Actor and combat specialist, Mayling Ng has made a name for herself in Hollywood, playing out roles that display her in a powerful light. She’s trained in Kung Fu and is a master of weaponry who brings those skill sets to new life through the characters she plays.
This last summer, she was part of the blockbuster cast for The Suicide Squad (2021) film as the character, Mongal.
Mayling explains what filming was like for her and why it’s an honor for her to play “Badass” characters in her career.
Mayling Ng Interview
Tell us about your character, Mongal, in the upcoming Suicide Squad sequel and what we can expect from her dynamic with the rest of the team.
Mayling Ng: I’m very nervous about not giving any spoilers away, so I have to take my time with this, but from the comics, we know that she’s the daughter of the warlord “Mongul,” and she has a twin brother by the same name.
She’s a character who’s always fighting with the dynamic of proving herself because she’s female. It’s similar to myself in this industry. Mongal is from an environment that requires her always to be fierce and kind of angry.
She’s also very strong but stubborn. She’s a badass within the squad, but she’s just as hard-headed as the rest of the team – she’s not subservient at all, but I think she’s a great character.
What was your makeup process like to get the complete look together?
Mayling Ng: It was intense. Sometimes we had to start at 4:00 AM, but I had a great team. I had about four different artists working on my makeup at specific points, and that still took roughly four hours to complete on the first week of shooting.
We managed to get it down to just under three or two and a half hours at some point, but it was still just as intense. I was generally fine during the process as long as I had a break in between because otherwise, my skin would react. On certain days it was itchy, particularly when we had more extended hours.
I would describe the texture and feel of it as if you were diving headfirst into chewing gum. If I had to sit down on set or in between scenes, I would get stuck to the seat and have to unglue myself while trying not to rip the material. Also, we filmed in Atlanta, and it was sweltering, so imagine working in a “chewing gum” sweatsuit, LOL.
In any case, don’t tell Warner Brothers, but I would have done it for free. It was a great character to play, and I’m very honored to be a supervillain.
You’re also filming Legend of the White Dragon. What can you tell us about your role in that film?
Mayling Ng: So, many fans were backing this film before we even made it, which is fantastic. I didn’t know Bat In the Sun Productions, but they reached out to me, and I’m so thankful they did. Everyone loves the director (Aaron Schoenke) and his vision, and everyone believes in him.
It’s a perfect atmosphere, and it’s very creative. It’s almost like anything goes, and you’re able to try different things. What Aaron has done with smaller budgets before usually turns out incredible, so you could imagine what he’ll create with a feature-length budget.
He’s super talented, and he knows exactly what he wants, but he also lets you put your own little spin on things and blend it in together.
My character, Lieutenant Tek Boh, is another badass I get to play, and it’s great to be a woman and a boss and be in charge of many guys, in this case, police officers. Overall, I’m excited about it, and you can expect a lot of great action and dialogue from this project.
What’s your favorite thing about working in action movies?
Mayling Ng: I love being a badass and representing strong women, and my dream is not to be a Bond girl but a Bond Villain. I’m an actor that does my own fights. If you want me to fight in a scene, I can do that because it’s like a cool dance that’s choreographed.
I’m a Shaolin Black Belt Kung Fu fighter and certified with eight kinds of weapons – that’s my thing. But if you want to put me on fire or put me in water, that’s for the stunt performers.
I admire stunt performers like Anisha Gibbs because they’re fearless. Everyone’s like, “oh, you’re a stunt person,” and I’m like, “No, I’m not trained in stunts.” They take big falls, sometimes with very minimal padding, especially the women. I look the part, and I can act the part, but I like to give credit where credit is due.
I had a fantastic stunt double on The Suicide Squad, and I did all the easy stuff like wirework. But one thing that I couldn’t or wouldn’t do involved a big 50ft fall with no wires into black water. There’s no way I was going to even try. My stunt double, Courtney Chen, went up there, and she just did it.
Between the various styles of combat you train under and know, is there a different mentality or sense of preparation you do to switch between styles?
Mayling Ng: Well, each character is different, so I think it just ultimately depends on the role and what you’re doing. Usually, the stunt coordinator has their idea and implements them into rehearsals, and you see what works.
For example, there’s no way that Mongal would come out doing kung-fu because she’s from a different planet. If you’ve got a really good stunt coordinator who has a vision, you work through the moves with them and the styles they want for the film.
Why are women better fighters than men?
Mayling Ng: I wouldn’t say either is better, but we can take a lot more pain than men. The simple fact that we have babies coming out of our bodies is one thing. It’s funny when men get like the flu; they can easily just fall over.
I grew up in a house full of brothers, so I’m allowed to say that because I witnessed it growing up. I’m also just as tall as them, and I don’t know what happened, but I grew up fighting them all.
Now, I make a living out of that. I ended up being the strong one in the family, so it’s funny because I’m the sole female of the bunch, and I was the better fighter, LOL. That’s why I do what I do now.