Sung Kang Discusses The Importance Of Varied Asian-American Experiences And Stories – Exclusive
“Snakehead,” the new crime thriller that debuted on October 29, tells the story of a titular type of gang — one that specializes in smuggling people out of China and forcing said people to work off their debt. Sung Kang, best known as Han in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, plays Rambo, an unstable and violent gang member who lives in his mother’s shadow. That said, it’s hard to pin down Rambo to any stereotype. He’s a nuanced character, one full of insecurities and occasional tenderness alongside his outbursts.
Looper spoke with Kang about the role. Given that the cast is almost entirely Asian, and the fact that, between “Shang-Chi” and “Minari,” we’re getting more Asian stories this year than ever, we asked how he felt being part of that. “It’s great,” he told us. “I mean, it’s nice to see just simply that there’s opportunity that’s happening. If there’s one film with an Asian American actor or cast every decade, it’s hard. You start starving for content. And as an actor, there’s no hope. And just simply, if you see other people that look like you, and there’s stories with Asians in it, it just gives you hope that [it’s] possible and there’s going to be opportunities to tell more stories.”
A rainbow of different perspectives
“I think we’re going to tell all different types of stories,” said Kang. “There has to be a rainbow of different perspectives and different people within a certain ethnicity for us to start breaking down preconceived prejudices and notions and stereotypes.”
Kang acknowledged that some may see another portrayal of Asian gangsters as a negative, saying that “it’s continuous in Hollywood cinema,” but what matters most is that “these characters can be relatable on a three-dimensional level.” He alluded to the story of Rambo, his character in “Snakehead,” as an example: “I mean, it doesn’t matter if you’re a gangster or a CPA. If you have problems and difficulty with your mother, because you live in the shadow of your older brother and you’re never going to live up to your mom’s expectations, that human experience is relatable in any geography, in any family dynamic. It doesn’t matter where you come from.”
The crime thriller “Snakehead” is now playing in theaters, on digital, and on-demand.