INTO THE BADLANDS Season 3: Fresh Blood – Sherman Augustus & Lewis Tan


In November 2017, I had the unique opportunity to visit the set of INTO THE BADLANDS in Dublin for the second time as they filmed Season 3. Consequently, we've covered the show extensively, both here on and in our print magazine, Kung Fu Tai Chi. The Badlands is a martial arts world, so it was a great fit for us. Sadly, AMC cancelled the show after a long mid-season break in Season 3. With the tagline "FIGHT TO THE END" AMC claims the remaining eight episodes are the final episodes.

Many die-hard fans like me have rallied in hopes of redeeming the show, either on AMC or to be picked up by another network like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. The campaign – #SaveTheBadlands and #SaveIntotheBadlands – has been building momentum since the cancellation announcement, so who knows? In that spirit, here are some remaining exclusives with two of Season 3's main characters: Sherman Augustus as Nathaniel Moon and Lewis Tan as Gaius Chau. Both actors have an extensive martial arts background, well worth showcasing here on

Sherman Augustus as Nathaniel Moon

"I studied with Master Park in Hollywood for about seven years and he was Taekwondo and Kuk Sul," says Augustus. "And Master Jin – he went back to Korea for a while – but he was my very first Taekwondo Master – a very good guy. He taught me a lot. Being an ex-professional football player [Augustus played for the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings], the thing of it was, I miss the camaraderie. You know, there's something about running into another human being at 20 miles per hour that just turns you the hell on. You know, like BOOM and the light goes off and you fall on the ground and you can't feel anything from your neck down and you go, 'Oh man, this might be it.' And then it comes back to you and you're like, 'Aw cool! I'm alive!' And you get back in the mix, right? So it was just one of those things and I just wanted to make sure that I kept my flexibility. When I stopped playing ball, I was 225 pounds. And it was muscle, right? So I just wanted to get into something that I can just stretch my muscles and then lose all that stuff because you develop a lot of physical and mental problems later on. I know a lot of friends that stopped playing – they're just depression – you know, because they're not playing or exercising or doing stuff. So going back to Master Jin, he really set me down 'This is what you need to do. And you need to think about this every day. And don't think about being this all around martial artist. Find something. Find one thing you can do, you know? If it's an under punch, perfect that. If it's a front kick, perfect that. Don't worry about doing all the fancy stuff.' So, just going back to that discipline, and doing that, doing that, doing that, doing that, doing that, that was cool. When he left and moved his business to San Diego, I found Ken Park in Hollywood. He bought Steven Seagal's old studio that used to be Rodney on the Rock – it was a disco first [laughs] – I can't think of the disco. And then Seagal had it for a while and then it became Ken's Karate. So yeah, there's a lot of history there. That's another story.

"Just thrust me out there. I love learning new things because if you don't learn anything, you're just not good in life. You know, you have to go forward. I worked with a couple of people – a lot of black belts that came through the school – we still get together on Sundays at a park in Hollywood that we go to – we get together every Sunday and we go through our Kuk Sul forms. We go through our Taekwondo forms. And then we do a lot of kicks and that kind of stuff. And Karen, a little bitty woman, sixty-something-years-old, she has a fourth degree. We let her run it. She's no joke. It's a lot of fun so it's going to be good getting back to L.A. and surprising those guys, you know. The Sunday after 'Okay guys. I'm here! Let's do this.' It's that camaraderie, and the discipline factor of that. It's what it is.

"I had a cousin, back in the sixties, an older cousin, that was an actor. I saw his career flourish. And then he opened a business and said, 'Okay, I'm not going to do that again.' I always wanted to act, but I wanted to play football. I grew up in LA, and I had asthma and was allergic to dogs and stuff and my family, they're from the south, so their remedy for curing kids is throw him the ball, make him play. Go out there. Because asthma, it's not that you're not getting enough air, it's that your lungs expand and you can't let the air out. So we started playing sports – Pee Wee Football and that became High School Football and College Football. And was like okay, maybe I can do this. Maybe I might get a chance, maybe I've got a shot. So I went to Northwestern. I didn't get drafted. I did lead the nation in tackles, but on the West Coast I had Kenny Easley, Ronny Lott, Bobby Jose and those guys. They went to UCLA and USC. I didn't want to go to those schools because they wanted me to red shirt. So I opted to Northwestern. So I got a tryout for a couple teams and Leonard King, a pro scout, down in Atlanta, so you go there and you do drills and all that kind of stuff and so I got a free agent shot. I went to San Diego and from San Diego I went to the Vikings. And my roommate from college, Vince Wagner, went to the Vikings first. They wanted both of us. So when they traded him to Seattle, I went to the Vikings. And from the Vikings, I went to Denver. So, did that for a minute, and then one day, after knee surgery, I woke up and was like, 'You know what, dude? You're an actor.' And I called my football agent up and said 'I'm out.' I called my acting agent up and said 'I'm in.' And I've been in ever since. And my acting agent at the time was Jim Bridges Sr. – Todd Bridges' father. And I went to high school with Jim Bridges Jr. and college with Jim Bridges Jr. So it was an in. It was like, 'Take me to a commercial audition with you.' I did a commercial and was like, 'Okay, this is good. I'm in.' I caught the bug. But I did the obvious thing which was to basically start with a lot of extra work. I did a lot of extra work. I wanted to learn the business from the inside. Before long, my first film was COLORS (1988). It was myself, Don Cheadle, Glen Plummer – it was a bunch of us. Dennis Hopper just grabbed us and said, 'Okay guys, let's go.' And it was an experience. It was fun. So I've been going ever since then. Luckily. Luckily. So I've been lucky.

"Being a fan of INTO THE BADLANDS, I was like, 'I gotta get on the show.' I read the breakdown when they sent me the sides. And the sides were basically a big, like seven or ten pages of sides. It was all the big meaty scenes of that episode. And, read that, went over a friend's house, who's a director, and we shot it like a film. We faded and all that kind of stuff. We basically turned them in a finished product, and didn't hear anything for four weeks. Just sat there just wondering if I got the job. Then, I got the call [laughs] one morning after drinking some Jameson. 'Sherman, we want to get you on the plane to come over for INTO THE BADLANDS.' I was like, 'What? Quit your playing.' [makes a hanging up gesture] Click. And they called back and so we got things squared away. And I was on the plane that Friday and I was on the bridge doing the bridge scene that Monday [Augustus' character debuted in Season 2: Episode 3 'Red Sun, Silver Moon'] That's how fast it was. I was like, 'Cool.' Another famous actor was offered the role but, you know, fortunately he turned it down so I was standing right there: 'Okay guys, I'm over here. Thank you. Thank you very much.'"


Lewis Tan as Gaius Chau

"My martial arts background is deep-rooted,” reveals Tan. ‘My father [Philip Tan] won the national title in Taekwondo at a young age in England and trained under Master Sken and Benny the Jet. He also fought in professional Muay Thai for many years. I was learning from my father and these masters since I was a child. I began competing in Kickboxing tournaments under my sensei Mark Para and Petey Cunningham, coming away with no losses, only one draw. I also trained Jujitsu and Judo. Once my career began as an actor I trained with many different masters depending on the film or show to learn a specific style. My Katana Sword teacher is 7-time world champion Caitlin Dechelle, who I have been training with for a few years. I will forever continue to train for the screen and for myself.  I also have to add a shoutout to my late sensei Grandmaster Bill Ryusaki. He passed away in 2016 and was a Hall of Fame martial artist.

"I grew up on film sets watching my dad Philip Tan, he was a huge inspiration to me. He worked with Spielberg, Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, Jackie Chan, Ron Howard, Peter Sellers, the list goes on... Coming from a martial art background my father did action choreo to stunts to directing to acting with Kurt Russell and Mel Gibson. This led me at a young age to an obsession with cinema and a love and deep respect for the greats that came before my time.

"IRON FIST was a challenging job. I have trained very little Kung Fu not to mention learning arguably the hardest style, Drunken Fist. I am 6'2 - 180lbs, and having seen and loved DRUNKEN MASTER (1978), it was very intimidating for my size. The Hitz Stunt Team were whooping my ass straight off the plane from an overnight flight from LA with 3 hours of sleep. After getting a grip on the movement, rhythm and choreo, I began to add the soul of Zhou Cheng into it, using the dragon that is deep within him, the intoxication from the liquor, the foreign accent. I did my best to make big choices with the character because he is such a powerful foe in the comic books. I was grateful when so many fans claimed it was their favorite moment in the series.

"INTO THE BADLANDS is a dream job in many ways, I have always wanted to work with the legendary Master Dee-Dee (Huen Chiu Ku). Andy Cheng I have known and worked with before; he is like family to me. It is the best martial arts drama on TV by far and even beats a lot of films nowadays. The cast is very committed to training and doing as much as the action scenes they can do, no matter what level of experience, no matter what age.  We are a tight group that support each other.  The hours and conditions are really tough; it has pushed everyone to their limits but it is also why it is the best. Also, any showrunners and producers crazy enough to put TWO leading Asian Americans on the same show has my respect, and Daniel is like a big brother, the team is strong.

"It was definitely was not an 'I got this' moment. It was more like 'I gotta bring my A game.' In some ways I am comfortable and have a sense of joy doing my action scenes, but I also don't want to let this team down; they are legends in the game. It is a huge opportunity for me to showcase all my skills.

"The Hong Kong teams are known around the world for being the greatest in the martial arts. This is no comparing; they are super creative and improvisational when it comes to choreography. Most times we have less than 20 minutes to learn the moves; they know I can fight and they push me to the max. One of the main differences is they shoot and edit all their own fights; the producers trust them to do it. A lot of Hollywood films ruin good fights in the cut. Working with them has been one of the best learning experiences in my career. Also, we train whenever we are not filming to keep us on point. We do it all: Yoga, Kung Fu, Wushu, weapons, weights, choreo and wire-work. There was never a time my body wasn't hurting or pushing through injuries. I loved every minute."

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About Gene Ching :
Find us on facebook Gene Ching is the Publisher of Kung Fu Tai Chi. For more on Into the Badlands, visit the official website at And remember #SaveTheBadlands and #SaveIntotheBadlands!

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