Aquaman’s Ludi Lin on Captain Murk, Shang-Chi, superpowers and Asian representation

ludi lin captain murk aquaman

Aquaman is now in theaters, and we had the chance to chat with Ludi Lin (Power Rangers), who plays Captain Murk, the leader of an elite Atlantean squad. In our interview, he discusses scenes with Mera (Amber Heard), the lack of water on set, superpowers he would like to have, and Asian representation in Western entertainment.

Nerd Reactor: How’s everything so far promoting Aquaman?

Ludi Lin: So far so great, man. Yeah, fun times.

Nerd Reactor: I think it’s going to be a really huge movie. I’m not sure how excited you are being a part of that?

Ludi Lin: I’m pretty stoked. It’s pretty huge already in China. That’s a huge start.

Nerd Reactor: Were you excited about Aquaman before or were you pitching it to them, “I want to be a part of this!”

Ludi Lin: No, I just went in for a random audition like any job interview, and then somehow got the role. I found out about it two months after.

Nerd Reactor: Can you give us a rundown on your character?

Ludi Lin: Yeah, so my character is Murk. In the original Aquaman canon, he’s a general of the Atlantean army, but this is kind of his origin story as well. He’s captain of an elite squad of killer Atlanteans that’s out to destroy anything that’s in the king’s way.

Nerd Reactor: Since Aquaman is underwater, did you have to do some underwater stuff and practice swimming?

Ludi Lin: Ironically I did more swimming and underwater stuff in Power Rangers than Aquaman. The whole movie is underwater except we never really got wet even once. Everything was done by CG, and we were stuck on these prongs that were never used in any other movies before. And it’s kind of like a gimbal for humans. We had to learn how to shift our weight and turn in midair while these little blue men below us pushed around these huge pieces of forks to simulate you moving and swimming around underwater. You have to remember to move your legs slowly like you’re swimming.

Nerd Reactor: Was that challenging or fun?

Ludi Lin: It was pretty fun, man. It’s kind of like being in space, once you’re used to the thing. You just think and you move.

Nerd Reactor: Out of all the characters in the movie, who would you be intimidated by?

Ludi Lin: Maybe the queen. Maybe Nicole Kidman’s character. She’s pretty intimidating as a person. I’m sure she’s heard this from other actors, but she’s one of my idols. She’s one of my role models. I think she’s pretty prodigious as a film artist. Her character is mysterious and powerful at the same time.

Nerd Reactor: Did you have some screen time with her?

Ludi Lin: My character doesn’t have any screen time with her. My character has a lot of screen time with Mera, Princess Mera. She does some terrible things to me and I do some terrible things to her. But not the queen, so maybe that’s why she’s more intimidating.

Nerd Reactor: Is there a memorable or favorite scene that you’re done?

Ludi Lin: As you’ve seen in the trailer, crashing through the roof and running through the houses were pretty fun. Getting my arm cut off, that was kind of a shame. [laughs] It’s all really fun. I love acting; I’m addicted to the job. Every time I drive into the parking lot and into the studio, I have a huge smile on my face. It’s just really cool.

Nerd Reactor: Did you get to play along with Manta?

Ludi Lin: Yeah, Yahya and I worked together a lot. We worked on something else coincidentally right after that as well. That’s something mysterious and yet to be announced, but I think we’ll hear about it very soon.

Nerd Reactor: Were you an Aquaman fan before?

Ludi Lin: You know, I liked Aquaman as a character when I was a kid because I like animals. As a kid, I wanted to be a zoologist. So I thought talking to animals and talking to fish were incredible things. For research when I got cast in the role, I was in Beijing working on something else. I don’t know if many people know this, but Western comics aren’t prevalent at all in Beijing… in fact, in all of China. There’s like only one comic book shop that sells Western comics because they have to go through the same censorship and approval process. So there’s only one comic shop, and coincidentally, it was in Beijing. They reached out to me and hooked me up with all these comics for my research purposes. I got a pretty good gig here.

Nerd Reactor: That sounds like a great gig.

Ludi Lin: Yeah, when homework is reading comics.

Nerd Reactor: I’m surprised about the whole Western comic thing being very rare in China because when the movies come out, they’re pretty big, right?

Ludi Lin: Yeah, it’s getting bigger. There are a huge a manga following and China’s own style of manga. But Western comics, people find ways to find them and find ways to become fans. I think Shanghai Comic Con is growing year by year, and soon it’s going to be one of the biggest comic cons around the world. So there’s definitely a lot of fanboys in China.

Nerd Reactor: If you can play any superhero in the future, who would it be?

Ludi Lin: They keep talking about a Power Ranger sequel, and I would really love to work with the friends again. So that was fun. I mean any superhero, who would I be?

Nerd Reactor: I hear Marvel is working on Shang-Chi.

Ludi Lin: Yeah, that’s right. There’s been a lot of news about that. To be honest, if I were to do another superhero film, I’d like to create my own superhero.

Nerd Reactor: Do you have any powers in mind or just the power of just kicking ass?

Ludi Lin: I have a lot of powers in mind. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always liked the power to know the answer to anything when I ask it. Because I always feel like there is a way to solve any problems. So if I can get that in my mind, that would be nice. And then you know what? I would love the power of Asian representation to become more prevalent. That’d be great if I could just snap my finger and make that happen. That would be my superpower.

Why aren’t Asian-Americans being represented? Asian-Americans are Americans, so why aren’t they getting a voice? Why are Asian-American kids coming up to me thinking that they can’t be the leader of a pack? Why are they coming up to me and saying, “Until I saw you on screen, I didn’t realize we can be handsome, we can be sexy, we can do whatever, we can be beautiful, we can be powerful.” So why isn’t that happening? Why aren’t people looking on TV and seeing that they can relate to the people that they’re seeing on TV and that they can have proper role models that look like them?

So this is not just a gripe. I’m sick of hearing Asians being cast as a first of something, the first superhero, the first rom-com, or the first of anything. I just want it to be the norm, you know what I’m saying? I just want it to be one of many telling interesting stories, because I think Asians are interesting and we are amazing beings and we tell incredible stories. We have the capacity to do something amazing. So people should open their minds and open their ears and open their eyes and let us be.

Nerd Reactor: Yeah, it’s an uphill battle. You have to keep on pushing and keep on doing you.

Ludi Lin: And you know what? There is a lot of Asians, so it’s going to be easy to push as long as they give us the chance. Everyone will get rewarded. Look at Crazy Rich Asians. You make one thing, and it’s a rom-com, and it’s a big success. It’s the biggest success in more than two decades. So if you want to make money and you want to hear a good story, let us tell them and everybody wins.

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