Sung Kang sat down with LA Times writer Jen Yamato where they discussed the inception of the Han character in BETTER LUCK TOMORROW, his evolution into the FAST franchise, how the character’s death and resurrection affected Sung personally…and finally, where the eating fetish came from.
To prep for this deep dive, it’s better to ask the question: what is Han versus who is Han…
According to Wikipedia, Han is described as “a concept of an emotion, variously described as some form of grief or resentment, among others, that has been said to be a characteristic of Korean culture.”
Sung talks about how he struggles with this own version of Han which he translates as a kind of “eternal suffering.” The idea that you can never really be truly happy or satisfied. If something good happens to you, it means that someone else in your family is suffering. When you’re rich, it means that someone else, somewhere, is poor.
Always suspicious when good things happen, Sung has had a complicated relationship with Hollywood, and wasn’t surprised when his phone wasn’t ringing off the hook after TOKYO DRIFT:
“Han, if I were a white dude, that’s James Dean, that’s the next Paul Newman, everything that’s masculine and cool. Then you go, African American dude, yeah that’s suave, he has swagger. Asian dude? No Kung Fu, long hair, hanging out with cars…good guy, bad guy…what is that? How do you package that?”
But times have changed…and timelines have changed, specifically in the FAST universe, and that allowed Sung to reprise his role of Han in FAST 4, 5 & 6. But when it seemed like his character was finally laid to rest at the end of FAST 6, there was definitely some inner conflict:
“To be part of something that was so important and then also socially, within the community, feeling like that character did make an impact for Asian American men…and then not being a part of it, it being stripped away, is very hard…”
That’s why when the #justiceforhan movement started to pick up steam, Sung didn’t get involved. Of course he wanted to reprise his iconic role and return to the FAST universe but quite simply didn’t want to get his hopes up. In this business your heart gets broken continuously. It’s best to remain stoic, cautiously optimistic.
Well, luckily for him, and of course all of the fans, Han will live on in FAST 9…and hopefully beyond…