A Chat with Ludi Lin about “Mortal Kombat,” the “Kung Fu” reboot and more

DA MAN chats with actor Ludi Lin about his upcoming appearance in the highly-anticipated “Mortal Kombat” reboot, as well as his journey in acting

Top by COS; pants by Homme Plissé Issey Miyake; belt by AllSaints; shoes by Dr. Martens watch by Gucci

Looking back through his journey so far, it would certainly seem that Ludi Lin is on the right course. For the Chinese-Canadian actor, getting the part of Liu Kang in the upcoming “Mortal Kombat” reboot is destiny, well deserved and the right medium for him to celebrate his passion. Lin is a unique actor with a foot in Hollywood as well as China, and he’s also one of the most outspoken voices about Asian representation in Hollywood.

It didn’t come as a surprise to learn that Lin’s interest in acting began from an early age, when he watched his mother’s performances from behind the curtains of a Chinese theater stage. And ironically, even though she urged him not to follow in her footsteps, he continued to pursue art and, well, just look where it got him today.

DAMAN: Hi Ludi, awesome to have you with us. How are you doing these days?
Ludi Lin:
Thanks! These days I’m taking the good and the bad, the happy with the sad … just rolling with the punches.

DAMAN: We saw the “Mortal Kombat” trailer and it looked awesome. How do you feel that the world is finally getting see to see it?
Ludi Lin:
Well, not going to lie, I cried when I saw the fans’ reactions. We broke the record for the most played Red Band trailer of all time and the fans are the reason why. It was an incredible sense of relief. It takes at least nine months to make a movie; there is a lot of pressure. But in the end, you’ve done your best and all you can do is to push it out and hope for the best. This is our baby for the world. A labor of love in all of its bloody glory.

DAMAN: Tell us, how was the casting process for your role as Liu Kang?
Ludi Lin:
It was pretty smooth, all considered. After all, Liu Kang is one of the most iconic characters in the “Mortal Kombat” universe. We owe a lot of that to the lore from the video games, the devoted fans who expanded the universe even more and, of course, Robin Shou who played him in the original movie. When I went in for the screen test, I felt like I already knew what Liu Kang was about: pure in heart and spirit. The only real hitch was that I skateboard everywhere in L.A. to avoid traffic and I bit the pavement on the way over to screen test, so I was already kind of bleeding walking in. It might have helped now that I think about it.

Shirt by Banana Republic; pants by AllSaints; belt by Ted Baker; jacket by Le 31

DAMAN: Any memorable moments from filming “Mortal Kombat” that you can share with us?
Ludi Lin:
There are so many, so I will just pick one at random. I always wanted to get an element that hasn’t been seen on film into my role. It started as a bit of authentic Mandarin dialogue in “Power Rangers” and some heated virtual sensuality in “Black Mirror.” This time I learned a little bit of traditional Chinese medicine so I thought I’d try to find a moment to sneak acupuncture in there. The problem is, when you see the scene, the person it’s being done on is not a big fan of needles. I had to poke a dozen into my own arm just to prove that it’s safe. In the end I think we’re all glad we did it.

DAMAN: We learned that you’re proficient in Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu and also wrestling. What is your daily work-our routine like?
Ludi Lin:
It usually starts very early, like four or five in the morning. A lot of body weight exercises, a lot of stretching, punches and kicks focusing on rhythm. It might last two to four hours, depending on how much time I have. I take my time because I really enjoy it. I want to make sure I feel every bit of pain, pleasure and adrenaline from the workout. It gets me ready for whatever might come my way during the day better than any cup of coffee.

DAMAN: Going back a bit, when did you first realize that you wanted to be an actor?
Ludi Lin:
What I really want everyone to ask themselves is: When did they stop being an actor? We’re all born actors, playing different roles, as a means to survive. Adult life is a story made up to scare kids so they fall in line. For me, I never stopped playing, so I never stopped acting since I was born.

Shirt by Dries Van Noten; pants by AllSaints; jacket by Bottega Veneta; shoes by Stacy Adams

DAMAN: You’re recently announced that you’re joining The CW’s reboot of the classic series “Kung Fu.” First of all: congratulations! Any details you can share with us about your role?
Ludi Lin:
Kerwin is rather complicated. On the surface, he has everything anyone could ever ask for: He is an heir to a billionaire family’s fortune and has incredibly good looks and charm. He puts on a suave playboy act to the world but is driven by a deep resentment towards his father. There is a lot more to him than meets the eye and I’ve really enjoyed peeling back all the layers of his psyche.

DAMAN: Besides “Kung Fu,” do you have any other upcoming movie or TV projects you can tell us about?
Ludi Lin:
I play a mysterious figure out for revenge in “Humans.” It’s a Chinese TV series about the singularity event in artificial intelligence producing fully feeling and thinking androids. “Summer Knight” is an art house film set in the ’90s in China which won the Best Future Film award at the Tokyo Film Festival. I play a retired soldier and father and learned to speak the Szechuan dialect for the role. “Son of the South” is set in Alabama in the ’60s. It’s a powerful piece based on the real-life story of Bob Zellner, who participated in the Civil Rights movement. I play a character representing the few but vigorously outspoken Asian Americans who fought for our equal rights in America during that time.

Jacket by Bottega Veneta; shirt by Jack & Jones

DAMAN: Speaking of which, how do you feel about Asian representation in Hollywood these days?
Ludi Lin:
Hollywood is used to represent beautiful dreams we all have, but now it’s waking up to find the world is so much bigger than anything we’ve ever dreamed of. Now, we’re no longer telling stories geared towards a select group of people in the world. Sixty percent of the world’s population is Asian and the content we’re putting out there needs to be more representative of that.

DAMAN: Looking forward, what’s the next big thing you hope to achieve?
Ludi Lin:
To make someone laugh!

DAMAN: If we can touch on the current state of the world, how do you keep yourself positive during these hard times?
Ludi Lin:
Everyone is going through difficulties at the moment; some more than others. I am grateful to have the opportunity to provide people with a chance to escape their realities, even for a brief moment, and look forward to being able to hug everyone again.

DAMAN: And lastly, how has the pandemic affected your life so far?
Ludi Lin:
It made me realize a few things that are very important. Do all we can to protect the planet. To mem it means I eat a plant-based diet, I’m remain really grateful for everything Mother Nature has given me for the while I’m here and I want to leave her in a better place so future humans and animals can enjoy it together. Women care for us in ways we take for granted from the moment we’re born. We need to give them more power. Stop using race as a weapon. Stop Asian hate, period.