A one-on-one interview with an upstart Asian-Canadian actor.
With Hollywood finally moving into a modern era of diversity, Asian-Canadian actor Chase Tang leads the charge of a new wave of actors.
As Hollywood finally starts to open the floodgates on diversity, 25-year-old Chase Tang has begun the climb of success having landed a role in the Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy, based on the comic book of the same name.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Tang’s family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he grew up as any Canadian child did: playing hockey.
From a young age, Chase would immerse himself in films of all kinds, from spending hours on end watching anything and everything he could, to simply entering a Blockbuster Video and browsing the endless selection of movies, scanning the cases for familiar names and those that were new to him.
The budding actor took time out of his day to sit down with this reporter for The Avro Post over the phone and discuss what it’s like to finally get the opportunity he has worked hard to obtain, because it wasn’t always where his career started.
“I didn’t grow up, you know, being obsessed with theatre or theatre plays or acting – it wasn’t really who I was. It hasn’t come naturally for me, I’ve had to really work very hard the last two, three years in a lot of different acting classes.”
Tang originally studied Business at the University of Guelph and was successful in that venture until he decided to pursue acting.
When asked if there were any movies that he felt personally attached to, be it from childhood or even recently, Tang laughed and explained, “I feel like that in itself could be a completely different phone call, but to name a few; Matthew McConaughey in How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days.
Another is Limitless with Bradley Cooper as well as Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street.” Being a fan of the one-man-army type films, Tang goes on to discuss John Wick, The Equalizer, Taken and Bangkok Dangerous.
After a few minutes of Tang and this reporter gushing over The Wolf of Wall Street, we move on to the main attraction — being cast in Netflix’s Jupiter’s Legacy. The series is based on the 2013 comic book written by Mark Millar.
“The show is taking a completely different approach than traditional superhero shows. Before you had the ‘good people’ and then you have the ‘bad people’ and that’s been the theme for the last 40 to 50 years.”
Tang continued to delve into the show with passion, “You’ve got these superheroes that have been around and are well respected and have done good, and the next generation is struggling to live up to what their parents have done. It has a generational element that a lot of people can relate to.”
Tang’s character, Baryon, was not actually in the original comic book and was created specifically for the show. “He’s not one of the good guys.” Chase says with a laugh, not giving away too many details.
He continues to tell me that the dream was to always play a superhero as he felt he never really fit the mold of a villain character. Having spoken to Chase for some time now over the phone, I agreed wholeheartedly.
“Ask any girl I knew in high school ‘Hey, was Chase a bad boy?’ and their response would be to laugh out loud.”
As the conversation continued on the concept of good guys and bad guys, Chase revealed to me that he auditioned for the role of Shang-Chi in the upcoming Marvel Studios production, Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings before the role ultimately went to fellow Asian-Canadian actor, Simu Liu, back in July.
“Simu Liu is phenomenal, nothing but amazing things to say about him, I’ve been following his career for so long.” Chase tells me, and it’s easy to hear the sheer amount of respect Chase has for him just in his tone. Despite wanting to interview Chase and his journey, he goes on to tell me about Simu Liu’s acting career and how he has been slowly changing the way Asian-Canadian actors made their mark in film and in diverse casting.
“Simu came in at a time when it was hard. My timing right now is good. Crazy Rich Asians, Marvel and Shang-Chi, Kim’s Convenience; this is what you call good timing. He is someone I speak very highly of, as he’s done great things.”
Chase took the casting process for Shang-Chi incredibly serious. Knowing he didn’t have too many credits to his name, he spoke to four different coaches in order to grow and give himself that chance.
“It was a very lengthy audition and I did audition here in Toronto with the main casting director. I felt very good and got amazing feedback and didn’t hear anything for three weeks, and then I saw Simu post on Instagram that he got the role and I was so jealous, but there’s honestly nobody more deserving of it than him.”
With the call having moved into the realm of Marvel movies, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask Tang about a very intriguing topic. Fans of his, especially overseas, have taken to the internet to campaign for him to play Namor the Submariner who is rumoured to appear in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther 2 which is currently in development at Marvel Studios.
“Hopefully Marvel knows who I am, and if they took a strong look at me and considered me, I’d be so honoured to audition. At this point it’s mainly noise and nothing is really formal.” If you’d like to see some of the fan support, you can follow this link.
Asking Tang in a hypothetical sense if he were to get the role of Namor, the question would be if he feels he’s mentally prepared to take on a role of that magnitude where being locked in to a character means numerous appearances and busy press tours, he answered “I was always preparing myself, mentally and emotionally, that if I was given an opportunity like Namor, I would not miss a beat, and I would dedicate everything I have to it.”
As with any actor, there are always naysayers and those who put forth negative energy, be it online or sometimes in person.
When asked how he deals with that, Tang answered “The people who know me, know who I am. If anyone has anything negative right off the bat, if they dig a little deeper and see my story, the negativity won’t be in the picture.”
Closing things out, I asked Tang what piece of advice he has for those who want to pursue their dreams.
“I think the biggest message I want to put out there is that I wasted probably a good five to eight years of my life listening to people tell me who I am. What I’m doing now I probably could’ve done it a little earlier. It’s just being able to live to your full potential. No matter how young or old you are; you always have time. Nobody has a right to tell your story – the pen is in your hands.”
Sharing a few more laughs as our call concluded, I sat at my desk and admired how down to earth and real Tang is, both as an actor and a person and someone who will continue to represent Asian-Canadian actors in the entertainment industry.
Being the Marvel fan that I am, I am definitely in the group who support his potential casting as Namor and I look forward to seeing his performance as Baryon.
Jupiter’s Legacy will premiere on Netlfix in 2020 and for more information on Chase Tang, you can visit him online.