Tan, 35, knocked himself out in Hollywood. The actor was even in the function of a career after losing two major roles backwards, before his luck suddenly changed with the showcase of a career-changing Mortal Kombat.
“I’d come to the top of that mountain. And I’d just kind of fall down the hill. I didn’t know how it was happening all the time,” Tan says. “But those moments of pressure, those moments of loss can turn into something really beautiful. They can make you great. That’s what Cole Young goes through. What we’ve both experienced is really phenomenal.”
What to broadcast Oscars on weekends:HBO Max’s ‘Mortal Kombat’, Netflix’s ‘Stowaway’
Now Tan is on top of the world with his role of “Mortal Kombat” playing the savior of the Earth. Director Simon McQuoid raves about his leading man, who can stand out in an ensemble that includes a martial arts actor Joe Taslim as the villain of Sub-Zero.
“Lewis is a gifted martial arts fighter. He has physicality and a presence on screen,” McQuoid says. “And he’s a pretty nice guy.”
Tan’s trajectory seems almost as predestined as Cole’s. Half-Chinese, the half-British son of fashion model Joanne Cassidy and Philip Tan, a stunt expert in martial arts, Tan was born blessed with the looks of leading men, a martial arts mentor and a foot on the stage door. His father led his eager son in his career.
“It opened a lot of doors for me and opened my eyes to the world of filmmaking,” says Tan, whose first film role was at the age of 2 in 1990. “China Cry: A True Story”.
“I was literally a baby playing baby, my best acting,” he says. “They paid me with toys.”
After a decade of paying off business debt, Tan didn’t make a big leap, earning parts like the Prison Guard in “Hangover Part III” and the commandos in “Olympus Has Fallen”. Initially, he thought that accepting the role of Marvel’s mutated superhero Shatterstar in “Deadpool 2” from 2018 would be a big breakthrough.
“When I found out I liked it, this character has this crazy past. He’s great, this alien from Mojoworld. He has that Gladiator-Meet-Mad-Max-Blade-Runner vibe,” Tan says, “I’m sold out.”
Sold, until he learned that all the assembled team of Deadpool superhero (Ryan Reynolds) X-Force – including Vanisher Brad Pitt – would die a horrific, hilarious and quick film death. Shatterstar was infamously sucked into helicopter blades.
“It was very sad to meet a death like the one he met,” Tan says.
The rise in his career continued until Tan was struck by a terrible double denial of film roles. He retreated to the Japanese mountain town of Hakone to meditate and landed again.
“I was very upset that I lost this part,” Tan says. “I thought, I’m just going to let the universe somehow take control, not try to impose my time and keep doing good work.”
Two weeks later, the universe informed Tan that he had signed for the lead role in “Mortal Kombat.”
“It was just a weird kind of synchronicity,” he says. “I thought, ‘Now is my time to prove myself.'”
During the Australian filming of “Mortal Kombat”, Tan believes that he did his best job in his career, and the blue results are visible on the screen.
“As someone who’s been running their own fights my whole career, to do it at this level, with this caliber of actors, with this franchise, I’m most proud of that,” he says.
Bringing his family influence into full circle, Tan managed to throw out his proud father in “Mortal Kombat” set to watch him during the last week of filming. “It was a wonderful moment,” he says.
Next, Tan will star in Netflix’s December martial arts film “A Handful of Revenge,” and signed the role of a Sino-American CIA officer on Quantum Spy TV. He also hopes to return to “Mortal Kombat” in the sequel teased at the end of the film.
Tan didn’t give up on his Marvel character Shatterstar either.
“The Marvel universe is like the world of‘ Mortal Kombat ’, there are a lot of different timelines and a lot of things can happen,” Tan says. “The Marvel universe could easily come back (Shatterstar) or I could try another character. It was ultimately a good experience.”