The creative team on “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” out Friday, May 17, liked actor Asia Kate Dillon’s trademark neck tattoo enough to let it be seen in their role as the Adjudicator. It’s so prominent, Dillon is used to covering it when they act.
The character is all business but the tattoo, which says “Einfühlung,” (German for empathy), perhaps adds a layer of insight that wouldn’t otherwise have been there.
Non-binary actor Dillon has been a pioneer in bringing queer representation to Hollywood. They also play non-binary character Taylor Mason on Showtime’s “Billions.”
During a Blade phone interview Tuesday, Dillon talked extensively about their “Parabellum” role and other projects.
On the Adjudicator: “As a fan of the John Wick saga, it was really fun for me as an actor to come into a world that had already been developed and to play a new character that takes the audience deeper into the mythology and philosophy of that world. The Adjudicator is the enforcer of the binding rules of the High Table, the shadowy International Assassins Guild. In the second movie, John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, kills a member of the High Table inside the Continental Hotel. That’s a big no-no in the world of the movie. He has broken the rules and he has to pay. Every action has consequences. … It’s really fun to play a character whose job is to come in and intimidate everyone.”
On the origin of the role, which Dillon helped flesh out with director Chad Stahelski after Keanu Reeves’ conception of it: “The Adjudicator is all-business and no-nonsense. My character doesn’t make the rules; they just enforce them. Keanu and Chad were both interested in a character who has a quiet power, a quiet calm. Because they don’t take up physical arms in the film, it is really important that they are still able to be intimidating to characters like John Wick, characters that you don’t think can be intimidated.”
On the character’s costumes, designed by Luca Mosca: “Luca came up with all of this vintage Thierry Mugler high femme European fashion. It’s very architectural, very structural, but still showing some skin. There were sensuous fabrics like velvet and silk. The costume really allowed me to step into the character (no pun intended).”
On “Billions”: “I can’t believe we’re in the middle of airing season four right now. The fact that I am a non-binary actor playing a non-binary character on a major television show is humbling and gratifying. Taylor is a multi-dimensional fully fleshed out character who is integral to the plot of the show. It is incredibly rewarding to me as an actor. When I was a young person it would have meant a great deal to me if I had seen a non-binary character on television.”
On their previous role as Brandi on “Orange is the New Black”: “Playing Brandi was a challenge. You have a character who is a self-identified Nazi white supremacist. My job is to bring depth and multi-dimensionality to the character. For me, I started with the fact that Brandi is just incredibly afraid. Brandi has been taught to hate.”
On guesting on “Project Runway”: “It was a dream come true. love ‘Project Runway.’ I have watched it since season one. Getting to meet Tim Gunn was an honor. They’re all such incredible people. The show is inspiring to be around and watch.”
On doing theater this summer: “I get back as often as I can. I started on the stage, so I love the theater.”
On MIRROR/FIRE Productions (mirrorfire.org), a company they founded in 2016 with Christopher Hirsch: “Right now, we’re producing a Black Lives Matter/Say Their Names piece. It’s an evening of stories shared by friends, family and community members followed by a talk-back.”
On an upcoming EP: “I sing, I dance, I do it all. I have a handful of songs that I’m really proud of and I just found a producer that I’m excited to be working with. I’m eager to put it out there and hopefully other people will love it too.”
On what drives them: “Whether it’s self-generated work or collaborative work with others, I always want to make sure that my work is uplifting and supporting historically marginalized and historically disenfranchised peoples. Whether it’s … theater or film and television, that is my goal.”