The film produced by Martin Scorsese and co-directed by Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo is based on Asian street gangs in New York in the 1980s.
“Paul Wong is this soft-spoken, very basic gang leader who gives off the sense that you don’t know what he’s going to do to you. He’s almost two-faced,” said Shum to Complex. “I was drawn to the character, not for the fact that I’m two-faced or anything, but more for the fact that he’s complex and because there’s not that many complex Asian characters, which was really exciting to me. I got to really play.”
Shum says its important that he remain true to himself when picking his roles. His next project will be the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Of course his biggest role to date is on the television series, Glee.
“Obviously, Glee was a big part of my career. I tried to take that character outside the element of what was being cast, that “Asian dancer.” It just happened to be that I’m Asian and that I was also a dancer. I did an online series that was called Caper and it was very well-written and I was basically playing a superboy, a superhero that had no racial lines.”
You can read about the influences in Shum’s life and career in Complex.