Ronin Wong
Photo credit: Richie Lubaton

Interview With Ronin Wong Who Stars In Season 4 Of Mystery Thriller ‘The Sinner’

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Ronin Wong who is a fantastic actor and is also an accomplished musician and classically trained pianist who has released two albums of instrumental music. We talked about how he got involved in this industry, his love for music, his new role in season 4 of the USA Network’s mystery thriller, The Sinner, and much more!

Ronin Wong
Photo credit: Richie Lubaton

PopHorror – Hi Ronin. How are you? How is 2021 treating you so far?

Ronin Wong – I’m doing well! Thanks for asking. It’s been a wonderful year for me, career-wise, and also for some of my recreations. Both my wife and I have a perfect balance of work and leisure, and we get to spend lots of time together. But, COVID has forced me to adjust to a different way of living. Except when I’m on set, I spend most of my time at home, and practically all communications are over the phone or online. A lot of things I like doing, I can no longer do for now. I’ve compensated by spending more time on the things I can do on my own or with my wife.

PopHorror – I understand that completely. I’m glad you’re having a wonderful year and are working around the obstacles we now face. What inspired you to get involved in the film industry?

Ronin Wong – I’ve always had a fascination with movies and television since I was a child. But, I never imagined I’d work in those fields – it did not seem realistic. Then, later, in my early 20s, I had an epiphany. I was in the corporate world, making lots of money, with incredible potential for growth, but also bitterly unhappy. That puzzled and surprised me. I realized that I spent most of my waking hours trying to fit into something that wasn’t natural for me at all. I knew then that the only way to avoid misery was to work at something that I enjoy. I did a complete 180 – I quit my work. I got a job playing the piano in a restaurant and also started to do background work for TV and film. Music, movies, and television: these were the things that had always made me happy and so I took a leap of faith and jumped into those industries.

PopHorror – That’s so awesome! Not only are you a fantastic actor but you’re also both an accomplished musician and classically trained pianist. Do you prefer one over the other or love doing them both equally?

Ronin Wong – It’s hard to compare the two of them. They aren’t exactly the same thing for me. Music has been a part of me since I was a young child. I need to sing or play music every day. It feels as important as eating, exercise, and breathing. Acting is different. It’s a course of study, a career, and a game at the same time. I love it and prefer it as a vocation but I don’t need it in the same way I need music.

PopHorror – Thanks for the breakdown. I love music how important music is for you. How did you get involved with USA’s popular series The Sinner?

Ronin Wong – I auditioned on a self-tape and then I had a callback meeting on Zoom. There was a heavy emphasis on authenticity this season. So, as part of the audition tape, I needed to speak for a minute in Cantonese about myself. That was challenging. I wondered how I would demonstrate that I was fluent in the Cantonese language and culture in such a short time. The answer, as it often is, was food. I talked about dim sum at length and about the many times, I had it as a child in Chinatown.  My love of dim sum led directly to my being cast on The Sinner.

PopHorror – That’s great. I love it. Can you tell us about your character?

Ronin Wong – Mike Lam is a hard-working family man, who works as a lobster fisherman in a small town in Maine. Despite having immigrated there 20 years ago, the Lams are still treated as outsiders by much of the town. The other locals are particularly jealous of the Lams’ recent success in acquiring a boat and building up a thriving restaurant. Despite the mistreatment and hardship, he’s suffered, Mike works hard to maintain a sense of calm and dignity. His son, CJ, though tends to lash out and has gotten himself and the Lam business into trouble. These problems intensify as circumstances turn violent on Hanover Island. Mike and the Lams will have to reckon with the horrible compromises they made in order to get where they are today.

PopHorror – Could you relate to him at all?

Ronin Wong – Yes.  Like Mike, I have suffered much trauma and hardship and had to learn to deal with it. The immigrant experience, I understand more through the eyes of my parents as I was only five when we moved here from Hong Kong. I have great sympathy for Mike. Where we are different is how we dealt with our issues. Mike does it through hard work and dogged toughness. I dealt with mine by education and adaptation. I found an approach that would work for me. It took a long time, but I’m reaping the rewards today.

PopHorror – I think that’s the key to any success or long-time success. Hard work and finding something that works for you. Any favorite scenes?

Ronin Wong – So many. Two in particular. There’s a scene in Ep 402 where Mike tries to protect his family by deflecting questions from the police. But, his family is not on board with this. They want to answer. So, Mike struggles with his family, and the authorities at the same time. He feels like he’s getting it from all sides. Also, there’s a fabulous gut-wrenching scene in the season finale which I cannot tell you anything about because it would be a horrible spoiler.

PopHorror – Ooooh. Can’t wait This series has a great cast and crew. Was it a good experience?

Ronin Wong – It was a wonderful experience. The cast and crew were very competent and fun to work with. It’s the best work experience I’ve had. The work was tough but I felt supported in it. I already miss it. I hope I get an opportunity to work on another series, with many of the same people, if possible.

PopHorror – I hope you do too and I’m sure you will. Speaking of future roles, are there any type of characters that you would love to play?

Ronin Wong – I love playing all types of characters, but I particularly love playing the villains who don’t think they are villains. It’s even better if they have an outrageous sense of humor. I have to confess I’m a huge fan of the MCU. I’d love to wind up on an MCU movie or TV series.

Ronin Wong
Photo credit: Richie Lubaton

PopHorror – Any other upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?

Ronin Wong – I wrote, directed, and scored a short film called Eight Short Films about Cell Phones. It’s a series of eight narratively linked one-minute phone calls – a chain of events that drastically alter the lives of the characters involved. The film has drama and comedy in equal doses. It’s had its time on the film festival circuit, and I’m going to release it online soon.

PopHorror – Sounds great, I look forward to checking it out and all your future projects. Thanks for chatting with PopHorror and I hope you have a safe and happy Holiday season!

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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