Hudson & Rex’s Mayko Nguyen: “It’s equal parts dog, and equal parts us.”

The film and television business is truly a unique one. A project can seem dead in the water and then, suddenly, months later it’s up and running. Likewise, an audition that seemed to go nowhere can just as easily return.

The latter occurred with Mayko Nguyen. After having what she felt was a great audition for Hudson & Rex led to, well, nothing. Then, out of the blue, a screen test and a jaunt to St. John’s to play Doctor Sarah Truong, Head of Forensics on the police force and helping Charlie and Rex catch criminals.

We spoke to Mayko Nguyen after she’d completed a long day of rehearsals for her latest project, the play Beautiful Man running from May 4-26 at Toronto’s Factory Theatre, and some ADR work on Hudson & Rex.

How did you get the role of Dr. Sarah? Did you audition, did they seek you out, how did that work out?
Mayko Nguyen: I auditioned. It was an interesting process in that. In January 2018, I think, they started the first rounds of auditions. And I did that. And I actually felt good, like decent about the audition, because that never happens. And then I never heard back. And I think it was like months later, I found out that the project had been shelved for a little bit.

And then it wasn’t until sometime in the summer, I think,  just got a call and they wanted to screen test me with some people, which was really bizarre, because it was just one audition, and then I never heard anything about it, and then to jump from that into a screen test, seemed a bit crazy.

I guess the gap was because Ken Cuperus came on board, and they re-jigged the show because he thought that it would fit better the way that it exists now.
MN: Yeah, yeah. It’s funny because I actually didn’t even know that that was exactly what it was. But that makes sense. But it is funny though, it’s just like this business is so bizarre in that way, where you can do this thing and then you might know nothing about it. And then, half a year later, it pops up and you have a job.

How much of a lapse then was there on production from Killjoys to Hudson & Rex? It might have been a pretty quick turnaround for you.
MK: It was a very quick turnaround. I think I moved out to Newfoundland while they were still finishing up the final season. So I got out of Killjoys, and then yeah it was October I think they were still just, they were just finishing up. So yeah, it was a very quick turnover.

What’s the experience been like being in St. John’s?
MN: Actually my very first real kind of big gig that I booked out here in Toronto started shooting in St. John’s. And that was in 2003, I think it was. So I had spent a tiny bit of time. But shooting, so not hitting the tourist spots. And that was so long ago. So I didn’t really remember it. And then this past little bit, we were out there for about six months.

And it was … I mean listen, it was great. It was great. Because it’s gorgeous, and it’s a landscape and a beauty that I’m actually not accustomed to, here in Canada. It’s different, you know? But in the winter time, it’s also ferocious. The wind is insane. And the show’s supposed to be a summer show. So the snow was definitely an impediment, and it was a challenge constantly. It would be really lovely if the show came back, and we shot at a different time of the year. But I hear that their summers are not very long. So I don’t think we really get away from the inclement weather, regardless.

One of the things that I really like about Hudson & Rex so far, and I said this to Ken Cuperus, is the fact that yeah, there’s a dog on the show, but you’ve got this core group of humans as well. And they all get along. I really like that.
MN: I think that’s actually one of the things that I was most surprised by. When you’re shooting it, you don’t know how much the dog becomes the focal point of the show. And it’s really nice because it feels like it’s equal parts dog, and equal parts us. Sometimes when an animal is the focus of a show, it changes the tone and the nature of the show and this doesn’t feel that way. I love it. And Diesel’s so great. It’s shocking what he’s able to do.

According to the press kit, Dr. Sarah is motivated, she keeps a schedule of late nights in the lab, and early morning forensic sweeps. She has the discerning eye for forensic evidence. Nothing gets past Sarah. Are we going to find out a little bit more about her as the season goes on? What can you say about this character?
MN: The one really great thing you pointed out with the show is that it does really focus on the four of us, and I think a lot of the season is spent just establishing that group dynamic. Establishing those relationships. We definitely learn more about the characters as the season goes on. But I think, again, this season has really focused on establishing this ensemble, including the dog, and this unit, this team. You do get to meet my boyfriend for a quick little bit. But we’re still leaving things … we’re not saying too much about anybody just yet.

Give me an update on the play Beautiful Man, that you’re a part of. You’ve been doing auditions, so what can you say about that?
MN: Well, I’m in the throes of auditions. I’m very stressed out. We start our technic next week, and it’s at the Factory Theatre. It’s a show that sort of looks at gender reversals in a really interesting and provocative way. To watch it is a little bit of a mindfuck. It’s a really interesting show and I’ve had very many really great conversations that have come out from this rehearsal process.

Watch Hudson & Rex online at Citytv.com, on Rogers on Demand, or on the Citytv app.

Hudson & Rex returns with new episodes Thursday, June 13, at 8 p.m. ET on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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