Ken Leung interview: ‘Industry’
“You put on the suit, you immediately feel a different way,” Ken Leung says about getting into character as the powerful investment banker Eric on HBO’s freshman drama series “Industry.” Eric runs a team of established and up-and-coming brokers at the prestigious Pierpoint bank in London, and Leung talks about the “electricity in the air” working with so many exciting new actors. Watch our exclusive interview with Leung above.
Leung shares many of his scenes opposite co-star Myha’la Herrold, and they shot the interview that opens the pilot episode just hours after meeting for the first time. Lena Dunham directed the premiere, and Leung credits her for being “very open to improvisation” and granting the actors “a lot of leeway” to play with their characters. “We bonded instantly,” he adds about Herrold.
Leung singles out a tense confrontation between Harper and Eric in the middle of the season as an example of how well he and Herrold work together, noting that she’s “a very intuitive actor.” They shot one of the most memorable scenes of the season – Eric and Harper’s genuine moment of connection at the end of episode “Sesh” – as their final scene of production, which he says helped because “our friendship had deepened by then.”
Leung has appeared on countless TV series, including “Lost,” “The Sopranos,” “The Blacklist” and “The Night Shift,” but “Industry” afforded him the opportunity to play “somebody who creates his own reality” who “has a swagger.” “He adopted a certain world-domination demeanor to survive,” he says about Eric, but “some of his scorched earth methods have gotten away from him a little bit.”
In the upcoming second season, Leung looks forward to deconstructing the swagger that characterized Eric for much of the first season. Without saying too much, Leung admits that the series left Harper and Eric “mid table-turning,” and he’s curious about “how they position themselves” in the aftermath of the season finale. He also hopes that the next batch of episodes will explore “the part of his life that we never see,” building on the brief glimpses we had of Eric’s wife and kids in the first season.