Ludi Lin Interview: Aquaman

Ludi Lin is no stranger to big budget action films, having played Zack the Black Ranger in 2017’s Power Rangers movie.  Now, he plays Murk, the Atlantean warrior that faces off against the titular hero in Aquaman.

Screen Rant: First of all, congratulations on the movie. I'm so happy that you're in it. But you’re almost unrecognizable in it.

Ludi Lin: In many cases. I am unrecognizable to many people.

Screen Rant: Yeah. I almost didn't know it was you. But I only knew it was you threw some facial structure. but talk to me about the makeup and prosthetics that went into this and James wan's vision for the character.

Ludi Lin: Yeah, I mean it evolved over time. Even once we started the show, it evolved. But luckily, there's so much CG in this film that we're able to follow his vision through, although it changed. When we first started discussing the character, we knew that he was loyal to the king and he had to be strong to stand up to Aquaman. So, where that strength came from really grew over time as we got more into it. At first, he was kind of like a samurai character with a sword in the first fight scene. So, I had a scar, a battle wound. And then later we thought, “He had to have this freakishly other worldly power.” And this is a perfect situation to create that because Atlantis, this underwater world, we can make up anything we want. So then, through genetic mutation, evolution, and just battle experience, he had more scars. Somehow his eyebrows disappeared. He became blonde, blue eyes, almost albino, with veins all over his face together with the scars. So, that was kind of cool.

Screen Rant: One thing that I found completely stunning about this movie is the CG. And it's crazy because most of it takes place underwater. But you guys are speaking perfectly. But people's hair is still flowing. Talk to me about how it was on set. Were you guys just in a big giant green room? How was that set up?

Ludi Lin: Yeah, we're in a lot of giant green rooms. But also, a lot of physical props that were there, like in the sunken galley, in that scene where Aquaman first comes into Atlantis. He snuck in. And that galley, they actually brought in a sunken ship into a sound stage.  When you walk into it actually smelled like underwater. It smelled like seaweed. Yeah, it was incredible. Some of these sets were incredible. The equipment we used was amazing. Some of it's designed, especially for this movie because they had to shoot a lot of dry for wet. So, CG water. A lot of, like you said, a lot of discussions was around the hair. And luckily, they had, I think they just had a breakthrough in CG hair recently. You have no idea how much goes into the hair. We had the hair person. We had one hair person and her whole job, the poor girl, and she was such a lovely girl too. And her whole job was just to be in a room combing wigs for about five months. And these are some expensive wigs. And my trailer was right out the window from that room. So, I could see her just longingly looking out the window, coming wigs like Rapunzel. But yes, it was complicated. A lot of people had to put in a lot of blood and sweat to make this happen.

Screen Rant: I'm half Asian and I think it's super cool to see Asian representation on the screen and behind the camera. So, what does it mean for you, that you're obviously in Aquaman, and James Wan directing Aquaman? What does it mean to you to see that representation finally in front and behind the camera?

Ludi Lin: It means that things are finally heading towards the direction of how it's supposed to be. That's what it means to me. It's still got a long way to go. And that's what it means to me. That people are talking about it, are being surprised by it, means it's still not there. And that sort of means to me. When people stop talking about it and we can…

Screen Rant: It's just a thing, right? When it's just like an actor being in a movie.

Ludi Lin: Yeah, exactly. And when the next generation can see on the screen, people that look like them, that represent them, that tell stories that really resonate with them, then we're there. I've been thinking about this recently. Is that when I show a picture, of say my mom, to someone and go, “Can you imagine her as a president?” And people aren't surprised by that. Then maybe we're somewhere. I think we're getting somewhere.

Screen Rant: That's hopefully the goal.

Ludi Lin: Yeah, mom of being the president.

Screen Rant: You're no stranger to superhero movies with Power Rangers and now Aquaman. Marvel just recently announced that they're doing a Shang-Chi movie. And the first person that came to mind to me… Ludi Lin.

Ludi Lin: Oh, thanks man.

Screen Rant: Is that something that's on your radar? We've seen other actors crossover between the worlds, like the DC and the Marvel world. Is that something that you'd want to do?

Ludi Lin: It’s definitely something I want to do. To do an Asian-centric superhero. To tell that story. I mean ideally, I’d like to design my own superhero, make my own creation. But I think the Marvel world is pretty incredible as well. Especially in honor of Stan Lee, the person who created this entire, I mean like an entire universe. You know what I mean? It's pretty incredible. And I think it would be great because it would take another big step towards representation.

Screen Rant: A hundred percent. Now, with Aquaman, I have to ask, what was the most difficult part about filming this? Because it honestly, from top to bottom, it seemed so mind blowing to me. It was gorgeous to watch. So, what to you is the hardest thing to wrap your head around?

Ludi Lin: To be honest, it was a pretty easy shoot. It was very comfortable. We shot on the Gold Coast where it's perfect every day. The weather is even better than LA. And we had so much support behind that film. So, all this kind of puts a lot of pressure on James Wan’s shoulders. Which is a miracle that he pulled this off, because it was so complicated. But the jobs were so specialized, like I just had to focus on my role, my part and my actions. And then, for him to be able to piece all these little pieces together and put it into a story that makes sense, that's the incredible part.  Having him at the helm really took a lot of pressure off of us.

Screen Rant: You guys did an amazing job.

More: Yahya Abdul-Mateen Interview for Aquaman

Key Release Dates
  • Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
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