Newcomer Chris Pang – Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
The son of two martial arts instructors, Australian actor and newcomer, Chris Pang made his film debut with a lead role in Citizen Jia Li (2008) for which he won an Asians on Film (LA) ‘Best Actor’ award. His breakout role was “Lee”- a lead and love interest to the protagonist in the Australian box office hit Tomorrow When The War Began which excelled to be highest grossing Australian film of 2010 and went on to collect many IF and AFI awards; also subsequently breaking DVD sales records in Australia. He is actively engaged in developing projects and is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese as well as an aficionado of martial arts disciplines.
Chris Pang has steadily built a stable of film and television credits since his breakout role. The success of the film was followed by a number of Australian television appearances on shows such as AFI Award winning series Rush, critically acclaimed Tangle and City Homicide. Pang would next appear on film alongside Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy in Lakeshore’s I, Frankenstein (2014), as Levi, a clinical and efficient warrior of the Order of Gargoyles. The Mule (2014) with Hugo Weaving, saw Pang play Phuk, the antagonist’s (John Noble) not-so-loyal calm but deadly muscle. Most recently Chris was seen in Superfast! (2015), the comedy spoof of the Fast and Furious franchise as The Cool Asian Guy– a parody of Sun Kang’s character in the series.
Now, he is set to star in The Weinstein Company’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, the much anticipated sequel to Ang Lee-directed 2000 martial arts epic of a story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption. In the film Chris plays ‘Flying Blade’ a highly skilled and noble martial arts fighter who leads his comrades to defend the Green Destiny sword.
MS: What inspired you to become an actor?
CP: There are a bunch of creative and expressive reasons, but simply put: it seemed fun. I used to enjoy watching the ‘making of’ featurettes on DVD’s as much or often times more than the film, especially if it was an average one. I didn’t think it was fair that people were paid to do that and now that I’m here doing it, I still don’t!
MS: Tell us a little about your role in the upcoming Sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? The film was huge when it was introduced 16 years ago.
CP: I play a martial arts cowboy named ‘Flying Blade’. Now against a backdrop of 18th century majestic martial artistry, that name surely conjures up some imagery and you’ll be happy to know that that is exactly who Flying Blade is. He’s a free spirited master of the dagger. The film centers around stopping the legendary ‘Green Destiny’ – a powerful sword that featured in the original film – from falling into the wrong hands and he is one of it’s protectors. He’s the guy who you love having around, but that you are secretly jealous of.
MS: What has been one of the biggest moments of your career thus far?
CP: Definitely being a part of the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel! My parents are both martial arts instructors, which means firstly that I’m very good at waxing on and waxing off a car but also that I’ve watched many action flicks. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, however, was the first martial arts film I ever saw in the cinema that was in Chinese. It was a special moment for me to sit in a public theatre and watch my heritage portrayed on screen in a way I could be proud of and for me to say that 16 years later I’m in the sequel blows my mind.
MS: In those moments when you want to quit or stop, what keeps you going?
CP: This is a simple question to answer for me and there’s no way around it – my family. They’re all back in Australia, which is literally on the other side of the world, and because of the time difference, it gives true meaning to ‘call me anytime you need anything’. I’m sure they regret ever saying that to me.
MS: Talk to us about your additional upcoming acting projects? Any series’ roles we should be on the lookout for?
CP: Yes, there certainly is one in particular to lookout for! Trust me I’m dying to tell you all about it, but I’m not allowed to let out much at this stage. It’s epic on a grand scale and there’s more fancy costumes and fights to come. Stay tuned (or binged) to that monthly streaming subscription!
MS: What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
CP: The end of it. I just cannot wait to see how this year unfolds as there are so many fantastic opportunities for me that weren’t there last year. It’s not to say I won’t enjoy the journey because I will savor every moment but I just know looking back over it in retrospect is going to be rewarding.
MS: Switching gears a little, the Heed team loves talking about what’s trending in fashion! How would you describe your personal style?
CP: I’m from Melbourne, Australia and it’s a city of four seasons in an hour. The trick is layering but the first thing that’s obvious on the street is the lack of color – Melbournians love blacks and muted colors. I’ve loosened up a bit since moving to LA but I am into anything timeless, classic and classy. I’d describe my fashion style as a gentlemen on casual clothes day.
MS: Kanye West was named most Stylish man of 2015 by GQ Magazine. Do you agree?
CP: Firstly, I’m not going to offend anyone who can write a rap to diss me, but in this case I don’t need to. Anyone designing their own shoes has got to have a sense of style and Kanye does. I love his music and even if there’s a bit you don’t like, we are all still listening to it. I feel like his style has a similar feel and it just works.
MS: If you were not an entertainer, what do you think you’d be doing?
CP: I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many interesting people because of what I do but in my last year of high school I was deciding between going to college to be a computer-desk bound multimedia designer or a dentist – who have the highest suicide rate of any profession. Thankfully I’m now doing neither of those and instead, pursuing something that I love doing more than anything!
MS: If you could work with just one actor who you have not worked with, who would it be?
CP: This is an unfair question as there are so many! I have always idolized Michelle Yeoh, but thankfully I can check that one off the list now. Besides all the obvious greats, the most exciting and current actor to me today is Tom Hardy and I would lock that in as my final answer.
Mike Sanford: What do you ‘take heed’ to?
Chris Pang: I see what you did there! A lot of things pop to mind and if you’re after advice then I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask. At the risk of a slightly existential answer, however, I take heed to ‘happiness’. It is in one form or another the driving force behind so much of what we do and I think it’s important to remember to follow what truly makes you happy.
All Photos © 2015 Rowan Daly