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Turn: Washington's Spies

How President Barack Obama Compares with George Washington According To The Man Who Plays G.W.


There is no doubt that playing George Washington in AMC’s critically acclaimed series “Turn: Washington’s Spies” became a turning point for actor Ian Kahn.  You can just hear it in his words below, specifically how important this role has been for him in shaping his awareness politically, historically, socially, professionally and personally. I’m not surprised.


The intense preparation he put himself through to portray the father of our country as realistically as possible coupled with his penchant for detail and passion for his work could have no less an impact.  Now in Turn’s final season coupled with the tumultuous state of our nation and the month where “flag” and “freedom” take precedent, I asked Ian Kahn to share his views on his experience as George Washington, his thoughts about his life and work, and his views on the men in charge today.


His response - an extremely interesting interview below, which includes wisdom for President Donald Trump and an enormous salute towards former President Barak Obama.  See for yourself.


Share your personal mantra.

“Gratitude is the key to happiness.” The wealthy man is not the one with all of the goods. It’s the one who is satisfied with what he has.


As you played the monumental role of George Washington in AMC's "Turn: Washington's Spies", how did this experience change you as an actor, individual, man, and father?

I am a better actor for having played General Washington these past 4 years. Trial and error as much as anything. Acting on Camera is almost a “feel" thing.  I’ve learned that less is more. Acting for the camera is so different than acting for the stage. I feel that I finally might have found that elusive sweet spot.


The way that it has changed me as a man and a father… Stepping into the Boots of this man has certainly given some perspective. Here was a man who was under the most tremendous of pressures, and understood that his choices would affect the lives of so many. It made him live in a higher state of consciousness. Hopefully I have been able to take some of that wisdom into my own life as a man, husband and father.


If you had to liken George Washington to a well-known politician today, who would that politician be and why?

Barack Obama might be the best most recent example. He lived in the seat of power for so long. He made mistakes, but he always made choices it seemed for the betterment of the Country. He also came from a place of humility, which is unique when one is in a place of such power.


Explain the eyes you see Fourth of July with today, versus prior to playing George Washington.

I understand now how grateful we should all be about what it means to have a Country at all. General Washington and the other soldiers sacrificed so much for their country and for us. July 4th wasn’t just the Birth of a Nation, but the Birth of an experiment. What would happen if we all lived in a Democratic Republic, without one Leader or King who controlled us all. July 4th isn’t the celebration of an easy victory, but of an upset of an upstart group of Rebels over a Super Power. We got so lucky to win this Country. That is to be remembered , appreciated, and honored.


If George Washington lived today, do you think that he would have won the most recent Presidential election or would he have been viewed as out-dated by current society?

General Washington would not have been a nominee for the Presidency. He would have served in the Military and been a closer advisor in a nonpartisan way to whomever the President was.


Where, do you believe, President Trump could use a bit more 'George Washington' in his Presidency?

Humility is the greatest virtue that a great/powerful man can have. The knowledge that we are all human and fallible. That we don’t always have the answers to the questions.


Share a funny story or moment when you forgot you were not longer in-character and how did that turn out?

There have been many moments in this last year where I have felt a pull to be almost a proxy for General Washington in regards to the current political situation. It has almost been at times like I can hear what the General is thinking… feel what the General is feeling. The idea that we must look to our Country ahead of our party, ahead of ourselves. That we must make choices for our Republic to make sure that we stay strong against forces outside our country that may try to do us harm.


If there is such a thing as a great beyond past death, what is General Washington thinking? I ask myself that question everyday still.


I don’t know if that is funny, but it is unusual at least. Also true.


What's next for you?

I am out in the world of acting -- auditioning for new projects, while keeping an open heart to being of service to the Country. It is an exciting time.


Share a social cause or cause-based organization close to your heart.

I work with an organization called Villa Marie Claire, which is a Hospice in Northern New Jersey. My Mother-In-Law spent her last days of life at this wonderful 36 acre Facility that is dedicated to making the transition to the next plane a comforting experience for the patient and their families. Our lives were enriched by this wonderful place, and I am dedicated to helping them the way that they have helped thousands.


When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?

I feel a little young for this question, but I guess I would want to be remembered as someone who fulfilled his potential/mission in this world. But at the end of the day… I want to be remembered as a loving husband to my wife and Father to my two sons.


It was George Washington who cautioned the United States of America against adopting a two-party system, concerned that such a split would work against overall unity.  We see that happening today, although I am not quite sure that we can so easily label the opposing camps Republicans and Democrats, as the divide seems so much deeper and more sophisticated than that.  To explain it would take many articles and possibly one “George Washington” back from the dead.


Come to think of it, wouldn’t that concept make for an interesting, timely, and entertaining Broadway Show?  George Washington rises from the grave and must now make “heads or tails” of current-day politics, while helping to solve the many crises our nation presently faces.  It would be a comedy filled with interesting truisms, allowing all of us to see the ridiculousness we are enduring in its proper light...then laugh at it.  We need some humor injected into this mess.  And I know the perfect actor to play the leading role as he has extensive Broadway experience and knows the part inside-out -- Ian Kahn, himself.  Crazier things have happened and many have become unprecedented successes.  Just look at “Hamilton”!  Enough said.


Many thanks to Ian Kahn and Jill Fritzo Public Relations for making this interview possible


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