Actor Ludi Lin has been slowly raising his profile with recent Hollywood studio projects like Power Rangers and the box office smash Aquaman. Lin has been previously talking up the idea being in the mix to play Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and while speaking with our good friends over at DiscussingFilm for their interview series TheMutuals, Lin spoke about his interest in the Marvel superhero along with the overall representation of Asian characters/actors in Hollywood and his hopes to see it become more commonplace.
“Some of this actually came up before I even knew about the Shang-Chi role. Somehow overnight it became an internet sensation. And for myself, it’s about something bigger than the role itself. That’s for me, a representation issue is very important to me because I just feel like especially through Christmas time I read this article the other day that said Chinese-food a tradition a lot of American families because Chinese restaurants are the only restaurants that are open on Christmas day. So traditionally a lot of Jewish families and other American families flock to these Chinese restaurants. So for me, in this American melting pot, Chinese and Asian has always been an ingredient, I think it’s about time for us to get a seat at the table and enjoy as well. And I think people would enjoy that process actually, I mean, Hollywood and also our media, our audience, are constantly looking for something new and interesting, and how can we bring that to you if you don’t give us those opportunities? And I think there is plenty of opportunity to have fun with a character like Shang-Chi.”
“It’s pretty cool, I think people are really opening up their minds and soon I hope diversity won’t just be a buzz-word anymore and inclusivity includes all colors and races and all genders and it stops being a special word that people bandy about just on media to catch some headlines. I feel like once it becomes regular and integrated it just becomes natural and Shang-Chi shouldn’t come as a shock to everybody that there is a ‘first Asian superhero’ there should be many Asian superheroes I feel like, I mean there is so much opportunity to explore that side of the fascinating world of martial arts for Asians in stuff like Iron Fist, you know, stuff that influences everywhere even in Aquaman. If you know some Asian lore a lot of the stuff draws parallel between Journey To The West’s Sun Wukong/Goku, that a lot of people know from Dragonball. Because Goku is named after him, and it’s this Monkey King that in one of his adventures went to wreak havoc and just crash parties down in the underwater kingdom of one of the Dragon Kings. Anyways, I’m a total geek myself ever since I was little but when I didn’t have exposure to Western comics I loved ancient Chinese legends and ancient Chinese lore, manga, and now a lot of stuff in the Marvel/Vertigo/DC canon as well. So, I’m all for it man.”
He goes on to request that American audiences expand their horizons and expose themselves to more Chinese foreign films and television, which could help make the Chinese culture more of the norm in the west. Please give the entire interview a full listen as Lin has some inspiring comments about seeing the cultures blend in the future.
Shang-Chi currently has a script being penned by screenwriter Dave Callaham, while the studio is seeking a director of Asian descent to helm the superhero film. Callaham’s credits include The Expendables, Godzilla, Wonder Woman 1984, and the upcoming sequel to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.
Shang-Chi himself in the pages of Marvel Comics is best known as part martial arts hero, most notably inspired by Brue Lee’s character from Enter The Dragon and actually is a spy of sorts. I could totally see Marvel pulling influences from Dragon, the Bond movies, and possibly even Jackie Chan’s movies like Supercop.
He eventually gains superpowers where he has the ability to duplicate himself, not unlike X-Men’s Multiple Man. The character certainly has a lot of potentials as Marvel hasn’t exactly tapped into the martial arts side of the film genre and neither with the spy stuff, outside of the small flares in movies like Black Panther, The Winter Soldier, and the expectation of spying being a key part of the solo Black Widow film.
SOURCE: DISCUSSING FILM