Sung Kang reveals the fight to make 'Better Luck Tomorrow'
Sung king you know him as the street racers. Hans Solo. I love that Han Solo in the fast and furious movies. And you can argue that. Seng's portrayal of Han the impossibly cool mentor of Tokyo drift. A member of the core fast and furious family made the franchise the most surprising and successful blockbuster series in Hollywood history. I would definitely make the argument so we are very lucky to have the chance to speak with Song. Today on Asian enough. Thank you for being here with us forever me we want to start off by addressing the big news. Which is you are coming back to the fast and furious franchise for the upcoming fast and furious. Nine which is huge for those of us who obsessively watched these movies because we know than Han. Your character has been gone for a couple of movies and in fact has one of the most tremendous most unpredictable. Arc's I feel like in movie history in that you know Tokyo drift. Which was the third movie in. The fast and furious franchise is the one that you originated this character. And we'd love to hear from you. What has your relationship with Han. Been like over these years. It's a love hate relationship. The hate is a strong word for it. I think it's maybe love and difficult is what it is because I'll never dismiss what the fast and furious and with the Han characters done for my career and my family and opened the Hollywood doors the first time I you know Justin and I worked on festive fears like we would just literally walk around the production office and then go into his office and start like laughing. Because can all these chairs the free snapple into the free water right those little things that we really appreciate it. Because when we're shooting tomorrow we had nothing we had a fold out table with five sticks of. Wrigley's spearmint gum spread out and a box of cold intimate donuts breakfast. That was our craft service and better luck tomorrow. Of course was the two thousand two indie film about over achieving Asian American teens who flipped the Model Minority Myth on its head when they start doing crimes so better luck. Tomorrow was Justin. Lin's first solo feature recode to feature call shopping things with Quinton leave and there were still students at Ucla. And then I heard that this young filmmaker out of UCLA was making an Asian American film. But I had already worked on a couple of Asian of American films that never finished and it was kind of a fiasco and felt like yeah. It's great to be part of this movement but we're not going to be able to compete with because you can't even finish the movie and when I came back to La. I was so disenchanted anytime I heard about another Asian American filmmaker instantly said this is probably not a good idea. That was already probably a few like maybe five six years in right. I mean I've been already a journeyman into business. You know and the auditions that I would get are the roles that would be a waiter or Yakuza and I felt like maybe the timing was rights. And this idea of being an actor in Hollywood is not GonNa Happen. Right and then I got a couple of phone calls from some aspiring producer. Asian American producers. And they said Hey. There's this guy named Justin Lin. He's a ucla and he's doing this. Asian American film. You should take a look at the script and you should like audition for it now and then two more friends call and say hey. You should really take a look at the script so Justin I actually met at. Danny's on Wilshire and western Koreatown. We met to talk about the script right and talk about the role and stuff like that and at that time. I think Hon- was written as a Filipino character. That drove a hundred civic here like a shaved head. Wow he was really perpetuating kind of like this. You know southern Kelly J. JD M. car culture kind of thug. And I'm from Georgia so I don't identify with I'm into muscle and you know my role models were like James Dean. Paul Newman John Wayne. If you will right and so this thing did not resonate so when I sat down with just and I said Hey I can I addition for Ben. The main character for best. I better tomorrow and just in being the the the patient older brother if you will and he would make a great poker player because slow played it and he's like why not. Let's see so. I went at like three times to read for Ban and knowing the whole time. I'm way too old looking. I don't fit the VIBE and I said to myself if this dude cast me it's movies gonNA suck and compromise vision. So after the third edition called me and said. Hey Man it's not gonNa work out but I would still love free to play on. I was like this is a guy that I would go to paddle with one last shot. Because if it doesn't work out I probably have to go and find a real job and it was so challenging because we had the whole budget in place but then the investors had asked Justin to change all the rules to Caucasian and Justin being. Who is now not GONNA do it? And he started putting the equipment on his credit card but as soon as the credit card companies. No you're maxing it out. They basically linked to the other companies. And then they'll hold your credit card so we're screwed and then I had worked at this restaurant in Beverley hills this cream barbecue place called Hula okay. That is no longer and we shot for a day and then justice said the money's not coming in so we probably have to shut this down and I went to work and I was so depressed right and I'm a server. They're left of a smile. I was so bummed and this is where I feel like everything happens for a reason. Like I don't necessarily subscribe to all these myths and stuff as some Guardian Angel but if if there is such thing that night she showed up and by that you mean John Wong and her husband. Jeffrey go founders of the Cherry Sky Films Production Company. They had been coming into the restaurant for a couple years and there was the first time they saw me not smiling and that kind of goofing off and she said what's wrong way so sadness explain the situation and she said can. I take a look at the script as I have in my car. She goes Why don't you in the director come by the office? Like the talk we went in there spoke for about an hour and then she wrote us a fifty thousand dollar check. Wow there's something like so mythic about this whole story but isn't that the keep a fifty thousand not enough to finish this movie right and so then we're stock and just kind of freaking out and the only person he knows that really has money. Is this guy named Mc Hammer right and how does he know MC Hammer so justin used to work at the Japanese? American museum is to be editor for the downtown Japanese-american Museum and so he was in plans of shooting tomorrow. And at that time the cannon xl one three chip consumer camera was coming out. And if you guys are aware if your techies like big deal so that was the first option of going digital post to film and suggests that went down. I think there was a convention down there to look at the new cameras coming out and Hera was there so hammer's standing next to a kid. You know anything about this camera. And he kind of helps them out and he goes. So what do you WanNa do this well? One day I hope to be a director. They Kinda you know. Talk a little bit and hammered being who is gave him his phone number and said hey you ever need anything. Give call so fast forward. The money's not happening just freaking out the credit cards frozen. I think he had the the phone number like pin to his wall. For you know for Sake right is that what the hell he calls. Hammer Hammer picks up. What's up is okay. Do you remember me Zig. Know what do you want? Here's the situation he goes. Hey it's not hammer time anymore. I can't just be funding these things. But here's ten grand. Do what you gotta do but you know I don't I don't need it back but here it is so if you go and watch. Tokyo drift anytime. There's a Tokyo City. Scene is hammer