“SWAT” fans couldn’t imagine the hit CBS show without the iconic Victor Tan, played to perfection by star David Lim.
But Lim himself never even thought he’d be in the show. Back in 2017, before the Season 1 premiere, Lim talked to Tell-Tale TV about his audition process and how he eventually got the role of Victor Tan.
“I was in New York at the time, and I had just finished filming with ‘Quantico,’ and I got an appointment to come in and read for SWAT. I actually read for two different roles when I started the audition process,” Lim told the outlet.
After coming back to his home in L.A., Lim eventually met up with executive producers Justin Lin, Shawn Ryan, and Aaron Thomas for a callback. But based on the characters he read for, Lim was convinced he wouldn’t get the role on “SWAT.”
“This was now, I believe my third audition. At the time I was reading for a role whose description said he was in his late 40s. So I knew that I wasn’t the best match for the part, but I wanted to go in and give a good audition,” Lim said.
Not long afterward, Lim got the bad news from his manager.
“I remember, an hour after the callback, my manager calls me up and says ‘Hey! It’s not going to happen on SWAT.’ And of course, I was bummed,” Lim explained. “I loved the script, and I really wanted to be part of the project, but at the same time, I totally understood. I wasn’t really a good fit for that part I was reading for.”
Back in 2017, Lim was far from a man in his late 40s. But the “SWAT” producers ended up surprising Lim with an offer he couldn’t resist.
How the ‘SWAT’ Producers Made a Role Specifically for David Lim
In his 2017 interview with Tell-Tale TV, “SWAT” star David Lim explained how he still managed to get a role on the show. Even after three auditions for characters he knew he didn’t quite capture.
“So I had moved on, and I was off auditioning for some other projects,” Lim said. “About a week later I got a call from my agent, saying that SWAT had cast me in the part of Victor Tan, and they offered me a role!”
Lim quickly realized that he’d never seen Victor Tan on the script. But the good news just kept rolling in.
“I was like, ‘Wait, a second! Victor Tan? That wasn’t in the pilot! There was no character description for this guy!’” Lim said. “What had happened is, they actually created this role for me, and so I was obviously over the moon. And that’s how it happened. A week later I’m doing tactical training, and a few days after that I’m on set filming the pilot with Justin Lin.”