Meet The Pride of 'Runaways': Brittany Ishibashi and James Yaegashi

Easily the most intimidating member of The Pride is Nico Minoru’s mother, Tina, who happens to be an influential, innovative, and stop-at-nothing CEO, a sorceress whose mastery of the mystic arts may rival that of Doctor Strange, and a domineering, perfection-obsessed “tiger mom” who alongside her husband, Robert, is struggling with grief over an unimaginable loss.

Brittany Ishibashi, an accomplished actress with credits including 24, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Grey’s Anatomy, and the Supernatural web series Ghostfacers, and James Yaegashi, a veteran of Daredevil, Madame Secretary, and the Grand Theft Auto video game series, play the Minorus, and the performers offered a glimpse at the inner workings of the spellcasting family during a press visit to the Hulu series’ Los Angeles set.

On playing a painfully fractured family dynamic against a superhero/supervillain backdrop:

Brittany Ishibashi: What's really fun about this show is that the stakes literally are life and death. And I always feel like I have to come back to the heart of it and fight for the heart of it, which is always things that are being perceived as evil actions, I'm doing only to protect my nest, to preserve my family. And even though it might appear to others that it might be a little cold or... I don't know, overly efficient... is that a bad thing? I'm just doing everything to try the quickest way to preserve and protect my family.

James Yaegashi: Dramatically it gives us a lot to work with, because, the villainy we do or whatever, instead of it just being synced to the single lens, is all of the sudden anchored and sort of nuanced by these very sort of real human issues that we as parents have to deal with, as a man, as a woman, as a father, as a mother, wife, husband.

As an actor, it's been a very satisfying journey so far, to play characters that aren't just easily defined as something. There's a lot over the course of the season that takes the characters into very sort of unexpected and interesting territories.

Ishibashi: Where all of the characters are in flux and we're all fighting to just survive.

Yaegashi: Having to deal with your wife and your daughter in the wake of a family tragedy is very interesting, and there is a lot to play with there. I think it will resonate too, when people see it.

On their entry into the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

Yaegashi: I don't know how one gets ready for that, you know what I mean? It's funny, because I was actually just talking with my wife about that last night. And I think it's going to be strange!

Ishibashi: I have no idea what to expect. I'm kinda just, like, this is a really great show. You don't want to disappoint the fans. You wanna be respectful to the source material. You want to do justice to all these characters, to the world, and the relationships. Maybe for me there is a little bit of panic.

Yaegashi: I think it's a truism in life: the simpler you can keep it, the better it is. And like for me, as an actor, I think it's about the work for me, and if I can do justice to the characters, to the stories, to the material.

My friends and family have actually been good 'cause from the get-go I said, "They don't tell us anything, and we can't tell you anything." They've been respectful of that, but I have several friends who are like, super, super huge comic books fans that were just over the moon when they found out that I was doing this particular show. They love The Runaways. Because it's a millennial comic, I had never heard of it until this and I was talking to some of those friends, and everyone was like, "That is the best comic that has come out in ages!" So that level of excitement, just from the those few interactions, I know is out there.

On the surprisingly rare representation of a fully Japanese-American family on TV:

Ishibashi: It is really nice, and it's so rare that you get to see a Japanese-American man marry a Japanese-American woman. You know, you don't see that. You always see an interracial couple, or when you do see a Japanese or an Asian character, there is always an element like you were saying, of like... like they are secretly a ninja.

Yaegashi: Or the martial arts guy, or the comic relief. And I really am not very familiar really with many, if any, TV shows that have just an Asian-American guy playing a dramatic lead. But it's subversive. It's not like drawing attention to itself or anything like that. It just happens to be that one of the leads in this dramatic story is an Asian guy and an Asian woman. I think that's wonderful, you know ... that there's not even any commenting, it just is.

Ishibashi: It is reflective of this world. The world that we live in.