‘The Consultant’ Interview: Gloria John
Gloria John is an extremely inspiring and talented actress. But she also has so many other talents! Including being a double black belt in samurai swords. Soon you will see her on your screen in Amazon’s new series, The Consultant, opposite Christoph Waltz. And she also has a movie coming soon, A Wasp in the Wind Chime. She has had quite an interesting career so far and an even more interesting path to that career. And we got the chance to talk about it all. So keep reading for my awesome interview with Gloria John!
Cape & Castle: What can you tell us about your character in the upcoming series, The Consultant?
Gloria: So The Consultant series is a kind of a mystery and dark comedy. And the one and only amazing Christoph Waltz is playing the character. The consultant’s job is to come into a company that is in trouble and fix things. My character’s son is the CEO of a very big video game company and gets brutally murdered. So the consultant comes in and tries to get the company back up and running. But he does it in a very unconventional way and then employees start getting murdered. Some of the employees are the main characters and they get together and try to figure out if the consultant is a good guy or a bad guy, and if he is the one murdering people. So it’s very much like a dark kind of mystery and I’m the mother of the CEO who got brutally murdered. So, I come from Korea and I’m very distraught, trying to figure out what happened to my son, and the employees get very concerned about me because they are afraid I’m putting too much trust in the consultant. It’s very thrilling.
CC: What was it like working with the rest of the cast in this series?
Gloria: I think I was very lucky to have been on a set where everyone was going above and beyond to help each other. It was really amazing and I think it comes from the producers and directors and the group they put together. Christoph was so kind and humble along with the rest of the cast. There was a point where I kind of knew Christoph’s line, and you’re not supposed to do that as an actor. I mean he’s a two-time academy winner and it just slipped out, oh your line is this, and he’s like yes you should tell me. Any time you strike up a conversation with him he’s so kind. He was very concerned about Ukraine and what was going on in the world. That’s one thing I learned from spending time with him is you are part of a social change and you have a responsibility and should be very interested and concerned with what is going on in the world. Christoph is very much that person and just so kind. Anything you needed, any kind of advice, he was so great and all the other cast members were the same way. They were just the kindest people I have ever met. I really lucked out with the cast and crew. I loved them and couldn’t help but love them because they helped me become a better person.
CC: Have you read the novel that the series is based on?
Gloria: Actually I did! Because I’m a nerd and I’m the kind of person who wants to know everything about everything before I dive into the character! But I don’t think the series goes exactly the way the novel does. It’s based on and inspired by it, but I don’t think it’s necessarily exact to the series. It did help to know what the big picture was but the script wasn’t following the novels exactly. Which I think is good.
Cape & Castle: After working as a dentist for eight years you decided to pursue your passion in the arts. What was it like changing your career and life in such a major way?
Gloria: You know, it was really scary because everybody, especially all of my dentist friends were like acting?! Have you lost your mind? You did ten years of schooling to become a dentist and you have your own practice and a comfortable living. Why would you go out there and do something where you don’t even know what’s going to happen? Because acting is not like dentistry where you put in all this effort and time in and it’s a straight road. So it was very scary to sell my practice, sell my condo in Chicago, and just move out here without any kind of guarantee of success. But I had to do it because I just felt like it was my calling. And around the time that I was trying to move here, the universe pretty much just started punching me in the face, telling me that I had to do this and I really believe in that kind of thing. So I was like okay, well, you only live once. This is what I really want to do and I’m going to do it because I do not want to be laying on my deathbed thinking what if I had done this or that? Even if it didn’t pan out to anything I still had to give it my all and see what happens.
CC: Do you have any advice for others who want to change their career path and follow their dreams as you have?
Gloria: Oh definitely! You know, the first dream I had was becoming a dentist. I was not like anyone here who went to school here. I moved here when I was fourteen by myself because I was so adamant about becoming a doctor here. And that goes into a lot of my life story where my dad was pretty abusive. Which is why I’m so passionate about mental health. But my thing was I wanted to get away from my dad and prove to myself that I can become this doctor. And I wanted to bring my mother here to rescue her, which I ended up doing. She lived with me for ten years. I did that and gave it my all. So yes, follow your dreams and go after your dreams. But you’re going to have to give it your all and you’re going to fail and fail and fail. But after those failures is going to be a success. So don’t be afraid to fail. Failing is good because it means you are that much closer to your goals and that much closer to success.
CC: You are a strong advocate for mental health, which is so admirable. Do you think mental health is becoming a more typical topic?
Gloria: Yes I think more than ever, especially after covid and how the world is now. And with us constantly on our phones, I guess it’s more in the light now because of social media, which is a good thing. But I think there is still so much shame and so much hiding when it comes to mental health, which makes it worse. My husband is a veteran who suffers from PTSD. He was seventeen when he went to Iraq in 2003, which was the worst time of the war and I myself have dealt with depression all my life. Which I think has something to do with moving here when I was fourteen and my dad. It goes back to your childhood. But I think it’s important for us to be open about it and get rid of the stigma. Because eighty percent of people go through depression at least once in their lifetime, and even if you yourself don’t, you definitely have a friend or a family member who is suffering from it. One who may not tell you about it because of the shame and that makes it worse. So, I think it’s very important that we are more advocating for mental health and those struggling as a society.
Cape & Castle: What can you tell us about your role in the upcoming film A Wasp in the Wind Chime?
Gloria: So that is going to be me and a director and cinematographer who I met in a casting director workshop! We just connected and when he discovered I hold a second-degree blackbelt in kendo, which is a samurai sword martial arts, we knew we wanted to work together. He and I wanted to make a female-empowering samurai story because there aren’t many. So that is in the making! We started collaborating before covid and we have cast all the people already. A lot of work has been done but it’s still in the process and I’m very excited about it because it’s about a female samurai who comes from a father and teacher who she thought was her father and a good person. But it turns out it’s not and it goes back to how she was born. And I get to use my sword so I’m excited about that one!
CC: What did the journey to achieve your second-degree black belt in samurai swords look like?
Gloria: For me, it was not something I thought about doing. It was kind of a competitive thing. So when I was in my early twenties, my boyfriend who I dearly loved and that is no longer with us on this planet was really great at it. I visited the dojo with him and just fell in love with it. My thoughts were you know what, I want to be just as good as him, this is so cool! Of course, at the time there weren’t a lot of martial arts practices going on. And there were definitely no women doing it! I believe I was the first female to ever get a second-degree black belt in kendo in Chicago. So my sensei, with me being the only female in the dojo, really adored me and would teach me tricks as a small person to take over guys in a way that only a small person could use. He really took care of me and encouraged me a lot.
So I was able to do it for a long time and was able to get that second-degree black belt. It was something that really mentally strengthened me. I never saw myself as someone who can’t achieve all the things the guys can because my sensei was like oh yeah you can! There was a big guy that came into our dojo and thought he could win me over. We were sparring and he was pushing against me because he was trying to use his strength but I used his strength against him and flipped him over and his underwear showed. My sensei was in the corner laughing! Martial arts is a great way to test your strength not only physically but mentally. And it’s a great practice.
CC: Have you had any roles so far that you feel deeply connected to or that you feel will always stay with you?
Gloria: I think this part as a Korean mother who is grieving her son in The Consultant. I immediately connected to it because of my love for my mother and bringing her here to get her away from that abusive situation. And just knowing how Korean moms are. So many of them wouldn’t think twice about getting three or four jobs, even as cleaning ladies, just to make sure their kids get a good education. It’s just a different mentality. Korean moms are just very sacrificing. And then there was another role I played in Dear Tony, which surprisingly aired on DirecTV. It focuses on a wife who is leaving her husband because even though he loves her very much and they love each other very much, she realizes he’s actually gay and that she’d be happier in truly honoring who he is as a person. That one I really connected to. And then I did a play that was the female version of The Odd Couple where I played a character who is always very anxious and obsessive-compulsive. Trying to please everyone but not herself. That character I also had fun playing and definitely related to!
Cape & Castle: What type of role would be your dream role?
Gloria: You know, I think it changes as an actor. Because you grow as a human. Lately, I have wanted to play someone who is strong and appears to have everything together but is also able to be someone who is very secretly warm-hearted and wants to help others. Kind of like a motherish role where they are strong on the outside but on the inside they are soft and caring about others. Because I think women are still very misunderstood in many ways in this society.
CC: Do you have any other upcoming projects you can share with us?
Gloria: Currently, I think I’m just working on A Wasp in the Wind Chime. I am doing a sketch comedy show with some friends where I play this wife who’s been married thirteen times and lets her husband do whatever! So that’s an upcoming small project I’m involved with that I’m really excited about!
Will you all be checking out The Consultant? Are you excited to see Gloria John in the series? Have you read the books? If you have, how do you think the novel will translate to the screen? Find and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @capeandcastle to talk all things Gloria John! You can also find and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Sarah_Jeanne17. Be sure to check out our site for more content on all things Disney and beyond!