“It’s like this bag of rocks is off my shoulders”; “Fast & Furious” star Sung Kang talks about his new show with Beach House Pictures | ContentAsia

One of the first things “Fast & Furious” star Sung Kang says about his new TV show, marketed as a “multi-country car culture series”, is that it’s not about cars.

The six-episode series, “The Ride Life with Sung Kang”, promises access to “extraordinary car communities”, to get behind “the coolest and rarest vehicles”, and deepen “our understanding about the special relationship between man and machine”. 

So it’s about cars? Still no, or not really. “I don’t even go into the cars,” Kang says. “I love cars, but after you’ve seen your 100th car, and are fortunate enough to have access to them in your personal life… really, they’re just a bunch of metal and rubber, it actually has no meaning,” he says. 

That meaning, he explains, is in the people who own the cars, their stories, and “the lessons they have taught me”. Like the Polish tech billionaire who started planting trees to decarbonise the world as part of his 100-year-plan and at last count was at 17 million.

Kang loves the idea of a 100-year plan, “things I do today that will last after I’m gone” and “help the world be a better place”. 

“The Ride Life with Sung Kang”, which Kang says he has been thinking about for 10 years, is part of his plan to share the life lessons he has gathered. “I’m stealing this idea of a 100-year-plan… all the people who were part of the show will no longer be here but the lessons will be, right?,” he says.

Kang’s involvement with co-production partners, Beach House Pictures (BHP), in Singapore came about in the usual way: someone aware of an idea runs into someone else who knows someone looking for ideas, with an intro here and a conversation there… 

“But it was, like, Singapore… and I thought ‘how’s this going to work?’,” Kang says. “But then as soon as I met him [BHP co-founder, Donovan Chan]… I didn’t have to explain or make excuses for my Asianness to them. They didn’t think my face was going to get in the way. They didn’t go, ‘where are you from?’ And I didn’t have to say, ‘I’m from Georgia’. And they didn’t go, ‘but where are you really from?’. And I didn’t have to go, ‘Do you mean where are my parents from? They’re from Korea’. And they didn’t go, ‘oh, so you’re Korean-American’. I’m used to that in Hollywood; it’s a business.

They have to have a product that can sell, an angle… Donovan just sees me as a human, an American. I don’t have to make excuses for myself. It’s like this bag of rocks is off my shoulders.”

Scheduled to air by mid-Summer 2024, the show is a co-production between global programmer/channel operator, Insight TV; Singapore-based Beach House Pictures, Korean-American Bros Studio and Kang’s production venture, Raison D’Etre Stories. 

Production kicked off in April this year, and so far covers car owners in Seoul, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Warsaw. 

The Polish capital was an eye-opener for Kang, he says, admitting to “all these preconceived notions, maybe even prejudices. It was just my lack of understanding about the country”. 

Some of Kang’s favourite moments are production downtimes with the in-country crews gathered from local production communities. 

“When the cameras are off, the local crew gives you a sense of the area and the geography and the spirit of the people,” Kang says.

“If the crew is excited about you coming to their country and sharing the ethos and spirit of the country, then you’re doing something right.”

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