Kevin Tancharoen Breaks Down ‘The Brothers Sun’ & Comments On Potential ‘Mortal Kombat’ Return (EXCLUSIVE)


Kevin Tancharoen is a director greatest identified for his work on initiatives like Mortal Kombat: Legacy. During a latest interview with Heroic Hollywood, Tancharoen broke down his work on the lately launched Netflix sequence The Brothers Sun whereas giving some attention-grabbing insights into his future initiatives, together with a possible Mortal Kombat return and a thriller musical!

The Brothers Sun was launched on Netflix on January 4th. The sequence follows Charles “Chair-Leg” Sun (performed by Justin Chien), the son of the top of a Taiwanese triad who units out for Los Angeles to guard his mom, Eileen (performed by Michelle Yeoh), and his youthful brother, Bruce (performed by Sam Song Li) in an action-packed journey about meals, fights, and household.

Lots of people know you from directing initiatives like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Arrowverse reveals, however what I do know you greatest from is Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Do you assume, now that Mortal Kombat is getting a resurgence within the motion pictures today, that you simply’d ever need to return to that universe? Either to direct a spin-off or season 3, or is that chapter of your profession over?

No, I feel I’m at all times open to going again if it’s proper, clearly. I’ve such a deep love for that property and it holds a really particular place in my coronary heart simply because I grew up on it. Like, there are specific properties that imply every part to me. That’s one in all them. It’s like Mortal Kombat, [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers. It’s a superb time to be alive proper now, proper? It’s all coming again. Like, it’s good to be an grownup male nerd [Laughs] with regards to that form of stuff. But it’s enjoyable.

So yeah, I might at all times need to return to that. If carried out correctly, if all of the events need to do it, then I might 100% return. I had plenty of enjoyable watching the film. My pal Lewis Tan is the lead in it, so it was actually cool to see him. I really like the stuff that Ed Boon is doing over at NetherRealm in Chicago, like the brand new sport is superior, so I do know that they’re always reinventing themselves, so that you by no means know! This franchise could be round without end, so can’t say by no means!

Another individual you labored with on Mortal Kombat: Rebirth is Oren Uziel. Do you guys nonetheless have a connection there or have you ever gone your separate paths?

Oh yeah! I really like that man, he’s nice! Him and I, we- I reconnected with him as a result of I congratulated him on Spider-Man: Noir. Which is like, superior! But I maintain in touch with him every so often as a result of he and I had such a blast engaged on [Mortal Kombat] Rebirth collectively, and it was a kind of issues the place I simply picked up the cellphone sooner or later and I used to be like ‘Dude, I have this random idea. How do you feel about it?’ and he wrote it in like two days!

And I went and shot it after which after that we each have been engaged on the film with New Line [Cinema] for a minute after which, clearly, you already know, growth takes some time so all of us needed to go our separate methods. But he’s an awesome man, and I’m actually wanting ahead to no matter he comes up with for Spider-Man as a result of that may be a nice character and an awesome setting.

I introduced him up due to that Spider-Man: Noir sequence! Would you be thinking about becoming a member of the fray and serving to direct an episode?

Oh one hundred percent! Because tonally that’s- it’s simply one thing we haven’t seen earlier than. And what an awesome period to convey Spider-Man into. It simply opens the door for you to have the ability to inform one thing utterly new. Because we all know the Peter Parker of the trendy period SO nicely, it could be so nice to form of see how troublesome it was to be Spider-Man again then when Tony Stark didn’t exist. So it’s form of like, there’s no computer systems, I can’t simply speak to my swimsuit. So that will be plenty of enjoyable.

You’re not only a director for The Brothers Sun, you’re additionally an govt producer. What drew you to this mission a lot that you simply wished that deep degree of involvement?

Well, I felt very linked to the story. Like, simply on the style a part of it, I’m an enormous fan of martial arts movies. I grew up watching martial arts movies. I feel it’s fairly apparent I grew up watching martial arts movies. And I additionally simply love [Quentin] Tarantino, as nicely, and the tone, and once I learn this I used to be like ‘Oh my god there’s such a pleasant mix of issues right here’. Not solely is it Tarantino however it’s additionally Stephen Chow, and it’s additionally Barry! So it was a cool little mixture of issues that I already beloved.

And then part of me was like ‘Oh, I can see a really cool soundtrack’ in the best way that Drive was in a position to have like a very cool soundtrack. So I used to be drawn by all of the stylistic elements of it, however a very powerful a part of it was the core household story and the Asian-American story that I felt linked to as a result of, merely, that was me rising up.

I feel within the first assembly once I met with Byron [Wu] and Brad [Falchuk], sure, we undoubtedly talked about all of the enjoyable stuff, however the bulk of our dialog was primarily nearly speaking about our experiences rising up and the way Byron and I had plenty of similarities. So that’s what finally drew me into it, and all the opposite issues that encompass the style of it are what makes it tremendous enjoyable. So I might say that’s actually what drew me to the entire thing, usually.

The Brothers Sun could be very rooted in a private tradition and folks. Can you talk about how this form of genuine illustration is necessary, even in reveals with a heavy motion focus?

Yeah, I assumed it was at all times actually necessary as a result of, clearly, there’s a giant motion in illustration and I wished to guarantee that, with the amount of issues which are popping out which are all so nice, and everyone seems to be doing such a superb job at ensuring individuals are represented correctly, I wished to guarantee that we retained plenty of enjoyable inside our story about id, proper? Because it couldn’t simply be a drama, or else it just- I don’t assume it could have been the wild experience that we wished.

So with regards to the authenticity of this we wished to essentially guarantee that, not solely in entrance of digicam, however behind the digicam there have been plenty of genuine voices and it’s as a result of we’ve received to take all of our experiences and be taught to make enjoyable of them. And be taught to chortle about them but in addition come collectively and  actually really feel unified by them. And I feel that each one the nuances and the authenticities within the winks and the nods to the folks that will have grown up equally, that’s going to be a kick for them to get these little cultural thrives, however for those who, say, you didn’t develop up throughout the tradition, there’s nonetheless a lot enjoyable and motion and coronary heart in there so that you can simply be immersed usually.

But for those who may chortle at, say, taking your footwear off whenever you are available the home then nice! There’s one little nod I’m certain plenty of Asian-Americans are gonna be like ‘Yeah, yep! Yeah, exactly!’ Or, one in all my favourite issues is when Mama Sun sees her son for the primary time in ages and one of many first issues she says to him is ‘Your beard looks terrible.’ Like, that may be a widespread, that’s a common- I’ve been informed that earlier than too! So every so often there’ll be a little bit of a wink like ‘Oh, yeah, you get it if you get it.’

But finally it’s only a story about becoming in and discovering your house and being a part of a household that you simply don’t perceive. And so every part I feel goes via a second of discovery like that so on this one we simply occurred to be in a really hyper-stylized, hyper-realistic, larger-than-life stakes model of it.

You talked about conserving that authenticity behind the digicam. When lots of people consider motion pictures or reveals, they actually solely reward the actors, administrators, and writers. Is there an unsung individual or division that you simply really feel actually introduced this sequence to life?

Yeah, you already know, I gotta say like even on the manufacturing design and artwork route aspect, we had a bunch of genuine voices inside each division. And additionally the wardrobe, proper? So wardrobe is at all times one thing that’s tremendous necessary and I feel when it comes particularly to the style on this present we by no means wished it to really feel like costume. Because it may possibly, in a short time.

I did plenty of analysis into Asian road trend and a few Asian-American trend in San Gabriel Valley, and I wished to guarantee that it felt actual as a result of there’s undoubtedly a cultural imprint in trend statements to be made, but when it ever felt prefer it was making an attempt too exhausting, then you definitely form of simply get checked out, proper? So I feel they actually introduced it as a result of there was at all times a high-quality line there.

And on the manufacturing design aspect, it’s very straightforward to get stereotypical, proper? So there’s at all times that very bizarre line that it’s important to teeter and totter over to verify what’s actual and what’s a caricature. So discovering that proper stability was tremendous necessary for particularly each of these with regards to wardrobe and manufacturing design, artwork route, and likewise music! You know, music additionally has plenty of stereotypical tones to it so we wished to guarantee that none of it felt too apparent and all of it felt genuine to the story, however by no means felt such as you have been simply crossing that line.

The Brothers Sun had plenty of actually artistic combat scenes. In instances like this the place there’s a lot story being informed via the combat scenes, what’s the stability of energy between the combat choreographer and the director?

Well the combat coordinator that I used to be in a position to persuade to work on this with me was a man named Justin Yu, who I’ve labored with earlier than and he’s nice. We simply already had a shorthand and I understood the form of motion he likes to design. And it at all times comes from a spot of character first, which was at all times a very powerful factor as a result of I feel now greater than ever we’re very desensitized to motion as a result of there’s such a wealth of actually wonderful issues on the market.

And it’s exhausting to face out as a result of we’ve form of, at this level, virtually have seen every part. It’s simply now how can we contextualize it and make it attention-grabbing? And that at all times comes right down to motive and character for my part. I went again and watched a few of the most impactful motion sequences that I knew had an affect on me and whenever you whittle it right down to the fundamentals, when you may simply give you one easy logline for the motion sequence, it’s at all times so useful as a result of it’s often very very quite simple.

So we wished to guarantee that was in there and we nonetheless needed to have plenty of enjoyable with it, so there’s at all times going to be slightly little bit of camp in a few of the winks to the fights. But a personality is at all times both studying one thing new throughout the combat or they’re overcoming one thing new within the combat and it’s by no means only a matter of simply surviving, so that’s one thing we actually took to coronary heart and wished to guarantee that there was area for character inside the entire combat sequences in order that it wasn’t simply continuous punches and kicks.

I’ll say that it was undoubtedly an experiment. We needed to travel, we had to determine the pacing and the timing, is that proper? In publish, we needed to discover the stability and the appropriate music. It was a really delicate stability, however Justin Yu was a really nice associate in that to have, so yeah, he killed it.

You talked about Tarantino a bit earlier. Do you will have some other administrators you cite as inspiring your model?

Edgar Wright has at all times been- I’ve been an enormous fan of the best way he designs…every part, actually. The synergy with music is at all times one thing I discover actually unimaginable. The kinetic transition photographs that he does and his consideration to sound design, additionally, is I feel one thing essential.

So he was a giant inspiration, and Stephen Chow, a really large inspiration. I imply, Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer are a few of my favourite motion pictures, Kung Fu Hustle might be slightly bit extra. So these have been the three I actually wished to have in my head always, as a result of it was plenty of enjoyable.

We maintain going again to this concept of music and sound in fights, do you assume your experiences on initiatives like Fame and directing dwell live shows have influenced the best way you shoot fights?

Absolutely! So, earlier than I used to be a director I used to be a choreographer within the pop world. Because of that, I feel blocking and digicam choreography and its relationship to music has at all times been one thing that’s form of pure in my course of, however I’ve such a connection to music and area as a result of I began off working with folks and simply shifting them round that, basically, whenever you add a digicam into it, that simply makes it that rather more magical and you will discover a synchronization between a gradual cam operator or a digicam operator with music and the combating — it’s simply actually enjoyable to place all of it collectively.

So I do assume that due to my background, I form of naturally have these parts turn out to be a part of the entire mission, however it actually has helped. It actually helped quite a bit. Because additionally, arguably, each combat sequence is a musical quantity, proper? They do have crescendos after which moments of pause and silence after which a giant ramp-up, so it’s a musical in its personal bizarre manner. So it’s all one and the identical, you will discover the concord between the entire parts.

This is Justin Chien’s first action-heavy mission. Which is difficult to inform, as a result of he did wonderful! When you have been on set with him, how did you see him adapt to this position over time?

He embraced it wholeheartedly, and I actually imply that. Like so far as I used to be joking quite a bit that he actually Keanu Reeve’d the mission, however I really feel like everyone knows what which means now. It means he simply devoted himself 100% to the entire position. Physically, mentally — he did martial arts every single day. And it’s not straightforward to choose all that stuff up. So he actually simply went full Keanu on the coaching a part of it and nailed it. And we have been fortunate as a result of that’s what it required.

It required any individual who was gonna be like ‘You know what? I have a chance to have free ninja training, I might as well take it [Laughs]. And he went above and beyond. We rarely had to use any stunt doubles for the choreography because his timing ended up becoming so great. And that was something we talked about a lot. The timing of fight sequences is like… there’s a distinction between some extra fashionable Western fights after which whenever you shut your eyes and hearken to a Bruce Lee combat. There’s a unique rhythm to all of it. There’s one thing actually cool and sly about Bruce Lee’s combating due to the best way he does issues actually quick however then pauses, after which has a second of- a “cool moment.” So we studied plenty of that form of stuff and Justin was only a actually good pupil after which he simply nailed it in each single combat scene. So it was actually enjoyable to observe that emerge.

With his character, baking is clearly a really large motif all through the sequence. I used to be curious for those who may say what the importance of churros was all through the season.

You know what, that will most likely be a particular query for Byron or Brad as a result of they only landed on churros. They have been like ‘You know what, that’s gonna be one thing that he’s simply going to be obsessive about.’ Maybe it’s received one thing to do with their love for churros, I’m undecided. But I do know that with regards to baking, we had mentioned how cooking is therapeutic.

There are remedy parts to simply doing directions and listening to instructions and following them to a T. And particularly baking, it’s important to get it right down to the precise measurement to ensure that it to be excellent. So we simply figured for somebody whose life is so chaotic, what’s one thing that he may management on his personal? And what’s the alternative of murdering folks? It’s baking a beautiful cake! [Laughs] So it was the juxtaposition between the 2 I assumed was very enjoyable and comprehensible.

Another one of many stars of the present is Michelle Yeoh. Always one of many largest icons in Hollywood, however now she’s gotten even greater since her Oscar win. What was it like working along with her on set?

It felt surreal, to be trustworthy. Because I had, rising up, admiring her from afar, I’ve seen all her motion pictures, you already know? I bear in mind getting Silver Hawk in a random video retailer and I’ve at all times identified her as this extremely proficient, tremendous regal, elegant individual from afar.

Then once I met her, naturally, I used to be intimidated at first as a result of this was a legend that I’ve identified on display for thus lengthy – I puzzled the way it’s going to be. And she was the good individual as a result of she instantly made you are feeling like household and also you robotically knew why she was so profitable.

She simply makes everybody really feel such as you’re a part of her household and it’s a delight to be round her. And due to that, the set was a beautiful place to be and the beautiful actors who have been newer felt assured as a result of that they had Michelle Yeoh’s stamp of approval. And that was a giant deal. So she was wonderful to work with as a result of, clearly, no one has to query how skilled she is.

She was so skilled. But she’s additionally simply part of the workforce. She wished to simply do no matter it required to make the present good. So that was actually nice as a result of that undoubtedly contaminated the remainder of the crew and the solid. Like, as a result of she was so in it and wonderful everybody else wished to be their greatest. So I simply wished to say that we received very fortunate and we have been very lucky to get her.

Speaking of these new actors like Sam Song Li, is there a second on set the place he actually stunned you with what he was in a position to pull out?

Yeah, you already know, he’s a kind of pure form of comedic improv actors. He stunned virtually each time as a result of he would do one thing, say one thing, his timing could be completely different on a unique take and it was exhausting to not smile and chortle with virtually each scene he was in as a result of it was so pure. So he stunned us every single day with how he was in a position to play that position, be charming, however by no means foolish.

That’s a tough stability to play too whenever you’re taking part in a comedic position, particularly for those who’re the comedic position. He by no means received to that time and he was in a position to experience that line very delicately. He’s simply charming. I feel lots of people are gonna actually like this character as a result of, arguably, he’s the “every man” manner into this story and there’s plenty of want achievement there.

We hear quite a bit about writers and actors actually immersing themselves in a world. As a director, did you do something to essentially put together for this sequence?

Oh, nicely, I feel my entire life form of ready me as a lot as attainable for this. But I actually did spend plenty of time rewatching plenty of the inspirational classics that I thought of form of a “must” for this present. But additionally, within the analysis course of as a workforce, between the manufacturing designer and the writers, the DP, costume, we have been all college students in that world as a lot as we may.

We scouted, we interviewed, we researched. We simply made certain that we have been by no means too nervous to ask questions. And we have been in a position to get into sure places that had by no means been filmed ever earlier than. And we wished to guarantee that it was proven authentically, as a result of we shot quite a bit within the San Gabriel Valley that doesn’t typically get proven in a mainstream manner.

So I feel simply by nature of taking pictures the present you have been researching it, and it was at all times ensuring that each division head and crew member knew that it needed to be as genuine as attainable and never only a stereotype. And I feel everybody took that to coronary heart and actually made {that a} mandate. So we have been always at all times studying in an odd manner as a result of everybody had a unique expertise inside their lives that they wished to convey to the desk, in their very own nuanced manner.

(Readers beware! This interview incorporates spoilers for the finale of The Brothers Sun past this level! Continue at your individual threat!)

Do you will have a favourite day on set the place you both confirmed one thing actually attention-grabbing or one thing actually spoke to you?

I had a favourite day as a result of it simply felt like actual movie-making. It felt like an actual managed chaos. Loud noises, however whenever you pulled again and realized what you have been doing it was so enjoyable. It was the dim-sum shootout in episode 7, the place we had no room and like 100 folks crammed, you already know what I imply? That room was not large and we have been typically concurrently taking pictures within the kitchen and the banquet corridor they usually have been each loud motion sequences.

So that form of chaos was loopy on set that day however whenever you simply sat again and watched everybody shifting, it was so cool as a result of everybody cared a lot about getting it carried out appropriately and everybody was simply working collectively to get it carried out and make our day. It was chaotic, however it was tremendous enjoyable. So that was every week, that form of stood out to me, as a result of it was plenty of work! We took over that strip mall and simply, form of guerrilla-style, shot that entire sequence as quick as we may. And it labored out.

Do you will have any route you hope the story takes if it will get a season 2, or do you assume it is a one-and-done sort sequence?

Oh no, I feel there’s plenty of room to discover. Obviously, the door has been kicked huge open for Bruce and I might be very inquisitive about what means to his relationship together with his brother, but in addition his relationship together with his mom and his greatest pal TK. I might like to, “More money, more problems,” is at all times the true fact.

So I’d be curious to see the stability, how this actually shut, tight-knit household handles all of this now. With Big Sun out of the image, it’s Mama Sun to rule, however it comes at an enormous value. So I might like to see how this household may overcome the subsequent huge hurdle as a result of they’re simply gonna get greater and larger.

Regarding, not simply the subsequent step within the present, however the subsequent step for you as a director. Is there any mission you’re actually hoping to tackle within the subsequent few years or any property you actually need to direct one thing for?

I feel, you already know, I’m engaged on plenty of initiatives by myself for the time being. There is that this household action-adventure film that I’m determined to make as a result of it’s every part that I grew up loving, so I’d be very excited to get that off the bottom.

But additionally I’m very thinking about doing horror this yr as a result of I grew up as such an enormous fan of horror. Originally, I wished to be a creature designer. I wished to be Rob Bottin and I wished to be Stan Winston and Rick Baker and all of these guys. I’ve a deep love for that style, so I might like to assault a mission that’s horror-driven.

Because you’ve tackled plenty of supernatural and superpowered beings, do you discover that there’s a distinction in directing combat scenes for people who find themselves simply people?

Yes, for certain! Because that’s a part of the story, proper? In superhero stuff, you form of purchase that everybody can combat very nicely, or don’t get that damage. I feel that whenever you’re telling a narrative about simply actual folks, sure, we now have Charles who’s an professional fighter, however we now have to verify Bruce by no means seemed like he knew what he was doing, and there’s some issue to that.

To make issues look off the cuff or really feel genuine within the second and it doesn’t really feel choreographed or fluid, and so it was undoubtedly a problem to do the alternative of creating somebody look nice, proper? Which is making somebody look clumsier. So we had a pleasant stability of the 2, as a result of clearly we now have some very expert fighters within the present after which we now have Bruce, who doesn’t know find out how to combat! [Laughs]. It was enjoyable to see him and TK form of not likely understanding what’s occurring.

Just seeing TK’s power, have been there any enjoyable moments together with his actor on set?

Oh, yeah, he’s additionally a kind of pure comedians. I imagine our casting director discovered him off of TikTook or Instagram doing skits on his personal, and he simply embodied that character so nicely as a result of, in a bizarre manner, he form of simply is that larger-than-life humorous man. The second you sit down with him you understand that’s who he’s. But he’s additionally a really deep individual.

I discover that very often with comedians. Yes, they’re sensible with regards to comedy however there’s additionally a very excessive depth behind all of it. And Joon Lee is a kind of guys. So it was by no means nearly jokes with him, it’s at all times about contextualizing it and he was nice. It was like his first large mission and he embraced it and if he was nervous I by no means noticed it.

Is there anything you need to get out, both about The Brothers Sun or your individual work that you simply haven’t been in a position to get on the market but?

Yes. So, I’ve at all times been requested if I ever wished to do a musical. And I’ve been very hesitant simply because I by no means felt like I had a narrative to say and I didn’t actually have a musical I wished to adapt. But I’ve lastly give you an concept that I’m very, very obsessive about. And I feel it simply took the appropriate timing, the appropriate idea, and the appropriate life expertise to lastly determine what that’s, so I’ve a sense that’s going to be one of many initiatives that’s going to take an extended time to appreciate, however I’m enthusiastic about it.


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