Interview by Joanne Haner | December 15, 2022 | Photo by Glenn Nutley (@thecontentcreative)
After getting his bachelor’s degree in computer science, Kian Talan never expected his New York tech job to lead to a career in acting. A few acting classes and a two-year conservatory later, he found himself moving to Hawai’i for his largest acting job yet.
Talan currently plays Alex Tennant on NCIS: Hawai’i, a teenage boy navigating life with his little sister and newly single mom, who also happens to be the Special Agent in Charge of NCIS Pearl Harbor.
Acting was never in the cards for Talan growing up, but after opening himself up to the art, he was able to learn about himself and the world around him.
“I definitely needed [to learn about myself] at the time. I was trying to figure out who I was,” Talan said. “Once you start exploring that part of yourself, it’s hard to stop.”
Although he had found a new passion for acting, Talan wasn’t set on pursuing it as a career just yet.
Talan said that after taking a break from acting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to come back to the audition scene with a “new purpose.” He realized that he was doing this work for himself first and foremost.
Part of the reason his character on NCIS: Hawai’i is so important to Talan is because of his background. Alex Tennant, like Talan, is Filipino-American, which Talan is proud to represent on-screen.
In recent years, there has been an increased visibility of Asian-American stories in the media, and Talan has been able to be a part of that progress through sharing a Filipino-American story on NCIS: Hawai’i.
Talan is able to pull from his personal experiences and family for his character. Like Alex, Talan also grew up with a single mother. After immigrating to the United States from the Philippines, Talan’s mother worked to provide for her family. He credits her for his work ethic and perseverance.
“Watching her go through life and find success in the industry that she’s in while being an Asian woman was super inspiring to me,” Talan said.
Furthermore, Talan has a younger brother who is roughly Alex’s age. He said his brother is a major inspiration when playing his character.
“There’s surprisingly a lot of correlation to my life and to who Alex is,” Talan said. “It made me think a lot about how I felt during the time of my parents being divorced that I probably didn’t think of at the time.”
With his breakout role in NCIS: Hawai’i, Talan looks forward to what the rest of his career may hold. Whether that involves exploring other genres or getting into the film scene, he said he is excited to grow up and learn about different characters in his acting journey.