The Sinner’s David Huynh Talks CJ’s Embarrassing, Private but Vital Scene and a Whole Lot More!

We had a likelihood to talk with David Huynh, presently starring in The Sinner as CJ, a troubled younger man concerned with the equally troubled Percy Muldoon (Alice Kremelberg).

He provided candid perception into engaged on the present and bringing the gritty particulars of the twisty psychological drama to life.

Don’t fear; we stored the spoiler elements of the dialog near the vest. Let’s simply say that you will love The Sinner Season 4 Episode 6! Enjoy.

CJ on the Dock Tall - The Sinner Season 4 Episode 6

So I used to be taking a look at your IMDb web page, and you have been on so many superior reveals in visitor roles. What visitor function is your most memorable?

It’s courting, and that is going fairly far again, but I did a visitor factor on ER, and this was a very long time in the past. It was the final season of ER, and it was the second final episode.

Oh wow.

Yeah. And on the time, it was what, John Stamos, and it was Linda Cardellini, I do not know that, that job all the time caught with me. I all the time thought it was so cool to be on such an iconic American TV present. I grew up in Canada, so to me, I believed it was… I’ve all the time thought again, and it was one among my favourite gigs I’ve ever performed.

David Huynh on ER - The Sinner

I’ve to say you had been on a present that’s one among my very favorites that received crushed in that author strike in 2006, Invasion. Oh my gosh, how enjoyable was it to film Invasion?

Oh yeah. Wow. Yeah, that was such a enjoyable, enjoyable present to do. It was one of many earlier tasks that I received on, and I assume it was actually enjoyable as a result of I had moved to Los Angeles in all probability simply a few years earlier than I received that job. And I used to be truly type of roommates with Alexis Dziena on the time. And then I assume a yr or two years later, she was a common on the present, and then I received employed as a recurring, and we all the time simply laughed, like what?

But man, the world is such a unusual place. And it was such a cool little present, and it was, I feel, one of many Cassidy brothers; he was the showrunner. And it was such a cool idea of those hybrid people who had been, I assume, half aliens, and there was this thriller going round in Florida Town, and I had some actually great scenes with Evan Peters, the Evan Peters we all know at the moment.

But again then, it was simply a very younger teenage Evan Peters. And again then, he was already extremely gifted and centered on the work, and I realized a lot simply by working with him, the small quantity that I did.

David Huynh in Invasion - The Sinner

Well, I’m going to have to observe it once more now and search for you as a result of I truly personal that set as a result of I beloved that present. I’m nonetheless bitter over it, nonetheless bitter.

Yeah. It did have a cool following. Numerous buddies of mine from the UK would speak about it, the way it… It was a huge deal over there, and they actually beloved it, it was very culty.

Yeah. I feel it will’ve performed very well, particularly now. If Katrina, I feel it was Katrina too, wasn’t it?

Yeah, that is proper. I have not thought about that present in a very long time. That’s fairly cool.

I’m completely happy to take you down that stroll down reminiscence lane. So how a lot do you know about The Sinner earlier than you bought the half?

I did not know a lot about it. I do not watch a lot of TV, but I knew a lot about what was occurring in season one with Jessica Biel and with Bill Pullman. It was a very attention-grabbing idea. I used to be like, “Oh, Bill Pullman’s doing tv,” as a result of I grew up with Bill Pullman, the movie star.

David Huynh in Glasses - The Sinner


Yeah, he is such an iconic American actor, and I assume, stars in a few of my favourite movies. So I used to be like, “Okay, that is very attention-grabbing,” since you do not actually see too typically that a man of his sonography finally ends up doing tv all of a sudden.

So I all the time needed to test it out, and I by no means did till I used to be in talks with casting about this function, and then I went again and binged your complete collection, and I used to be going, “Why did not I watch this after I first heard about it?”

And my buddies would all the time inform me about it too. They’re all the time like, “Have you heard of the present known as The Sinner? It’s wonderful. It’s about trauma, and Bill Pullman performs a tousled detective; you bought to observe it.” And I by no means truly did till I did for analysis.

So everytime you had been watching it, did you attempt to determine who did it, or had been you extra within the psychological facet?

Definitely the psychological facet. I really like True Detective and a lot of various different detective reveals, but I’m not a lot into plotty stuff.

Me too.

Yeah. But what actually hooked me was the psychological facet of this detective and his penchant for this attention-grabbing sexual stuff that he was going via, and the battle of Cora actually drew me in.

And I feel it was simply so effectively executed and devised that it actually pulled me in. And so I wasn’t actually watching the present by way of attempting to determine issues out; I used to be simply drawn into the performances and the writing in itself.

And now take a look at you; you are a type of traumatized characters.

Yeah, positively.

An Ongoing Feud - The Sinner

So CJ remains to be holding one thing again, from what I can inform. What is your tackle him and his relationship with Percy?

It’s so humorous as a result of I do not wish to give something away as a result of I feel the final couple of episodes, I feel going from 6, 7, 8, and the subsequent one developing 5, will get tremendous twisty. And a lot of issues can be revealed, as they are saying, but watch this. I all the time felt like there have been two CJs, there’s CJ earlier than Percy, and then there’s CJ after Percy.

And so the CJ earlier than Percy is simply a very wide-eyed younger man who has desires, and there’s not a lot occurring in his life in that means. There’s not a lot of loopy battle but. And then there’s an occasion that does occur, and as soon as that occasion happens, that is the change that we see. And so when Percy reveals up in his life, he already goes via one thing, and she just about escalates that inside battle of what he is going via.

And the backstory of them, it isn’t on the script, but it was mentioned and… They’ve all the time identified one another, and they grew up on this little city, and so that they’ve all the time identified one another, they might’ve grown up going to the identical faculty. And he is not essentially would’ve beloved her from the start since they had been children, but he definitely was all the time infatuated by her.

I all the time felt that Percy was a one who CJ would all the time be like, “You know what? Her life is the life that I type of need for my very own self.” The means he checked out her was, her life was already laid out. She had just about her future laid out, all the pieces was there for her, and for CJ, he was like, “Yeah, that is what I might like to have my very own self,” as an alternative of getting all the pieces and struggling to determine it out on his personal.

And so when she involves him, it is like this chance for him to do one thing together with her, he is simply very confused, and he takes a leap, and it is miscommunication, but additionally she reciprocates too.

Meg Listens In - The Sinner Season 4 Episode 6

Whenever he is taking a look at all these photos on his pc, these had been all pre friendship with Percy, proper?

Yeah. So there’s the factor that is being arrange as if he is doing issues with it by way of stalking and whatnot.

Well, I simply take a look at it as a crush.

Yeah, it’s a crush. It positively is. But then it takes a step additional due to the connection they’ve had, so I feel these pictures proven on the display screen are fairly goofy and humorous; I adore it.

He’s following her round, and Brandon, he is actually, they’re engaged at the moment. [laughs] He’s taking images of his crush that is hanging out together with her fiance and going, “Yeah, this my woman.”

[laughs] Yeah, that is no good.

Yeah. You know what’s attention-grabbing, although, so clearly, he finally ends up masturbating.

David Huynh for The Sinner

Okay, now, how weird was that for you?

It was weird since you do not do this sort of stuff in entrance of individuals, despite the fact that it was a closed set, I’m there with Adam Bernstein, my director, and André Pienaar, our DP photographed that episode, and so we have now all our grips there, and I used to be like, “Hey, you recognize what? We’ve all performed this; let’s simply get into it.”

I believed that I could not even think about how it’s important to pull one thing like that off. And each time I see that in leisure, I’ve that very same feeling, like, “Oh, my, that is simply an excessive amount of, I should not be taking a look at this.”

As a performer, as an actor, I used to be a little bit, I would not say reserved about it, I definitely was like, “Okay, I’m wondering how that is going to go,” but I knew that it wasn’t going to be loopy, loopy. I knew I wasn’t going to be bare, and they would not see any non-public elements, simply contractually, I knew that, but I additionally needed to do it in truth.

And so, I needed to reside as much as the character’s circumstance of what he was doing at the moment. And so I used to be in a position simply to say, “Screw myself, fuck with my insecurities as an actor, I’m simply going to do it.” And I truly actually dig the truth that they wrote that in as a result of I do not suppose there’s an Asian American character that is ever seen on TV that masturbates.

David Huynh in White - The Sinner

[laughs] Well, if you happen to’re the primary, then congratulations, David. What a rating!

Don’t maintain me to it, but I do not suppose there’s, I do not know. [laughs] I feel it is necessary.

Well, and you stated you are not bare or no matter. That’s not the scary half to me; the scary half is all the pieces else that comes with it — the emotion it’s important to put into it and stuff; that is one thing.

It is uncomfortable to observe. And I feel that is good as a result of it ought to be. He’s not there doing it actually out of enjoyment; it is fairly the other; he is medicating himself, he is attempting to recover from one thing. And so it is coming from a place of desperation. It’s coming from a place of loss and harm. And so yeah, it’s uncomfortable to observe due to that, due to the emotion that is hooked up to it.

I do not suppose it is the precise bodily facet of what he is doing as a result of bodily, what you are watching is not too horrible. But I feel we perceive how he is feeling, but we’re not completely getting it as a result of we do not know the complete image but, and so it truly is disturbing in that means, and I truly suppose it is actually cool.

David Huynh at the Premiere of M.F.A. - The Sinner

What was your favourite half about CJ? What do you want about him?

There’s a lot. I feel what I actually like is the truth that he is so emotional and he is going via one thing that a lot, I did too in my very own means, there’s a lot of strife in households, and so I really feel like the way in which that he is coping with it is extremely truthful in a means.

Many Asian-American households, particularly Chinese-American households, do not speak a lot, so I’m undecided the place I’m going with this.

I feel I get it.

Yeah. He’s an emotional man, and I feel that is what I actually loved taking part in with him, is the emotion of the circumstances and whatnot. He’s not attempting to cowl up an excessive amount of.

The Lams Visit with Harry - The Sinner Season 4 Episode 2

And is it laborious watching your self push Percy down everytime you watch on display screen? Is it laborious to observe your self do one thing that is probably not purposeful but occurs? Because you would not actually wish to try this in your actual life, and it will be laborious as a result of it is you. Talk about that.

Yeah. I haven’t got an excessive amount of of a downside with watching stuff like that typically. I feel if it was extra ugly and extra purposeful if he actually did strike her, I feel that positively could be very troublesome for me to observe. I do know out of the circumstance of the argument, and what occurs, it is an accident.

And so we blocked it in the way in which the place it may appear like he pushed her, but what actually occurs is she pulls away, and she hits her head, and she falls. And so it isn’t too disturbing for me to observe one thing like that, and it is a part of the character journey, and so I’m going to separate myself from it and go, “This is a character, not me.”

What? You can try this? You’re not simply taking part in CJ proper now? Who knew? [laughs]

That’s proper. [laughs]

CJ and Meg Have a Chat - The Sinner Season 4 Episode 6

So what was it like on set for you? What did you study from the solid, and what was it like working with everybody?

So, Frances Fisher, I had met in all probability again in 2017, possibly 2018, after a screening of a movie I did known as M.F.A. And so her daughter, Francesca, was the star of it, and I performed her love curiosity. And after I had met Frances, we hit it off instantly after the screening; we went out for drinks.

And so after we each came upon that we had been going to be working collectively, we already had a shorthand in that sense. And I solely have one scene with Frances Fisher developing in on a later episode, but I felt like since… I do not know. It was already like an instantaneous sense of “these characters have identified one another” as a result of I had met her in actual life.

And so working with Frances… And not solely that, but we might have these actually lengthy partaking talks about who our characters had been, and I actually beloved the way in which that she labored. I really feel like she… She comes from a theater background, and so do I, and I really feel like due to the way in which that we’re skilled in theater, we have now a lot extra time to debate issues.

And we might’ve been in a position to dive into these characters for a couple of months earlier than we truly went on the stage and to carry out to folks. And so, we each gravitated to that sort of labor the place we simply needed to debate as a lot we presumably may. And so, working together with her in that means strengthened my idea of speaking, and I feel that is simply actually necessary. And working with Cindy Cheung, she turned my mentor on set a little bit.

Stephanie Doesn't Understand What's Happening - The Sinner Season 4 Episode 2

Oh, good.

Yeah. I’m certain you are aware of her work, and she simply has a nice filmography, and she’s simply such a veteran actress, and she was so open. And something that I felt that I simply wasn’t snug with by way of creating and crafting, I may all the time go to her, and she was all the time in a position to give me such nice sound recommendation.

And in fact, Adam, I feel working with Adam, was positively my favourite director to work with. The means that he speaks with an actor and the way in which that he is available in ready to direct the scene is all the pieces that I wanted for myself.

I put all my belief in him, and particularly for these scenes, these actually susceptible scenes that it’s important to belief the eyes of your director, and I knew that Adam was the man to belief. He simply has a lot expertise, and he is simply very exact in his dialogue with you, and nothing is ever complicated. So that is my expertise.

This has been a actually juicy function for you.


Forward-facing David Huynh - The Sinner

You get to run the gamut of feelings, but how is it going to vary the way in which you search for elements going ahead?

God, actually nice query. I’m not too certain. And this was additionally the longest time that I spent taking pictures something on location, and I actually beloved that. I’m not too certain. I feel what it did present me was the sense of instantly connecting to the fabric.

And I instantly related to CJ, even in my audition piece. So I feel that provides me a sense of trusting my decisions and understanding when it hits and when it does not hit and simply understanding that if it does hit, that it is one thing that I’m going to essentially wish to do.

Are you going to concentrate on films or TV, do you suppose?

I do not know. I simply go away all that stuff up within the air for the gods to point out me. I adore it all. Acting is appearing, and work is figure, and actually, if I had a selection, I’d simply keep within the theater as a result of that is the place my coronary heart is.

You simply cannot make money doing it.

Exactly. [laughs] But there’s one thing actually satisfying in working in one thing that’s long-form, like in tv the place you actually get to dive in and create one thing over a time frame, very like a film as effectively. And so I might love simply to maintain going, doing extra recurring characters or regulars, and see the place that takes me.

Yeah. It looks as if you have got a good really feel for it, and I’d wish to see you in one thing else the place we get to dig deep into a character.

Yeah. There are usually not too many alternatives, but hopefully, the doorways will open up, and extra attention-grabbing characters will come my means in that means.

This interview was edited for content material and readability.

The Sinner airs Wednesday nights at 10/9c on USA Network.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a workers author and critic for TV Fanatic news update by She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of tv and film with anybody who will pay attention. Follow her on Twitter and e-mail her right here at TV Fanatic news update by

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