Ian Anthony Dale talks MURDER IN THE FIRST and HAWAII FIVE-0

iananthonydale1On the brink of the third season premiere of Murder in the First, (which airs June 26 at 10 P.M. on TNT), I had the honor to speak with Ian Anthony Dale about his role as Jim Koto on the series as well as his recurring role of Adam Noshimuri on Hawaii Five-0.

First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me.  I really appreciate it.  I had the privilege to interview you in 2013 for Mortal Kombat, so this is really an honor.
Oh, my pleasure.

Tell me about Jim.  How do you think he’s changed over the last couple of seasons?
Well, I’ve been wanting to sink my teeth into something really juicy and, unfortunately over the course of the last couple of seasons, he’s pretty much been restricted to being the authoritarian of the homicide unit and has to be the one to always keep his team in check and in line while solving cases.  There hasn’t been a lot of storyline for Jim, but in Season Three very early on, he sort of makes an unlikely ally in the form of a brunette reporter and they sort of form this unlikely bond that has potential to evolve into something greater, so it was certainly a lot of fun to play a different side of Jim in the interaction with that character, and there are certain challenges and struggles that we get to see Jim wrestle with.  We’ll see different shades of Jim, and hopefully the audience won’t be too jarred because they’re used to seeing him be so stoic.  We get to see him unravel a bit.

How do you prepare to play the role of Jim?  Do you do research or watch other shows?
Typically, whenever I inhabit a new character, I do as much research as I possibly can.  Jim works for the police department, and I didn’t have to look very far to do research for the character.  My brother is a homicide detective for the Minneapolis Police Department.

That helps.
It helps tremendously.  So, in addition to my own research, I have the luxury of calling my brother if I have any questions.  If there’s a moment in the script where I have to know how a particular situation would be handled, it’s sort of an invaluable resource.  My brother has been such an expert in this area for me over the years.

I’m also a fan of Hawaii Five-0 and love watching you play Adam.  And I had the opportunity to speak with you on the red carpet before the Season Six premiere.
Oh yeah?

Yes, and I know the characters are completely different, but I was wondering what similarities you see between Jim and Adam.
Sure, they’re drastically different.  Jim is very straight-laced by-the-book, by-the-numbers and Adam on Hawaii Five-0 comes from a family of criminals, even though he himself makes every effort possible to stay clear of that world.  Looking at both characters at face value, they seem extremely different, but I guess in the way that they are similar, I think both characters are essentially really good people and want to do good, even though they don’t always do the right thing.  Adam voluntarily went to prison to essentially take responsibility for his actions.  That’s very honorable.


How do you juggle your schedules between the two shows?  I know that one probably is beginning filming as the other is ending, but I’m wondering if they ever overlap.
Well, Murder in the First is my top priority, even though I have recurring roles on both shows.  Fortunately, the filming schedules are pretty much at different times during the year and only a couple of times has there been conflicts.  Fortunately, the productions have a good relationship with one another and they’ve been able to work it out thus far, so hopefully that good relationship will continue.

What are some of the charities that you support?
I currently am working on a documentary in a fundraising capacity about the caste system in India.  It’s about being at the bottom of the caste system.  There are so many women from this tribe in India who are unwillingly thrust into this life.  The documentary sheds light on their struggles and ultimately generates awareness in an attempt to change this.

What about directing?  What are some of your projects there?
That’s a very good question.  Prior to taking on the enormous task of remodeling my home, I was shadowing a director for Graceland who most recently worked with Supergirl.  I’m doing a lot of study of the craft.  My first project is a short film which is an Asian-American story, essentially a friend’s autobiography.  I hope to one day do some producing as well.

What about Netflix’s XOXO?
That is actually a feature film.  It’s directed by Christopher Louie and stars Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) and Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars) and it explores love and romance.  I play Ian Anders, who is a creator of this electronic dance festival called xoxo.  The feature provides advice to our young in an attempt to help them find each other, which is the whole point of the film – finding that one true love.  As far as I know, it’s gonna be coming out this August.  (Release date is August 26).

What about the feature film, Wakefield?
I just screened Wakefield for the first time a few days ago.  It’s a wonderful film directed by Robin Swicord.  It’s based on a short story of the same name.  Bryan Cranston plays this character who essentially comes home one day and has this nervous breakdown where he’s wondering if he’s made the right decisions in life and how all his decisions define him.  He disconnects himself from the world that he knows.  It’s a wonderful project, and it was a joy to work with Bryan on this relatable theme.  Am I living the best life I could be?  Have I made the right decisions that brought me where I am today?  I imagine we’ll take that one to festival, but it should be a lot of fun.

And one more thing I have to ask since you’re from Minneapolis/St. Paul, did you ever meet Prince?
I never had an opportunity.  I did see several of his concerts at First Avenue, but I never got a chance to meet him.  I have to say though that he’s one of our proudest creations, and it’s really sad.

MURDER IN THE FIRST premieres June 26 and 10/9c on TNT.