Actor Chin Han is well recognized from movies like The Dark Knight and Contagion, but he's taking on his most iconic role when he becomes Shang Tsung in two months. He discussed becoming a sorcerer for Mortal Kombat in a recent interview ahead of the first trailer. Read on:
The GamesRadar interview spotlights the newly revealed armor Chin Han will wear as a unique feature of the new movie. The actor revealed the sense of power his bespoke wardrobe provided -- a key differentiating touch from previous incarnations, in both film and video games.
I felt powerful in that costume. It’s very flexible for fighting but, at the same time, it’s like wearing armor. It was a very dark, sinister, fun costume befitting of the character. To say much more would give things away.
The Singaporean actor was careful to avoiding spoiling much about his scarcely seen starring villain, allowing the interview to probe his personal history with the series, which included playing the early arcade installments, and enjoying the 1995 film which featured the iconic portrayal by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.
Tagawa recently returned in Mortal Kombat 11, and although early impressions of the movie veer significantly from the source material, Chin Han indicates moves from the game were considered when creating an eclectic fighting style for his portrayal.
I’ve had training on other movies like Marco Polo with martial arts. More military operative training for Ghost in the Shell. But this is nothing like I’ve done before because the moves are really so iconic. You have to incorporate the iconic moves into actual fighting styles. That’s where it’s interesting. All the various forms of fighting merge in this film, which makes it so interesting. Joe Taslim [Sub-Zero] with his judo training, Lewis Tan [Cole Young] with his muay thai, and Max Huang [Kung Lao] with his wushu. For myself, I had to bring that all to bear, and obviously, my main source of inspiration is magician David Copperfield with all his magic tricks and sorcery. That’s me being facetious. But [Shang Tsung] is a master of the arts, so there’s that to focus on. There are spells and sorcery in different languages for me to remember. It’s almost like learning a different language, these spells.
On the subject of faithfulness to the character, the actor also confirms Shang Tsung will be a soul-consuming sorcerer with shape-shifting powers. He wouldn't reveal any more about how that is depicted in the movie, though: "That’s giving too much away, but I have to say… he’s a very tricky one. He shows up in places you might not expect. That’s all I’m going to say about him."
Writer Greg Russo went to lengths to stress the inclusion of Outworld, and Chin Han also mentions Netherrealm and Edenia. He does acknowledge that there is a balance to telling a different story in the new movie, which will also star Lewis Tan as original creation and a Shang Tsung target: Cole Young.
It’s such an expansive universe. The lore is so sprawling and it’s so easy to get in over your head as timelines merge, and so that stuff is canon. You have to respect that material, but you also have to respect what [screenplay co-writer] Greg Russo constructed together with Simon McQuoid. We would like to honor the fans first and foremost, but also be able to give them something a little extra – an aspect of the world of Mortal Kombat that they hadn’t necessarily imagined yet.