Lewis Tan lost out on the role in Marvel film but now stars as the lead in the upcoming Mortal Kombat, out on April 23
Mortal Kombat Lewis Tan
Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Lewis Tan is starring in the role of a lifetime in Mortal Kombat, but he almost landed another huge role.

In a recent interview, the 34-year-old actor revealed he'd lost out on the lead role in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Recalling how he landed the role in the Mortal Kombat movie adaptation, Tan told Entertainment Tonight he had "just lost a crazy job—a really, really high-caliber level job—and I heard that news on a plane to Japan and I was, like, devastated."

That job, Tan said, "was for the role of Shang-Chi in the Marvel film," which went to his "friend" Simu Liu

"I think he's going to do a fantastic job with the material," he added. 

Simu Liu
Simu Liu, a friend of Lewis Tan, ultimately won the role in Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings
| Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty

Tan said he "did this mediation course, and I came back and then I was on my way to Nashville, Tennessee, to race cars at NASCAR—I was like, 'Maybe I'm the first Asian person to ever be in this place before!'— and all of a sudden I get a phone call saying I got the role in [Mortal Kombat]."

"I was supposed to drive a car that day and I ended up not doing it because I was like, 'Uh oh! I need to be safe now because I've got an opportunity here," he recalled. 

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Tan, who has starred in Iron Fist, Into the Badlands, Wu Assassins and Deadpool 2, said, "Everything happens at the right time [for] the right reason and looking back on everything that played out, I wouldn't change it for an instant." 

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity, and I'm very grateful that just diverse people are leading these amazing films," he continued. "To see our faces that are usually looked over and looked past and to have that opportunity to be part of that change that I didn't get to see when I was growing up, I'm honored to do that and I'm happy for everybody else."

Mortal Kombat opens in theaters on April 23. It also hits HBO Max on April 23, where it be available for 31 days.