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Photo by James DePietro, courtesy of Gloria John.

My Casting Story: Gloria John on ‘The Consultant’

Prior to landing a breakthrough role on Prime Video’s new genre-bending series The Consultant, Gloria John was steadily adding credits to her résumé. There was Dear Tony, an award-winning short film the actor starred in and produced that landed on DirectTV. And how about the short-turned-feature Shifter in which she took on the challenge of playing two different roles? But when Casting Networks virtually sat down with Gloria John, it was her most recent performance — opposite Christoph Waltz — that was on the table. The actor took time out to share the casting story of how she landed a part in the new Prime Video series, along with how it transformed into a recurring role. Keep reading for a window into the process, and you can also check out the video version of our interview below.

Thanks so much for being with us, Gloria. And before we dive into your casting story, I’d love to hear how you’d sum up your character of Mama Sang on The Consultant.

First of all, The Consultant is a dark thriller comedy that stars Christoph Waltz, an amazing two-time Academy Award-winning actor. I was so blessed to work with him. The consultant (Christoph Waltz) comes in to try to fix the problems with the company — CompWare is a video game company that’s CEO just passed away. So, my character is actually the mother of the CEO, who comes from Korea after very dark news about the company [is revealed]. The Consultant has so many twists and turns — it’s a crazy ride. The showrunner, Tony Basgallop, wrote this amazing story where you don’t even know where it’s going. The Consultant is very scary, and there are moments of comedic relief. It’s a very fun show.

You did such a good job of summing that up without giving too much away. I’m very impressed. Now, what can you tell us about the process of booking the role?

This audition came to me last year from the casting office of Rachel Tenner, and I really appreciate them giving me the chance to do the audition. It was for a Korean mother who’s grieving — that’s the way I saw the character. So, I did the audition prep, of course, with my coach. But, this character also spoke to me deeply. I lost a very dear friend a long time ago to an unfortunate kind of medical condition, and I really fought for him. People can perhaps relate to what I went through, and I just wanted to come from that perspective [with the audition]. And then I got a call from my agent that I was cast — I didn’t even have a callback. Of course, I cried, and my mom cried. And then I was just worried about really doing justice to the character.

Actor Gloria John tells us how she got cast in The Consultant. Photo by James DePietro, courtesy of Gloria John.

That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that personal connection to the role. So, you booked off just one self-tape for this recurring role?

Yes. I was supposed to be on the first episode, but it ended up being the second episode that I appeared on. I think they liked me and wanted to keep my character, and they ended up bringing me back for the last episode. So, I was very grateful.

That’s always the dream — that they like you and want to bring you back. And I know you mentioned your mom earlier. Were you able to draw from her when playing a mom?

Absolutely. I mean, my mom is a lot like Mama Sang. I think I drew my character a lot from my mom and how she acts. You know, how she is — her strength and her sympathy and empathy for everybody. And I listened to a lot of Korean music that my mom listens to from the olden days. Also, I thought about a lot of the violence that has happened in the Asian community after Covid, which is unfortunate. I thought about all those things and how I can honor these people and kind of let society see how warm these Korean mothers actually are. A lot of that came from my own mother.

Thank you for sharing that.

Thank you for asking.

Definitely. And before we wrap, I would love to hear how landing a recurring role on a Prime Video series has impacted your career so far.

Working with the really top people — especially Christoph Waltz, Tony Basgallop, and Karyn Kusama from Yellowjackets — I think it has made me realize that they all have such a work ethic. But at the same time, they have such consideration for everybody from top to bottom. TV-series-making is definitely a work of collaboration, and if you don’t have love and empathy for other people, I don’t think you belong at the top. Top-tier people are the kindest, most considerate, and respectable. That is going to make you a better actor. That is going to make you a better artist. That is going to make you a better leader. So, that was my whole takeaway from it. I was just amazed by how they ran the whole process of producing this series and how loving and caring everybody was.

Thank you for sharing such a positive message. I think that’s great for anyone to hear, no matter what part of the industry they’re in.


From sharing how she related to the character on a deep personal level to how she drew inspiration from her mother for the part, this has been a window into the casting process that landed Gloria John a recurring role on The Consultant. And the actor gave one last insight into her filming experience before the interview wrapped via a shoutout to Dan Attias, the director of her episode. “He was sharp and knew when to be firm and when to give the actor plenty of space to prepare to get the best performance,” Gloria John noted. In addition, the actor left us with a note of gratitude. “I also want to thank you for this interview,” she expressed. Those interested in keeping up with Gloria John’s career journey can find her on Instagram, where she frequently posts about her work.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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