The “Fast & Furious” franchise has made it very clear — through nine films, a theatrical spinoff series and roughly $6 billion at the worldwide box office — that family is everything. Perhaps the most undeniable member of that family is Sung Kang, the actor whom fans single-handedly resurrected through social media fanfare.
Kang played the role of mechanic and street racer Han Lue for five films in the action anthology; his character met an untimely end at his introduction and appeared via flashbacks in subsequent movies. As Universal Pictures ramped up production on its latest installment, “F9,” moviegoers began tweeting #JusticeForHan, demanding another chapter for the formidable teammate of Vin Diesel. Justice was served.
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“Everybody wants a Han in their life. He’s an older brother who will protect you and base you on fundamental cowboy principles. Who you are inside,” Kang tells Variety.
Kang, a Georgia native of South Korean descent, calls the Han trajectory a “Hollywood fairy tale,” especially given his character does not don a cape or wield a magic hammer.
“This isn’t Batman or Superman people want to see revived — it’s Han. In a way, I get a key to everyone’s garage everywhere I go. Everyone wants to buy me a beer and tell me their car history. After this experience, when I went to set every single day so happy and grateful for how the audience connects to him, I kind of understand now what the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus means to kids,” he says.
The “Fast” gig has also afforded Kang the chance to contribute to Hollywood’s most prized intellectual property, “Star Wars.” He appears in the upcoming Disney Plus original “Obi-Wan Kenobi” opposite Ewan McGregor and Kumail Nanjiani.
“I was the kid who came home from school and put on his Kmart Darth Vader mask,” Kang says. “It’s incredible to be an adult and still get to come to this playground.”
Most inspiring to him is working with director Deborah Chow (“Better Call Saul,” “The Mandalorian”), who will helm the entire series.
“She’s a Canadian Chinese female director. It’s amazing just to watch her. She also represents a lot of firsts in a space like this, but it feels so normal. She’s leading an army,” he says.
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