In ABC Family Channel’s new series The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Ki Hong Lee portrays Paul, a second-generation Asian-American obsessed with video games, comic books and his girlfriend, Amy (Grace Phipps). He’s always looking for adventure, and now that his best friend Chloe has discovered she must save the ancient Mai race, Paul finds himself in the middle of a journey he will never forget … that is, if he lives through it.
I spoke with Ki Hong on the set of the new series.
Are you a geek like your character?
In some sense of the word, I am a dork in a lot a ways. I like to goof off a lot, but Paul is a character who loves comic books and he’s infatuated with superheroes.
For me, I never really got into comic books as a kid, but I did go to a comic book store just to see what’s it’s like, and I did read a couple of comic books. It was really interesting.
It seems like the friends of Chloe are in danger as well, has your character been in any action scenes yet?
Well first of all I want to say, I do my own stunts! (he laughs) In the first episode I did get kidnapped so there are plenty of opportunities for us to get into trouble. It’s funny because I think Paul almost wants to get in trouble, because his sense of adventure is so great that he wants to go with Chloe everywhere she goes, and so he will go as much as he can.
Paul is the ‘damsel in distress’ sometimes, but there are episodes where he does save the day and he has a brilliant idea where Chloe listens to him. For Paul being in danger and being captured is really a dream come true, because he gets to go on these adventures.
He has a best friend, Chloe, who’s a superhero who saves him every time. So far it’s been good.
What about Paul is like you?
The one thing I love about Paul is that he really doesn’t care what other people think, and he’s very comfortable in his own skin. No matter how dorky he may seem, he is comfortable with himself and I think I try to be like that too.
It’s hard as an actor to be comfortable in your own skin, because you see yourself in the show and you go, ‘I look like that, I talk like that?’ It’s still a new experience for me.
One thing I really like about Paul is that he’s very secure in himself. He knows what he wants and he goes after it.
What do you think Paul sees in Amy?
I think they make a very cute couple. Paul is very laidback, he’s very chill and Amy’s the opposite, and opposites attract and I think it works well in the relationship.
Obviously there are a few bumps in the road, but all in all I think it’s a great relationship, it’s a very loving relationship, they’ve been friends for a long time, and I think for me as Ki Hong, if you want to pursue a relationship it definitely helps if you’ve been good friends beforehand. That makes it more comfortable. I think that’s a good part of their relationship.
Does he really like her music, or does he just like her?
That’s a good question. I do like her music, I think she has a beautiful voice, Grace is very talented.
When the person you’re dating wants to do something special for you and wants to sing for your or write a song for you, I think that’s very sweet. For someone to write a song for you and perform for you just one-on-one it’s a very vulnerable moment.
For him he doesn’t know how to react, it’s his first girlfriend, and he just laughs. But I think he really does like Amy.
I heard you won’t be the only one in Amy’s life soon – do you have a rival coming up?
Maybe! Our relationship is complicated. We’ll see what happens.
Are we going to get to know more about Paul as the season goes on?
You’ll see a different side of him in the next few episodes when the relationship with Amy gets complicated.
What do you hope the show runners will let your character do in upcoming seasons?
I want him to get a superpower somehow. So hopefully that happens; just any kind of superpower, please, maybe a photographic memory, even that, because for Paul any kind of superpower would be his dream come true. He can’t believe that his best friend Chloe is this superhero.
Were there any genre shows or movies that you loved?
No, I’m a big sports fan so every show that I watch would have to do with sports. But this show is a lot like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it really is, and I tried during the auditions to look at it just to get a sense of it as it has the same genre themes.
Are you going to Comic-Con this year?
Yes, I’m so excited. It’s my first time. I’ve heard some crazy things about Comic-Con and I’ve seen crazy things on YouTube, people go there dressed in crazy costumes.
I’m just looking forward to a new experience, going there with an open mind and seeing these people who love supernatural shows, so it’s going to be an eye-opening experience.