here is the
audio of our interview. I hope you
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's the transcript from
1. The 6th season is starting soon. Are you excited?
Yes, very excited! What I love about it is that it's a
cop show with a certain amount of tongue and cheek, but it
also has so many strong female characters which I deeply,
deeply, deeply appreciate. It's a rare thing, you know?
2. Do we see a lot more of Susie in this upcoming season?
I can't really talk that much about what happens to Susie
in the upcoming season, but I think it's going to be really
exciting. There will be a major plot development.
3. Do we learn more about her, like her family etc.?
You do learn more about her for sure.
4. Any chance we get a more Susie-centric episode?
Yes, there's a big chance of that. I'm sorry to be so
cryptic. You've got to leave some mystery out there, right?
5. Anything you can tell us about the upcoming season?
There is a Susie-centric episode, and there is a major
development. I think the fans are going to -- Twitter might
explode, I'm not sure. [Chuckles] I can't say that there'll
be more dioramas in this season. They were really detailed
and to scale and really gorgeous. It's based on this real
woman who basically started the crime-scene investigation
that way. In around 1908, she started making crime-scene
dioramas, and the police actually started using them to
study crime scenes, so it's based on a real thing.
6. Is it a fun place to work?
Oh, my gosh, it's so fun! It's really like a well-oiled
machine, like a family. The crew is just so incredible. The
writers are fantastic. Jan Nash, the showrunner is lovely
and easy to work with, and the cast -- we're always joking
around, having fun, and having a laugh, so it's such a great
place to be. I like Jordan. Jordan is awesome to work with.
He's such a cool guy. So fun and so giving. They all are.
The whole cast is so incredible.
7. Do you enjoy playing a scientist?
I love it. I love it. My husband's a scientist in real
life. He works in microbiology and immunology, infectious
disease, at UCLA. He always tells me what I'm doing wrong as
a scientist, but it is fun, because being Asian and being an
actor kind of gave my parents a little bit of fulfillment
that I at least pretend to be a scientist or a doctor on TV.
Scientists are a very interesting group of people, I gotta
tell you. I was at a Halloween costume party at the zoo in
LA, and I met this woman who recognized me from the show,
and it turns out she's a medical examiner, so she invited me
down to the LA County Forensics Lab. She gave me this whole
tour, and I really thought all these TV shows made the labs
look fancier than they are, 'cause I've seen so many labs
before, and there's not a lot of money there. They need
funding, they're rundown, and not nearly as cool as you'd
think they'd be. When I went to the Forensics lab, it was
actually really slick and cool and a lot like you'd see it
on TV. And it was huge. Like one floor would be Ballistics
and she showed me this room where there's a water tank
they'd fire guns into so they could match the markings on
the shell casing and bring them over to the double
microscopes and be able to compare the two bullets and see
if they have the same markings. They had a massive gun
library where they can roll through these actual guns from
history and match up the manufacturers, the serial numbers,
and all that kind of stuff. It's just very, very cool. They
have a whole DNA lab and screens everywhere. It was just
8. I guess you and other TV scientists are inspiring
young girls to become scientists as well.
I've actually heard that before, and that's a lovely
thing. It's a lovely byproduct. I think it's important for
people to see images like themselves out there that they can
aspire to be some day. I mean, just like, not to be
political, but seeing Barack Obama become president has
people's perceptions of who can become president, so I'm not
saying -- I don't compare myself to being the president of
the United States, but I get what you're saying. Yeah, for
sure! I'm passionate in helping some community
organizations, as well, so if that happens to be a side
effect of it, I hope I can do more real things in the
community and encourage people to pursue things they
couldn't usually pursue. I mean, I didn't think I could
become an actress growing up in an Asian household, 'cause I
didn't have a lot of role models, but that drive was still
within me, and I had amazing mentors and teachers who
encouraged me to follow those dreams and go to school and
get trained and all that, and I'm lucky enough today to be
working as an actor, working hard for it.
9. You used to live in Chinatown in New York City when
you were a kid, right?
I sure did. I grew up there, in the Lower East Side.
There is progress being made. There are people who are
trying to put art out there that's inclusive and not
exclusive, which is pretty exciting. I'm one of the founding
Ammunition Theatre Company here in Los Angeles and we
just launched this past Saturday. It's made up of really
dynamic artists and activists in our community, and we are a
very diverse group, but we don't want to impress upon people
that it's because we're diverse that we're doing it. It's
because we want to be a part of a community and create art
that's inclusive of the America that we know and have
experienced. It's a very cool endeavor. It's exciting. Part
of the theater company is working with a nonprofit called
My Friend's Place
that helps provide services to homeless youth in Los
Angeles. It's really, really amazing. Our theater company
are members, and we donate our time to volunteer and run
workshops with the kids, and that's really rewarding. We're
gonna do a play reading with them, for them, and help raise
some funds for them. It's really, really exciting, so art,
theater, television all plays together. A bunch of members
from our company are also on TV and care about building a
10. I see that you were in some one-act plays May 30.
How was it? Will there be more?
That was our launching event, but we might produce a
night again with the same plays. We'll definitely be doing a
full season later in the fall. We have to get submissions of
plays from new playwrights, which is always exciting. And a
diverse group of directors as well, male, female.
11. You worked with Karla Mosley, who's on "Bold & The
Beautiful" playing a transgender character. How was it to
work with her?
Yes, it's pretty cool. She's so wildly talented. She was
just wonderful in the one-act plays this weekend, and she's
also spearheading the relationship with My Friend's Place,
so she's a dynamic person and actress and activist.
12. Are you still playing Dr. Chu on GH? When is the last
time you appeared?
As far as I know. I haven't been on for a couple of
months, I think. I can't remember exactly when. It all
blends together, all the shootings, the scheduling. I think
the last time was when I saved Lulu's baby or fixed Lulu's
13. Did you get to participate or watch during the
No, I wasn't. As soon as someone has a complication with
their baby, hopefully, well, not hopefully. That's when Dr.
Chu will probably come back.
14. Is there a big difference between working on the two
Oh, yeah, they're wildly different mediums. A lot of work goes into
both of them.
It takes a lot of people to accomplish what they do. I think
Rizzoli shoots maybe four scenes a day. The nights can be
long. We have two cameras going, and then there all these
reverse angles. I mean, it's shot more like a film. Whereas
a soap opera like "General Hospital" can be maybe 50 items,
they call them items, scenes a day. And there are maybe 3 or
4 cameras going at once. They like switch cameras and edit
it live there. They maybe get one or two takes, 'cause they
have to move on. So, it's a very different muscle, and I've
seen veteran soap actors, and it's so impressive. I mean,
sometimes they get big chunks of dialogue last minute, and
they have to make it work. They have to know it, and they
have to be able to hit their marks, which is extremely
technical, and that is a skill set that not everyone has.
It's a lot of work, but it's also really rewarding. I
noticed when I was working on "Hollywood Heights" and
"General Hospital" is that everyone has a normal life.
Everyone has a family. They go to work, and they leave at a
certain time, because it's so well-oiled, they can have
their outside lives and that sense of stability. It's great.
I'm just so interested in any kind of storytelling --
movies, or one-hour drama, or half-hour comedy or live stage
stuff, sketch -- I love it all.
15. You knew you wanted to be an actress when you were
really young? You had no desire to be a scientist or doctor?
I did. I grew up in a pretty traditional household, and I
know it all came from how much they loved me and worries
about me, but they discouraged the art. I'm first
generation, so they immigrated here, and they wanted me to
have a better life than they had, so they wanted me to do
something in science or in law or medicine or they weirdly
wanted me to become a pharmacist, but I just always felt
like I wanted to be an actor. I got in to all the science
schools, but I secretly auditioned for LaGuardia School for
the Performing Arts with a painting portfolio, photography
and drawing, 'cause I had an art teacher who really believed
in my artistic sensibility, and I always thank her for that.
I got into LaGuardia for fine arts, but I always, always
wanted to be an actor. I just was super shy. Growing up in
New York, I felt like every kid who wanted to be an actor
started when they were like 4-years-old, so I thought I was
over-the-hill at like 13. But I kind of got the nerve, and
prepared a monologue and auditioned and got in and decided
to transfer to the drama department. My parents weren't too
excited about it, but I then got into NYU, and I did all
these interviews by myself, and I think they started to get
it when they started seeing me on TV. My mom still can't
pronounce "Rizzoli & Isles." She calls it "Gilligan's
Island" forever. Yeah, she's cute.
16. Any other projects that you're working on or have
I just did an episode of NBC's "The Night Shift," which
just aired. It was the season finale. I'm playing Topher's
wife, Janet, which is a really fun thing. I got to work with
Eric LaSalle who directed it. It was super fun, a super
great time shooting in Albuquerque. Hopefully, fingers
crossed, I'll get to go back next season. Oh, I'm going to
Edinburgh to do a show called "Fairy
Tale Theatre: 18 and Over." This really fun show. It's
fairy tales for adults with morals like the codependent
Eskimo and the bipolar bear, and when are you too old to buy
IKEA furniture, and that kind of stuff. We actually got
invited to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so we're going
there all of August to perform for 25 days, which is pretty
exciting. It's the world's biggest art festival, so
17. Anything else you'd like to tell your fans?
Well, they know I love them. I think it's important that
people learn more about Parkinson's research. There's a
desperate need for that, and also support live theater and I
don't know, I love my loyal fans. They're awesome. And watch
"Rizzoli & Isles." Thank you.
Check out my review for "Rizzoli
& Isles: The Complete Fifth Season"
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