We had the good fortune of connecting with Rich Ting and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rich, what do you attribute your success to?
Throughout my early life, I was always searching for something that would “wake me up in the morning and get me out of bed.” In college, I heard all of my classmates discuss their future plans and career goals but I still had not pinpointed exactly what I wanted to do. I always knew regardless of what I chose as a future career that I would need to absolutely love it, be it, and live it everyday of my life. From being a history major at Yale while completing all of my pre-med requirements to earning a joint J.D./M.B.A. dual degree in graduate school, I still did not know what I wanted to do with my life. My parents taught me 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. 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 film in the summer of 2007. My dream of being an actor in Hollywood had began 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. So many decades later, I am now continuing my childhood idol’s idea, dream, and vision he created prior to his unfortunate death. Never would I have thought that I would be starring in a project (“Warrior”) created by the greatest martial arts legend of all time while continuing the pursuit of my dream of being a Hollywood actor. Bruce Lee was quoted saying, “Running water never grows stale, so you got to just keep on flowing.” Similar to what my parents preached and taught me when I was a child, I continue to stay motivated, committed to my craft, and always remember “to just keep on flowing.”
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an actor in Hollywood most known for my roles as ‘Bolo’ in the Bruce Lee inspired hit action drama series, “Warrior,” on HBO Max as well as ‘Captain Iijima’ in the Amazon series, “The Man in the High Castle.” I have starred opposite Mark Wahlberg in “Lone Survivor” where I played Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, ‘James Suh’, and alongside Angelina Jolie in “Salt.” I have also worked on television shows, such as “Waco”, “Supergirl”, “Chicago P.D.”, and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
In 2021, I will be in FX’s new TV series (streaming on Hulu), “The Old Man” starring Jeff Bridges, who plays the character of ‘David Chase’, a former intelligence officer living off the radar who finds himself targeted for assassination and is forced back into the world he left behind. It is a thriller television series based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Perry and was developed by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine. I play the character of “Lam,” a CIA hired mercenary who pursues Chase with strict orders to detain and bring him in alive. Also, I recently wrapped a Western feature film, “No Name and Dynamite Davenport,” where I play the lead character of ‘Dynamite Davenport’ and will be debuting in the video game world in 2K’s newest adventure/fantasy game later this year.
I am a 4th generation Chinese-Japanese American who was born in Torrance, CA, and grew up in both Southern and Northern California. At the age of 4-years old, I began my training and studying of Tae Kwon Do, earning my 1st degree black belt at the age of 13-years-old. Raised in an athletic family, I earned Varsity letters in all four sports in high school: football, basketball, baseball, and track. While my parents stressed the importance of balancing both academics and athletics, my childhood dream was to earn an athletic scholarship and play Division 1 college football. That dream became a reality when I was recruited by various Pac 10 (currently the NCAA Pac 12 Conference) and Ivy League colleges, ultimately committing to play football at Yale University. As the son of a sports orthropaedic surgeon, I fulfilled all of my pre-medical requirements but my true academic interest lay in the humanities. I graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History/American Studies continuing my academic studies in graduate school, where I earned both J.D. & M.B.A. degrees.
My passion for acting was a direct result from watching Bruce Lee as a child. I remember watching all of Bruce Lee’s films at the early age of 3-years old. I had already taught myself how to use my parents’ beta tape machine and could perform all the basic tasks of playing, rewinding, fast-forwarding, stopping and pausing different scenes. As a result, I was not only inspired to began studying martial arts, but I was also able to teach myself how to use all of the weapons Bruce Lee used in his films, including the nunchucks. As result of films like, “Enter the Dragon,” “Game of Death,” “Fist of Fury,” “Chinese Connection,” and “Return of the Dragon,” I began training in martial arts at the age of 4-years-old. I believe that my love and passion for both martial arts and acting is very similar to the “chicken and the egg” scenario. My interest in martial arts began the first time I saw Bruce Lee on television but I also wanted to become an actor because of seeing him perform as well.
Having been born and raised in Los Angeles, I definitely believe that the surrounding “Hollywood” environment also influenced me to want to pursue a career in acting. I remember seeing huge billboards for films, TV shows, concerts, brand names as well as attending school with children of famous celebrities. As a child, I often asked myself (1) why there was not a famous “Asian American” leading man and (2) why were all Asian actors (like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan) martials artists or characters that could fight and fly through the air. Legends like Bruce Lee definitely inspired and motivated me to pursue my study of martial arts but I was always curious why there was never an Asian American “dad,” “boyfriend,” “policeman,” “firefighter,” “lawyer,” or “hero.” All of my childhood friends had favorite actors that they could relate to ethnically and racially, however, I could never find that one Asian American leading man that represented my “hero.” As a result, the dream and pursuit of becoming not only an Asian American actor but a leading man in Hollywood began. It has been an absolute dream come true for me to be working in Hollywood as an actor, and I continue to live the dream everyday I go to set and perform my craft in front of the cameras.
It was extremely difficult for me to break into the acting scene, especially since I had begun my official acting career in my late-20s. Having graduated from Yale University as well as law school and M.B.A. school, I was only able to make the transition to the entertainment industry as an actor later in my life. I was fortunate to have been introduced to the industry via stunts due to my family and close friends who are stunt coordinators in the business. My career as an actor began in Los Angeles, cast for “Lenny” in the TV series, “Beyond the Break” (2007-2009) and “Heatblast” in the Warner Brothers’ (Cartoon Network) feature film, “Ben 10: Race Against Time” (2007). That same year, I was also cast in the feature film, “Deadly Impact” and in 2009, I debuted on the big screen alongside Angelina Jolie in the film entitled, “Salt.”
However, I decided to accept a role in a feature film in Vietnam commemorating 1,000 years of the capital city of Hanoi in 2009 that led me to live and work in Vietnam for almost 2 years. As a result of my work and popularity in South East Asia, I was able to get the attention of producers and directors back in Hollywood that allowed me the opportunity to be cast in the feature film, “Make Your Move,” alongside “Dancing With the Stars” regular, Derrick Hough and Korean pop-star singer, “BoA” directed by Duane Adler (who also directed “Save the Last Dance” and “Step Up.”) In 2014, I had to opportunity to travel to Asia again and star in 3 feature films and 1 TV series (“Iris”) in South Korea. Again, these opportunities opened doors for me back in Hollywood, and since I have fortunately remained busy working on productions back in the U.S. I have dedicated my life to pursuing my acting career and have always been open to sacrificing my lifestyle and comfort in order to have success in Hollywood.
Throughout my career as an actor, “acting” or the process of becoming someone else has definitely contributed to my personal growth. Stemming from my training in my actors studio in Los Angeles, CA, I always try to bring as much truth, honesty, and overall, realness to all the characters that I play. However, in order to be completely successful in portraying and embodying each and every distinct character, there is a tremendous amount of self discovery and personal dissection that must occur within myself first. If I am not completely honest and transparent to myself, then it is impossible to bring any form of truthfulness to the character(s) I am portraying. As a result, I have done (and will continue to do) a tremendous amount of self-study, reflection, and analysis of myself and all of my experiences and personal adversities that I have encountered thus far in my life. The process of becoming someone else has allowed me the opportunity to connect to a deeper and more vulnerable layer within myself that has ultimately freed me of any “walls” or other protective shields that I may have developed throughout my childhood and early adult years. I am truly thankful and grateful for the numerous opportunities that acting has given me to learn more about myself as well as mature and grow not only as an actor but as a human being.
I have always disagreed with the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” Instead, my personal version of this cliché is that “Perfect practice makes perfect.” That being said, I have always been extremely disciplined in my study and training of my acting craft. I have remained cognizant of this principle in order to maximize every learning opportunity, whether it be in the actors studio or on a live set filming a project; as a result, I continue to grow, expand, and mature as an actor. Ironically, I also believe that perfection is inevitable as an actor due to the simple fact that an actor is constantly learning and discovering more and more about his or her craft as an artist. Perfection to me is nearly a motivating notion that I continue to persevere and strive for as an artist. I am grateful for all of my life opportunities as well as adversities and hardships that I have encountered throughout my life so far as they have all contributed to my ever expanding arch as an actor in the entertainment industry. With the conclusion of every project, I like to think that I am graduating to another platform with more expectations and newer challenges. I am humbled for all the variety of characters and genres that I have been cast for thus far in my career and am especially excited for 2021, as I will be playing a variety of characters that I have yet to portray on the big screen.
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 always working and persevering through both the positives and negatives in any given situation. 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 continue to stay committed everyday to working 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.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Prince Street Pizza – Best pizza in Los Angeles! Bao – Best dim sum in Beverly Hills!
Urth Cafe – For their matcha blended drinks.
Salt & Straw Ice Cream – Love getting ice cream from the Larchmont location.
In-N-Out Burger – Staple!
Chosun Kalbi – Best Korean BBQ in Koreatown!
South Grill Beverly Hills – Favorite spot for drinks and delicious foods!
Wally’s Beverly Hills – Great food! Great drinks! Great service!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First, I have to give a tremendous amount of credit to my parents. They have always supported me throughout all of my academics, athletics, and now, artistic careers. My mother especially has believed in my artistic talents from when I was a child and has always encouraged me to pursue the arts and my acting dreams. From enrolling me into martial arts at the age of 4 years-old to driving me to every football, basketball, baseball, and track practice as well as attending all of my games and graduations, my parents have always been there on the sidelines rooting for me and pushing me to strive for excellence in all aspects of life.
Second, I cannot thank my wife, Angela, enough for all of her support and love throughout the past few years. Having met her in South Korea while filming a feature film, it was an absolute dream come true to meet the love of my life in one of my favorite cities in the world, Seoul, South Korea. Being an actor in Hollywood is one of the most inconsistent and challenging working and living situations anyone could possibly imagine. As actors, we are constantly being critiqued, criticized, and rejected. The highs are extremely high and the lows are devastatingly low. The ultimate challenge is to find and create that balance in your life which enables you to stay focused and committed to your craft, never succumbing to the criticism and overall negativity of the industry. Angela has provided that balance and overall mental and emotional stability on and off of set for me to remain focused and true to myself as well as my goal of achieving all of my aspirations and dreams as an actor in Hollywood.
Next, I would like to thank my acting coach and mentor, Jocelyn Jones. It was an absolute privilege and honor to be welcomed into her actor’s studio in Los Angeles, CA early in my acting career. Her knowledge, experience, and overall love for the craft has taught me that you are never too big to continue learning and becoming the best version of your character. I have been truly grateful and humbled for all of the knowledge she has given me throughout the years allowing me to continuously absorb her wisdom and for challenging me to always become a better person and artist.
Last, I have to give a big shoutout to my agent, Daniel Ortega. My guy has been with me for the past several years and has always been a loyal supporter of me. From our initial meeting to our current projects, he has always believed in my artistic craft and abilities and never stops working towards our next job. I am grateful to say that we have not only grown as an agent-artist duo but I consider him one of my true friends in this ever evolving and crazy entertainment industry.
Instagram: Rich Ting World
Twitter: Rich Ting World
Facebook: Rich Ting World
HBO Amazon Kovacevic Bosch Charlie Nunn Issac Alvarez Sergio Garcia Tauriq Dolley Landi Groenewald