As we all know, sometimes our favorite TV shows get cancelled. But The Librarians fans didn’t let that stop them from showing up to support actors Christian Kane and John Kim on Saturday evening in the Westin Peachtree Ballroom. Well, at the start, it was just Kim, as Kane was nowhere to be seen. He wandered in about five minutes later. That was the last time he’d wait for Kim in the hotel room, he joked.
While we waited for Kane’s fashionably late entrance, Kim gave the audience an insight into how he was cast in The Librarians. After a run of bad luck with auditions in Los Angeles, Kim had decided to give up, so he headed back to Australia to re-enroll in university. His manager called to tell him about a character he’d be perfect for and added, “Don’t be offended, he’s super arrogant.” He’d landed the role of Ezekiel Jones. He’d been back home for only two days and had sent in a tape from Australia, on a Wednesday. By that Friday he had to jump back on a flight to a place he didn’t even know existed before—Portland, Oregon.
Once Kane was situated, instead of telling us about his Librarians audition, he shared his first big audition, for Fame LA, which he “walked into, did my schtick, and they said that’s about as funny as a stick, what else can you do?” So he sang Tracey Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which landed him the job. Then Kane regaled the room with his experience auditioning for Band of Brothers, a role he did not get. He said he walked into the room, working himself up for a serious role read (although his demonstration of the Cajun accent he tried for was hilarious), looked up at the table of about 15 people there to hear him, did a double-take, and basically threw his script to the floor, cursing. It turns out that one of the men at the table was Tom Hanks, who was halfway through growing his beard for Castaway. Kane told the room, “You’ve got to warn a guy when he’s got to read in front of Hanks!”
In an unplanned moment—an audience question about what skills have the guys ever lied about on their acting resume—they both answered: Tennis. Kim got as far as a final audition for a role as a tennis coach until they wanted him to actually play. That stopped him short and had him scrambling to convince them he’d hurt his shoulder. “I looked like a freshly born giraffe,” he said. He didn’t get the role, but in the long run that was good because it left him free to join The Librarians cast when the offer came. As for Kane, he’d actually gotten a role in the movie Wimbledon, thinking he could fake it and pick up tennis in a month (like he had when he’d learned to ice skate for a hockey-themed episode of Leverage). It turns out that tennis is not a skill he could acquire in a month. So his role had to be recast.
A veteran of a number of series, Kane fielded a question about the difference between being a newbie on set versus having a few shows under his belt. He didn’t feel a huge difference, aside from going in knowing that he was going to form bonds. “You build your family with what you can work with.” He explained that he sees each of the cast members as family, as siblings, and that they, especially he and Kim, will “be friends for life, no question.”
Since The Librarians spent every episode collecting fantastic artifacts from all over the world, they were asked if they took anything from the set. “I was method acting,” said Kim, whose character was a master thief. He admitted to mostly raiding the craft services truck. “I didn’t grocery shop once in Portland, and my fridge was always stocked.” Kane laughingly said, “I’ve stolen so much … stuff,” but he didn’t want to say what, specifically, lest showrunner Dean Devlin finds out. The question seemed to fluster Kane just a touch, and he asked the crowd if he could get a beer. Someone immediately offered him whiskey instead. Welcome to Dragon Con.
Queried about if there was something they didn’t get to see, a mythology they would have loved the show to do, Kane, now calmed by whiskey, immediately answered, “the Black Dahlia.” Kim, who has thought about that question before, had two answers. For the sake of his character, he would have loved to find Blackbeard’s treasure. The other? “I wanted to find out if the Curse of the Billy Goat was real, but the Cubs ruined it!”
On-set pranks are always a fun topic, and theirs were no exception. Kane set the stage for his “best prank I’ve ever pulled,” from a different show. A guy used to always steal his food, so Kane had some of the craft services folks save some compressed espresso disks from their machine. He took an Oreo cookie, topped it with whipped cream, put it in the middle of a plate otherwise full of coffee disks topped with sour cream, and carried it onto the set. He popped the cookie into his mouth and walked off, leaving the rest, and like clockwork, the food thief struck. And instantly regretted it.
Instead of sharing a prank he pulled, Kim told us about a recurring prank Noah Wyle played on him on the set. Wyle would mark his own bottles of water with Kim’s name in big letters in sharpie, and leave them around in highly visible places on set, so Kim kept getting calls, even on days when he wasn’t on set, about leaving his bottle in the shots.
To wrap up the panel, they shared an anecdote about a recent video-game campaign they were playing, which needed two more players to finish a mission. Kim went online and recruited two random people to join them. These games have headsets and mics so that you can talk to one another as you play, and Kane, whose job it was to guard a particular spot, kept jumping out to do other things—and dying. So Kim was yelling at him, and one of the guys they were playing with was trying to place why they sounded familiar. Kim kept shaking it off. “Just play the game, help us win this, dude!” So at the end, when they finished, the guy kept saying, “I can’t help feeling I know you guys!” Kane gave in, and told him, and the guy lost it, beyond thrilled he’d gotten to campaign with the two Librarians. As we were thrilled to spend the hour with them on Saturday.