Raymond Lee On Making Right The New Things That Have Gone Wrong In The Quantum Leap Revival [Exclusive Interview]

"Quantum Leap," the beloved cult sci-fi series that starred Scott Bakula the time-and-body jumping Dr. Sam Beckett, is finally leaping forward in time in a new reboot headed to NBC. The original series followed Dr. Beckett as he tried to make his way back home, all while trying to make right what once went wrong along the way. The new series takes this premises and kicks it into modern directions. Raymond Lee ("Kevin Can F*** Himself") plays Dr. Ben Song, a scientist leading a team seeking to restart the Quantum Leap project, who (you may have already guessed) tries the technology on himself and gets flung through time.

It's a promising revival that makes some smart modernizations while keeping the sci-fi attributes and good-natured core of the original. In a new interview, /Film got the chance to speak with series star Raymond Lee about the new revival to talk about how it pivots from the beloved original series to create something new, and more. 

A hologram for the scientist

Since this is the reboot of a beloved original series, I have to ask, how is your protagonist Ben different from Sam, and how are they similar?

Raymond Lee: Well, they're similar in the sense that they're both quantum physicists, and they took a leap... and we're both aware that there's an entire team. Well, the original is Dean Stockwell, who is trying to figure out why he took this leap and understanding the machine that was behind it, and we're putting together Ziggy and all that. In our version, Ziggy is already well-established, and what we're establishing is an entire team at the headquarters that is trying to bring Dr. Ben home. I think they're intrinsically tied. Ben has absolutely used the algorithm that Dr. Sam Beckett used, but he has improved upon it so he can leap into different time periods that exceed just the span of his life. There are similarities, but the main difference also is that it's 2022, and a lot has happened since. There's 30-years-worth of history that has happened since... so there's a lot more to uncover.

It's interesting, too, because your hologram, in this instance, also has a love interest this time. How is that going to impact the series? And how does that make it different?

Pretty harshly. You know, in the original it was a bromance. In this one, we like to call it a romance. And there's a lot more at stake once we find out that the romance was a thing, because much like Dr. Sam Beckett, Ben Seong has Swiss Cheese memory, and he doesn't remember the love of his life. As he begins to piece that together, him possibly dying takes on a whole other meaning, because there's somebody that he needs to get back to. So it's a dynamic that is really fun to play. It's also really fun to essentially do a "50 First Dates" as well, so there's a lot of fun themes that play with having a romantic hologram partner.

Leaping a mile in another man's shoes

What does "Quantum Leap" mean to you? What drew you to take on this reboot?

A show like this is really special, because the main theme is putting right what once went wrong, and the idea of that is very touching and meaningful. I know that there've been many times in everybody's lives where they could redo something. I think it takes a special type of person and character to embody that person and to want to do good, even at the risk of losing his own life. Empathy is at the core. I think a show like this is very important for these times, where I think many people aren't really understanding the other side. Just walk a mile in someone's shoes, and a lot is revealed to you. The show does that, and it means well, so I'm very, very happy to be a part of a show that stands for those things.

With your character hopping between bodies, just as Sam does in the original, if Ben and Sam met, first, would it be possible for them to meet, and if so, would they know?

I don't know about the second part, but yes, for the first part it's absolutely possible for them to meet, and I hope that they can.

"Quantum Leap" will air on Mondays at 10:00pm ET on NBC starting on September 19, 2022.