Korean American actor Sung Kang is following up his “Fast & Furious” legacy with his directorial debut of his ’80’s-inspired, horror-comedy film “Shaky Shivers.”
After driving cool and exotic cars as the prominent fictional character Han Lue for many years, the 51-year-old actor eventually drifted his way into the world of directing, fueled by the lack of opportunities for Asian actors and the desire to tell untold stories.
“There were stories that I wished I could be a part of, stories that I wished I could tell,” Sung tells NextShark. “These are phone calls that’s never gonna happen. No one is writing those stories for me.”
Sung, who grew up in a small town in Georgia with his biracial family, thought becoming a famous actor was the greatest achievement an Asian “dork” and “outsider” could ever have. “But as I get older, I start questioning what is my legacy on this earth and what is my purpose,” Sung says.
As an Asian American actor, Sung saw an opportunity to make a difference behind the camera and create opportunities for others who look like him. Sung said he settled on “Shaky Shivers” because it offered a chance to make people laugh during the pandemic while paying homage to the practical ’80s horror visual effects he grew up with.
The film, which was written by Andrew McAllister and Aaron Strongoni and stars Brooke Markham (Lucy) and VyVy Nguyen (Karen), follows two young women who find themselves at an abandoned camp in the woods with a book of magical spells after one of them becomes convinced that she will transform into a fearsome werewolf. Although the film features classic monsters ripped right out of an ’80s horror movie, its theme centers on friendship and being comfortable in one’s skin — a message that resonated with Sung.
“I can relate with the characters of Karen and Lucy, coming from a small town and feeling like an outsider, feeling like you don’t fit in, feeling like you know your life is not good enough and you’re not good enough,” Sung shares.
“It’s something that I could use as my North Star: the journey of two friends being OK in their skin, being OK with their background. As long as you have one partner-in-crime, you’re good in life, right? Aside from all the monster stuff and creatures stuff, that is a story and a theme that I can fight for… You don’t have to be the most popular, you don’t have to please everybody. I think when people see this movie, anyone that’s felt like an outsider can relate with their journey.”
Moving forward, Kang reveals his plans to direct two new projects. One is a personal story about his childhood and his family growing up in Georgia, celebrating the lessons his father taught him, while the other is an adaptation of the classic street racing manga “Initial D,” catering to his passion for cars and targeting an audience eager for car-centric movies.
“Shaky Shivers” releases in theaters for one night only on Sept. 21. Tickets are available for purchase on Fathom Events. Watch the official trailer and NextShark’s full interview with Kang below:
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