10 THINGS – Chris Pang
Here are 10 Things we wanted to know about Chris Pang.
How did you get your start as an actor and how did you react when you finally landed your first role?
I got my start when I was a broke student, selling phones in Australia. I walked into a casting office to sell them the latest 3G phone that could not only make voice calls, but also video calls! That alone makes it sound like a long time ago! Anyway, I ended up selling them some phones, but I also ended up in their books and went out the very next day for my first gig as an extra. My very first actual role however, was a lead in a small indie film called Citizen Jiali (which I later won an Asians on Film award for). I was simply ecstatic, as not only was it my first role, but it was also a deeply emotional complex character. I could not have asked for more!
There are quite a few Aussies in Hollywood. You guys are taking over, LOL. How proud are you to be representing in such a positive way?
Ha! I hear that every time any other actor identifies my accent, but let me clear something up. Aussies aren’t just flying over and booking everything. The Australian talent that is here has worked hard to be here and they’re the most committed and gifted there is on offer- the best of the best of Australia! It makes sense that they would find their way into the industry here! Australia is just beautiful, so you better have a bloody good reason for leaving, that’s worth it!
Your parents were both martial arts instructors. How much of that training and influence do you bring into the films you do?
Yes, they were. And, getting in trouble as a kid, was a thousand times more terrifying, than in an average house. But, somehow, I was still a brat. The great thing about martial arts, is that even if you aren’t physically performing the movements, you are still practicing it’s lifestyle. I guess, that on screen, it is not always present as it depends on the character being portrayed. But, behind the scenes, it has helped me immensely. The respect for others, as well as my own body, that martial art has taught me has been invaluable!
Speaking of films, you’re in the upcoming film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. How were you first introduced to the film and what made you decide to take it on?
Well, it really needs no introduction- the first film was a worldwide phenomenon! It was always a special film to me, as it was the first film I ever saw in the cinema that was not in English. And, it had an all-Asian leading cast that I could identify with. To be a part of the sequel 16 years later and working with Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen and Master Yuen Woo-Ping, was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down and simply a dream come true! Even just knowing there’s the possibility of me flying around on wires, would probably have been enough to have me begging to sign on!
You play the role of Flying Blade. What can you tell us about your character’s personality and what makes him tick?
Flying Blade is the epitome of a Chinese martial arts hero. He has the honor and code of a Samurai, mixed with the carefree fun loving nature of a cowboy. A wise crack and a drink are never far away, but what makes him interesting is just how deep his sense of righteousness and compassion goes. While he would give up his life for a worthy cause, without hesitation, we see throughout the film that he treasures the life of those whom have earned his respect. When we first meet him in the film, he’s a gun for hire but he becomes inexplicably entwined in the protection of the sword, that is the focus of the film.
What did you enjoy about bring Flying Blade to life?
Since Flying Blade embodies the fun in the film, he is just naturally a fun character to play. The jokes and good times we had in real life and in character, sort of melded into one experience and we always had a great time playing on set. There was never a time when it really felt like work but the one thing I didn’t enjoy so much, was wearing the Flying Blade haircut around in real life. I had the front half of my head shaved but the back half long enough to braid. There’s no other way to describe it, I looked like a crazy person. In public places, moms were literally shielding their children away from me. I learned to wear beanies and hats quick, smart!
Were there any challenges you faced when doing this film, with respect to stunts or choreography?
We had the best stunt team on earth training us and with a month of training, we were definitely ready to kick some ass, but it was tough! My body hated me for the punishment it went through but when you see the result on screen, it’s all worth it. I do have to say though, that real life martial arts training does not always translate to on screen fighting and there was a fair bit of unlearning the years of doing it one way, and learning to do it the movie way!
What can fans of the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon franchise expect to see in this new installment?
The first film felt very authentic and it was at heart, a Chinese film that reached an international audience. This second installment is definitely more international at its core, and it will sweep you up for a ride that will leave you asking for more. Expect the beautiful backdrops of New Zealand and China where we filmed, and ridiculous action from the world’s best action team. I really am excited for everyone to see it!
Let’s switch gears a bit and talk a little fashion. Who are some your favorite designers and which styles would we see in your closet?
I’m honestly not so much of a brand guy. I’ll wear whatever I think looks good and is comfy. Sure, I have branded things but I don’t make it a point to dress in designer wear. I go for looks more and my look is to keep it simple, timeless, and classy with a dash of hip.
Thanks for taking the time chat with us. We look forward to seeing you in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. What other projects do you have coming up in the near future?
It has an absolute pleasure. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny is a Weinstein/ Netflix production and coincidentally, I spent last year filming another Weinstein production for Netflix- Marco Polo Season 2! Watch out for that in the summer.
Photography: Rowan Daly