NYCC 2017 is a month behind us while The Librarians season 4 is a month away from us. This means that now is the perfect time to sit down and really get into the meat of the roundtable interviews with Dean Devlin, John Kim, and Christian Kane.
The first warning in here is that I love this show with the same depth of commitment that I love chocolate. The second warning in here is that after meeting Devlin, Kane, and Kim, I’m an even bigger fan of the show. Whether it’s a photo op, autograph session, or interview, meeting celebrities has more often than not been a letdown for me. You think that they’re going to be the way you heard they were, or the way the YouTube videos of them with fans are, and then there’s this moment of letdown.
Not with any of the cast or staff of The Librarians.
Christian Kane walked into the interview room dressed just like his character Jacob. Less than two minutes into the interview, you realize that Jacob isn’t a character Kane plays, he’s a character that Kane has created. In fact, Jacob is so much like Kane that if you’re a fan of the character, you’re automatically a fan of the actor.
Meanwhile, Kim is this effervescent personality who has all the energy of his Ezekiel with none of that cynicism. Kim’s personality is exactly what you’d expect from a 24-year-old excited to be playing this super fun role.
Then you have the man behind the show, Dean Devlin. The reason fans love The Librarians, and the reason fans (myself included) adored Leverage, is Devlin. The heart of these shows is Devlin’s production and the way that he values intelligence while flirting with morality a bit.
Talking With Devlin
Sitting with Devlin, you get the sense that he creates entertainment that he wants to watch. Having said that The Librarians season 4 would be about superheroes, the first comment Devlin makes is that “their intelligence is their superpower.” When asked about the importance of intelligence, Devlin harkens back to the original 2004 movie saying that the Librarian was a guy who studied and that “as a father, this was a message I wanted to give. There are rewards for knowing things, for reading, for having an intellectual pursuit.” The history nerd in me loved that he went on to explain that every show is meticulously researched. He noted, “To our surprise, we find that grandparents are watching this with their grandkids. Everyone is finding something they love in this show.”
In my house, The Librarians is one of the few live action television shows my kid will watch that doesn’t include talking dogs (I’m looking directly at you, Super Buddies franchise). When asked why Devlin made Cassandra, the female mathematician, the most powerful character, he replied in true GeekDad fashion, “It’s the simplest answer. I have two daughters. To me, when my oldest daughter was really young she was a Star Wars fan, and she actually got bullied because she was a girl who liked Star Wars. I really just always wanted to put in front of her that there’s nothing to be afraid of about being smart. There’s nothing to be ashamed about knowing things. And there’s nothing, NOTHING, to be ashamed about being a geek.” The strength of conviction in his voice came with that sense of truly wanting to show families and children that being intelligent matters. In a world where kids find themselves more prized for their athletic abilities than their intellectual abilities, Devlin offers kids those heroes who truly shine because of their intelligence and because they care about knowledge and truth.
What You Need to Know About Christian Kane
This dedication to intelligence and thoughtfulness doesn’t stop with the producer. Christian Kane was asked about his journey as an actor from Angel to Leverage to The Librarians. Kane’s depth of thoughtfulness in his response comes from a deep-seated intellectuality.
He shared, “The problem is that the people that die for this, that live their life to do this stuff, are losing jobs. Reality television is coming in and taking over and kicking the sh*t out of Hollywood. I feel really sorry for any kid who gets off the bus with a dream these days. There’s very few quality dramas that we’re doing, much less have a drama go a season, much less have a drama go four seasons. I’ve been an advocate for this for a while. I think reality TV is killing this industry. It used to be that if you believed in this, that’s what you did. I used to tell people, if this is what you believe in, don’t stop. If this is what you want to do, you have to give it your whole life. Sometimes that means not having kids. You will do something great someday. I can’t promise that anymore. There was so much life out there before, and Hollywood is dead out there now.”
Really listening to Kane, you get the sense that nothing he says is accidental. As the follow-up question asked him about the value of streaming services, he responded that he’s really on the fence about it and has thought about it a lot. “I do like what Netflix is doing. I do like what Hulu is doing. I like what they’re doing, and I do applaud them.”
Moreover, Kane takes acting seriously, in a way that a lot of actors can’t articulate. You can tell, just listening to his passion, that he really thinks about his acting as a social good. This dedication was clear when he responded to interviewers saying, “We’re all going through a rough time right now. Things have been tough for a bit. We have so many things to deal with. Our job is for you to sit down on that couch, not think about your job, not think about your life, not think about what’s going on outside. We’re here to provide you entertainment. I think that we fight the good fight on Leverage for the guys that couldn’t do it. On The Librarians, we get to give you a Sunday night, and now a Wednesday night (The Librarians season 4 episode 1 will be on Wednesday, December 21), where you get to forget about life for a while. People get to step out of reality for a bit. I think the reason this show allows you to do that is because it’s not a drama. It’s not a comedy. It’s action, drama, comedy, emotion. I like to call it Baskin Robins–you’ve got a little bit of every flavor.” This passion not for fame or fortune but to help people through entertaining them is what makes him more than just “that guy on that show.” He believes in the value of entertainment, but also in the value of intelligent entertainment.
Following up on questions that had been posed to Devlin, Abby White at The Portalist asked about intellectuality in The Librarians season 4. Kane responded that intelligence has become something worth fighting for because “as we used to say in the Age of the GeekBaby, intelligence is very sexy. I think that’s helped us out a lot. I read this book The Devil in the White City, but the thing was reading that book it was our version of Jack the Ripper, but it was also a history lesson about how Chicago was built. I found myself enthralled in the drama and the horror. But at the same time, I was learning all this history. I think that’s kind of fun, not only do you get to learn, you get to be entertained. You get to laugh. You know about three to four things you didn’t know that actually makes you a better person just by watching an episode of The Librarians, and you got to laugh and cry the whole time.” The best part of listening to Kane wax poetic about the value of intelligence is that there aren’t enough smart, kind characters on television for kids. Hearing the actor not only espouse the value of this but also be dedicated to his own edification means that he’s the real deal. This isn’t just someone playing a smart character. This is a smart guy who happens to create an intelligent character for us to love.
Why We Love John Kim
As the 39-year-old woman sitting at a table of younger folks, I enjoyed having the matured Kane with us. Nothing, however, really beats the youthful exuberance that John Kim brings to the table. While he sometimes defers to Kane, he is such a wonderfully pleasant person with such an upbeat approach that you get drawn in by him.
Kim’s response to questions about the popularity of The Librarians brings a verve with them. He explains, “At a time when everyone wanted to be edgy, gritty, we came out with a product that was so familiar and that anyone of any age could enjoy. There was this weird sort of vacuum effect where everyone came over to this side and we just stuck our roots there. Now you talk about family shows. I don’t know if there really is one you can watch from grandkids all the way up to grandparents.” This is what makes him so hugely popular. Unlike his character Ezekiel, who doesn’t want to care, Kim’s emotional connection to the show and his role in it clearly shines. Looking to The Librarians season 4, Kim’s responses make you long for December 21st.
John Kim’s excitement emanates in electric waves from him. As he discussed his own project, he tells the story of asking to borrow the cameras and getting help from the cameramen to shoot the project. He explains that everyone was “very gracious. They said if you can convince some of the camera operators to work with you, then I’m all for it. So I wrote a script while I was shooting, and I remember going to pitch it to Gary, a camera operator, and I didn’t even get through the question. I’m a really bad schmoozer and said ‘yeah, there’s this thing I want to do and I need a guy that can hold a camera.’ He’s all, ‘yeah, I’ll do it.’ And I’m like cool! awesome!” This kind of excitement is exactly what you’d expect from Kim. He’s one of the most unassuming actors you’ll ever talk to.
The Men of The Librarians Are the Male Role Models We Need
Sitting here writing this roundup piece, I started thinking about what made Devlin, Kane, and Kim so attractive. The answer is that they give us the men that we women need in society. At the last minute, Booth was unable to join the interviews. Walking into an interview with only men seemed almost antithetical to being a GeekMom. Where would I be able to find the ally, the female perspective?
What I realized in interviewing these three men was that they are exactly the men we want our sons to grow up to be.
When interviewers asked about Lindy Booth’s directorial debut on the show, the two men did nothing but empower their female coworker. Kane discussed how wonderful a director she was while Kim pointed out that she was “so good in her vision and relating it.” Kane noted that “the scenes she hated the most were the ones she was in because she had to come out from behind the camera. She’ll be directing another one next season.”
Devlin created an entire character to empower his daughter.
In a world where women may often feel let down by men in the entertainment industry, these three men prove that the good guys are out there. The Librarians season 4 debuts on December 21st.