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John Cho On Representation, 'Columbus' And His Need To Slip On A Few Banana Peels

Actor John Cho at the<em> Star Trek Beyond</em> premiere in Sydney, Australia.
Brendon Thorne
Getty Images
Actor John Cho at the Star Trek Beyond premiere in Sydney, Australia.

John Cho is a warmly regarded actor for a variety of roles — he played stoner Harold in the Harold and Kumar films, Sulu in the new Star Trek films, Henry in the short-lived (and, in certain circles, much-missed) sitcom Selfie, as well as recurring appearances on shows like Sleepy Hollow, Bojack Horseman, Difficult People, American Dad!and, most recently, The Exorcist.

Working so steadily, and so eclectically, doesn't mean he's choosing roles blithely. In this talk with Pop Culture Happy Hour host Linda Holmes, Cho presents as someone who's thought deeply about the performances he undertakes — and those he pointedly doesn't. He speaks with a refreshing candor about how he attempts to square that thoughtfulness — and his enduring online meme-ability — with the demands of being fully present as an actor. He also talks about his lead role in last year's Columbus, a charming indie that pointedly avoids hitting the conventional charming-indie beats. (He also spoke to Fresh Air about the film last August.)

Check back with us on Friday, when we're joined by NPR Code Switch's Kat Chow for our annual Predictions/Resolutions episode, in which we look ahead to 2018 and look back at 2017. (Spoiler: Two of us did okay on our resolutions, one of absolutely nailed it, and one of us failed — utterly, exultantly, with great verve and elan.)

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Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.