‘The 100′ reasons to watch Christopher Larkin

December 29, 2014

Korean American actor also continues to work in theater productions and on his music. His band d’Artagnan released their first studio EP entitled, A-Side, this month and one of their songs, Confession, was recently on an episode of CW’s ‘The 100.’

The 100 -- "Reapercussions" -- Image: HU203a_0043 -- Pictured: Chris Larkin as Monty (Photo: Cate Cameron /The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

The 100 — “Reapercussions” — Chris Larkin as Monty (Photo: Cate Cameron /The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

 

By Julie Carlson

Christopher Larkin, a Korean American actor, is exactly like his character, Monty Green, on the CW’s “The 100.” Okay, not exactly. Larkin didn’t grow up on a space station like Monty, an agricultural engineer and juvenile delinquent who is sent to Earth, along with 100 other teens to see if the planet is habitable after nuclear war ravaged it 97 years prior.

But as far as personalities go, he’s pretty spot on. Larkin’s the kinda guy who enjoys being more of an active observer, before jumping in.

“Through Season 2, so far, Monty’s very level-headed,” Larkin says. “Monty has managed to survive by making really smart decisions. I don’t know if he’s a natural-born leader, but he’s slowly getting there. He’s surrounded by kids who have taken leadership positions. He’s learned from them, but by being in the background he’s able to not make some risky and often stupid moves that are life-ending.”

On “The 100,” an epic and gritty dystopian drama, there’s plenty of twists, and characters die. Fortunately, for fans of Larkin’s mysterious Monty, he hasn’t kicked the bucket. But just like Monty, within Larkin’s soulful dark eyes, lay a million stories, ones left said and unsaid.

The 100 --  "Day Trip" -Chris Larkin as Monty, left, and Devon Bostick as Jasper  (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

The 100 — “Day Trip” -Chris Larkin as Monty, left, and Devon Bostick as Jasper (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

Born Chung Woon-Ha in Daegu, South Korea, Larkin was given up for adoption at 4 months old. He was adopted by an Irish father, Peter Larkin and a French-Canadian mother, Elaine from Connecticut.

His Korean birth mother had kept his adoption a secret from her family for 27 years, but a couple of years ago, unlike Monty, Larkin took a chance and did jump in. He located his mother.

“I don’t know where the inspiration came from,” Larkin says. “But I was feeling lost and completely confused. I decided to contact my adoption agency in Connecticut. If I didn’t find her, I figured, I’d be in exactly the same place that I was then.”

To ease his parents’ concerns, he made it clear to them that there was no question who his ‘real’ parents were. The Larkins were his family. It was simply curiosity.

Out of all the people in his adoption group searching for their birth parents, he was the only successful one.

Through the agency, he wrote his birth mother a letter. To his surprise, she responded in a couple of weeks. She said she would like to meet him. So, Larkin flew to Korea.

The whole experience — from exploring Seoul to meeting his mother who was a stranger – was a mixture of intrigue and a feeling of loss.

“I had a translator in the room because she doesn’t speak any English. And I don’t speak any Korean,” Larkin explains. “Having to filter some pretty heavy thoughts and emotions through someone else… It felt weird to not have that direct connection. I’m glad I did it, but it was very awkward. Probably because of the language barrier more than anything else.”

(Courtesy of Christopher Larkin)

(Courtesy of Christopher Larkin)

Growing up as the only Asian kid in school, besides his younger sister (who is also adopted from South Korea) in Hebron, Connecticut, Larkin never questioned being Korean American.

“No one made me feel like an outsider,” Larkin says. “I felt comfortable in an all-white world.”

One of the places that fueled that contentment was being on the stage and on the set. He got the acting bug after auditioning for his middle school drama program. Around this time on a lark, he auditioned for Hallmark Hall of Fame’s ‘Flamingo Rising.’

Even though he’d never acted before, he got the part.

“Oddly enough, it was probably the most comfortable I’ve ever felt on set,” Larkin says. ”Because I was so young… I didn’t understand the stakes. So I was free to just do the work and the lines came seamlessly. I think part of me, now, is trying to get back to that place.”

During adolescence, Larkin was also a competitive Irish step-dancer. He listened to Irish folk music which his father played at home. He became obsessed with Irish dancers like Michael Flatley.

“My first dream was to be the Asian American lead on Riverdance,” Larkin says.

He also picked up the guitar, a gift from his grandfather, and continued his acting education in public high school and the Greater Hartford Academy of Arts, and later Fordham University at Lincoln Center.

It wasn’t until his first couple of years of college that he felt self-doubt in his acting ability. Having grown up in a small town, he also was overwhelmed by New York and its diversity — including auditioning for parts that were open to him, and then denied.

“It started setting limits on what people perceived I could do,” Larkin says. “There’s a huge Asian American community in New York City. We all have the same dreams and concerns, especially when it comes to casting. So once you have that community and that mindset, collectively, I think it really started to have an impact on me.”

While working odd-jobs and off-Broadway productions, Larkin met fellow actor, Wade Allain-Marcus, at the Sundance Institute Theater Lab. The duo quickly formed a bond in the love of music, and founded the band d’Artagnan in 2011.

“If I could go back in time, I would pursue music instead of acting,” says Larkin. “With acting roles, you have to wait on set and in between jobs. With music, you can always stay active.”

In 2012, Larkin relocated to Los Angeles, along with his bandmate and Larkin’s girlfriend, playwright Carla Ching. For Larkin, L.A. has been a huge blessing.

The city has provided him with more opportunities, theatrically and musically. After moving, he booked his first lead acting gig on the cop-spoof web series, ‘Squad ’85,’ guest roles on ’90210′ and ‘Awkward,’ not to mention a starring role on ‘The 100.’

(Courtesy of Christopher Larkin)

(Courtesy of Christopher Larkin)

Larkin also continues to work in theater productions and on his music. This month, d’Artagnan released their first studio EP entitled, A-Side.

One of their songs, Confession, was recently on an episode of ‘The 100.’

As for television, Larkin enjoys the medium and all it has to offer for an actor, especially its diversity. But there’s still work to do, in both television and film, in this area.

“No Asian American has ever won an Oscar for Best Leading Actor,” Larkin says. “Not that awards are everything, they’re actually quite little at the end of the day. But I think it’s a clear indication of where the industry is. It’s getting better, but there’s still a lot of work to be done and that can be pretty daunting. That’s what keeps me up at night. All the challenges that I might not overcome in this lifetime. And hopefully, someone will. The goal is that I can do it myself, but if that’s not achievable, then to set someone up in the future to do it.”

For Larkin, television is the place to be at the moment. He also wouldn’t mind a romantic love interest for Monty, more than anything else, for socially motivated reasons. But Asian Americans as a romantic lead on TV or film is a rarity.

“It’s something that has not entered the American consciousness, yet on a full-scale level,” Larkin says. “We’re never perceived in that light. So I feel every time you see someone like John Cho or Daniel Dae Kim, it’s revolutionary. That’s the kind of stuff that hopefully has an impact on future Asian American actors. It might inspire them to keep on this career path. I think all actors want to be seen in as many colors as possible. We’re united in that way. I think breaking that barrier would be hope.”

4 Comments

  1. James

    December 29, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    I watch Korean movies all the time and think their action adventure has some of the best action in film today . . Tell Larkin if things fizzle in the states go to Korea

  2. nicole

    December 30, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    I went to high school with Chris he is a great Guy and definatly deserve this

  3. Koko

    September 26, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    Huge fan of him since finding him on the 100. I also wish he would get more attention and a love interest. TV and movies need more diversity.

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