This month, Dorkaholics spoke with actor Mason Alexander Park about their role on Quantum Leap as lead programmer Ian Wright.
Neil Bui: So, you’re no stranger to fan favorite franchises like Cowboy Bebop, The Sandman. How did those experiences help you in your role on Quantum Leap?
Mason Alexander Park: Oh man, they really have helped me a lot. It has shown me both the good and bad of entering people’s beloved franchises. I’ve already experienced some of those things as a fan of specific franchises, but there is nothing quite like stepping into a universe such as Cowboy Bebop, The Sandman or Quantum Leap. Nothing can prepare you for what that experience will be. I grew up loving this genre and storytelling like this, loving sci-fi and fantasy. And so, to somehow, just in the last few years found this really specific demographic of worlds that I’m a part of, it’s like everything I ever would have wanted as a kid but didn’t necessarily think I’d get the opportunity to do because often the queer representation in those shows growing up was there, but it was minimal, and it was supporting characters. To be able to play someone like Ian and get to go to work every single week and be a part of the show in such a big way was, is unfathomable to like the inner child. And I’m really grateful to have that opportunity.
Neil Bui: What has been your favorite part about Quantum Leap?
Mason Alexander Park: I mean, I’ve said it a few times, but my favorite part, both as an audience member and as someone who you know has a stake in it, who’s working on it, is the ability that the show has to open doors to very specific conversations that otherwise might not happen. It’s a show about empathy. It’s a show about walking in other people’s shoes. And while there is this big mystery wrapped up in action and adventure and all of those things, at its core, it’s about humanity and about the things that connect us. And that is so, so radical to me. I think that there are so many shows out there that are doing other things and accomplishing other things, but what this show does that very few are capable of is it’s an incredible, incredible teaching device. It’s an incredible device to allow people to experience stories of individuals that they may or may not have the opportunity to do, especially in a network television format. And that is like the coolest thing in the world.
Neil Bui: In your own words, how would you describe your character, Ian Wright?
Mason Alexander Park: I think that Ian is a hyper intelligent, precocious, fun, and deeply loving individual. I think that Ian really does bring a lot of heart to the show. There’s been so many moments for them to be able to connect with Addison and Ben. So I just want to continue to be able to do that with the series because it’s nice to have a queer character that is very well-rounded and is not bogged down by an immense amount of trauma or a big coming out story. And it’s just very normalized in the way that my experience in life is and this show really accurately reflects the world that I live in and the friends that I have, people like Raymond Lee and Ernie Hudson and Caitlin Bassett, like all these actors and these characters look like the people that I see on a daily basis. And that to me is really important as someone who’s both within the world and someone who wants to see worlds like this continue to thrive.
Neil Bui: Is there a specific feeling that you want audiences to walk away with after watching each episode of the series.
Mason Alexander Park: Yeah, the original show really united people in a beautiful way like generationally, of any kind of background, and I hope that this show can continue to do that. I want families to be able to watch it and experience a story about someone that they may or may not know and be able to have a conversation about it that’s moving and positive and helps normalize the human experience. I think people have become very insular and centered around themselves in a way that makes it hard to realize that their own experience of the world is not the natural setting for every single person. You may think you’re the most normal human being in the world, but to somebody else, you’re not. And to send [that] everybody is unique and deeply individual and that’s important to recognize. And I think that a lot of people don’t because we’re so focused on this binary structure of the world, of putting people in categories. You’re this kind of person, you’re that kind of person and now you’re this homogenized group or you’re just you and that’s what the show is about. Every single person that Ben leaps into, every single person on the show is just you, like it’s just them. And that is such a cool concept for people to be able to experience.
Neil Bui: Yeah, that is fantastic. Congratulations on six more episodes for season one. Can’t wait to see the rest of this season, but thank you for your time today, Mason.
Mason Alexander Park: Thank you so much. It’s very nice to meet you.
Thanks for reading this article!
If you’d like to share your thoughts in reaction to what you just read, then feel free to leave a comment below or click here to submit your own opinion piece. The Dorkaholics Team is always on the look for new, additional voices to join us, share their own unique perspectives, and contribute to the diverse platform we are building in our corner of the internet and pop culture community.