‘Suicide Squad’ Star Mayling Ng Making A Name For Herself As An On-Screen Warrior Woman

Mayling Ng | Image by Dylan Perlot

Our summer just kicked into high gear with the release of James Gunn’s ‘The Suicide Squad’, which premiered August 6 in theaters and on HBO Max. Starring your fave line-up of anti-hero delinquents, this film is sure to put you in a kickass mood, and forget about the seemingly endless stream of negative news IRL.

We’re all about badass, warrior women on screen and off, and we were lucky enough to have a chat with ‘The Suicide Squad’s’ Mayling Ng, who is best known for playing a badass on screen in numerous blockbuster films.

Mayling plays ‘Mongal,’ the daughter of the Ruler of Warworld ‘Mongul the Elder’. Mongal is a malevolent, muscular alien with orange skin who doesn’t play well with others — Harley Quinn and Javelin in particular. She stars alongside the A-list cast of Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Taika Waitti, Pete Davidson, Flula Borg, Nathan Fillion, Storm Reid, and many more!

Mayling will additionally be joining the Power Rangers realm, appearing in the film “Legend of the White Dragon” which is currently in production. She is set to play police offer ‘Lieutenany Tek Boh,’ starring alongside Jason David Frank, Jason Faunt, Ciara Hanna, Yoshi Sudarso, and more. Mayling will also appear in “The Journeyman” which is currently in pre-production. The action-packed film follows a journeyman boxer’s tumultuous career as he attempts to make a grand comeback.

Born in the UK (of Chinese-Singaporean-European descent), Mayling spent her early years in the Canary Islands Tenerife before moving to Singapore and eventually Los Angeles. With her unique global perspective, Mayling quickly gained attention playing strong warrior characters and doing her own action scenes. Her stunt and acting work has appeared in “Wonder Woman” (Orana’s stunts), “Lady Bloodfight,” “The Scorpion King: Book of Souls,” and “Mister John.”

Mayling doesn’t just play badass women on screen, she literally is one in real life! She has a black belt in Martial Arts, and has competed in fitness championships representing Singapore. Mayling is additionally on a pursuit to master the virtuosity of Shaolin Kung Fu 9 Weapons. Read on below to see what she had to say about doing her own stunts, the impact of martial arts on her acting career, and how the film industry is starting to see more badass female superheroes front and center:

Mayling Ng as Mongal in DC’s ‘The Suicide Squad’.

How are you feeling in the lead up to the release of ‘The Suicide Squad’?

Super excited as I can’t wait for audiences to see James Gunn’s genius masterpiece of Mayhem. It’s also been really nice to reconnect with the rest of the cast during the press tour.

Tell us about your role Mongal and what we can expect to see on screen?

Mongal is an alien warrior whose powers include super speed, strength, and durability.  She has a deep need to prove herself and a long history of clashing with her father and brother. ‘The Suicide Squad’ marks the first time that the Mongal character has ever been featured on the big screen as this is the first live adaption of her.

What first drew you to martial arts, and how have you been able to incorporate this expertise into your film career?

I can trace my enduring passion for martial arts back to my early childhood. I grew up surrounded by five brothers. We would watch Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies, practice Kung Fu, and train with weapons. I liked being strong and fit and this gave me confidence. Eventually, my brothers moved onto other interests, but I stayed the course.  The impact of martial arts on my film career can’t be underestimated.

Mayling Ng | Image by Dylan Perlot

You have gained quite the reputation for playing strong warrior roles and doing stunts in films such as “Wonder Woman”, “Lady Bloodfight,” “The Scorpion King: Book of Souls”. Can you tell us about doing your own stunts and taking on such badass roles?

When I was first came onboard ‘Wonder Woman’ it was as a member of the stunt team and fate would have it that Patty Jenkins liked my look for Orana, the Amazon who charges off the cliff. I am not trained as a professional stunt person, as I’m just an actor that can do my own fight scenes. As a black belt in Shaolin, I’m certified in 9 kung fu weapons, which is only 1/2 of the curriculum! Wirework and fights are the fun stuff but falls, fire and water work? I’m so not qualified to do those stunts and I usually call my stunt double Courtney Chen to save me. I love to give credit where credit is due.  

As we are seeing more and more blockbuster action films centered around female characters (Black Widow, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel) do you foresee more change in Hollywood in regard to heroic women on screen? Will we see more women of color taking these lead roles in the future?

I think the changes are already happening and that’s a very good thing. There’s a long way to go, but I can see it has changed a lot just in my breakdowns where everything is more open, whereas before it wasn’t. I’m getting so many different calls now. Obviously, many still for badass roles, but there’s no specific character description race in that way anymore. Most of my auditions are open ethnicity, mixed and I have even been called in for roles written for men. The “Scorpion King” role was a man’s role before the director spotted me in another movie, then called me in and rewrote the role. I’ve waited half my life to truly find my space, and I’m hoping the youth of today don’t need to go through that.

How has your international upbringing shaped your perspective about the world, culture, and gender roles?

As a child in the UK the ideal woman was the classic barbie tall, slim blonde. In my teens after moving to Tenerife – Canary Islands, I saw the girls with the most curves get the most attention. In Asia it was the opposite as the small thin females had men swooning while I felt like a rhino. Guys even called me gladiator and Amazonian, and that dented my confidence as I was such a different person, but now I know I should have taken it as a compliment. Who knew I would make a career out of being an Amazon!

Mayling Ng | Image by Dylan Perlot

You have two more huge films in the pipeline. What can you tell us about your upcoming work on the film “Legend of the White Dragon” and “The Journeyman”?

In LOTWD, I go against green Power Ranger Jason David Frank in this Bat In The Sun production. When they made the offer, I didn’t realize the fan and cult following they both have and soon enough I became ecstatic to be embraced by their production family, as it’s been such a creative pleasure and felt amazing to be back on a set since Covid started. Later this year, I’ll be filming ‘The Journeyman’ in England. It’s a boxing movie, in which I’ll be starring alongside retired UFC champion Michael Bisping. I’m looking forward to it because I’ll be playing a totally different kind of character than I’m used to – a woman who’s trying to move on with her life after escaping an abusive relationship. It will be directed by Dax Phelan who’s been a great friend and believed in me ever since I moved to LA. He and co-writer, Mark Turley, wrote the role specifically for me.  

If you could possess one superpower in real life, what would it be, and why?

Mongal’s durability is pretty bad ass, as nothing could take me down and with her strength, I’d crush them for trying. 

Finally, something we like to ask all interviewees: What makes you a powerful woman?

I am very independent and don’t need other people to make me happy.  I work very hard in my career and don’t need other people to take care of me.  I’m driven and don’t wait around for opportunities; I create them whenever and wherever possible.  I keep myself in good physical shape, so that I’m ready for a role at a moment’s notice.  I learn from my mistakes and turn negatives into positives.  And I do all of this every…single…day.  I don’t know if that makes me powerful, per se, but it does give me more control over my fate than I’d have otherwise – and that’s very important to me.

Be sure to catch Mayling in action as Mongal in ‘The Suicide Squad’ on HBO Max and select theaters.

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