Stage and screen actor Mason Alexander Park joins us to talk about their role in NBC’s action-packed revival of Quantum Leap where they play Ian, the series’ resident tech expert and the mastermind that rebuilt Ziggy, the AI unit that gives Ben (Raymond Lee) information on his leaps.
Mason talks about how as a "very strange kid" they delved into science and tech at an early age. They reveal that some of their early inspirations in entertainment included John Cameron Mitchell in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show. And they take a deep dive into the increasing representation for members of the trans and non-binary communities in leading and supporting roles in entertainment, and how important it is that they get to play "real" people.
"Often non-binary characters and trans people are not seen in 'normal' jobs," Mason says. "I play a real individual, a real person who has a very important job that a lot of non-binary people and trans people work in. It's been really exciting to make contact with a bunch of people that otherwise hadn't been represented in that way on television before.
"It's so much more meaningful to represent marginalized people in the most normalized context because it's the Trojan horse," they continue. "It's the way to get people used to having these conversations in the day-to-day. Everybody meets trans and non-binary people all the time and half the time they don't even know it. It's amazing how integrated we are in society now but are still such a "strange," hot-button topic. To just let me breathe and exist and be present in the story is very radical and very cool. I look forward to what that does for future generations of non-binary characters."
New episodes of Quantum Leap are telecast Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.
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