Actor Sung Kang, best known for his film roles, hits primetime with a new TV drama, Gang Related, on Fox. It’s a role created for him by the same writer behind the Fast and the Furious franchise that made Kang an international star—and lent him a persona that fans just love to love.
by ADA TSENG
Everybody wants to be Sung Kang’s friend. Or, perhaps, more accurately, they want to be friends with the character that Kang so convincingly and coolly played on the big screen: Han, of the Fast and the Furious films, Universal Studios’ biggest franchise. It’s a role that has made the handsome, 6-foot-1 actor, with effortlessly fantastic hair, chiseled jawline and lips made to brood, one of the most recognizable Asian American artists in Hollywood today. It has also earned him a broadly diverse cross-section of fans, from international women who tweet at him with heart emoticons (even though he’s married), to fellow Asian American males who love that one of their own plays the cool guy in mainstream movies, to car fanatics who assume he must be an expert on foreign import vehicles, to L.A. gang members who find him utterly relatable.
And, by the way, we’re not kidding about the latter. It’s a discovery Kang made while shooting in L.A. for his latest role as Detective Tae Kim on the new Fox television series Gang Related, which premiered May 22.
“There’s a Mexican gang element to our show, so we have consultants and background actors who are full-on gang members,” explains Kang. “One day, we shot at a location that used to be a juvenile detention center, and one of the extras said, ‘I actually went here.’ And I was like, ‘For what?’ And he said, ‘For attempted murder.’” Kang’s eyes widen to mimic the disbelief he felt at that moment.
“But the cool thing is that, because of Han, they’re cool with you,” Kang says. “You’re one of the guys. He can talk to me and tell me who he is because I think Han represents a guy who doesn’t judge. And he’s edgy enough that he gives me street cred.”
The actor laughs and adds, “But in my head, I’m like, ‘You went there for how many years? For attempted murder?’ ”