Spoilers within for the Into the Badlands Season 3 episode, "Blind Cannibal Assassins."
We at SYFY FANGRRLS are huge fans of actor Lewis Tan, who had a particularly memorable—albeit brief—debut on last season of Netflix's Iron Fist, so when we found out he was taking his martial arts talents to Season 3 of Into the Badlands, we basically started counting down the days until his first appearance in tonight's episode.
It's safe to say that Tan's made his mark on the Badlands already as newcomer Gaius Chau, who's on a mission (however reluctantly) for his Baron sister—and his arrival will definitely have a ripple effect on most of the main cast of characters. FANGRRLS had the chance to talk to Tan ahead of his Badlands debut about the Chau family dynamic, filming his first fight scene against Castor and some hints about his future this season.
I know fans were really excited when your casting was announced. Between your history with martial arts and the show, it feels like a really perfect pairing. How did you first get hooked up with Badlands?
I've known about the show, and it's one of those things that was on my radar and something that I knew I could really add to and have a platform to do the best with my skills.
LaToya Morgan saw the work that I did on Iron Fist and she really enjoyed it and she saw the critical acclaim and the social media presence that happened. After that episode was released, she told Al Gough, one of the showrunners, [that] I would be a good fit for the show. And Al checked my stuff out and he actually reached out to me on Twitter and that's how the conversation started. And it went from there. The rest is history.
There's a really great scene between your character and Eleanor [Matsuura] who plays Baron Chau. How much did the two of you hash out your sibling relationship before it played out on camera?
That's a really good question. Well, we had a discussion about a little bit of the backstory, and Eleanor's obviously done the show for two years running. I came up with an idea of what my character had been going through... I create a backstory for all of my characters, so I already had that in mind. We talked a little bit, very minimally about it.
Funny enough, Eleanor was pregnant during that shoot, and in the original script, I had to spit in her face. Usually, I'm the type of actor [where] I like to do very hands-on, I like to do everything very real. I don't like to pretend or I try to make it as real as possible... but it's very dangerous to spit in a pregnant woman's face, so that didn't happen.
The tension between them is still really palpable. One thing we learn about Gaius early on is he has a secret compassionate side. We see him agree to carry out the mission for his sister basically to spare people's lives. Do you think that's a quality that is going to be a benefit or a detriment to him this season?
It's both. It's his strength and his weakness. I mean, this is the reason why he got locked in prison in the first place and this is also the reason that makes him strong. It's the reason that makes him stand apart from his family and their kind of tyranny and the morals that they have. He has a completely different standard and a completely different value and a completely different view on life. So his family thinks he's wrong for that, but I think that it's part of his strength. Absolutely. And you'll see that evolve and you'll see how those two dynamics evolve throughout the seasons and throughout the relationships that he has.
There's a really amazing fight scene towards the end of the episode between your character and Dean-Charles Chapman, who plays Castor. I talked a little bit with Ally [Ioannides] last week about fight unit and how a lot of times you're all learning this fight choreography basically minutes before the camera starts rolling. I know you have a lot of martial arts training personally, so are there any aspects of that you kind of have to modify for filming those types of sequences?
Yeah. That was, I think, my first fight scene that I did on the whole show. And yeah, I've never had an experience before where they choreograph a few minutes before. My martial arts background definitely helped me to be fluid and... I have muscle memory when it comes to [the] sword and when it comes to martial arts, so choreography is not difficult for me to learn. I can learn it very quickly [but] I did have to adapt to that, of learning very very fast with a partner who possibly hasn't done as much fight choreography as I have.
Luckily, Dean-Charles Chapman's a dancer and he picked up the choreography super fast and he was great to work with. Yeah, that's Dean and I fighting the whole time; there's no stunt double in that scene for either of us. So you see Dean and I fighting and it looks really raw and he's an amazing partner to work with. Such great timing, great rhythm and it's one of my favorite fights of the season. I believe it's one of the fights that they submitted for the Emmys.
That's one of the things that's so great about the show that people are always praising. I know when I recommend it to people it's something I praise first and foremost. This fight scene at the end, specifically, is so dynamic because not only are you getting a lot of characters on-screen teaming up, but everyone's stories are finally starting to converge. How does Gaius' arrival shake things up in the Badlands this season for the rest of the cast?
Well, everything is shaken up to this point where a lot of people's foundations have been pulled up from underneath them, and it's interesting. I don't know how much I can say to give away for this.
Gaius is going to have to learn where his place is in the world. He hasn't been in the world and interacting with people, and he's going to have to find his own footing in this place where everybody else is kind of lost. So, you know, he has to find his alliances and stay true to his heart and follow his heart in order for him to find his place in the Badlands, and it has a domino effect on many of the main characters. I think that's all I can say. Yeah, that's a loaded question. It changes everything. It really does. It changes every dynamic and it affects every main character.
Into the Badlands airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.