Check out our interview with Amazon’s “Man in The High Castle” actor Rich Ting.
Rich is best known for his breakout role as Bolo on Bruce Lee Cinemax series Warrior. He is starring in Amazon’s Emmy-nominated show The Man in The High Castle. Rich plays Sergeant Iijimia who is Inspector Takeshi Kido’s (Joel de la Fuente), right hand man. The season four premiere is set for Friday, November 15th.
Actor and martial arts expert, Rich Ting, continues to expand his talents and gain impressive new followers on social media based on his diversity. Rich studied martial arts and received his Black belt at the age of 13.
Follow Rich at @richtingworld
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Persevered, loyal, and trustworthy.
Who was your role model as a child?
How did you get started into acting?
Having played Division 1 college football at Yale University, I continued to maintain my physical weight training and conditioning workout regimens as well as my martial arts well after graduating from college. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate school careers, I trained (as a hobby) at different acting studios as a way of pursuing my childhood dream of being a Hollywood actor. After graduating from both law school and business school, I was coincidentally approached and asked by stunt coordinators in Hollywood if I would be willing to do stunts in some upcoming feature films. With absolutely zero knowledge or experience in the film making industry, I decided to take this challenge as an opportunity to learn and educate myself on set etiquette, film and television culture, as well as just “jumping right into the fire.” I promised myself that I would work in stunts until I was able to completely cross over to the acting side of the industry. As a result, I was fortunate enough to work on various major Hollywood feature films gaining and obtaining an immense amount of knowledge and insight into the film making industry.
My acting career began when I was cast as “Lenny” in the TV series, “Beyond the Break” (2007-2009) and “Heatblast” in the Warner Brothers & Cartoon Network’s “Ben 10: Race Against Time” (2007). In 2009, I was cast in the feature film, “Deadly Impact,” and I debuted on the big screen alongside Angelina Jolie in “Salt.” It has been an absolute dream come true for me to be working in Hollywood as an actor. I continue to live the dream every day I go to set and perform my craft in front of the cameras.
How has this changed your life?
As I reflect on my acting career thus far in the industry, I can only attribute it to the principle my parents preached to me as a child: always keep working no matter what you do. Throughout my life as a student, athlete, and now actor, I have continued to live by this principle of always working and persevering through both the positives and negatives in any given situation despite not knowing what the future holds for me. It has been an incredible journey since I began acting, and I am grateful for all the opportunities as well as friendships and relationships this industry has afforded me.
I encourage everyone who might be sharing the same path or desires to always keep grinding. Keep working no matter how difficult the process is. When I was in elementary school, if I had quit studying martial arts or play Pop Warner football I am confident that I would have not achieved my first childhood dream of playing Division 1 college football at Yale University nor been presented with the opportunities (decades later) that would allow me to fulfill my second childhood dream of working as actor in Hollywood.
Words cannot express how honored and humbled I am to bring to life an idea, vision, and dream of the legendary martial artist and my childhood idol, Bruce Lee. Never would I have imagined that I would be starring in a project created by the greatest martial arts legend of all time. Even though the entertainment industry is filled with challenges, I continue to stay committed every day to work and pursuing my craft no matter what lies ahead because “running water never grows stale, so you just got to keep on flowing.” – Bruce Lee
Tell us about your work as Bolo in Bruce Lee Cinemax series “Warrior?”
Known for his notorious characters in “Enter the Dragon” and “Blood Sport,” Bolo Yeung has been someone I have also idolized due to his muscular physique and overall strong character acting. During my audition at HBO, the creative team for Warrior including Shannon Lee as Executive Producer based their decision to cast me from the strength of my audition but they did say that my martial arts background was impressive and would be an asset to the role. While the character of “Bolo” is a tribute to the real “Bolo Yeung,” long-time friend and co-star of Bruce, they wanted me to bring my character and depth to “Bolo.” In prepping for this project, I did extensive work and training combining character choices, and context for my character as “Bolo.”
In Warrior, Bolo is the universally feared fighter and top lieutenant of the Hop Wei Tong. Despite being an exceptional martial artist, his loyalty and dedication to his tong are second to none as he is willing to sacrifice anything to protect his leader and savior, Father Jun. Without giving away any secrets of Season 1, the most rewarding part of being cast as “Bolo” was that I had the freedom to interpret and create a version of “Bolo” that was true to me as well as attributing certain qualities to the original Bolo Yeung.
Typically throughout my acting career, I have always trained and worked out in the gym to maintain certain physical size and physique. As with any project that involves fighting or physical training requirements, I believe that my background in sports and athletics, as well as martial arts, represents an additional tool and skill set that I can bring to the character role. Focusing primarily on the character and depth of the character, I believe that my athletic background serves as a bonus.
For “Warrior,” I remember Justin Lin asking me if I could put on about 10lbs of extra muscle without losing flexibility or fluidity of motion. It was the first time that a producer asked me to gain weight and gave me the freedom to work out and train in the gym. It was music to my ears. Since playing Pop Warner football at the age of 8-years old to winning an Ivy League Championship at Yale University, I have always enjoyed working out and being in the weight room. It is my “iron paradise.” I began to shift and adjust my weight training as well as physical conditioning in the gym immediately. I began to feel the effects of working out with heavier weights, almost instantaneously as it affected my mental state as well. I felt stronger, healthier, and just overall more balanced in my life. I felt like I was training back in the day during my collegiate football days. I not only enjoyed this shift in my physicality, but it impacted and added to my character analysis and portrayal of “Bolo.”
I also enjoyed focusing on the specific Hungar Kung Fu style that stresses the principle of “minimum movement for maximum impact.” Only a select few of the characters in “Warrior” have a backstory of being trained martial artists, each with their specific style of fighting. This combination of unique martial arts styles throughout Season 1 provides the audience with an amazing arc and variety of fight choreography and action sequences that we are all extremely proud of.
And about the upcoming season of Amazon’s Emmy-nominated show “The Man in the High Castle?” Tell us about your character Captain Iijima?
In Season 4 of “The Man in the High Castle,” Captain Iijima arrives from Japan as Chief Inspector Kido’s new right-hand man. He is a loyal captain for the Imperial Japanese military regime and serves to carry out the commands and desires of the head Japanese officials back in Japan. Throughout the final season, Captain Iijima’s loyalty, as well as motives to Chief Inspector Kido, will become questioned as the murder investigation of the assassination of a significant character continues to reveal new evidence of who ordered the hit as well as the overall murder plot.
What other projects have you been a part of?
Salt (2010), Iris (Korean TV Series)(2013), Make Your Move (2013), Lone Survivor (2013), No Tears For the Dead (2014), Chicago P.D. (2015), The Messengers (2015), Rush Hour (2016), Supergirl (2016), Real (2017), Waco (2018), NCIS: Los Angeles (2018), The Fix (2019).
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I can honestly say that the most rewarding part of my work is that I am living my dream every day. As a child, I always aspired and dreamt of becoming not only an actor but a Hollywood actor working on television and feature films. Having the opportunity to play such diverse characters on camera has been nothing short of a fantasy come true, and I continue to be humbled and grateful for every opportunity I get in the entertainment industry.
How would you explain your fashion style?
My fashion style has evolved throughout the past years. I have always appreciated and been a fan of avant-garde fashion designers, such as Rick Owens and Boris Bidjan Saberi as well as more mainstream designer brands like Helmut Lang, Theory, Paul Smith, Prada, Giuseppe Zanotti, Greg Lauren, Neil Barrett, and Giorgio Armani. I enjoy wearing edgy, fashion-forward apparel as well as a traditional Giorgio Armani suit on occasion.
What would be a deal breaker on a first date?
Lol. Definitely talking with a mouthful of food!
How would your best friend describe you?
My best friend would probably describe me as person who is motivated, dedicated, loyal, and trustworthy.
What is next for Rich Ting in 2019/2020?
In 2020, I will be playing the character of “Li Chang” on the first season of CBS’s new show called “Tommy,” starring Oscar and Emmy award-winning actress, Edie Falco. I was also recently cast for the lead of a sci-fi feature film, “Roma 96,” which will be in production later this year.
I will be seen in the feature film, “Prisoner of Mind,” in which I play the character of “Paul Nguyen.” A graduate student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who works as a tour guide for people visiting the National Mall, including the Vietnam Memorial. The film focuses on numerous illnesses as well as P.T.S.D. that our war veterans suffer from and experience upon returning home from war. Throughout the intense dialogue and conversations between Paul and Sgt. Medder, it becomes evident that these war veterans continue to require additional medical care and attention throughout their recovery and assimilation back into mainstream society. The film addresses the issues of revenge, hope, forgiveness as well as the impacts and influences of religion.
What is your own definition of happiness?
How is a normal day in your life?
A normal day for me starts usually around 8-9 am. I start my day by going straight to the gym. My daily workouts range from 3-5 hours a day. I prefer to finish my workouts early so I can take meetings, go on auditions, and do my prep work for the remainder of the day.
I try to eat between 3-4 meals a day to balance and maintain a healthy diet in conjunction with my physical training and workouts. When I am not filming, my daily schedule is pretty consistent. However, due to the rigorous demands of filming, I have to always remain flexible in my daily and weekly schedule due to the various changes and adjustments that occur throughout a television or film production. If I fall behind on my workouts due to my filming schedule, I always try to catch up on my weekends and/or days off. I truly enjoy relaxing at home and watching my teams play sports.
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
My idea of a perfect Sunday is usually during the fall, where I can watch all the NFL games throughout the entire day and night. My Sundays are typically my meal “cheat” days, so I often enjoy eating delicious foods and desserts along with watching my favorite NFL teams.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Bruce Lee. Bruce was the sole reason why I began my martial arts training as a young child. Hearing about the history and creation of “Warrior” through documentaries and interviews of Bruce, I have been exceptionally honored and humbled to be a part of this project. I remember watching one interview in which Bruce discussed the notion of “The Warrior” and how it will never be made because it stars an Asian leading man. He continues to explain how Hollywood was not ready for an Asian leading man in the 1970s, and as a result, the project would never be made. Almost 50 years, later with the culmination of his daughter, Shannon Lee, Justin Lin, Danielle Woodrow, Jonathan Tropper, HBO, and Cinemax, words cannot describe the feeling of being a part of making Bruce Lee’s vision come to reality.
I believe that it is extremely rare to be granted an opportunity to not only attribute one’s childhood and lifelong idol and role model but to contribute to prolonging the legacy of that particular idol and role model. I have always had dreams of acting in Hollywood, working for certain directors and producers, filming at specific studios, etc., but never did I once imagine that I could contribute and honor the legacy of the most famous and well-known martial artists of all time. Being cast as “Bolo” in “Warrior” represents the biggest win of my career thus far as I portrayed the most iconic and hyper-masculine Asian character known throughout the world in a TV series written and created by the greatest martial artist of all time. I would never have imagined I would be given such an opportunity as a 4-year old child watching both Bruce Lee and Bolo Yeung in “Enter of the Dragon.” As a result, I would be honored and humbled to meet the man that not only inspired me throughout my entire life but gave me the opportunity to be a part of such a special story and project that he created well before I was born.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Best advice ever given?
My parents have preached to me my entire life: “to always keep working at something and never stop.” If I didn’t know what to do, then I should just keep doing what I was currently working on. And that’s exactly what happened in my past. In the summer of 2007, an offer at a law firm in downtown Los Angeles brought me back to L.A., where I coincidentally received my first job offer to work on a Warner Brothers’ feature in the summer of 2007. My dream of being an actor in Hollywood had begun, and since, I continue to be motivated by the unknown factor of what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.
When I was 4-years old, I began to study martial arts because of my motivation and inspiration from Bruce Lee. Many decades later, I am now continuing my childhood idol’s idea, dream, and vision he created before his unfortunate death. Similar to what my parents preached and taught me when I was a child, I continue to stay motivated, committed to my craft, and to never stop pursuing my goals and dreams.
Name 3 things you can’t live without?
Gym, washer/dryer, and air conditioning.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
Hopefully, I will have my own network, cable, and/or streaming TV series.
Favorite song? Why?
Better Now – Post Malone. I am a huge Post Malone fan, and this song personally resonates with me because of the time it was released and what I was working on at the time.
What music do you like?
EDM, Rap/Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae.
What do you think of Social Media?
Like anything else, there are positives and negatives. I feel that it is important to always stay positive and motivated and not let the lives of others steer you away from your passions, goals, and dreams. I look to social media for inspiration and motivation as well as simple entertainment.
Where can we follow you?
All social media platforms @RichTingWorld.
Quote: “Running water never grows stale, so you got to just keep on flowing.” – Bruce Lee.
Favorite Singer/Artist: Michael Jackson.
Movie: The Notebook.
Travel Destination: Japan.
Sports Team: Los Angeles Rams.
TV Show: Million Dollar Listing – Bravo Network.
Book: Where the Wild Things Are.