The Thrill of the Chase: Get to Know Taiwanese Canadian Actor Chase Tang

Chase Tang’s press coverage has the makings of a fully-fledged biography. From the headlines alone, we get a glimpse of the many communities that take pride in this Taiwanese Canadian actor: his hometown of Bedford; his alma mater, the University of Guelph; Mandarin-speaking netizens clamoring over a new heartthrob to call their own. It’s not surprising (I mean, just look at him) that each wants a claim to Tang’s rising Hollywood fame.

IMAGE CREDIT: JUSTIN WU FOR CHASE TANG

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Tang and his family immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1992, over 3,000 miles from Hollywood but right in the center of a vibrant hockey culture. “When I was very young,” Tang shares, “I was always encouraged to go into modelling or acting, but I didn’t have any interest as I was only focused on becoming a professional hockey player.” 

But even those dreams gave way to a tidy, conservative career path: Tang went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Guelph in Ontario. It would take another eight years in the corporate world for Tang to pivot into acting. 

“I was struggling with some personal issues near the end of 2015,” says Tang, “and realized my career was not only in standstill, but lacking any progression. I was just going through the motions, going in circles and really just wasting my life away. I was in the worst shape of my life, and I was extremely unhappy.” 

IMAGE CREDIT: JUSTIN WU FOR CHASE TANG

But his frustration soon turned into fuel. It would be unfair to suggest that Tang’s rise to fame and opportunity was meteoric or without sacrifice. For two and a half years, he hustled as a background actor in Toronto and put himself through an intense curriculum of performing arts classes. And though it certainly paid off – Tang was recently cast in the third season of Netflix’s Slasher, as well as a new comic book adaptation, Jupiter’s Legacy – he is careful to acknowledge how uncertain, how mercurial the industry can be. “What frustrates me for the most part,” admits Tang, “is that the industry is still a 95/5 split where 95% of the actors are struggling, and only a small percentage are doing well. I would love to see more actors succeed and have a sustainable career in acting.”

But the industry has been, we know, more open-minded as of late. “Hollywood and the film/media industry,” he continues, “is always exciting, but the biggest change recently has been diversity, which I think is great for both the audience and my fellow artist friends – actors, dancers, singers. I am looking forward to more opportunities opening for all performers of all backgrounds.”

IMAGE CREDIT: JUSTIN WU FOR CHASE TANG

While Tang exudes absolute excitement and gratitude for his new role in Jupiter’s Legacy, he’s equally excited to use his platform for good. Alongside Antonio Banderas, Susan Sarandon, Joaquin Phoenix, Rosario Dawson, and more, Tang has joined a new United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) campaign called “The World is in Our Hands.”

“This campaign is to bring awareness,” he enthuses, “that anyone can contribute massively to improving the world and the lives of others by simply making small adjustments in their life.” 

IMAGE CREDIT: JUSTIN WU FOR CHASE TANG

We love seeing this sweet side of Tang, especially considering all the screen time he’ll have as a villain. When prodded for details about his Jupiter’s Legacy character, Tang shrugs and winks, “the NDA on this project is enforced very strictly… my only comment is that perhaps I look more like a villain than a superhero.”

But his casting wishlist, it seems, is more complex. When asked about characters he’d love to play, he lists the characters of Keanu Reeves in John Wick, Denzel Washington in The Equalizer, and Nicolas Cage in Bangkok Dangerous. “I love character roles who have deep and dark pasts,” he explains, “but is a one man crew, where it’s one man versus the world.” 

Tang may love his solitary heroes, but he doesn’t exactly identify as one. His tribe includes hockey players Sidney Crosby and Pavel Pure, from whom he draws his work ethic, success, and consistency; his 12th grade English teacher, Nancy Alford, for her passion and glow; his 12th grade History teacher, John Boutilier, for his openness and kind heart; and his parents, Shu Wei Chen and Alex Tang, for their selflessness and positive outlook on life. And, of course, the people of Nova Scotia. “I was quite young when we left Taiwan,” he remembers, “but the people of Bedford, Nova Scotia were so kind and welcoming to us. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood as an immigrant to Canada.” 

As for his plans to bring his career full-circle? “Since I speak Mandarin fluently, I would be delighted to work in Asia one day,” says Tang. “For the next 1-2 years my main focus is still to make a name for myself in Hollywood, but Asia is definitely very high on my list of places of interest to work.” 

We then of course prod him for more details on his Taiwanese heritage. “I think Taiwanese people are so unique,” he says. “We are shy, loving, talented, and for the most part very welcoming of other cultures. I think it’s hard to find a BAD Taiwanese, and that makes me very proud to be from Taiwan and to be associated with Taiwanese heritage.” 

And finally, he shares some practical advice for aspiring creatives:

“Understand your landscape, know how the industry works, find out who the decision-makers are. Make an effort to strive from daily improvements, both personally and professionally. Small steps every day will add up to massive distance traveled in just a few months. Be fearless. Do not let negativity or doubters faze you. More importantly, do not ever let someone else write your story; the pen is in your hands and you [must be] the author.” 

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