The 32-year-old, best known for his role as Gaius Chau in AMC’s “Into the Badlands,” will play the cocky Lu Xin Lee, whom he described as someone with “major identity issues.”
“The possibilities of this wild character and the violent gritty action style was alluring,” Tan told NextShark. “Lu Xin has major identity issues, deals with a lot of past trauma and covers it up with a flashy lifestyle, cocky attitude and making very risky choices. This is a common theme in life.”
Tan’s description is all over initial teasers for Lu Xin Lee: a handsome, modern-day Asian American gangster.
Here are reasons why Tan is perfect for the role — and just why we love him so much:
1. He makes gangster classy AF.
2. He’s got the bod for it.
3. He eats healthy and trains hard to stay in shape for reasons beyond aesthetics.
“I train a lot, not for vanity purposes but because I love martial arts,” Tan told NextShark. “It is an integral part of my life, it helps balance my energy. I love being fluid and powerful, responsive and fast.”
“I eat as clean as possible and as balanced as possible. I try to know where my food and water is from, removing processed food and sugars from my diet almost completely, and again, I enjoy the way I feel so it isn’t much of a sacrifice.”
4. Still, he knows when to have some fun.
“If I am on vacation or traveling and I see an amazing dessert or a fat-heavy food, I will eat it. It is important to be happy, let yourself live, but don’t overindulge. It is the same with all good things in life. Balance, but as far as being attractive goes, it is all in knowing yourself, embracing who you are and being kind — nothing more attractive than that.”
5. He’s got his kung fu game together.
“I mix up my training with different styles: Muay Thai, boxing, weapons, kung fu, and sparring. I add in weight training, calisthenics, yoga, meditation, and full-body recovery.”
“I was really interested to explore new dynamics after being on such a genre-specific show and doing specialized Hong Kong-style action,” Tan said. “I sent in a tape I filmed in my kitchen eating noodles and had a long conversation with our showrunner John Wirth. After hearing his vision and passion, I had to be a part of it.”
13. Who puts in the hours and actually cares about his work.
“Like every role, there is always preparation involved. Getting to understand the character, why he does what he does, his motivations, fears, desires and loves, then discovering how I can physically and emotionally embody it. I try new things, fail, try again until it connects and then finds its flow.”
14. Even better, he makes it a point to champion Asian representation.
“I am excited to be acting at times like this. I want to be remembered for good work and not just for working. I choose carefully and end up turning down a lot of offers. Legacy is my main intention.”
15. And he’s changing how the world sees Asian men — for much better.
“There is a stereotype created long ago that Asian men are not attractive or masculine. Even recently, Steve Harvey made those comments on his show, in this modern time,” Tan said. “I am happy to help break those lies and open up a new and more accurate way of thinking.”
Alongside Tan, “Wu Assassins” stars Iko Uwais and Byron Mann.