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Actor Chase Tang from Netflix’s New Superhero Series Jupiter’s Legacy joins many others in the fight for Asian inclusivity in films

From Chasetang.com

By Stina Chang, AsAmNews Intern

From cubicles to the big screen, Asian Canadian actor Chase Tang took a courageous leap of faith into a strange new world. In 2016, Tang left his corporate duties behind and began pursuing a career as a professional actor. Three years later, Tang got his big break when he landed a role in Netflix’s premier superhero series, Jupiter’s Legacy, where he will be portraying a villain. 

Hard work and determination do not suffice to describe the beginning of his journey as an actor. Tang felt that his executive career eventually plateaued and was just going in circles. He realized that he had already gotten everything he could out of this job. He needed something more.

He recalls growing up as a kid renting six to eight movies from Blockbusters to watch over the weekend. “Strangely, I didn’t feel like it was a waste of time rather I felt productive and alive,” he said.

This love for movies turned into an acting bug despite not having any previous experience. “I told myself if I’m not going to give this curiosity a try, it’s never going to happen.”

While it might sound like a spur-of-the-moment dream, Tang went through extensive research and preparation for his transition into acting, from taking acting classes to changing his aesthetic. Tang said that he didn’t tell many people about his acting career during the beginning, adding that he didn’t think his family took him seriously.

“It was a little discouraging but my self-motivation [to succeed] was really strong,” he said. 

Tang spent two-and-a-half years working as a background actor in Toronto. “ If you do a lot of background work, you get close to the actors,” he said. “Standing right next to A or B list celebrities, it is impossible to not feel motivated or discouraged. It makes you feel like you are part of it. This feeling kept me hungry and motivated. I knew if I was given the opportunity, I could do better.”

Tang began to rigorously prepare for his audition once producers offered it to him. . When he heard he got the part, he was overwhelmingly excited and felt like his hard work had paid off. 

“I knew that this is a specific character that was not in the original comics,” he said. “Instead of playing a superhero, I will be portraying a villain in a superhero story. There aren’t many Asian villainous characters so this is a massive opportunity that could open up more doors, and I am extremely thankful and appreciative of the way things are right now in the industry for Asian representation.”

Tang looks back to Asian August in 2018 when Hollywood released an unprecedented three films with Asian American leads. “The reality is that I came at an easier time than others, like Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings),” he said. “I did luck out [with the timing]. If Marvel didn’t cast [Liu] as Shang-Chi, I feel like my major role would have never existed. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. They went against the wave so it could be a lot easier for the rest of us.”

Liu is not the first Asian Canadian actor but what differentiates him from those who came before him, according to Tang, is that Liu embodies fearlessness to be unapologetically himself. “He is like a train that could not be stopped just like a lot of Asian actors that came before him,” Tang said. 

Diversity and Asian representation within the entertainment industry is an on-going challenge that has yet to be achieved.

“There are so many different personalities in one race,” he said. “If there are more of [this mentality], this industry would be way more profitable. The audience would see their color that they could relate to.”

Tang will act alongside Josh Duhamel (Transformers), Ben Daniels (The Crown), Leslie Bibb (Iron Man’s), Elena Kampouris (Sacred Lies) and Andrew Horton (Doctors). Adapted from Mark Miller’s comic book series, Jupiter’s Legacy centers around the children of famous superheroes, who gained their powers in the 1930s, trying to live up to their parents’ legacies. The Netflix adaptation will take place in the modern-day era. The show is currently in production and is set to release in 2021. 

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