Tan, who previously appeared in Marvel Television's Iron Fist series as a villain, nabbed the role of Shatterstar for Deadpool 2 with a mysterious audition leading to some fun days on set. While his time in the film turned out to be short lived, he may ultimately return as the popular Marvel character in the future with an X-Force movie on the horizon.
Following the release of Deadpool 2, Tan caught up with ComicBook.com in an exclusive interview to talk about his time on the 20th Century Fox film and what might be next for him and his character.
Getting the Role
Getting the part of a popular X-Men character in a blockbuster film is as exciting as anyone would imagine, even for an experienced actor like Tan, who was kept in the dark and on a need-to-know basis for spoiler purposes.
"When I first got the role, I didn't know, exactly, who I was playing," Tan said. "The director, David Leitch, reached out to me and said he had an idea for a part that I could play in Deadpool. I didn't exactly know who I was playing. Even when I signed contracts for the role, the name was kept secret. I think it said 'Asteroid' or something, at the time. So, I wasn't exactly sure. I kind of had to do some research and kind of figure out what exactly was happening.
"I knew X-Force was in it. And eventually, before I got on set, I found out who I was playing. And I had to do some research, because I didn't know too much about Shatterstar. I did have the toy when I was younger, and I knew he had a bad ass outfit, and I loved the sword. But, I didn't know too much about him. So I had to get every comic book I could find. Every X-Force comic, every Shatterstar comic, and I picked a bunch of them up while I was at Comic-Con, for Iron Fist, and did some research. Yeah, he has a very complex and interesting back story."prevnext
When Tan arrived on set, his day with Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and TJ Miller as Weasel in a scene where his Shatterstar auditioned for the X-Force was almost entirely improvised.
"There was no script for that," Tan said. "I was basically told what I was going to say, on the day. And yeah, it's very improvisational. There's so many different takes that didn't make the film. There's a lot of action scenes that didn't make the film. There's a lot of stuff that we shot. Like, Ryan, and TJ, and everybody really, they improv so much, and so many different things come out. Hopefully, on the DVD or on the blu-ray extras there will be a bunch of different takes. But yeah, we were going back and forth. Obviously, Ryan is one of the best in the game, when it comes to that. So, I had to be on my toes, because he's fast, and he's sharp."
Though Tan is also seen on the ground ripping through enemies with Shatterstar's swords, his character never survived the helicopter jump as Deadpool 2's theatrical story goes. The helicopter scenes, however, were quite an experience.
"We were all in there on it, in the helicopter, on a gimbal," Tan said. "And that thing was moving and shaking, and it was crazy. And yeah, we were all in there. And Ryan was there, he was sweating, and he would pop his eye out. You could see one of his eyes, and he'd be just like red hot underneath that suit."
Whether or not these actors will return for the X-Force movie is unknown.
"There's chemistry with that X-Force team," Tan said. "There was a good energy there. I think that hopefully, they bring us all back for the X-Force movie. Thankfully, Deadpool went back and cleaned up the timeline. Hopefully, they can have us all back in the X-Force film. Because there was a lot of good vibes and I think that it would be a really exciting film. And the fans keep talking about it on social media. And, how much they enjoyed that part of the movie. So, that was really nice to hear."prevnext
As Tan mentioned, the X-Force movie is next in line in terms of Marvel titles from 20th Century Fox looking at production.
"The X-Force movie is happening" Tan said. "We talked about this before I signed on for Deadpool, but nothing is confirmed. And, I know that they rework the material up until the last minute, much like they did on Deadpool. So I'm not exactly sure. But I don't see why they wouldn't have me, and Terry [Crews], and Bill [Skarsgard] back. And Rob assured me, it's just interesting. I think it's a cool dynamic, and hopefully Brad Pitt's available."
Of course, the future slate from 20th Century Fox is questionable, as it is. With Disney's acquisition of the company looming, Tan is unsure of what to expect, but also eager to see the X-Men and X-Force characters join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"I think that's exactly what they're doing," Tan said. "And look, I think that there's a lot of people who would want to see it. I also think that Marvel is excellent at curating their material, in the way that they release stuff. And the way that they fine tune the story lines, I think they're genius at it. So, I think whatever we're going to see is going to be great. And I think there's many different avenues that they could go. And yeah, I don't know how to answer that one. All I know is that would be insane. So, I think people are excited for that. I think we'll see it."prevnext
Diversity in Film
As an actor who was once snubbed from the titular role of Iron Fist on Netflix in favor, Tan is also excited to see more and more diverse casts coming together for blockbuster movies.
"It means the world to me," Tan said. "It's something that has inspired me and helped me be a better artist, be a better actor, be a better martial artist. It's helped me to be a better person. I think when I was doing Iron Fist, and I was at Comic-Con, and kids were coming up to me, and they were super emotional. And they were like, 'We're so happy that there is Asian American in a superhero films.' And I was playing a villain, with a burned face. And they were happy just to see that."
Today, Tan still carries those moments as motivation.
"It's still affecting me to this day," Tan said. "And now, to come back to New York, just a few days ago, and be at the world premiere. And see the fans there, and be playing a hero in Deadpool 2, in a Marvel film... It was a surreal experience. I don't take it lightly. Yeah, I hope that it does open doors. And, Into the Badlands, I mean, the show runner for Into the Badlands put three Asian American leads. Me, and Daniel Wu, and Aramis Knight, in the same show. That's never been done before on American television. And we're all playing heroic roles. That's never been done before. That's ground breaking, and I'm proud of the work that I'm doing.
"People are offering me other projects, that I'm turning down, because I only want to do stuff that's going to push that narrative forward, and represent in the best way possible. And that just goes for all actors of color, not just Asian Americans. We need to see a variety of spectrums, of all ranges, and all levels of depth, and all different characters. I think that represents the world appropriately. And we need to see that on screen."prevnext
Into the Badlands
Tan is featured on AMC's Into the Badlands, which airs on Sunday nights following Fear the Walking Dead. On the small screen, Tan puts not only his acting chops on display, but impressive action skills as the show demands.3comments
"It's legendary," tan said. "To me, as a martial artist, and an actor, that's the perfect show for me to go on. Because, you have Andy Chang, you have Master Dee Dee, you have Daniel Wu, you have Steve Fong. These guys helped do Kill Bill, Matrix, Rush Hour. That is a legendary team. For me, it was the perfect platform to really perform.
"As you see, if you saw last week's episode, everybody was talking about the fight between me and Dean-Charles Chapman, who plays Castor. That fight was insane, and there's so much more coming. Every week now you'll be able to see high level fight choreography and drama. And yeah, I'm very, very proud of the work we did there. It was a long haul, nine months of hard labor. Hopefully, everybody really enjoys it. Because, I think it's the strongest season that they've had."prev