YEM Interview: Kai To shares his favorite part of playing Kai on “On the Verge”

Kai To is an actor in On the Verge. On the Verge is a television show Follows four female friends in their late 40s who chose to use midlife not as a time of mourning their youth but as an opportunity for personal reinvention. Kai portrays the character of Kai. YEM was able to speak with Kai about what it was like finding out he got the part on the show, what draws him to comedy and those types of roles, and his favorite part of being an actor.

Young Entertainment Mag: What has it been like being a part of Netflix’s “On the Verge?”

Kai To: It has been such an amazing experience.  I learned so much as it was my first time filming a TV series.  I enjoyed working with all the different actors and directors.  They were the only people I was around since it was in the beginning of the pandemic.  The last day of filming was so sad for me.  It has been over a year since we finished filming and I still can’t believe it.  It is unreal that I was part of this funny show. 

YEM: How did it feel when you heard you got the part of Kai on the show?

Kai: My mom actually recorded my reaction.  I could not believe it when she told me.  I even did a happy dance.  That night, I had trouble sleeping because I was so excited. 

YEM: What’s it like knowing you’re referred to as the funniest male character on the show? 

Kai: I absolutely love it!  My mom and I joke around all day, every day.  I love reading funny comic books like “Garfield” and watching comedies.  So comedy is my thing.  To be referred to as the funniest male character means that I did my job and it makes me so happy that I can make others laugh.

YEM: What draws you to comedy and those types of roles?

Kai: I really enjoy a good laugh especially when I can play these types of roles.  It makes me feel good that I can actually make people laugh.

YEM: How do your parents feel about the adult language on the show? 

Kai: When I usually get an audition, my mom will print it out and then we will go over it together.  When she saw the bad words, she was shocked and laughed.  She does not say bad words at all.  When we went over the lines, she just pointed at the sentences and had me read it.  She said that these are inappropriate words that shouldn’t be said outside of acting, and especially at school.  I quickly figured what the words were. There was another bad word that was in the script that later got removed.  She laughs about it now especially when people ask her about it.  

YEM: Is it fun for you to play?

Kai: For sure!  My mom wasn’t in the room when I was filming the scenes with the bad words, but I can feel her cringe, which makes me laugh.  When the Director called “cut”, I can hear people on set laughing.  

YEM: What’s your favorite part of playing Kai?

Kai: I love his character!  He has some really funny and silly scenes.  My favorite part playing this character was when I used a fish and hit my TV mom with it at a grocery store.  I mean when else can I do that and get away with it!

YEM: Do you enjoy having the same name on set as your actual name? 

Kai: I do!  Did you know that I auditioned for the role of Kai?  Many think that the role was named after me.  This made it easier for me because I didn’t have to remember being called a different name on set and this made it so much easier for everyone on set.

YEM: Do you feel the character is similar or different from your own personality?

Kai: Similar is what my mom would say.  She says we can be twin brothers.  I think we are also different because I do not say bad words and I am really not that mischievous.  You would not find me acting that crazy in public.

YEM: What are some main differences between film acting and TV acting?

Kai: They both are the same but film acting takes place on bigger sets with more people and more cameras.  I love both!  

YEM: Do you prefer one type of acting over the other, or do you enjoy mixing it up?

Kai: Although I enjoy comedy, I also like mixing it up because it is fun to play different roles.  I have had to audition for more serious roles as well and it was a challenge but I enjoyed it.  

YEM: How does it feel knowing you’re a big influence for your colleagues? 

Kai: I think it is the other way around and they are a big influence on me.  I l have learned so much from them, especially seeing what they do.  I mean, I am working with legends.

YEM: Does it ever feel like too much pressure?

Kai: I do not feel the pressure a lot except when I get a few auditions at the same time that requires a lot of work.  Not only am I memorizing pages and pages of lines, I also need to act it out as well.  Sometimes I am given just one full day and then I need to have it recorded and turned in the next morning.    

YEM: What’s your favorite part of being an actor?

Kai: I love how work can be so much fun!  I get to meet people and make new friends.  Sometimes, I get to stay in hotels.  One of my favorite things is being on different sets.  I get a chance to experience a lot of cool places.  One job allowed me to be at Disneyland’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge before it was open to the public.  How awesome is that!

YEM: What kind of film/movie would you love to work on in the future?

Kai: I would love to work on a fun comedy action movie.  One of my favorite actors is Jackie Chan and I love the movie “The Spy Next Door”.   There is a lot of action and it’s so funny.  Right now, I take martial arts and parkour classes so hopefully I can use that in a role one day. 

YEM: What’s one thing you learned from your co-workers?

Kai: Just go for it!  That was what Miss Julie Delpy said to me the first day on set.  There was a very funny fish scene where I was to hit my TV mom with a fish.  I wouldn’t hit her hard in the beginning because I didn’t want to hurt her.  Miss Julie Delpy said hit her hard with it and go for it.  I could hear Miss Julie Delpy laughing when I would get her good.  That day ended up being one of my favorite days on set.  

YEM: What’s one of your favorite memories so far as an actor? 

Kai: Besides being on all these cool sets, it would have to be seeing the Craft Service trailer for the first time.  Each set has a different set up for snacks but for the “On The Verge” set, it was like a endless menu.  I was amazed at how many snacks they have.  My mama would never have all these yummy snacks at home. 

Watch Kai in “On The Verge”!

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