Impulse Gamer Interviews Sung Kang(FAST & FURIOUS 5) - -

DVD Exclusive Interview Sung Kang (Han Lue)

What is it about the Fast & Furious franchise that makes it so loved worldwide? 

I think itís a combination of two things: itís such a simple popcorn weekend movie where you can just escape. Number two, it has a simple theme. I think just about every one of the movies has a simple theme and that is loyalty between brothers. There is a bottom line of integrity in the message, and I think itís a message that just about anybody universally can grab on to. Itís fun with a simple message.  

The chemistry looks really good between you all on set. Is it fun to do that guy-chemistry thing? 

It is. Itís nice because weíve had time off-set to get to know each other. I think thatís really important to have organic and sincere chemistry. You can only make it up so much. Itís nice getting to know these guys and I think thatís the luxury of being on a movie from beginning to end. You have the opportunity to make friends with one another and learn from each other. All of us come from different walks of life and have different experiences, but we come here and our job is to make each other better. So we do have that brotherly camaraderie, and I really appreciate that on this film that weíve had that luxury of making friends.  

Do you think there are any disadvantages to knowing each other this well? 

Maybe if the characters were different, like if I hated Tyrese (Gibson) or he was the villian, but I think it lends to the characters because we need to be unified. We need to be able to read each other without even the words, itís just a look in the eyes, a joke Ė weíll have an honest joke weíll play off-camera, and it works on-camera. So I think for this film, the friendship really lends itself.  

Obviously these films are about cars too. Do you have a favourite car? 

I like the classics. Through this film I have got to meet a lot of the guys who bring the cars in. I was never into cars when I was younger, but Iíve learnt to really appreciate the American Ďmuscleí cars. I think in the third film, we had a í65 Fastback Mustang. I look at that car and it really represents America. Maybe itís because I am getting older, but I appreciate the older cars more.  

Youíve got classic cars in the movie, right? 

Yeah, there are. Domís car is the Charger. Thatís a super-muscle car. In the other movies, I think the cars were kind of the stars of the movie, but I think because all the characters are coming back from the previous films, this has become more of a character-driven movie with gigantic action scenes. So itís gone away from the traditional formula, but I think the fans are going to be really surprised and happy.  

Can you tell us a bit about your character in this new film, because the last time we saw you, you were dead! 

Dead, yeah. In this film, youíll be able to see where Han gets his philosophy. In Tokyo Drift, he has lines like, ďItís not the amount of money you have, itís the type of company you surround yourself with that really makes you who you are.Ē I think that because of the chemistry within these characters, the brotherhood, supporting one another, the lessons that Dom gives Han, you can see his slow evolution of where the seed was planted for his eventual philosophy.  

Do you think the franchise has influenced video games like Grand Theft Auto or do you think itís the other way around? 

I donít know. I donít play video games, but I am familiar with Grand Theft Auto. I donít know if this movie actually has any influence, I think it complements it. Kids and people who play video games are into cars. Everybody has a dream car. Add to that the excitement of stealing it, the bad guys or the good guys, whichever side you choose if you decide to role-play, so I think it complements it. Iím not sure if it actually influences it. Maybe it might influence the kind of car that you want to drive. Hopefully we have a positive influence: if you have the choice of playing the bad character or the good character that steals from the bad guys and gives to the poor, maybe thatís our contribution. Hopefully kids will see these kind of movies and say, ďI can be cool but I can still be a good guy.Ē Thatís what I was talking about earlier, the simple themes.  

With all the fans around the world, and a franchise thatís been going ten years, do you feel pressure to make a really good fifth installment?

Well, every film I participate in I have that pressure. I put that pressure on myself, but I feel very confident because we have the right people at the top, at Universal, backing this movie with everything they can. We have a wonderful director in Justin Lin that Iíve had the fortune to work with on four movies already. Iím really not that worried with this film. And we have new characters in this one: like The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, is in this, so he is going to add his mojo. I think all the effort and all the hard work that everyone is putting in is paying off and I think the fans are going to be very happy. All I can control is doing my best job and hopefully entertaining the fans.  

Can you talk about any particular action sequence that the fans are really going to love? 

Yeah, I think they are really going to love the end sequence of a race between Dom, Brian, Roman and Han, and because we all came from different movies, we all have a different style of driving. I think the fans have their different favourite characters throughout the franchise, so they are going to be rooting for whatever character that they support. This is the fun, light scene in the movie, and itís purely for the fans. Itís really exciting. This oneís going to be good.  

Youíve shot it already? 

We did, in Puerto Rico.  

Was it easy to do? 

The driving aspect of it? Itís easy for me because Iím just an actor, and I would never take credit away from the stunt drivers. They work years and years to fine-tune their precision and talent, so they deserve the credit for making these races actually believable, because thereís very little green screen in this film. But for me, as an actor, to say, ďOh yeah, Iíll take credit for that,Ē I would never do that. The stunt drivers did an amazing job, and itís pretty exciting, itís pretty awesome.  

Does your character bring you something on a personal level? 

It does. Like I said earlier, it has such a simple message. A man only has his word. In this business, in Hollywood, you meet so many people who have more, and sometimes I think as human beings, we get caught up in the rat-race: ďI want that. I want that. My value is based on how much money I have, or how big my Ďstar-powerí is, or how big my trailer is.Ē I realise, as I get older Ė which I think is similar to the character of Han Ė I realise that all that doesnít really matter. We can walk around in our lives and be kings in our world, but you have to make kingly choices. Your action dictates how people treat you. You might have the most money or drive the most expensive car, but if you are a man of your word, you get my respect. Itís so simple at the end of the day, but so many people live in the grey area, and just like Han, Iíve decided to live with the philosophy of living in black or white.  

Is it hard to live with that philosophy on a day-to-day basis in Hollywood? 

I think you build equity. I think if you make those types of decisions in your life, eventually you surround yourself with other people that have a similar philosophy, so there is a power in numbers and itís just easier. And then when you start to eliminate all the superficial things that weigh people down in life Ė not just Hollywood, it could be in any business Ė life becomes a little easier and actually a lot more fun. You realise, when you step back and look at all of this, you realise how lucky we are, that we are grown men that play pretend for a living. Weíre not curing cancer, weíre not saving the world, but we have an opportunity to at least give a positive message to fans, to kids. And bring fun. And have fun at the same time. So you canít take it too seriously.  

Was it your dream job to become an actor? 

It was. Since I was a little boy, I always wanted to be in the movies. But growing up Ė Iím originally from Georgia Ė youíd turn on the TV and there were just no role models for me. I donít do martial arts, Iím not really good at mathematics. Iím not a part of the Yakuza, or a Chinese Triad. So for me to identify with the Asian face, or the Asian male face, on TV was very hard, so I didnít think it was a realistic dream or career choice. My parents are very working class; their dream for us, my sister and I, was to have insurance, to have a home, to have a business card, and to give us opportunities that they didnít have in their country. So for them to accept or to understand the idea of me wanting to be and being an actor in Hollywood, was so foreign to them. But because they always said and taught us, ďIf you are going to go and do something, just go and do it the best you can, and be a good person while you are doing it, and most likely it will work out.Ē So I think I had a good support system. The world has changed, itís becoming a very global world, and people sometimes make fun of a movie like Fast & Furious saying, ďAh, itís just a bunch of testosterone and cars,Ē but for me this kind of movie is important because we are changing the way that the world sees different ethnic groups. When the world sees an Asian man that speaks normal English, that can be cool, that can have an interracial relationship, and is not plotting to blow up the whole world with some complicated mathematics or computer programme, then slowly, with baby steps, we can change the perspective of the world in a positive way, especially for kids living in America, that are Asian. I think, at the end of the day, itís nice to be part of that legacy, that positive change.  

Are you worried about being typecast? 

Of course I am. And thatís why I purposely never even learned martial arts, is that I knew that if I studied martial arts, and Hollywood knew that they could put me into that character, it would just be easy for me to take a role. I guess being typecast in this sort of movie, whatever typecast this is, is a pretty good typecast because when do you see an Asian male that is cool, thatís gets the girl, that drives the car, that is loyal to his friends, that has multi-ethnic friends? So if thatís the typecast thatís going to result from this film, Iíll take that one! 

Have you had to take many risks making this film?   

I wish I could. The only riskÖ have you seen everyone riding around on scooters on set? Thatís the only risk I take every day. We donít do the driving stunts we just do the sexy, brooding look. The stunt guys: those guys, they risk their lives. Those guys deserve so much credit. They put their lives on the line. We have it easy. There are very few jobs where I can just show up to a location with a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, and somebody combs your hair for you, they put on make-up for you Ė and look at all this food. We donít have to worry about anything, so if I were to ever complain about what I do for a living, thereís something wrong with me. The stunt guys, they show up and theyíre falling, theyíre driving, theyíre crashing, and I really admire them and respect them and thank them for putting in so much effort to make this franchise so successful and entertaining for the fans.  

Have you met the worldwide fans on a promotional tour? What kind of things do they say to you? 

What is really fascinating to me is that in certain countries in the past, when I would travel around, people didnít have a lot of interaction with Asian people. There would be some derogatory remark like, ďHey, Chinese guy!Ē or ďChino!Ē because they didnít have any interaction. Like, ďOh, itís Jackie Chan!Ē But now when I travel, and other people travel with long hair that happen to be Asian, theyíre now like, ďHey Han!Ē It doesnít piss people off any more. It doesnít offend you, because itís almost a compliment. Itís nice that you can travel around the world and you see that slowly the perception of what people think that an Asian man is supposed to be has changed or is changing because they have watched this film. What a huge compliment, what a huge contribution. So anyone who laughs at the contributions of a franchise like this, or an action film, kind of has to re-think it because itís an amazing step forward. Iím really lucky to be a part of that.  

Your parents must be really proud. 

Yeah, they just donít understand it. Itís so foreign to them. My mum came to the set.  

Where are they from? 

They are from Korea. My mum came to the set and she stood at the craft service table with her wallet out, and waited for me to come back and get her. And she said, ďHey, you love these pastries right?Ē And I said, ďYeah,Ē and she was trying to pay the person who was there. So I was like, ďNo, itís free,Ē and she puts five of them in her purse. For her, the concept of free food all day is so foreign to her. She just says, ďWhy? Why would they give you that? Why?Ē So itís very foreign to them, itís a different reality for them. But I think theyíre happy.

Available on DVD & Blu-ray August 24th 2011



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