“If I support my peers they will become better, which will motivate me to become better. There is such a small amount of things out there for us right now. If we compete in a very negative and backstabbing way, the art will never get better.”
With credits that include Power Rangers, Aquaman, and Black Mirror and upcoming projects Son of the South (2020) and Mortal Kombat (2021)– Ludi Lin will undoubtedly become one of the most recognizable faces in the world.
Life has changed tremendously for Ludi since his first studio film, Lionsgate’s Power Rangers. Ludi played Zack, the Black Ranger- a troubled teen struggling to care for his sick mother. Power Rangers presented Ludi the rare opportunity to feature and develop a captivating story for a leading Asian male in a major Hollywood film. Ludi was adamant about incorporating elements of Chinese culture that were essential in portraying this groundbreaking character. “We fiddled with Zack’s story a lot. I wanted to get more input. I thought it would be great to hear some Mandarin on screen. It would be great for their relationship (Zack and his mom) to come across.” Ludi believes that “the more I am in the industry, the more meaningful and important I find it. You tap into something that is so fundamentally important to the survival of the human race because of these stories.”
In interviews and on social media Ludi has remained outspoken about representation and supporting other Asian artists. Ludi says, “advocating for these causes gives my life and my work more meaning. The more responsibility you take on in life, the more meaningful your life is.” He believes recognizing the success of his peers enhances the quality of the industry, “Support and competition are not mutually exclusive. For me, they are the same thing. If I support my peers they will become better, which will motivate me to become better. There is such a small amount of things out there for us right now. If we compete in a very negative and backstabbing way, the art will never get better.”
Ludi is noticing progress in the industry. He just wrapped filming Mortal Kombat, an opportunity that allowed him to work with a diverse cast. It was a filming experience that did not make him feel the isolation of tokenism, an issue many actors of color face on set, “I have never felt more alone than when I am just a token.” Ludi has had the opportunity to travel the world and was raised in China, Canada, and Australia. His concern for the lack of representation in film is rooted in his international upbringing. “If you are making a film for the world, why shouldn’t the cast represent the world? Why not have it be inclusive of the world we live in?” He is auditioning for roles he never thought he would be considered for and is grateful for any opportunity to influence diversity. “I will never reject going out for those roles. I will gladly go out for them and blow them away because I don’t want to discourage that. I think that is moving things in the right direction.”
Ludi actively pays attention to the landscape of the business; what projects Asians are seen in and where they continue to be missing. Ludi says, “I remember almost every Asian that I’ve seen on screen.” There are so many stories Ludi would like to tell specifically he hopes to, “be in a fantasy film or series. There is such a lack of Asians in any fantasy story. All these authors and screenwriters can dream up anything; dragons, asteroids crashing into earth, other planets, aliens. How come they can’t dream up any Asians in these places?”
Ludi feels, “pretty blessed to be living in this time” at the forefront of change. Ludi’s life and career is an example of hope and progress. Ludi grew up in a small town in Fuzhou, China where the entire neighborhood shared a t.v., “from there to where I am right now, if you told that kid back then that you will be in the states- you’re going to Australia to film, you’re going to go to Malaysia to film, you’re going to be performing and people are going to see your work. It’s almost unimaginable. It’s incredible.”
Ludi’s latest project The Ghost Bride is available now on Netflix. Ludi can also be seen this year in Son of the South executive produced by Spike Lee as Derek Ang. Derek is an Asian American activist who joins the Freedom Movement in the Deep South, fighting racism alongside the Freedom Riders.
Ludi Lin Photo Courtesy of Ludi Lin