The Night Agent’s Hong Chau Discusses What Drew Her To The Netflix Thriller And How She Approached Her Shady Character

 Hong Chau on The Night Agent
Hong Chau on The Night Agent

Light spoilers for Netflix’s The Night Agent lie ahead, so read at your own risk.

TV super producer Shawn Ryan assembled quite the cast for his latest small-screen venture, The Night Agent, which is based on Matthew Quirk’s book of the same name. The series features Gabriel Basso and Luciane Buchanan as its two leads, but surrounding them are a number of formidable performers. One such person is Hong Chau, who received much acclaim this past awards season for her emotional performance in The Whale. Chau plays a very different kind of role in the political thriller, though – one who’s incredibly complicated. With this, the actress has shed some light on the approach she took to her shady character and explained why she was drawn to the show.

On The Night Agent, Hong Chau plays the role of Diane Farr, the White House’s seasoned Chief of Staff. Farr also serves as a supervisor and mentor to Gabriel Basso’s Peter Sutherland (the show’s protagonist). When Peter finds himself wrapped up in a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of the U.S. government, Diane initially appears to be an ally to him, yet she’s later revealed to have dangerous agendas of her own. Ahead of the show’s premiere, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chau about her work on the show. I couldn’t help but bring up her character’s actions and, when asked if she viewed Farr as a villain, the 2023 Oscar nominee gave a thoughtful response:

I don't really think of characters in terms of good or bad. I think all interesting characters have elements of both. And I think given that we're dealing with Washington, DC and politicians and people who have made an entire career of, you know, scratching people's backs in order to get something that they need, I think if you're successful in DC, I think it means you've probably had to sort of bend the truth a little bit [laughs]. You know, as much as you can live with personally. So I thought Diane Farr was interesting. I thought the world that was created was interesting.

More on The Night Agent

Gabriel Basso on The Night Agent
Gabriel Basso on The Night Agent

The Night Agent EP Shawn Ryan Explains The ‘Trap’ He Wanted To Avoid While Crafting The Netflix Thriller

She definitely makes a fair point because, as a number of great TV shows have taught us, characters don’t merely fit into either the “hero” or “villain” boxes anymore. Many can have attributes of both at any given moment, and that makes for some truly compelling storytelling. When it comes to Diane Farr, she makes a number of interesting choices, some of which are well-meaning and some of which are a bit more questionable.

Regardless of her character's machinations though, it would seem that the Menu alum relished the opportunity to play such a part. As she mentioned above, she was intrigued by not only the role but the world in which she inhabits. Hong Chau also explained that an earlier conversation with Shawn Ryan (who created The Shield, S.W.A.T. and more) gave her a true sense of what the show would be:

Shawn Ryan did veer from the book quite a bit. I did read the book, just to get an idea of what we were working with. But I thought it was interesting. We have a female president on the show. I remember asking Shawn Ryan, when we first were speaking to each other and having a conversation about the project. I asked him what interested him in this particular story and what did he want to say other than to have, you know, an entertaining political thriller. And one of the things that I found interesting was that he wanted to really delve into how men and women work together and what that looks like and what those difficulties are. So I was really game to jump into a genre that I hadn't had an opportunity to work in before. I haven't done this sort of political thriller genre, so it was fun.

As an actor, there’s probably nothing like playing a complex character who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty, and this latest release on the 2023 Netflix TV show schedule has plenty of them. Hong Chau certainly adds to the proceedings in a good way, thanks to her role as Diane Farr, and one can only hope that she’ll get more gigs like this as time goes on.

The Night Agent is now available to stream using a Netflix subscription. After you’re finished watching, check out CinemaBlend’s 2023 TV schedule for info on other high-profile shows headed your way this year.