Justin Chien and Sam Song Li Play Long-Lost Brothers in The Brothers Sun
Charles Sun (Justin Chien) kicks someone in a blow-up dinosaur costume in a back yard.

THE KICK

Justin Chien and Sam Song Li play long-lost brothers in Brad Falchuk and Byron Wu’s series, The Brothers Sun.

3 January 20244 min read

For Charles Sun, the eldest son of a powerful Taiwanese triad leader, engaging in combat is just another day at the office. Charles (Justin Chien) can multitask baking (his hobby of choice) and kicking without blinking twice. But when his father’s life is threatened by a mysterious enemy, Charles heads to Los Angeles, where his mother (Michelle Yeoh) and younger brother Bruce (Sam Song Li) have been lying low for more than a decade, to ensure their safety. There, he encounters an entirely different way of life — his mother has been living frugally, posing as a nurse, and Bruce attends college while harboring a secret passion for improv comedy. 

As cultures clash and long-buried family secrets come to light, the Sun family must unite to find out who’s trying to take them down — facing off against a giant, a herd of machete-wielding blow-up dinosaurs, and a prosecutor (Highdee Kuan) with ties to Charles’s past. 

Co-created by writers Brad Falchuk (Glee, American Horror Story) and Byron Wu, The Brothers Sun is an action-packed comedy with a heartfelt core. “I was reading about one of my favorite filmmakers, Juzo Itami,” says first-time creator Wu, referring to the director of Tampopo and The Funeral as his inspiration for the series. “He did a movie satirizing the Yakuza, and after it was released, he went back to his apartment and there were gangsters there waiting for him. They beat him up and warned him to never make a movie making fun of the Yakuza again. I couldn’t help but laugh. How could these tough gangsters be so insecure? That led to me thinking about Asian American masculine insecurity and my own experience and relationship with it. And the rest of the show grew from there.”

Falchuk recognized the brilliance of Wu’s initial script and fell in love with its cultural specificity and sense of adventure. “I was interested in the Asian American immigrant experience, the uniqueness of the family dynamics,” says the showrunner and co-creator. “I think everything I write has a pretty similar tone — a mix of comedy and drama. What excites me the most about the tone of The Brothers Sun, though, is how entertaining it is. It’s a fun, wild ride.”