By Derek Lawrence
June 04, 2021 at 06:00 AM EDT
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"I was asking him what he was drinking or smoking — how do you bring a character back from the dead?"

That was Sung Kang's initial reaction when director Justin Lin shared with him the plan to revive his fan-favorite Fast & Furious character, Han. Oh, we should probably clarify that this was the first revival, considering Han is back from the dead for a second time in the upcoming F9.

Appearing on the latest episode of EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga, Kang shared these thoughts and many more on the "rare" journey he's gone on with Han, beginning with Lin's well-received 2003 low-budget drama Better Luck Tomorrow and somehow continuing right into 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

"When Tokyo Drift came along, Justin had given me and a couple of other actors from Better Luck Tomorrow a call to have lunch and break the news," Kang tells hosts Derek Lawrence and Chanelle Berlin Johnson. "It was like, 'Hey, I got this great opportunity to direct this movie called Fast & Furious,' and we're like, 'What?!' If you go back to the movie, he actually references Fast & Furious in Better Luck Tomorrow. Look where we've come from, coming from this little film Better Luck Tomorrow to actually inside the gates of Universal Studios! And when Justin first spoke about Tokyo Drift, he was telling me and the other actors that there really isn't a role for us in the film. Justin's really honest and he trusts his gut and it's really about casting for him."

Continues Kang, "And then Justin gave me a call and said, 'Why don't you just go in and read for the Sean Boswell character? It's already cast, but it's a great opportunity for you to meet the casting directors for future opportunities. So I went in there and read, had a lot of fun, and then a few weeks later, Justin called and said Bow Wow was cast and there's an opportunity for a smaller character; I think his name was Phoenix at the time. [They] were going to cast a hip-hop artist for that, but since [they] already had Bow Wow as Twinkie, there's an opportunity to open it up, and the pitch was, why can't we hire an Asian-American character with a non-discrete lineage. He is not Japanese, we don't really know who he is. It wasn't really written out at the beginning, but then it just eventually evolved."

Sung Kang
Credit: Sidney Baldwin/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock

The Han in Tokyo Drift was a far cry from the smalltime high school criminal introduced in Better Luck Tomorrow; he had experience, he had aged, he had slowed down. Despite Lucas Black's Sean Boswell being the film's lead, you couldn't take your eyes off Han, which made his death late in the movie an emotional gut punch for both Sean and the audience. Previously speaking on EW's BINGE, Lin revealed that he was originally uninterested in returning to Fast post-Tokyo Drift, but changed his mind after a road trip with his wife and Kang brought them to a random Arby's for lunch, and it's there where Kang was mobbed by a group of teenagers calling out Han's name. "I was driving on the on-ramp back after lunch and I said, 'God, it's too bad Han is dead,'' shared Lin. "Sung looked at me and said, 'Does he have to be?' I had my flip phone and called Universal and said, 'I'm in.'"

"I was asking him what he was drinking or smoking — how do you bring a character back from the dead?" says Kang with a laugh. "I kind of was scratching my head going, I wonder if this is disrespectful to the audience, or is it going to be hokey? And I had a talk with a veteran producer friend of mine and he said, 'You know how rare it is for a studio to change the timeline to bring back a character? You should really embrace it.' So I was like, let's go for it. And under Justin's guidance, I knew he was going to make it into something that we could be proud of."

The next three films, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6, all served as prequels to Tokyo Drift, with Fast 6's mid-credits scene catching up and once again featuring Han's death scene. Only this time it was revealed that he wasn't killed by a random driver, it was actually Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the revenge-fueled brother of previous baddie Owen Shaw (Luke Evans).

"Now Statham is a crazy story," says Kang. "Years ago, I did this movie called War, and Jason Statham was the star, I played this little character, and the bad guy was Jet Li. I got to work with a couple of heroes. And I remember when we finished the film, Jason and I were at the airport together, for some reason we were flying out on the same plane, and he goes, 'What are you doing next?' I say, 'I got cast in this movie called The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.' And he's like, 'Oh, yeah? That's a great thing to be a part of, mate.' And I was like, 'Really?!' Years later, I was talking to Jason about that: 'Think about it, man, like we actually talked about this thing and, full circle, we come back and you're the dude that is taking me out!' That's pretty cool."

With Han dead (again), for all intents and purposes, Fast 6 was finally the end of the road for both Kang and Lin. "We thought it was over," the actor admits. "What a great ride, we enjoyed it, [the films] changed our lives, and we met some amazing people. Definitely taught me more than I ever expected about the business of Hollywood, so I was totally happy and content."

Fast Five

And then began the calls for "justice for Han." In Lin and Kang's absence, Statham's Shaw went from killing Han to being the hero of his own spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw. Fans weren't happy with the erasure of a beloved character and family member.

"I would see it every day," he shares. "I didn't want to get too emotionally invested, because these are huge moments in our lives and you don't want your expectations up too high. But then I started noticing that studios were listening to social media, they were listening to the fans, and with all the negative things about social media these days, the one thing that I think is really positive is that it does give you an insight to what people are thinking."

Fast-forward to Jan. 2020, Lin was back in the director's chair and the epic first F9 trailer ends with the reveal that Han is back and that "justice is coming."

"The opportunity of coming back together, c'mon, that's a Hollywood story right there," declares Kang. "To find justice in wherever the injustice is, and to play off of that and to have a call to action. I feel like this is the film that we're really in tune and connected with the fan base. You have to step back and go, 'Wow, there must have been something really powerful from these films and these characters for people to spend their time and resources to say I want justice for this character.' Sometimes I go, how did all this happen? It gives you perspective and tells you that you got to really just be grateful for the things that are happening to you."

F9
Credit: Universal Pictures

While Statham isn't expected to appear in the new film, he seems more than willing to play his part in the forthcoming justice. "They better bring me back, because I need to put out that fire," he recently told EW with a laugh. "If he's got any score to settle, it's with me."

Don't worry, even without Statham, F9 is packed with stars, including returnees Kang, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Helen Mirren, and Charlize Theron. And the big new addition is John Cena, who joins as Jakob Toretto, the long-lost brother of Dom (Diesel) and Mia (Brewster).

"Family sums up the whole film," says Kang, dropping the franchise's favorite word. "All the trailers and everything are kind of misleading. With all these big stunts and massive action scenes, it's like you start losing perspective. You go, how do you ground everything? Where do you go back to? And it's been family for [Lin]. F9, it's like, there could be some fatigue. I don't live in la la land, you read like, 'Again? Where are you guys going to go? Come on, let it die. It's over.' And I go, all right, I get it. I get it in terms of action there can be a ceiling, but in terms of real honest family themes, these stories can go forever because we can relate with family and family issues and drama forever."

Sung Kang
Sung Kang and Vin Diesel in 'F9'
| Credit: Giles Keyte/Universal

That being said, he also knows they need to "keep topping" when it comes to their incredible (and now out of this world) action sequences. "That's the joke, like where do we go next?" says Kang. "I guess you go in a submarine, and after that I guess we go to space, and after space where do we go? I think we'll be in heaven and that's 10."

To listen, subscribe to EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga feed via Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also subscribe to EW's YouTube page to catch all the video interviews, and stay tuned to EW.com for even more Fast coverage, including next week's two-part episode with Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson for Furious 7.

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Sung Kang:

How do you bring your character back from the dead? I kind of was scratching my head going, "I wonder if this is disrespectful to the audience or is it going to be hokey?" I had a talk with a veteran producer friend of mine and he said, "You know how rare it is for a studio to change the timeline to bring back the character?" He's like, "This is very rare in Hollywood and you should really embrace it. It means that the character is really popular with the fans." He's like, "You can't discredit that." I was like, "Let's go for it. What a great opportunity."

Derek Lawrence:

Ask any podcaster, any real podcaster, it doesn't matter if you record in person or over video chat, podcasting's podcasting. Welcome back to EW's Binge of the Fast Saga, full transcripts of which are available on ew.com. I'm Derek Lawrence, AKA the guy who went as Dominic Toretto for two straight Halloweens. As that icon once said, "The most important thing in life will always be the people in this Zoom, right here, right now." For me, that's the Dom to my Brian, the Letty to my Mia, the Roman to my Tej, the Gisele to my Han, Chanelle Berlin Johnson. Chanelle, are you ready to go down the longest runway in history to talk Fast and Furious 6?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yes, yes. I hope I have the stamina to make it down this extremely long runway, but I actually have to say, after looking back at this movie and then talking about it, I feel like this one is pretty underrated in the franchise. So stoked to get into it.

Derek Lawrence:

I totally agree, I think I even brought that up to Sung. I think it falls in between Fast 5 which, as we talked about last week, may be the greatest film in film history. After it is seven, which obviously we all know the tragic circumstances that happened on that one and we all are so attached to it because that was our goodbye to Paul Walker and to Brian, that Fast 6 just kind of gets lost a bit.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, exactly.

Derek Lawrence:

We're here to help you find it again because, no, this is definitely one worth revisiting and maybe reevaluating if you haven't thought about it that much. As a refresher to any new listeners, in case you're just a big tank guy, ahead of F9's June 25th release, we're binging all of the Fast movies with the family themselves. We've already chatted about the first five installments, so you can go back and check out your interviews with Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Lucas Black, Justin Lin, and Jordana Brewster. Today, not only is Justice here, but so is Sung Kang. Yes, the man behind our beloved Han is talking Fast 6 with us and a lot more, maybe we covered more ground fittingly in a move that covers so much runway, we covered more ground than on any other episode, so it's truly a great one.

Before we get into today's must listen chat with Sung, Chanelle, what do people need to remember about this sixth installment? Which, originally, appeared to be the last one for both Sung and director Justin Lin.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, what a switcheroo on us now that we know how things go. Even before we get to what happens, eventually, to Han's character, the thrust of this movie is Letty's back. That's the catalyst for all of the action, the audience already knows that she's alive, but this is where we see everyone else find out. She's got amnesia, she's running with Owen Shaw's crew and Owen is up to all kinds of criminal behavior on a large scale in a way that is causing problems for a lot of people including, of course, Hobbs. We get to see what really happened to her, that's how we find out that she's got the amnesia, too. It's sort of like a fun flashback comparison to that crazy CSI, Sherlock Holmes-y scene that Dom does by touching the asphalt, to see that really, she kind of got blown away from that big explosion and that's why she's still here. Hobbs reaches out to Dom and his crew for help, and he knows that he'll be motivated both by Letty returning, but also the promise of full pardons for everyone because, of course, everybody's in places with no extradition after Rio. So a good reason to get the team back together. Something that I forgot about is that Gina Carano has such a huge part in this movie. She's a double agent, though, don't trust her and-

Derek Lawrence:

Good rule for Gina Carano, I'll just say. Don't trust her.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Works out naturally there. Yes, all of the action culminates in, of course, the longest runway ever built, conceived, performed upon, in movie history, and that's where we, unfortunately, lose both... Or we lose Gisele and eventually lose Han because he goes to Tokyo, and then we are introduced to Deckard Shaw, brother of Owen, who is out for revenge on Dom and his crew which sets up Furious 7.

Derek Lawrence:

Man, that was a mouthful, but you somehow got it all in. There's a lot in this one, and a lot to talk about. We get into most of it with Sung, but what we don't touch on with him will be after the interview, Chanelle and I will, as always, jump back on and hand out some awards that allow us to further talk through what happened in Fast 6. Until then, let's ride into our conversation with Sung Kang.

Dom:

Remember, the second you go through those doors, everything changes. Our old life is done.

Derek Lawrence:

Come on, this ain't the Boy Scouts. This is what we do and what we do is have Sung Kang, Han himself, on to talk about Fast and Furious 6. Welcome to our binge of Fast and Furious.

Sung Kang:

Thanks, Derek. It's good to be here.

Derek Lawrence:

I'm so excited to talk Fast 6 which, I've seen it so many times, but re-watching ahead of talking to you, I'm convinced this one's now underrated. I feel like because it's sandwiched right between five and seven... Five, obviously, I think a lot of people... Five might be my favorite movie of all time, not just Fast movie, and then seven was such a big one, as well. For you, what's the first thing you think of when you think back to Fast 6?

Sung Kang:

Fast 6, it was kind of the last time everybody was really together, so that movie's really special because we got to spend a lot of time together as a group in the UK. I remember we had Thanksgiving dinner while we were in London, it was really a special time. I think it was last time as a cohesive group we were able to hand out together like that.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That's beautiful, I love that you guys had Thanksgiving dinner. I heard you talk about, in previous interviews, that you guys also got to hang out a lot after filming for five. So was this sort of a carryover, just a reunion feeling of like, "Oh, everybody, the whole family is here"?

Sung Kang:

Oh, yeah. When you're on location like that and you guys are housed close to each other, there's a lot of opportunities to hang out after work. London's a great place because there's so much to do, there's so much culture, so many pubs to go to. Yeah, it was a nice carryover. Five was the film that we were all in Puerto Rico called, so we kind of feel like we're in a big dorm. It's the first time that we really got to know each other, and hang out, and become really good friends. Six was an automatic carryover.

Derek Lawrence:

First off, a great man once said, "He lives his life a quarter mile at a time, nothing else matters for those 10 seconds or less. He's free." So how would you sum up Fast 6 in 10 seconds?

Sung Kang:

That's so hard, Derek.

Derek Lawrence:

I originally was going to do 30, but 10 just felt like it had to be done for this franchise.

Sung Kang:

How do you sum up Fast 6 in 10 seconds? Oh, that's so hard. That's a question you needed to send me a week ago. God, I don't... Well, let me ask you. How would you sum it up? How would you sum it up because I don't know if I can do it in 10 seconds. How would you sum it up in 10 seconds?

Derek Lawrence:

I feel like I'd go a tank, a long runway, and tears. I don't know. That was less than 10 seconds and that didn't really give much away of the movie, but...

Sung Kang:

Yeah, I know.

Derek Lawrence:

I wasn't prepared, too. I should've sent myself that question.

Sung Kang:

Yeah, yeah. I don't know. That's a tough one, that's a really, really tough one.

Derek Lawrence:

If it takes you 15, I won't count it against you if you end up at 15.

Sung Kang:

All right, ready?

Derek Lawrence:

Yep.

Sung Kang:

Okay. Love, loss, that's it. I think those two words are enough, love and loss.

Derek Lawrence:

I think so, especially when it comes to Han, that is dead on.

Sung Kang:

Yeah.

Derek Lawrence:

We'll dig really deep into six, but I feel like we should start by going back. So obviously, you and Justin first worked together on Better Luck Tomorrow which you guys debuted Han. So how does the conversation initially start of not only you being in Tokyo Drift, but you playing Han again?

Sung Kang:

Well, when Tokyo Drift came along, Justin had given me and a couple other actors from Better Luck Tomorrow a call to have lunch just to break the news. He was like, "Hey, I got this great opportunity to direct this movie called Fast and Furious." We were like, "What?" Better Luck Tomorrow, if you go back to the movie, he actually references Fast and Furious in Better Luck Tomorrow. The idea that a film that we grew up on and watched on screen and we get to be a part of, was crazy. When we shot Better Luck Tomorrow, I remember craft service was a box of Entenmann's donuts and five sticks of Wrigley's spearmint gum that was spread out, like five little sticks.

When Justin actually had the opportunity to direct Tokyo Drift, he had a production office with the production staff with extra chairs, and he had his own little mini fridge. We would close the door and just start freaking out and pinch ourselves. Look where we've come from, coming from this little [inaudible 00:10:10] Better Luck Tomorrow to the actually inside the gates of the Universal Studios. When Justin first approached or spoke about Tokyo Drift, he was telling me and the other actors that there really isn't a role for us in the film. There was kind of... Justin's really honest, he trusts his guts, and it's really about casting for him. That's what he was talking, it's casting, casting, casting. Even though he's our friend, our bro in a way, he just wanted to say, "Hey, there's certain structures within the film that you guys don't fit, and hopefully there will be more opportunities, but I just wanted to let you guys know." We're like, "Oh, that's awesome, man."

Justin gave me a call and he said, "Finn-Hiller were the casting directors for Tokyo Drift, big, big time casting directors in Hollywood." I never had the opportunity to meet them. Just to give you a point of reference, at the time I don't think I even had an agent, getting opportunities were very rare, to even go audition was very rare. Justin said, "Hey, why don't you just go in and why don't you just read for the Sean Boswell character. It's already cast, we already decided who we're going to cast in the film, but it's a great opportunity for you to meet the casting directors for future opportunities." So I went in there and read, had a lot of fun.

A few weeks later, Justin called and said, "Hey, I think Bow Wow was cast in it." So he had cast Bow Wow and they said, "There's an opportunity for a smaller character." I think his name was Phoenix at the time. "And we were going to cast a hip hop artist for that, but since we already have Bow Wow as Twinkie there's an opportunity we just kind of opened it up." The pitch was that, why can't we hire an Asian-American character with a nondescript lineage. He's not Japanese, we don't really know who he is. I'm like, "Yeah, why not? That'd be great." So Justin showed the tape for Sean Boswell that I had read already. I went in and I met a couple other producers, and that's how I got cast into Tokyo Drift. It wasn't really written out at the beginning, but then it just eventually evolved. That's how I got into Tokyo Drift.

Derek Lawrence:

I love that... Because then I think Phoenix, that ends up being a character in Fast 4, so I love that maybe not the full character, but at least the character name carried over for Justin. We see Han, now we can say quote, unquote die in Tokyo Drift. So then, what's your reaction when Justin says he wants to upend the whole timeline of Fast and go backwards, and have Han still alive? Even at the top of Fast 4 it seems like it could still just be a one off here, like you show up at the beginning and then you're kind of like, "Oh, I think I might go check out Tokyo." Again, we're like, "Oh, that was good to see him, but that might be it." So what was it like when Justin tells you, "No, I want to keep this going"?

Sung Kang:

I was kind of asking him what he was drinking or smoking, how do you bring a character back from the dead? I had to step back and first go, "Wow, this is pretty special that a character that had passed way is brought back." They have to upend the whole timeline. I kind of was scratching my head going, "I wonder if this is disrespectful to the audience or is it going to be hokey." I had a talk with a veteran producer friend of mine that was retired and he said, "You know how rare it is for a studio to change the timeline to bring back a character?" He's like, "This is very rare in Hollywood and you should really embrace it. It means that the character is really popular with the fans. You can't discredit that." Early on, he was telling that it is a fan base franchise, it's really fan supported so you have to listen to them and embrace it, it's rare. I was like, "Let's go for it, what a great opportunity." Under Justin's guidance, I knew it wasn't going to be hokey. He was going to make it into something that we could be proud of, so I think it worked out.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

How much of the, I guess, through line of Han's character, once it was decided, "Okay, we're going to go back and figure out how we catch up to Tokyo." How much of that did you discuss with Justin throughout because it ends up being four, five, and six? Did you know what that arc was for all of them or was it sort of a surprise with each movie?

Sung Kang:

Well, each surprise being popular and then upping the previous one, that's the unknown. Who knows, right? We never know what's going to happen when you put the film out there. You can talk about it and say, "Yeah, it'd be great if Han could live on, and all the characters can live on through Fast 100." If Fast 9 comes out and nobody watches it, it's probably the end of being fast. [crosstalk 00:15:27] So you just hope for the best, you enjoy the moment and you just hope for the best. My producer friend told me, he's like, "You just got to embrace it because it's one of those rare things."

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I know for the fan side, it was every time there would be a tease for Tokyo and I'd be like, "Oh, no. Not yet, not yet." Because it was just so exciting.

Derek Lawrence:

We mentioned Han lives on for a few more films after Tokyo Drift, and even more after that we've learned in last years trailer. We knew one day the events of Tokyo Drift had to catch up, so how did Justin tell you ahead of Fast 6 that this was finally the time or was it kind of like you had known for a while that this is probably going to be the end, at least for now?

Sung Kang:

No, Justin keeps everything really close to his chest because he knows the process as an actor, if I know too much it doesn't really... It's not helpful during the performance. So he's really smart in keeping certain information away from actors so in the moment we can be true to whatever we're going through. I think towards the... Because they had to decide, I think there was a lot of trying to figure out if Nathan was going to come back and what characters were going to come back, and how it was going to work out. So they didn't know, and the cool thing is that everybody is there working cohesively together to evolve while we're shooting.

Ideally, let's say you want somebody, like say somebody is busy, it doesn't work out. There's the show business part of it and sometimes things just don't work out. Fortunately, it did and I think the reason that works out is because it goes back to the fans. The fans support this film, and I think any actor with some brains will look at that and go, "Hey man, this is good for my career, great opportunity." It's already a beloved franchise and it brings in a whole new demographic maybe they didn't have before. So I think that's why, as you start to see the films evolve, you see these amazing actors, we have Helen Mirren. I scratched my head and I'm like, "What?"

The coolest thing, guys, this is one of the coolest things that's ever happened in my career is while we were shooting Fast 9, I had a couple of weeks break so I went home, see my family and everything. I came back and I'm looking around in my trailer, and I notice there's a different brand of tea, English tea, it was P and G Tips, this little cheap English tea and there was some other cutlery and things in the trailer that I didn't notice. Then I looked down and I see the signs for Helen Mirren, so she was in my trailer for the two weeks, drinking her tea, using my toilet, not my bed, but it was ours. I had to actually make some of her tea, sit there and go, "Wow, this is what an Oscar winner drinks." It was pretty cool, it was surreal for me. It was pretty awesome.

Derek Lawrence:

I want to watch that reality show, if you guys just happened to be sharing it for a few days at least. Sung and Dame Helen Mirren just sharing a trailer, that would've been amazing.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

It makes me think of... Because you used to do the car discussion series that even it was happening while you guys were filming, so I would love to see her on that with you.

Sung Kang:

I know. She would be brilliant. Next time I see her I'm going to ask her. That would be so awesome.

Derek Lawrence:

Did Justin... Obviously, it seems fitting that you and Justin come into the Fast world together, you leave the Fast world together with Fast 6 and then now, coming back again to it with Fast 9. I don't know, that doesn't seem like a total coincidence, and even talking with Justin previously, it's pretty obvious he felt that that was the right thing to do. Did you guys have any conversations about that as you guys were wrapping Fast 6 and knew that you were both moving on, at least for a bit?

Sung Kang:

No, we thought it was over. I actually thought, "What a great ride." We enjoyed it. They changed out lives for sure, and met some amazing people. Definitely taught me more than I ever expected about the business of Hollywood, so I was totally happy and content. The opportunity of coming back together, come one, that's a Hollywood story right there. To whatever, the find justice and wherever the injustice is, and to play off of that, and to have a call to action, but how awesome is it that we... I feel like this is the film that we're really in tuned and connected with the fan base. Before, we went through motions and trying to figure things out as we're going through it, but this [inaudible 00:20:37] to give the fans what they want because everybody...

Listen, this whole concept, this fan base, this whole hashtag justice for Han was created by Jen Yamato, an LA Times journalist who felt like there was just injustice. How could you kill this character off, but then never addressing it? You have to step back and go, "Wow, there must have been something really powerful from these films and these characters for people to spend their time and resources to say, "I want justice for this fictitious character." So it's pretty cool, man. Sometimes I go, "How did all of this happen?" It gives you perspective and it tells you, you got to really just be grateful for the things that are happening to you.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

When was the first time that you encountered the justice for Han hashtag? Did you just see the LA Times story or did fans try to interact with you? You're on social media, did they reach out to you that way?

Sung Kang:

Oh, yeah. I would see it everyday, they would tag me and tag that. I didn't want to get too emotionally invested because these are huge moments in our lives, you don't want your expectations up too high. I started noticing that studios were listening to social media, they were listening to the fans. With all the negative things about social media these days, the one thing that I think is really positive is that it does give you an insight to what people are thinking right way, it's instant reaction. They can be sincere, they can be sincere and they don't have to hide behind any pretense because you don't know who people are. So if they hate you or hate the movie or you did something that really upsets them, you will hear about it every day if you're on social media. I would say I'd be reminded, okay, all right, all right, justice, I get it, I get it. What's going to happen, man? It's nice, but then it just started getting bigger and bigger. Then here we are, guys.

Derek Lawrence:

Why do you think... You mentioned this is a fictitious character, but what do you think it is about Han that people just connected to? Not every character that dies in a film, people are on the internet and making hashtags and making shirts and wanting... We could've never even imagined the justice for Han movement leading to where we are now with you coming back. So what was it about the character you think that just connected with people so strongly?

Sung Kang:

Well, I think if you just break it down and you take away ethnicity or cool cars and all of that, I think it's Han is a friend that everybody wants. This idealistic kind of conception of the older brother or the guy who's going to take care of everything, the loyal friend, the guy who is cool but is still he has that Robin Hood vigilante vibe about him. At the end of the day, the way, I think, the creators and Justin structured him, it's taking the best version of you and going, "Okay, if you were to hang out with the cool dude or cool gal, what would that person be like?" Number one, that person probably wouldn't be thinking about money, would probably have integrity, would probably be really worried about the person's word opposed to who he is or how famous he is or what car he drives.

Somehow, Han exudes that and it's just really simple. Also, even choosing the name of Han, it's a really difficult translation from Korean to English is... Han in Korean means... It's a yin and yang, it's like even when good things are happening, you have to be careful because something bad's going to show up. Things are horrible, don't stress too much, be calm because that means that something good is going to come. Han has this even keel, even if he's making money, so what, something might happen. Love of your life is going to disappear, so you better always find balance.

I think he just makes people feel comfortable and ease, and there's no judgment. When you hang out with Han, even in the real life when I go out and I meet fans or people that have seen the movie, in a way they want me to be Han. They want you to be that friend or the big bro or the mentor that doesn't judge and is okay with whatever you drive and it's just like, as long as you're a good guy, you can be part of the crew. It's weird, I feel like I have a key to every car guy's garage or car person's garage because they want to tell me about their car, give me a beer, and tell me about their whole life. It's really been a pretty amazing blessing being able to put on the Han wig, if you will.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I saw in an old junket interview, I think, where you talked about how it even took you a while to really appreciate what Han's value system is. In part because now, Tokyo Drift, he's at his wisest until we see what happens with nine, and then we go back and see his journey there. So, for you, going back to him again in nine, did you feel like you had to reconnect and evolve him even more, figure out what is that next level of cool now that he's had some years to deal with everything he's gone through?

Sung Kang:

That's a great question. I guess, what is the definition of cool really? I think it's impossible to play cool. If I tell an actor, be cool, you can't do that. What's it going to do? I don't know. I don't even know where to start. Unbutton your shirt, is that cool? For some, that's gross. I think, for me, Fast 9 was the easiest one for me to play because Han is older, he's much older, he's much wiser. There is a different level of, I guess, guilt or weight that he carries. I think if I showed up five years younger or 10 years younger trying to play that, I wouldn't know where to start from.

I think just because I'm older now and, look, it doesn't matter if you're in Hollywood or you work at the post office, life deals you life problems and if you can adjust and learn from it, I think that's where wisdom and I think that's where coolness comes from is on how you deal with the daily crises of life. I think just life lessons has given me perspective that I didn't have before, it was kind of a natural fit. In Fast 9, we have Han's hair shorter. So it all made sense, nothing felt forced.

I had short hair back then anyway, so it worked out. I was older and as an actor I was playing older characters, so it was nice. It was nice to come back. I was a little worried, I was like, "Well, what if all the elements of the Fast things were just lost to me." Because of the family and because of the actors and most of the crew came back, it felt like a reunion and it was pretty easy to pop in. You have all these wonderful artists that helped the process, so any nervousness or insecurities, it just resolves after a few days. Fast is like going to a family reunion, and everybody there with the right motivation to make something super entertaining.

Derek Lawrence:

Going back a few steps to Fast 6. We pick up with Han and Gisele in Tokyo, and throughout the movie it's clear Han has truly fallen for Gisele and they're both ready to start this life together. It's really bittersweet just watching back just knowing what's to come by the end of Fast 6. It's impressive how invested we all got in that relationship considering it's really just two movies with you guys in it together, and it's not like it's a major... It's kind of like in the background are these little moments...

Han:

Ever thought about settling down, starting a life together?

Gisele:

Aren't we doing that?

Han:

Are we?

Derek Lawrence:

What did you love about that relationship and working with Gal? Was the chemistry pretty immediate on Fast 5 and you guys were able to just build from that?

Sung Kang:

People always ask me what was it like kissing Wonder Woman. She is beautiful, all of that, I get all of that, but at the end of it, she's so cool to hang out with. She's just like one of the crew, she's like a tomboy at heart. There was nothing unusual or uncomfortable about it, she makes you feel like you're an old friend right away. I think because most of the time we were paired together, we were also hanging out and a lot of the times we got to talk about family and history, the things that we were dealing with in our daily lives. We had a friendship, we had a true friendship. Even though both of us are married, that friendship was able to carry over into the film because when Gisele does eventually, I guess, technically fast and furiously pass away, I know I wasn't going to see my friend. I knew maybe we wouldn't see each other for a while, it was over. That really sucks.

In terms of working with Gal, come on, the reason she's Wonder Woman is because that's really who she is. The camera doesn't lie. I was told by an old cinematographer once and I said... He described to me that the camera doesn't lie, man. There's certain people that are born to play superheroes and certain people that are born to play villains. Not that they are in real life, but there's some essence, some light behind their eyes that needs to be projecting. So the camera grabs it, and I think it's perfect evolution for Gal was Wonder Woman. That's who she was, and that's who she is. She's A plus, A plus.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That penultimate scene where we lose the Gisele character happens in the middle of this giant action sequence. So when you're playing that, how do you... Did you guys talk about the right way to catch that intimacy? Because I also imagine it's like... A lot of stuff with Fast and Furious is practical, but I can't imagine you guys were with the giant plane the entire time. How do you bring that emotional element to that even though there's all this other stuff going around?

Sung Kang:

Well, that stuff is shot separate. The close ups of us losing each other on that plane, that was all in green screen where they got the nose of the plane and they actually got a real car, it was lifted up, and we were on harnesses. We were actually going through the whole motion, we weren't on the 100 mile runway. Which, if we were, it probably would've been better because we had a lot of time to go through it. [crosstalk 00:32:40] You get put in the position, and then emotionally, when a camera runs, you got to call it up. That day was pretty demanding because there was a lot of stunts going on, and we are actually on the nose of the car and the plane. We're going through it. Fortunately, somehow, they were able to grab those emotions, and I think it worked out. I think it was pretty impactful.

Derek Lawrence:

You're obviously not the writer or the director, but obviously you think a lot about Han and you had been playing him for so long. We knew one day we had to get to him, the version we see in Tokyo Drift, and as you guys were building this relationship with Gisele. For you, did it feel like this was kind of the only way you guys could get to where Han is in Tokyo Drift? Like he kind of had to lose Gisele? Or did you have conversations about that as you guys were deciding this is where it was going?

Sung Kang:

No, like I said, the information is really kept away from the actors from Justin, and I think rightfully so. We never really discussed that. I do think he needed to lose Gisele because he's Han, anything that good happens, something bad's going to follow him. It's really on how he deals with that is what makes Han because, if he wasn't Han, he would just disappear, he would probably drink himself to death and go, "What's the point of this?" Really, what's the point of money if you don't have people to share it with, and there was a whole life with Gisele that they had planned.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Also, talking about the other big relationship with Han that we hear about, obviously, in Tokyo Drift but we don't get to see until you come into Fast 4 and then into Fast 5 is that Han already knew Dom. So when you are brought back into the series and it's like, "Okay, we have to establish this relationship." Did you guys have to talk a little bit about that backstory? We sort of get hints at it as fans, as viewers, but we don't know the whole story behind how that relationship came together and how you become part of the crew really. So did you and Vin, getting to know him, did you guys talk about that at all?

Sung Kang:

Did you ever see Los Bandoleros?

Derek Lawrence:

Yep.

Sung Kang:

That tells you where... Vin wants to and he's always searching for connective tissue to make these relationships sincere. Vin's really good at sitting down and just kind of talking things through. What if this, and what if this, and let's try this, and let's go for this because he knows without that sincerity on screen with the family that there is no Fast and Furious. Aside from the cars, the cars will bring the people there, but it's that family chemistry and that family theme that keeps the audience there because that's the thing that everybody can identify with. It doesn't matter who you are or what you drive, you can identify, somebody has a family member. The car stuff, if you're into cars, that's great, but then after that... He knows how powerful that is because he's a filmmaker first, he's always looking for character integrity and character arc. He's adamant about sitting down and having long discussions about that.

Derek Lawrence:

There's a few scenes we wanted to asks specifically about, but before that I want to... Do you have a favorite scene in Fast 6? Is there one that really sticks out to you for whatever reason?

Sung Kang:

I love getting my butt beat up in the train with Tyrese.

Derek Lawrence:

I was going to ask about that one.

Sung Kang:

To me, it's my favorite scene because everybody in Fast always is so badass, they beat up everybody. It doesn't matter who you are, you can take on 20 and then you got two of the main characters, Roman and Han, and we can't even handle one little Asian dude. He just whoops us. I think some actors would have problems with that, but I think that stuff is hilarious. You just do what is opposite and what is expected, and that was so fun. To be able to go through all that choreography and then have three actors try to figure out how we're going to make it cool, but then make it comedic. I just feel like it was a scene that didn't belong in the movie, it was more of a comedy. A Laurel and Hardy kind of thing. So we had a lot of fun.

Derek Lawrence:

I love that that one was at the same time as Michelle and Gina were having this really incredible even fight and it was juxtaposed with you, Han and Roman just getting destroyed and thrown through windows, that was kind of perfect.

Sung Kang:

That's how, I think, the studio and the filmmakers addressed representation for females in films was that, what a perfect... What you just described was how awesome is that, you have two of the female leads just kick some butt, and then you got the male leads getting their ass whipped. It was perfect. It was a perfect way to address that.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So to stay on that, how is it working with Tyrese because you have the scene before that where you guys have a little bit of a comedic rapport. I've heard that he's singing on set all the time, so what was it like to get to team up with him a little bit more?

Sung Kang:

It's like having that fun brother that is there, that has so much energy. When Tyrese and I are together, working is kind of hard to do because we're always laughing. Dude is the funniest dude, he can lighten up every mood. Every set, he'll show up and start singing. It makes you step back and go, "Why am I taking this so seriously? Take the work and the craft seriously, but still, it's a movie, have fun with it." I'm glad that we've had these years to get to know each other and really form a relationship.

Roman:

I don't know, man. That was disrespectful and I don't like the way she said it, he's a man. He's a man, so what are we?

Han:

Come on, she's just doing her job.

Roman:

Doing her job. I see what's going on.

Han:

See what?

Roman:

You got the little star dust in your eye. Little birds floating around a little bit. You don't want to lease this model, you want to buy.

Han:

Can you please stop talking?

Roman:

No, no, no. You're in love, look at you.

Han:

Just stop.

Roman:

You got special plans? Big day? Going to invite us all out? Better make sure you get her a big rock, man, because she don't look like she'll be that easy to impress. If it's not a big rock, it better be big somewhere else. You know what I'm talking about.

Han:

That's why all your girlfriends wear so much bling, huh?

Derek Lawrence:

There's so many huge action set pieces in this one, you guys have the tank, you have the huge runway and the plane sequence. Did you feel like... Obviously, Fast 5 went up a level from four and each one seems to go up a level, but Fast 6 really felt like where you guys are like, "Oh, man. We're doing some crazy stuff with these action set pieces, could you guys feel that as you're doing it? As you see a tank? As you see a huge plane?

Sung Kang:

We're so desensitized to it now. Of course, you got to keep topping it. That's the joke, is where do we go next? I guess you go in a submarine. I guess we go to space. After space, where do we go? I think we're going to be in heaven in Fast 10. Totally different dimensions. We're used to it, you got to keep topping it, man. You got to keep topping it. Every time you see the cars, you go, "Wait, it went from a Honda Civic to what? How did you get there?" Come one.

Derek Lawrence:

Totally.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Is there something that you haven't done that you would love to do? Thinking about topping things and going and going and going. We talked to Jordana and she was saying that, at one point, she was thinking, "Oh, we should do speed boats or something like that." Which you haven't done a lot of water. Is there anything like that that you would love to do?

Sung Kang:

I would love to go back to some of the classic cars because over the journey of the Fast movies, like I said, it gave me access to everyone's garage. So I get to go out and really learn and appreciate these cars and these builders and these amazing car communities that are out there, not only in the States but throughout the world. The one big complaint from the fans, especially the car guys, "Hey, man. You guys are so far removed from realistic cars, cars don't fly. Not in our world. They barely even run in our world." It'd be nice to kind of represent that and go back to, I guess, this realistic communities.

I'm a student of these people, and these artisans, and these builders and I would love to start putting some spotlights on these amazing cars that have been built just by regular folks. The million dollar super cars are great, but it's nice to go back and put a spotlight on what's beautiful and this thing that doesn't cost a million dollars. I think the Fast world has room for that and that's where new characters can develop, and different story themes can develop there. It's not how much the car is worth, it's really the care and the love that was put into building the car is where the value comes. So, stuff like that. I'd love to do something like that.

Derek Lawrence:

We've alluded a few times to this epic runway, probably the longest runway in history. I think there was actually a study that it was supposedly 26 miles, someone actually broke it down. We talked about filming the more emotional part with Gal. What was it like just in general? I'm sure it was a lot of work and a lot of time spent on that runway, wherever this is. So what was it like? Just take us through filming that sequence.

Sung Kang:

It was like camping out because most of it was at night. Those were called night shoots, so they usually run from sunset to sunrise. So you're out there, you feel like you're camping out with all your friends, and then around three in the morning the actors get to go into a trailer and the crew stands out and they actually do most of the work. They deserve all the credit for things like that. I don't have much recollection of it because it felt like... To isolate just those moments, it's a little difficult because a million things are going on, and you're half asleep most of the time because, like I said, it's at night. Those nights are complete blurs to me.

I have one recollection is I'm a Liverpool Football fan, and there was a whole bunch of fake fire from the airplane, and there was lighting, great lighting, and I was wearing the Liverpool jersey and I took a picture of it. That's really all I remember from that evening. Oh, I do remember... This was, I think, one of the last times I got to hug Paul, was when Paul comes up to me with Jordana and gives me that embrace. I think that was the last time I got to hug Paul, so I do remember that, unfortunately.

Derek Lawrence:

You mentioned earlier Statham coming in and, obviously, the reveal of him being responsible for Han's apparent death at least. What was your reaction when you hear that Statham's being brought in, and that he's responsible for Han's death, and it wasn't just this random thing as it appeared that it might have been in Tokyo Drift.

Sung Kang:

The Statham is a crazy story. So, let me go back a little bit. Years ago I did this movie called War, and Jason Statham was the star. I played this little character in the film where I play one of the policemen in the force, the detectives in this crew. The bad guy was Jet Li in that film. It was a big deal, I get to work a couple of heroes. I remember when we finished the film, Jason and I were at the airport together, for some reason we were flying out on the same plane. He goes, "Hey, what are you doing next?" He's like, "Where are you off to?" He goes, "Hey, I got cast in this movie called Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift." And he's like, "Oh, yeah. Really?" [inaudible 00:46:14] He's like, "Oh, that's a great one to be, that's a great thing to be a part of." I was like, "Really?" And he's like, "Oh, yeah. That's a big franchise."

Remember, there was only two movies at the time. He's like, "Yeah, people love those films. Well, good luck to you." And I'm like, "All right, see you later." Years later, full circle. Come on, man. I was talking to Jason about that, I go, "Jason, do you remember that? Think about it, man. We actually talked about this thing. Full circle, we come back and you're the dude that is taking me out." It's really cool every time I see Statham, we bring that stuff up. It's just weird in this business. It tells you, "Hey, man. Do not be an asshole in this business because it's small and you eventually end up working with people again." The fact that we are in a film together at that level, talking about it where I was basically an extra in this film, and then coming full circle. Yeah, that's pretty crazy. It's pretty cool.

Derek Lawrence:

I love that he didn't even realize he was actually going to be in Tokyo Drift. He's in there, too.

Sung Kang:

Yeah, yeah. I know.

Derek Lawrence:

I love that.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

It feels kind of like meant to be overall because with Jordana, she was working on Annapolis with Justin when he got Tokyo Drift, and Tyrese is in that movie. So it's amazing just how you all are kind of connected to each other in this way, it's like oh, oh, clearly this was just meant to be. Is that what it feels like when you guys are together?

Sung Kang:

It does. I don't know if Vin knows this, I think I told him maybe, but he did a film called Multi-Facial way before Fast. It was a film he directed and starred in, and the whole theme of it is the trials and tribulations of a bi-racial person in Hollywood. What are you? Are you black? Are you white? Are you Hispanic? Right at my darkest moment as an actor when I was starting out, I was like, "Man, there's not going to be opportunities for people of color, especially one that looks like me." I don't do martial arts, I deliberately don't do martial arts. That's not who I wanted to be, that's not why I started acting. I go, "There's no opportunities for someone like me." I went to Blockbusters and in the one dollar bin, where they would sell the movies, there was this movie called Multi-Facial and I was like, "What is this?" So I bought it and I put it in, and that movie gave me hope.

Every time I was about to quit, I would stick it in and go, "Yeah. Hey man, keep going." That movie taught me a lot of things because Vin directed it, he produced, he starred in it. After talking to him, like when I said, "Why did you make that film?" He said because no one was giving him opportunities so he tried, and that film got him cast into Saving Private Ryan. The rest is history. We talk about that and I go, "Dude, of all the actors that are out there, I find this one dollar video tape at Blockbusters and that film gave me enough wind behind my sails to keep going, that I felt like I wasn't alone." I didn't know who Vin Diesel was, he was just this dude from New York, another actor. And then, years later, I'm talking to the dude. That's meant to be, is it not?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That's beautiful. We have to take a quick break, but we'll be right back. Now, let's go right back into the interview.

Derek Lawrence:

Speaking of talking to Vin, or even Justin, have you planted the seed yet of, "Hey, maybe Gal comes back? We didn't see technically her die." You mentioned earlier, you called it a Fast and Furious death. So have you slipped that in, just throwing it out there?

Sung Kang:

I don't need to do that, they can go to social media. Everybody's already talking about that. The fact that you even asked that question is something that they're already thinking of. I'm sure it's in the plan, I'm sure it's in the plan.

Derek Lawrence:

It's tough. As a huge fan, you're like... At one part you're like, "Oh, those were such huge emotional moments." These deaths, whether it was Letty first, or Han, or Gisele, and you're like, "Oh, they were such great moments." What does death mean if they come back? But then, you're like, "No, I love those characters. Give them to me again." So we'll keep that campaign going, we'll have to get a good hashtag. I don't know if we've landed on a specific Gisele hashtag, but we'll have to figure one out. We've seen your, probably, Han death scene, it probably sets the record for the amount of times a death scene has been shown on film. I guess, I feel like we've seen it at least three times. Did you ever have to go back and film anything extra? When they add Jason, is that just like... They're just special effect, adding him in behind it? Or when we see it in seven again? Or you film that once and they just keep reusing it?

Sung Kang:

Some of it they can, just because we look older now. So we don't want that difference to stand out so much. Fortunately, I look kind of the same, so they can recycle some of the older stuff. Also, Justin keeps me away from certain things. To rehash the whole death thing, he knows that it's probably not a good idea to bring me back to do that. So they were able to recycle some of the stuff. With special effects today, after they scan you and all these modern things, it's amazing what they can do.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

We know to talk about cars a little more. I know you've talked about how you first got into them, you had a neighbor that you went to. Did getting into the Fast movies sort of expand your investment in car culture and your love for it? What did those movies do for you when it comes to cars and talking about them and learning about them, exploring?

Sung Kang:

Well, like I said, the franchise has given me access to the car community. I always had enthusiasm for cars, but I did not... Basically, my family didn't have the resources to do stuff like that and buy hobby cars and everything. Then, getting older, I was just so busy, I was so busy to actually spend any time on that. You know it's going to cost some money to a degree. People think actors have it great all the time, but when you're starting out, I had 30 jobs just to pay the rent. So working on a car is a complete luxury for me. Now, where there is more time and there's more resources, I'm able to go and spend time with people not only doing great work within the cars, but I'm able to search and find answers in my personal life.

Like, what does it mean to be a good husband? Or a good son? Good son, [inaudible 00:53:26]. What does it mean to be a good brother? I look for these things within car builders, when you look at their cars, you go, "Oh, there's a certain level of integrity or OCD or compulsion, obsessiveness." Why is this person successful in their builds? Why do the cars come out this way? Usually, it's a reflection on how they live their life and who they are. I can now pop open a hood or look under somebody's console and see their wiring system and go yeah, probably their bank account, and probably their life is in disarray just like their wiring.

I use the car community now to find and fulfill these personal answers, amongst fine men and women that represent true heroes in my life. So that's been the complete blessing of having access to the car world. People think I just go there, people think, "Oh, it's so easy. Now you have it easy, you can go and look at all these cool cars and stuff." But you get desensitized. Like, who cares? After you see the third Ferrari, it doesn't really matter. For me, it's the person behind the car and that's what I've been really engaging and it's been super exciting to be able to have that access.

Derek Lawrence:

Wrapping up, I wanted to go into what we call the final lap, kind of a grab bag of questions about the franchise.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Han gets to go to the big family barbecue at the end. In a real barbecue or maybe even some of the real meals that you guys had together, what is the thing that you're bring to the party whether it's food, whether it's music? What are you bringing?

Sung Kang:

Oh, that's such a great question. Wow. I never thought of it, what do I bring to the party? Literally, what do I bring to the party?

Derek Lawrence:

Or mentally? What's your attitude? I don't know, I assume it's what are you bringing to the family barbecue? Are you bringing the chips? Are you bringing the Corona's? I don't know. It's however you want to interpret it.

Sung Kang:

What am I bringing to the family... That's such a great question, I never even thought about. Where does all that food show up. Literally, who made all that. What would Han bring to... Chips is too easy, I don't think Han needs to bring the chips. Where do you guys live? Where do you guys live?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

LA.

Derek Lawrence:

LA.

Sung Kang:

Okay. I think Han would go to Porto's and bring the Tres Leches cake. Yeah. That's what Han would bring. That's what Han would do.

Derek Lawrence:

I feel like the chips would be a Roman thing. He wouldn't really think about it, he'd think he could just get by with the chips. A couple years ago, I did a ranking asking who was the fastest and furious-ist in Fast and Furious. I ranked the top 10, I want to get your reaction on Han's ranking. I had Han 9 out of 10 because I gave him three out of four Corona's in terms of fast speed, but furious I only gave him one Corona. He's just not a furious guy. Maybe in nine he will be a little more furious. Some stuffs happened to him over the years. What do you think? Does that feel about right? 9 out of 10 of these main characters in terms of his fast and furiousness?

Sung Kang:

Yeah. Well, how many Korean friends do you have? Do you have a lot of Korean friends?

Derek Lawrence:

I have a few, yeah.

Sung Kang:

You have a few. Koreans are super angry, we hold a lot inside. So there's a lot of fury in us. If you think about that little country, we're so furious they split in half, they're furious at each other. We can't even get along with ourselves. A lot of anger. I think it's repressing it, really repressing it. It's always on tap, it's always on tap. Maybe from the outside there's no fury, but I would say that's what fuels him. That's actually what drives the guy to wake up and go all right, there's self guilt, there's guilt, there's injustice in the world and that makes him furious.

I think the fast part is just a byproduct of his anger and his calmness and all of that. I think if he just let it all go, he'd be out of control. He would kill himself. I think that's what... At least for me, on a personal level, what drives me. Most of the time it's anger, I got to do better because I'm going to show the world this. You think I'm this? Or because I look like this... So that drives us. I agree but disagree.

Derek Lawrence:

I'll revisit on the Fast 9, I'll have to go back and revaluate somethings and see if Han moves up a few spots.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I love that sort of under the surface anger fueling other actions. It makes me think, obviously, the Incredible Hulk and these characters who become superheroes to a lot of the fans and even in some of the stunts in the movies. So, what is your favorite superhero?

Sung Kang:

Batman.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That's mine, as well. Nice choice.

Sung Kang:

He's fueled by anger and revenge, that's his life. That injustice that happened to his parents, that's the reason he's Batman. It's so easily identifiable, I can connect to it right away. If I was a billionaire, I'd be Batman, too.

Derek Lawrence:

This is my Justice League, the Fast world. In each of these interviews we've been trying to build for each character a spinoff or a prequel. In your mind, what would a Han Fast movie look like?

Sung Kang:

There's so many movies in my head, that's the problem. I've been thinking about this for a while. I can't talk too much about it, I can't talk too much about it. Let's see, let's see. Have you ever seen Lone Wolf and the Cub?

Derek Lawrence:

I haven't, no.

Sung Kang:

You haven't seen this movie? Anyway, if you guys have a chance, it's an Anime. It's a Manga, and then they turned it into a live action. I think many people have been trying to remake this film or make the... I think it was a film, a couple of films. I think even Justin had the rights for it for a while, and then Darren Aronofsky had the rights for a while. It's a man with a baby and he goes to revenge his wife. To me, I go, "Just put Han in there with a baby." That's all you need. His sword is his car, and then boom, you're done. Come on, man. It's over.

Derek Lawrence:

The Fast world just showed, with the great Statham scene in Fast 8, that they know how to do some great action with a baby. So I love that, I love that. What would be, kind of here towards the end... We know you can't say too much, but maybe what would be your brief tease of what fans can expect with Fast 9?

Sung Kang:

One word, family. Family sums up the whole film. With all the trailers and everything, to me, are kind of misleading. It's really family. I think that's where I have so much hope that the franchise is going to continue. Justin as a filmmaker, if you look at his films, people can argue and say one film is better than the other. For me, the reason I remember his films in the past is not only because I'm a part of it is because when we talk, he's always... Family will come out of his mouth a million times because that's the thing that grounds him because he started losing control with all the big stunts and all these massive action scenes, he started losing perspective. How do you ground everything? Where do you go back to? It's been family for him.

This Fast 9, it's like... If you talk about, there could be some fatigue. You wonder will the Fast fans come back? Will they go, "Where are you guys going to go from now?" Come on, I don't live in la la land. You read it. Where are you guys going to go now? Come on, let it die. It's over. I go, "All right, I get it. I get it." In terms of action there can be a ceiling, but in terms of real, honest family themes, those stories can go forever. You can relate with family and family issues and drama forever, that's why soap operas lived on forever. That's why K drama lives on forever because there's just drama within the family.

Derek Lawrence:

Those comments drive me wild. Anytime I see on social media, I write so much about Fast and I'll see the comments. Yeah, people will be like, "Oh, still?" But I'm like, okay, you don't watch these movies if you're saying that. I get mad when people say that, so I've actually evolved myself as a fan of things because I'm like, "You know what? I'm not going to comment on some other thing that won't end." Because there's a reason it doesn't' end, people love that thing so let everyone have what they love. We love the Fast movies. So thank you so much for joining us and becoming a part of the binge family.

Sung Kang:

Of course. This has been a lot of fun, talking to you guys. This has been great. I can tell you guys love the franchise, so I just want to say thank you. I want to thank you for your constant support because without you, Derek and Chanelle, without folks like you that let us talk and share our perspective and our experiences, we have nothing. You guys set it all up and without your support, there will be no Fast 10. So thank you, really. Thank you for your time. It means a lot.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Thank you. Thank you. I feel like we've both grown up with this franchise and it's amazing to see where it'll go next. So for us, it's just all love and excitement. So pleasure to have you.

Derek Lawrence:

I'm excited for justice for Ham and Han. All the justices are coming in Fast 9. I can't wait.

Han:

So, what's our next adventure after this?

Gisele:

How about we stay in one place?

Han:

Where are you thinking?

Gisele:

Tokyo. We always talk about Tokyo.

Han:

Tokyo it is.

Derek Lawrence:

All right, thank you again to Sung. What a both fun and thoughtful interview from him. I will say, we're still waiting for our justice for Ham shirts.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah.

Derek Lawrence:

Until that glorious day where we are donning those shirts, Chanelle and I are now going to hand out some Fast 6 hardware. So, as always, how are we going to kick it off, Chanelle?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

It's time to kick it off with deciding who earned our respect in this film. As Brian says in the first movie, "If I win, I take the money and the respect." To some people, that's more important. It's pretty important to us. So, to kick it off, who do you think earns your respect the most in Fast and Furious 6?

Derek Lawrence:

First off, I feel like I haven't mentioned this in any of the other... We've done this six times now. I don't know, to me, I think the money would be more important. I don't know, maybe I... Brian when he said that, he was actually an undercover cop. So if he was going to be a good cop, he couldn't take the money so the respect was really the only honorable thing he could take. I don't know. I feel like we maybe need to revaluate that quote. For each person it's different, but for me, I don't know. I think I would take the money.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

They play around with it a little bit throughout the franchise because, even with Fast 5, they burn money before they take money. It's kind of a gray area for them, too.

Derek Lawrence:

Don't get me started on that one. Again, I think I would have just taken that money and settled with that. I know there was a lot of them to split it up with, so a hundred million ended up equaling out better for everyone's cut, but yikes. All right, back to the actual question. I think there's some good options. Elena, respect for letting Dom go find Letty, not everyone would be as understanding and just be like, "Hey, yeah. I gave up my job and my career back in Rio to go on the run with you and we're just having a great time here on this island, sleeping in, falling in love maybe, but yeah, okay. Go find your ex who maybe is still alive and has amnesia, sure. Okay." Got to respect that.

Derek Lawrence:

I'm mentioning amnesia, that could have gone wrong. Amnesia, that's a soap opera trope, really. For them to introduce it in, which obviously, there's soap opera elements to these films. I feel like they pulled it off in a satisfying way, so respect to them for that. I don't know, I'll get your take here. My personal favorite, we talked about this on the Fast 4 episode with Justin. Shea Whigham, great character actor, just has no problem showing up to get his ass kicked every time he's on screen in a Fast movie. This guy is getting his nose broken, he's getting hit in the gut, whatever, Brian is just beating the crap out of Shea Whigham's character. I don't know, I got to give all my respect to someone who doesn't mind coming on set for two days just to get beat up.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, I think that's totally fair. We've talked about this and will talk about it more when we get to Furious 7. Whenever we talk about Charlize Theron, you say often that she's someone who knows what movie she's in and that's what I feel like about Shea coming back to do this character, is he's always game, he's always like, "All right, here's the beat that we have to hit, I'm down for it." This is played, there's still a little bit of kind of a call back to that antagonistic relationship between Brian's character and his character, but this is played more for laughs and yet, it's still just as impactful. It's a fun little Easter egg for people who are as obsessed with these movies as we are. So that's great, I love that. I love that he's just like, "All right, I got the call. Here I am."

Derek Lawrence:

That's such an important thing, like you said, to know what movie you're in. Like you said, we'll talk about it, I feel like, when we get to The Fate of the Furious we'll talk about Charlize because I think that's what makes her really good at this is that she's like, "No, this isn't Monster. I am in a Fast and Furious movie." So Shea definitely knows... Like I said, he's in a lot of stuff. Go look at his IMDb, it's a murder's row of prestige TV and memorable movies. He can kind of go through all these different genres and fit right in. Next up, quote of the week. What are we looking at? What kind of options do we have here, Chanelle?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

There are some fun ones. Of course, I think even just starting with the Hobbs character reaching out and saying, "I need your help, Dom. I need your team." That's a whole different dynamic, it's where we leave off at the end of five, but after spending a whole movie of them on opposite sides, we get to really lean into all right, there's a friendship here that's building. So that's a fun one, I really love that one. I also love, I don't know, we talked about this with five. There are always just some good Dom delivery lines, so those words went out the day we were born, I think is a great one in this one. What do you think, as well?

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, I feel like you... I love that one that you just mentioned where he's talking about amnesty being done for if they trade that ship for Mia. Obviously, we have the one you mentioned, "I need your help, Dom. I need your team." That's the kind of thing... There's certain kind of lines or storylines that come up in a movie or show where I'm like, if you have something like that in your movie or show, I'm all in. I've been addicted to Mare of Easttown, and I remember in one of the episodes... Sorry, spoiler. I don't know, it's not that big a spoiler. It's a trope, at the end of an episode she's like... Her boss takes her, Kate Winslet's character's gun and badge and is like, "Don't you dare keep investigating this case that the whole show is about." We know she just lost her gun and badge, she's going to keep investigating. I'm like, "You know what? If you have that scene, I'm in, let's go.

With Hobbs showing up and being like, "I need your help, Dom. I need your team." That's like, for me, if I'm sitting in the theater watching a movie and there's a line like that, I'm like, "Yes, let's go. I'm in. Get the team, get the team."

Hobbs:

The crew we're after, they hit like thunder and disappear like smoke. You go in alone, you won't ever touch them. I've been chasing this guy across four continents and 12 countries, and believe me, the last damn place I want to be right now is on your front door step selling Girl Scout cookies. I need your help, Dom. I need your team.

Derek Lawrence:

Also, I just missed that Dom and Hobbs dynamic. I think I mentioned on a couple episodes, I miss that. I miss those two together, and I hope we get more of that before the franchise wraps up. That being said, I feel like the winner is Ludacris as Tej's delivery of, "They got a tank." Maybe the safe was the start of them throwing in a wild thing that shouldn't... You're like, "Wait, they're dragging a safe through the streets of Rio?" And here's this chase, but then there's a tank involved in this chase. What?

Tej:

Guys, we got to come up with another plan. They got a tank.

Roman:

I'm sorry, did somebody just say a tank?

Derek Lawrence:

He perfectly captures the audience's feeling like, "Wait a minute, a tank?" I feel like just on paper it wouldn't have been the line I would pick, but Ludacris' delivery of it, I think, makes that the winner.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Which I feel like applies to so many lines in this franchise, is the way that the actors nail it really just adds so much to it because, "They got a tank" doesn't have to become what it did where they get to make a call back to it later, but I'm invested now. When the Tej character finally gets his own tank, I'm very happy for him later. That's all because of the way that Ludacris delivers this line right here. So yeah, I agree.

Derek Lawrence:

I will say, honorable mention the best casting for a fake Dom early in the movie. When they showed that bald guy in the beginning and they set it up like that's going to be Dom. From the back you believe it, and then the front you're like, "Oh, that looks nothing like Vin Diesel at all." Well done, at least from the best casting from the back. An award we've done on a few of these and I think is very fitting here is biggest heat check, and we've made a few references to it and we talked about Sung, but the long road and the big climactic chase. Having the longest runway in film history which, again, I think I Googled and there's been actual studies where apparently that would've been 26 miles long.

Derek Lawrence:

Can you imagine? We've all, maybe not as much recently, but we've all been on planes and just sitting on a runway for hours being like, "Oh, my God. Can we take off already?" Imagine just sitting on that slowly just in line waiting for hours just for you plane to take off. The thing is, you're in the sequence and it's probably what? 20, 30 minutes long and you never once actually think about it as you're watching it, you're not being like, "Oh, man. I don't know, shouldn't they have taken off by now? Wouldn't they have run out of runway?" No, it's funny to think about after the fact, but you're fully in it as you're watching it.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, yeah. I feel like this movie is, like you said, they did the safe thing in Rio, but, at the same time, I feel like this is the first movie where it gets kind of meta where they're clearly in on the joke of them becoming superheroes. They're just like, "All right, we're just going to push it and see where we go next." And yeah, they can do it because that's who they are. I feel like pushing the suspension of belief to include a super long airplane runway scene just to get in all this action is also that. We're just going to trust the audience to come on that ride with us, and you do. It's great, it's a good time.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, no. You're totally right. Next up, this is one we haven't done on every episode but I feel like it had to come back for this one. The we hungry award. Obviously, Tyrese famously... Even Lucas Black was out here quoting it, the we hungry line from Too Fast. It's fitting because also, we haven't mentioned it either. The we hungry thing could usually apply to Han who's always snacking. Those two things kind of come together, Roman's appetite and Han's penchants for snacking when we have that whole bit with the vending machine at the hangout that they all come to and Hobbs ends up shooting it open. So I don't know, that's a funny little bit, I think, that felt fitting for this award.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, yeah. Perfect. It was a nice little call back. Also, just speaking of them, I'm glad that we got to see in this movie the team up between those two characters, Roman and Han, that was really fun in the fight that they lose.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, I skipped right over where we wanted to talk about that fight so I'm glad you brought that up. This is not actually and Oscar category, but we like to say which Oscar that should have been nominated for. Well, creative best fight scene because it would have to go to the twofer that we get at the same time where we have Gina Carano, Michelle Rodriguez going at it, a tussle. This is probably number two behind the Hobbs and Dom fight from Fast 5, but then at the same time we get Sung, Tyrese, and Joe Taslim going at it nearby but Roman and Han are just getting destroyed, destroyed. We talked about it with Sung, Han finally gets a fight and then he just doesn't stand a chance. Then they fight for laughs perfectly, too, at the end. They're like, "All right, we don't have to tell anybody about this." It's probably the only time we've seen Han frazzled or phased, he's usually so cool. So I appreciate that. Those two cut together was just such a great moment. Oscar's going to the best fight scene and then retroactively give the first one to Fast 6.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah because it deserves it. I feel like even now, you can cut them a little bit more slack. Joe Taslim is Sub Zero, how could you have beat him? But you tried your best.

Derek Lawrence:

That's a great point, it's a great point. Next up, the holy shit moment of the week. I think there's a few. I always say that Dom jumping to save Letty during that tank sequence and perfectly somehow landing on a car even though it looks like they probably both should have died, it might be the most romantic thing I've ever seen in a film. That was a good contender, but, and you mentioned earlier, the Statham reveal. We knew one day we were going to catch up with Han's quote, unquote death scene in Tokyo Drift and we finally do here in the mid credits in Fast 6. Who could've imagined, we see the car smash into him just like it did in Tokyo Drift, but then out gets Jason freaking Statham.

Derek Lawrence:

In the theater you're like, "Holy crap." I don't remember if there was rumors about that or what, but you're like, "Wait a minute, what is going on here?" And then it just sets up, obviously, Statham is the villain in Furious 7 which we'll get into next week. He has a bit of an evolution which, again, maybe that's part of why we've gotten the calls of justice for Han, but in the moment, in that theater, you're literally like, "Holy shit" when he shows up.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, absolutely. Like you, I don't really remember if it was rumored that he would be in the movie or anything like that, but I think because we're all so focused on, of course, being sad that we just lost Gisele, we know Han is now going to go to Tokyo and what eventually happens. So I think, as a viewer in that moment, you're just kind of bummed out that you have to say goodbye to this character and then that reveal happens and now my emotions are all over the place. What's coming? What is this? They're so great at that, is just adding another layer to build up that anticipation for what the next adventure is and that's a perfect moment of it. I was super shocked.

Derek Lawrence:

You're totally right. What's up next, Chanelle? Where are we at here in the awards?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

All right, so we have to get into the Ja Rule mistake of the week. We didn't really have one last time for Fast 5, but we might have some contenders here. There is the sort of coincidental thing of they lose Gisele, they lose Gal Gadot in the movies before she becomes Wonder Woman, we have to say goodbye to a character that we really love. Like you mentioned with the Letty amnesia plot, that could've gone really wrong. They don't really get too into the amnesia of it all, it's just sort of an explanation for why she hasn't contacted the team. So that could be something that was just poorly conceived, but I think it works for the most part.

I think, though, we kind of have to eat our words a little bit on what I think would have been both of our choice which is the random moment where Brian goes back to LA, and then when he rejoins Dom, Dom's like, "Whatever you found out, that's for you." It ends up being in the movie kind of a useless sidebar you would think, but I really liked the explanation that we got for it. So it makes a little more sense now.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, the Letty amnesia thing on paper, I would've been like, "Really? That's what we're choosing to go with?" But they pull it off here and I think it even pays off better in Furious 7 which I'm sure we'll talk about more on that episode. Gal, yeah, we lose Gisele, but would she have become Wonder Woman... If she was still booked up for the future Fast movies, would her schedule have been cleared to be able to be Wonder Woman? I don't know. As much as we miss that character and her and Han together, I don't know, we'll see. Maybe there's... I teased it with Sung, I'm like I don't know, can we start the calls for her back now? But I think you're right on the Brian random trip back to LA because re-watching it, you're always like, "This is kind of strange, why's he..." This is basically a sequel to Fast 4, a 10 minute sequel to Fast 4. I didn't dislike what was going on, but it just felt like weirdly place and why is he so removed from the rest of the team? But it feels like we got the explanation.

Last week on the Fast 5 episode, when Jordana said that she was very limited with her participation on six because she was booked up on a TV show where she was a regular. So I would assume maybe there was some more Brian, Mia stuff that would've taken place if Jordana was more available. That ordinarily, like you said, would've been our answer, but maybe are we two weeks in a row where maybe we don't actually have a mistake. These movies, to us, are pretty bullet proof so we end up where we have no notes again, I guess, is a good place to be.

Lastly, as we always do, we decide the ultimate winner of Fast 6 and I think there's a lot of contenders. Statham, he's only in for one scene, but what this became for him has been huge. Justin Lin and Sung, this being their swan song, as we thought it to be, would've been a good way to go out. I know we're excited that both of them are back, so we're glad it wasn't their swan song, but if it had been... Maybe if it was, maybe if they weren't back for F9, those would be who we would go with. To me, and we haven't talked a lot about Gisele, we just mentioned Gal. I think Han and Gisele, I think, are my ultimate winners because this is a love story. We all became very attached to these two characters together, and for her death and his reaction, his silent, stunned reaction there at the end of that runway scene, to have the emotional impact it did, I don't think any of us could have predicted that.

Gisele shows up in four, never interacts with Han. We get the flirtation and we get the one really fun scene when they go to get the hand print in five, we get some nice flirting and then get them in the end montage together on the road. This is where they really establish this relationship and really flesh it out and make it something that we're invested in to where by the end of this movie, not only are we feeling the Gisele loss, but we're feeling Han's loss. Like I said, every time when we get to the end of that runway and we see Han, everyone celebrate oh, Dom made it out, blah, blah, blah, we saved the day. Han is just standing there speechless, the look on... I think it's a great, great job by Sung playing this moment and Mia just turning to him like, "Where's Gisele? Where's Gisele?" And then you're like oh, my God.

Then Mia and Brian both go over and hug Han as he's just like, again, just speechless. Sung said he thinks that's the last time he ever hugged Paul which just adds even a more emotional moment now anytime we re-watch it. So for me, that love story just really came together here and just added those emotional beats that really make this movie stand out from others, I think. So I end up with Han and Gisele. Do you agree with that thinking?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I think you're totally right. If you were to string out all of the actual scenes that they have, it's probably not that much screen time spent at least on that relationship. Obviously, they're both throughout a number of movies, but if you were just to cut in all the Han and Gisele relationship stuff, it would probably be not that much film but they sell it so well and I think that you're talking about that last shot where we see Han just devastated sort of ties it all together. That is a lot of deep feeling, deep caring.

I think it's also really impactful that the last we see of her is because she's saving Han's life, that's why she lets go. It just adds such a power to this relationship that could've been kind of a side throw away kind of thing, but it gets it's dues somehow without having had a whole lot of time to set it up or really carry it out. I believe in it, I love it, I love this relationship, I was so sad to have it gone even though you know eventually it can't last because he's alone in Tokyo. It's a heartbreaker and heartwarming at the same time, too, how much they care about each other. So yeah, I think you're spot on.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, absolutely. I look forward to seeing maybe if Gisele gets a mention in F9 or what kind of impact her loss has had on Han in the years he's been gone. So we can't wait to see that and then talk about it down the road. Speaking of, we have officially reached the end of this episode's runway. Thanks again to the great Sung Kang. Like Brian O'Connor, we hope we earned your respect and that you keep listening to EW's Binge of the Fast Saga when next week we're flying through Furious 7 with a special two parter in which we'll be joined by both Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson. I'm already excited and sad just thinking about it. See you again then. In the meantime, please subscribe and listen along every week wherever you get your podcasts. Rate us, tell us what you think, share it with your friends and family.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

You can find us on Twitter at Derek J Lawrence or me at Chanelle Berlin.

Derek Lawrence:

Also, head to ew.com for complete coverage of the Fast saga and full episode transcripts.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

This episode was hosted and produced by Derek Lawrence and Chanelle Berlin Johnson, produced, edited, and mixed by Samee Junio, and executive produced by Carly Usdin and Shana Naomi Krochmal.

Derek Lawrence:

Thanks for listening and until next time, salud mi familia.

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