Business’s Ken Leung Isn’t Afraid to Take Huge Swings

Business’s creators admit that they slept on scene-stealer Ken Leung and his star-making flip as aggro banker Eric Tao. “We didn’t write sufficient for him in season one,” cocreator Konrad Kay says, earlier than assuring me that he and Mickey Down aren’t the kind of lads to make the identical mistake twice. “We have been like, Fuck, now we have him once more? We have to write a full-blown story. We’ve got to interrupt perspective. We had this joke in season one which Eric would simply stroll right into a scene, say one thing, after which stroll out of the scene. However in season two, we have been like, Nicely, who is that this man?”

In Business season two’s fourth episode, “There Are Some Ladies…,” we discover out. After shedding his greatest shopper due to a backstabbing transfer by Harper Stern (Myha’la Herrold), his personal protégé, Eric absconds to Pierpont & Co. headquarters in New York for an impromptu assembly along with his boss, Invoice Adler (Trevor White), in a last-ditch effort to avoid wasting his job. Whereas there, he confronts ghosts from his previous—just like the reminiscence of his personal not too long ago deceased mentor—as he fights for his life on the financial institution.

“The principle factor is that he desires to speak to Invoice face-to-face,” Leung says. “That’s his energy: His energy comes from his relationships. Relationships constructed over years.” However in a face-to-face Zoom name, Leung comes throughout stoic and zen, fairly the alternative of the hot-tempered banker he performs. “I believe plenty of it got here from his mentor,” Leung says about Eric’s overly aggressive nature. “His mentor gave him a approach of being that works for him.”

Whereas which may be working for Eric, it’s now not working for the agency—and Eric is aware of it. Eric’s Hail Mary journey throughout the Atlantic, Leung says, is “a present of nice desperation” from a person who feels he has every part to lose. “He’s gonna do no matter it takes. No one’s invited him. He’s simply gonna take the baseball bat and take his swing.”

Baseball bats, coincidentally sufficient, are an essential a part of Eric Tao for Leung. Eric can typically be discovered wielding one as he paces the buying and selling flooring or barks orders from his desk. “I at all times thought the baseball bat is form of intimidating and simply improper to hold round. However you don’t carry a baseball bat except you’re feeling threatened, except it’s essential to shield your self from one thing, except you might be in bother,” Leung says. “On the surface, it seems like an image of energy. But it surely’s so blatant that it should communicate to one thing he’s hiding or reconciling inside himself.”

The precise bat he chooses to wield is one other clue into Eric’s psyche. “I wished [a bat] that for those who hit one thing, it may break,” Leung says. Finally, he landed on a brown picket one. “All the opposite bats have been, like, aluminum or no matter. They didn’t break. However a picket baseball bat is sort of like a metaphor for Eric. The tougher you hit, the extra likelihood that you’ll break.”

“Why do it’s a must to have it?” he wonders. “What are you afraid of? What are you making an attempt to get in entrance of?”

Ken Leung as Eric Tao

Amanda Searle/HBO

It’s clear by episode 4 what Eric must be afraid of: his personal mentees. Over the course of the season, Harper and his different former protégé, “New York by the use of New Haven” hotshot Danny Van Deventer (Alex Alomar Akpobome), have begun outpacing him on the agency. “I’ve a good friend in finance, and he’s like, ‘This rings actually true,’” says Leung. He notes that his good friend was truly instructed by his boss, “I need to prepare you such that you could substitute me.” Eric, nevertheless, will not be as prepared to get replaced.

Leung, although, isn’t threatened by his youthful Business costars. He’s acquired an incredible rapport with them, particularly his most frequent scene companion, Herrold. “I really feel very protected together with her, and it occurred from the primary second,” Leung says. “The primary time we met was the primary day we labored. If you watch episode one, season one, that first interview, it was hours after me and Myha’la had truly met.” Regardless of that comparatively quick on-ramp, their chemistry was pure and speedy, Leung says. “Some folks you meet and you’re feeling one thing, such as you’ve identified one another all of your life. You realize, that kind of factor,” he says. Their bond is so tight that Leung tells me that they unwittingly ended up transferring into residences only a few blocks from one another throughout the pandemic.

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