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Kung Fu in the News and Media

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USA Today: 'CW's 'Kung Fu' debuts at crucial time for Asian American community' -- discusses a bit about those involved behind the scenes.




“Kung Fu” is the first hourlong American TV show with a female of Asian descent as the sole lead. Liang got misty-eyed talking about what her role means to her.

“I think any woman of color is placed into a box. She is defined, she doesn’t get to define herself,” she said. “And I think that was Nicky’s story for a very long time — just trying to be what everybody expected of her, what everyone projected onto her. … I think we as women and people of color can all relate to that.”

And, she added, she feels “empowered” by playing a character “who has found her voice. … It has empowered me to do the same in my own life and to encourage the men and women around me to do the same.”


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Interview with Liang at ET Online (plus a video):


"We are taking power over the narrative of how we're seen and it seems silly to think that a TV show can change minds, but really, entertainment shapes our worldview and shapes the narrative that we have of people," Liang says. "Asian Americans have and Asians in Hollywood have historically been othered, and I think our show is about to show everyone that we're not other."


This show is special in the sense that there aren't a lot of Asian-led shows on television. The significance of Kung Fu coming on at this time also feels massive. Can you speak to that a little bit in terms of just being the face and the leader of such a groundbreaking show?

I could feel a lot of pressure to be the "face of the first of its kind," but truly without this cast who was surrounding me and sharing that pressure with me, I wouldn't be able to handle it because it is so important and so poignant, especially in light of what's going on today. I'm so glad that I get to share this with my amazing cast because they really hold a lot of space for me and share this burden. I don't want to call it a burden -- share this pressure and this desire to make our community proud and to represent well. They share that with me so that I don't have to be the one to bear it. So it's not just me. It's all of us are who are really leading the charge.


At Time.com:


Part of Kung Fu’s authenticity is how the series centers a Chinese American family that just “exists,” as Liang puts it, and experiences the spectrum of human emotions. “They get to see us fight with our siblings, joke around with our siblings, be annoyed at our parents, want to figure out what we want to do with our life,” Liang says. “The story that we’re telling is so universal and it’s just being told from an Asian perspective.” And when cultural influences are incorporated into the show—for instance, members of the Shen family taking off their shoes before entering the home—there is no sense of obligation to explain Chinese customs and traditions. “We’re just existing, and bringing those nuances to the screen,” Liang says.


At Variety: '‘Kung Fu’ Showrunner Strives for ‘Three-Dimensional’ Portrait of Asian American Family '


“It was very important to me that whoever we cast was Asian and that this role encompassed not just her, but [also] her family to give a full cast of characters that were Asian American,” she says. “Also, I wanted to flip genders. I thought it was time to have a really strong female Asian lead — a role model.”


For Kim, who wants to use “Kung Fu” as an opportunity to show “all aspects of what it means to be Asian American,” creating a show that people can relate to is paramount. “It’s an incredible opportunity in terms of representation,” she says, “and it’s an incredibly important time for us right now.”

Although she points out that attacks on Asian Americans are not new, they are newly trending on social media and making more headlines. This makes some of the show feel more timely, she admits, because half-way through the season there is an episode that addresses such racism head-on.

Also teases some upcoming storylines.

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'Kung Fu': TV Review
6:45 AM PDT 4/7/2021 by Daniel Fienberg


So in Arrow-esque fashion, you have a prodigal child coming back to her hometown after an unaccounted-for period of training/absence; discovering that said hometown isn't as she left it; and sticking around to clean things up and repair relations with her family. That's almost the opposite of the migratory, injustice-of-the-week premise of the original Kung Fu. The original show's hook was based on Kwai Chang Caine's wandering exoticism and this Kung Fu is anchored in stay-at-home normalizing (Evan's character could almost be named Token White Guy).
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If a pilot is your opportunity to establish premise and put your best resources forward, Kung Fu is a mixed bag anyway. The action stuff is fine, a little on the deliberate-and-slow side, but boasting glimpses of Wuxia gravity-defying beauty. None of the pilot's fights are prolonged, yet they stand out as memorable because of how unrelentingly cheap and meekly shot the rest of the episode is. Every interior is over-lit and generically decorated, every conversation is blandly staged and the doubling of British Columbia for San Francisco is unconvincing. I don't know if Kung Fu had a lower-than-usual budget by CW standards, if COVID restrictions forced corner-cutting or if the action scenes were deceptively costly and they had to compensate. But this is way shoddier than a broadcast show in 2021 should look.

"Properly lighting non-action scenes" is a low bar, and one Kung Fu deserves to reach since it's generally so likable when it's nothing but the main characters interacting. Liang, Dang and Prasida have respectively solid presences and instantly appealing sibling chemistry in a show that has been written to given them layers of affection and history. Ma, a character actor who has dealt with more than his share of one-off heavily accented Asian bureaucrats and authorities, is always wonderful when he's given the opportunity to simply be light and caring. There are definitely characterizations that are trope-y here, with the difference being the variety of representations and the likelihood that, given more than an episode or two to play out, even the things that look like stock types in the pilot will evolve and add depth.

That's where Kung Fu has me interested, if not hooked. I would almost be more intrigued if the martial arts moved to the background and the show became more and more just an Asian-American family drama that the producers tricked The CW into making. I won't tell if you won't.

April 6, 2021 by Jerome Wetze


My first thought, even before I looked up the producers, which include Greg Berlanti, is that KUNG FU could easily be a spin-off of former CW series Arrow. Arrow had lots of Asian symbology to it, and of course so does KUNG FU. The formula is very similar, as well, with a hero estranged from her family for years, only to return and try to play savior in the place she grew up, as well as getting drawn into larger battles. The plot is divided between a superhero (which the protagonist definitely is) going through family and romance drama, and fights against those who would hurt people, often on a large scale.

This Arrow comparison isn’t a complaint; I liked that show quite a bit, and now that it has come to an end, there is definitely room for another show of its type on the network. KUNG FU also feels timely and important to have such an Asian-heavy cast and team in a show like this right now, especially given the racism and violence that has been exacerbated recently against Asian Americans. Familiarity breeds acceptance and diversity, so it’s vital to have representation. The fact that this is a good series relatable to anyone who grew up with or has a family may help it temper some resentments. But that aside, it’s just a good, entertaining series.


A to Z: 'Kung Fu' Cast Explains New TV Series From A to Z | Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly    Apr 7, 2021


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10 minutes ago, tv echo said:

So in Arrow-esque fashion, you have a prodigal child coming back to her hometown after an unaccounted-for period of training/absence; discovering that said hometown isn't as she left it; and sticking around to clean things up and repair relations with her family.

Hah! So true. I did watch the first season of Arrow, but had forgotten that was exactly the same plot.

12 minutes ago, tv echo said:

That's almost the opposite of the migratory, injustice-of-the-week premise of the original Kung Fu

Yeah. Too bad?

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‘Kung Fu’ Debuts Strong, Hits The CW’s Highest Wednesday Viewership In 7 Years
By Dino-Ray Ramos    April 8, 2021


The CW’s reboot of Kung Fu delivered a strong debut on April 7, scoring The CW’s highest total viewership number for a Wednesday debut in 7 years since The 100 debuted on March 19, 2014.

The reboot debuted to the tune of 1.4 million total viewers and a 0.2 in the 18-49 demographic.

In addition, Kung Fu delivered The CW’s largest audience in the time period in two and half years since Riverdale in October 2018 (0.1, 530,000).

This continues ratings traction for The CW as Kung Fu is the third best premiere of the season including returning series following the debuts of Walker and Superman & Lois. Following Kung Fu, Nancy Drew (0.1, 666,000) delivered its largest audience of the season and its best since December 11, 2019.

Last night was The CW’s best Wednesday night since April 22, 2020.

Ratings: Kung Fu Gives CW Slot a 2-1/2 Year Audience High, Nancy Drew Rises
By Matt Webb Mitovich / April 8 2021


In the latest TV show ratings, The CW’s Kung Fu debuted on Wednesday night to 1.4 million total viewers and a 0.2 demo rating — improving upon Riverdale‘s season averages to date (530K/0.14) and, in fact, giving the time slot its largest audience in two-and-a-half years. TVLine readers gave the premiere an average grade of “B”; read recap.

Leading out of the reboot, Nancy Drew (666K/0.1) rose to its largest audience in 16 months while (faint praise alert!) improving on last week’s 0.0 rating.


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Ratings: CW's Kung Fu Stays Strong in Week 2, ABC's Home Economics Slips
By Matt Webb Mitovich / April 15 2021,


In the latest TV show ratings, Kung Fu this Wednesday delivered 1.4 million total viewers and a 0.2 demo rating, matching its premiere numbers to mark the best Week 2 retention of any CW series debuts this season.


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Variety thinks a renewal is likely:


The CW


Looking Good: “Kung Fu”

“Kung Fu” debuted just a few weeks ago but all signs point to a renewal. The show has enjoyed strong ratings out of the gate, averaging over a million viewers an episode thus far. That plus its performance in adults 18-49 currently put it among the highest-rated shows on the CW.


Plus, CW's latest scheduling press release describes the show as a "hit". (But that could just be PR puffery.)

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Cast in a CW Spotlight video:


In honor of #AAPIHeritageMonth, the cast of #CWKungFu expresses their joy in portraying full, three-dimensional Asian characters that subvert stereotypes.



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'Kung Fu’s Showrunners on Crafting the Shared Tragedy of ‘Sanctuary’


This show doesn’t have the responsibility to tell stories outside the Asian community, but the fact that you are making such an ambitious attempt means that there is a certain responsibility to get it right. Did you get any input from Black writers or consultants when you were outlining the events of this episode?

Christina M. Kim: A.C. Allen, who wrote the episode, is Black, and certainly we wanted to get everyone’s perspective. Everyone has been, as Bob said, affected by what happened over the course of the summer — but not just that, just historically. People have dealt with racism in different ways. But certainly, for this episode, we wanted to get that perspective. A.C. did an amazing job. It’s a difficult subject matter, and it’s difficult to tell a story like this on a show called Kung Fu that you wouldn’t necessarily expect an episode to address the subject matter.


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The CW     May 10, 2021


Below, please find The CW’s complete calendar for its Summer 2021 schedule including new series and returning season premieres and key revised dates. All times ET/PT:
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8:00-9:00pm KUNG FU (Original Episode)
9:00-10:00pm IN THE DARK (Season Premiere)


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Shannon Dang
Recent projects:
Kung Fu (The CW), Kpop (forthcoming in 2021)
Dear Shannon,

It’s probably 8 p.m., you’re listening to your iPod Nano, lip-syncing to Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl," as you choreograph your cheer routine to teach at practice tomorrow. You’re rocking side bangs in your driver’s license photo, your concealer is a shade too light, and you’re wearing way too much bronzer. You fell asleep at the dining table last night finishing that chem homework you’ll never understand, you’re SAT-shaming yourself for an 1880, and you just got rejected from your top five colleges. You’re definitely freaking out, comparing yourself to others, and contemplating what your life would be like you had done things differently.
If I could lend my younger self some advice and comfort, I’d start by telling her to breathe. I’d tell her that she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be, and that she has the power to choose her own path in whatever she wants to do with her life. There's a few tips I’d love to give my younger self as she navigates through the world of growing up, adulthood, career, and life:

1. Welcome failure. Take risks and keep putting yourself out there, no matter how silly or far-fetched your goals and dreams might sound. You’ll be scared and often feel tempted to take the easier, less risky route. Separate yourself from that voice. Go for it, be wrong, fall on your face, and I guarantee you’ll learn from it. One day that resilience and decision to follow your heart will inspire others to do the same.

2. There’s no such thing as perfection. And if there was, it sounds really boring. Everyone is going through their own battles, so be kind to yourself. Embrace all of you and all of those “imperfections." Those quirks you might be insecure about are what make you special and unique.

3. Be a champion for others. Surround yourself with good people that you genuinely want to root for, support, and see succeed. You’ll be surprised how much of that love comes full circle and contributes to a more fulfilling life. Your milestones are a reflection of the people who have helped you along the way. Lean on each other. Take the time to thank them for being a part of your journey.

4. Most importantly, HAVE FUN. Don’t take yourself too seriously, life is way too short for that.

I would tell my younger self that she will hear a lot more no than yes. She will laugh, cry, fall in love, get her heart broken, and rise from the ashes. I would tell her the importance of being a good person, having a strong work ethic, and the power of a positive mindset. I’d make sure she knew she could do anything she sets her mind to.


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His character debuted during last night's episode (so no longer a spoiler)...

'Kung Fu': Here's Your First Look at Ludi Lin as a 'Dashing' Billionaire Heir (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng‍, May 26, 2021


Ludi Lin is coming.

The Mortal Kombat star makes his debut as billionaire heir Kerwin Tan on Wednesday's episode of The CW's Kung Fu, and only ET has the exclusive first look at his character in action.

Lin plays the heir to the Tan family fortune, who is dashing, handsome, physically fit and impossibly charismatic. Kerwin projects a very cool and collected face to the world, he is perceived by others as a louche playboy, who is frittering away his fortune on travel, luxury goods and adventure. Beneath his suave exterior, Kerwin is actually driven by a deep hurt and antipathy towards his father ... and his apparently reckless hedonism masks a keen intellect and a burning determination to prove his father wrong on the world stage. An erotically charged partnership with Zhilan will provide Kerwin with just the path to revenge (and vindication) he has been waiting for.  
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"I choose to give my life to projects like these because they tell the story of a truer and grander vision of humanity. One where women aren't seen as beautiful objects of desire, instead they're beautiful because they're seen as human beings in full strength and splendour [sic]. One where Asian people are recognized as an integral and inalienable part of the one and only race that truly exists, the human race," Lin wrote in March on Instagram with a Kung Fu beanie. 

"We've all been living in the same house for some time now but you've never entered fully into our side of the doorway. You imagine what the box we live in must look like and you take what you need through a narrow frame but if you want you can come inside and we can show you the many hallways and rooms we've built over centuries," he continued. "Come eat, let's have potlucks, let's do sleepovers and share bedtime stories. I know you haven't heard enough from us but soon you won't be able to get enough of us if you just listen. We have lots to tell. Let's grow from familiars to families. We don't have to fit into these dumb boxes but actually feel like we all belong here. Maybe then we won't see each other as 'others' and we can start to see this world together as one."


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You can watch video of yesterday's Vancouver Asian Film Festival's "Dialogue with the Cast of Kung Fu" panel at the following Facebook link - I thought it was interesting that the original pitch was for a show about an Asian-American family and that it was Warner Bros. who asked the producers to add the kung fu element:


VAFF Industry Insight Virtual Panels Series
Dialogue with the cast of Kung Fu
May 29, 2021 - Saturday 12:00 pm (PST) | 3:00 pm (EST)

We are thrilled to present our special guests in this panel: #OliviaLiang, #KhengHuaTan, #TziMa, #VanessaKai, #YvonneChapman 
Moderated by, Lynne Lee (MAMM Director). ....

-- Mod asked the panel to say "one thing they love about their character."
Olivia Liang said that Nicky is the "middle child of the Shen siblings" and that what she loves about Nicky is that she is "so brave and inspires me to be the same in my own life."
Kheng Hua Tan (Nicky's mom) said that what she loves about Mei-Li Shen is her "fierceness... She is unabashedly fierce about things... She goes for what she thinks is right."
Tzi Ma (Nicky's dad) said that what he loves about Jin Shen is  that he is "the perfect complement to his lo po [Chinese word referring to his wife?] ... We represent the yin and the yang of the family."
Vanessa Kai (Pei-Ling) said that her character is Nicky's "mentor... mother figure... guidance" and that what she loves about her character is that "she's a lot wiser than I am... She inspires me a great deal as well."
Yvonne Chapman (Zhilan) said that her character is the "villain... the big bad" and that what she loves about her character is that "she's just a ruthless badass... It's fun to play that."

-- Mod asked the panel how much they knew about the original Kung Fu and why they signed on for the new Kung Fu.
OL said that the original show was "before my time" so she didn't know much about it. She signed on because there are not a lot of Asian parts "out there" and then she really wanted to do the show once she found out about the story and people involved.
KHT remembered sitting in front of the TV with her family and watching the original Kung Fu while eating a meal (which was a "treat"), so she hopes families today will do the same thing, watching the new Kung Fu together. As for what drew her to the new Kung Fu, she said that "it was a beautiful audition script" and that the "energy" inside the audition room was "just amazing... and alive." 
TM said that what attracted him to the show was "the fact that Christina M. Kim was going to be the showrunner... the first Asian American showrunner... I don't care what she writes, I'm there." This was before the script was even written. He stressed that Kim's pitch to him wasn't about kung fu, it was about a family: "Kung fu was an afterthought, because the Asian-American family was her pitch. It wasn't about kung fu. It was about a family. ... Kung fu was the IP that came along with it. So it was Warner Bros. who suggested that, in this family show, we have an [unintelligible word] property that we want you to marry the two together. Can you do that? And I think that's what happened... Kung fu came as an afterthought... For me, kung fu didn't attract me. It's gung fu that attracted me, because it's about that family... It is about featuring an Asian-American family on primetime network. Never been done before. So I really wanted to make sure that [Kim] didn't forget about me once she told me about it. And she didn't, thank God." TM also said that he welcomed the "challenge" of "how do I want to present this character as Dad." He added that he and KHT did some work on the parents' back story. They wanted a couple who really represented "the San Francisco immigrant experience... Mei-Li is from the Mainland. Jin is from Hong Kong. So you have this two very dominant groups that's represented in San Francisco, which is very important to me, to have them represented. The fact that Jin comes from a place where, you know, he studies and got a degree [that], when he comes to America, is no longer recognized. It means nothing... So he has to find a way to make a living... And that happened to a lot of us." TM revealed that he has a brother who had a degree in architecture, but when he came to America, that degree was not recognized, so he ended up opening a family restaurant, "with all of us working in it." TM: "Jin's experience is very close to my brother's."  He added that his portrayal of Jin is a "tribute" to his brother and a "thank you" to him.
VK was familiar with the original Kung Fu and watched a few episodes. She didn't know about the reboot until the audition opportunity came up. She liked that the roles were "gender flipped" and that the Asian female characters were "fully fleshed out... and had agency." She added that both the Asian female characters and the Asian male characters, were fully developed. She wanted to be part of a show that she felt could have a "positive impact" on the world.
YC was not "super familiar" with the original show, but she understood the "spirit" of that show and how it would "translate" into the reboot - how someone uses their skills to help with their community. However, she thinks that the new show "stands on its own." When she read the pilot, she appreciated that "every single character on this show has so much depth. What a rare gift to be given, especially, you know, for Asian Americans." She concurred that there are not a lot of Asian-American roles out there. 

-- Mod asked the panel about their experience working with Christina Kim and noted that VAFF had had a showrunners panel last month that included Kim. The panelists responded with words of praise for Kim and related positive experiences working with her. TM said that he's worked on a lot of shows and that he never worked on one before that was so inclusive and open to everybody. He also said that it wasn't about perfection but getting the opportunity to test things. He said that the only color that Hollywood understands is "the color green" (making money) and that diversity is proven to make money.

-- Some talk about Crazy Rich Asians and the progress of Asian representation in Hollywood entertainment, which is still underrepresented. TM emphasized that one Asian character can't represent all Asian characters, but that there needs to be a "multitude of voices."

-- VK gave "shout-outs" to two other Asian (former) showrunners, Mindy Kaling and Nahnatchka Khan.

-- Some talk about anti-Asian hate nowadays and crimes being perpetrated against elderly Asians in particular.

-- Rapid-fire questions: who inspires them (answers included fellow cast mates, OL, and Christina Kim), what they learned about Vancouver (food, rain gear, Olympic Village), and their most memorable moments shooting Kung Fu (fighting during soaking rain and rolling in mud, giving a "scream of love" on the last day of shooting).

-- Mod confirmed with the panel that Kung Fu is renewed for a second season.

Video of this panel has not yet been posted on YouTube, but here's the link to VAFF's video channel:

ETA: Here's video of VAFF's Apr. 29th "Lunch & Learn with Life of Showrunners" panel that included Kung Fu showrunner Christina M. Kim (that was mentioned during the above cast panel):

-- Christina Kim said that she has a very diverse writers room (50% split male/female, and 50% of Asian descent, all different ethnicities) and that they have "lively" discussions. She said that being Asian-American means "straddling" two cultures at once "at all times."

-- In writing spec scripts, Kim advised aspiring writers to write about what you care about, and not about what you think will be marketable. Don't avoid writing spec scripts about ethnic stories if that's what you care about. 

-- Kim said that she did not think she would see a TV series with a largely Asian-American cast in her lifetime. In casting Kung Fu, she said that there was a large pool of talent to cast from. In casting the lead role of Nicky, she was asked if she would consider a half-Asian actor, and she said, "no, not for this role." She felt that Nicky should be played by a fully Asian actor. She said that there was a feeling among the actors waiting to audition for this show that, even if someone didn't get cast, they felt good that the role would go to another Asian actor.

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Video of the above-transcribed May 29th VAFF "Dialogue with the Cast of Kung Fu" panel has now been posted on YouTube...

VI² Dialogue with the cast of Kung Fu Final
vaffvancouver    May 30, 2021


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How different was experience on “Kung Fu,” in which Olivia Liang, who plays the lead, had no martial arts training before the show but whose character needed to look like an expert?

Even after 10 years, you won’t even really be really that good in a stylistic martial art, and this is specifically stylistic. I said, “They need a little bit of martial arts training, give me eight weeks to train them.” But they gave me this girl who had no martial arts training and five days to to train her. None of the leads had martial arts training. But when they showed up, all they did was train. Olivia said, “I don’t care, I want to train Saturdays, Sundays.” We trained four to six hours a day. She has a dance background so she did fantastic, and she’s just getting better and better.

How does the mysticism element of “Kung Fu” affect what you are creating?

The show was never meant to be “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” has its audience has its genre, and it’s fantastic, but Christina [M. Kim], the showrunner, basically said, “Let’s ground it.” So, it was about keeping the kung fu grounded into daily fighting, but keeping the flair of the styles. We pick her movements depends on the style. Tiger is a very aggressive style, while crane is not. So you see a lot of crane, but when she’s angry, you’ll see the tiger come out. And then we start blending the two together, which starts leveling off her emotional levels. We tried giving that purpose to everybody.

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In case you missed the notice, First Round voting for the 2021 Primetimer Awards opened on June 14 (and will end on June 18) - Kung Fu has nominees in the following categories...

Best Stunt

That Anticlimax Tho: Anticipated New Show That Failed Miserably

My New Happy Place: Favorite New Show Of The Season

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Ludi Lin interview: 'Ludi Lin on Shaking Things Up in 'Kung Fu' and Embracing Asian Excellence'


A couple months ago, you wrote an eloquent note on Instagram about why you're actively choosing to participate in shows like Kung Fu because of what they represent and sharing a larger vision of the Asian community that perhaps hasn't been delved so deeply before. How have you continued that march in your career?

There's two sides to it. One side is very personal and somewhat selfish is that I learn a lot from participating in these stories because I've forgotten a lot of knowledge I had when I was a kid. When I was a kid growing up in China, I was really into ancient history and the 5,000 years of mythology. After I moved away, I lost touch with that. Now I'm beginning to realize that for 5,000 years people weren't just doing nothing. They had worthwhile stories and stories can impact humanity in a lot of ways that has to do with the philosophy in Taoism. So that's one way I'm learning on my own. The second way is I want to share that with the world because I think a narrow-minded or one-world perspective is dangerous. To share and to talk and to listen and to learn, that's what I want to do. That's the game I could play on forever and I want to keep playing. And I want to tell that story.


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Ludi Lin interview at CBR:




Of all the cast, you get to really play off Yvonne Chapman as a scene partner, especially as Kerwin recounts his tragic past. How is it working with her?

Lin: Kerwin and Zhilan kind of get thrown together and get stuck like glue. They're pretty much inseparable from the moment they meet and their relationship develops really hard and fast. I was really very lucky to find someone like Yvonne to work with, she's great. We get along really well on and offset, in fact, we have an ongoing chess game right now that sometimes takes days to finish. It's really nice to find someone to be in these scenes with because they're tricky scenes and intimate and being able to openly talk about it and discuss what we're comfortable with and what the boundaries are and, especially, what we can bring to the screen and audience and serve the story in a way that's intense but still feels safe, I feel very fortunate.


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Interview with Jon Prasida at Nerds of Color; excerpt:


You’re Chinese Indonesian Aussie, born and raised in Sydney, and have done many roles that have you just being a regular dude who happens to be Asian. Since Kung Fu is focused on the Westernized Chinese/Asian, particularly American, experience, do you feel a bit closer to your heritage while working on the series?

That’s a very specific question. For some reason, I do. I’m now back home in Sydney for the time being and I’m spending a lot of time with Mum. I really cherish the time I spend with mum now because I’ve been living overseas. So I’ve asked her questions about heritage and what’s going on there. I found out the other day, but I’ve always known us to be Chinese Indonesian but like as far as we know, our ancestors are [Indochina]. So, being able to discover that, because of the show, and also being able to speak about our heritage with Olivia [Liang], Eddie [Liu], and Tony [Chung] and with Shannon [Dang] and everyone is a homely thing. It just feels right.


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Kung Fu showrunner Christina M. Kim will be part of the following virtual panel at Comic-Con@Home 2021, July 23-25, 2021...


Women Rocking Hollywood 2021: Supporting Female Filmmakers in a Post-Covid World

Now in our 6th year at the San Diego Comic-Con, the Women Rocking Hollywood panel continues to provide a platform for women navigating the challenges of working behind the camera in film and TV. The industry that has historically been out of balance and skewed toward what director Catherine Hardwicke calls “pale and male” is now grappling with how the major studios, independent productions, and streaming media will proceed in a post-pandemic world. How can we keep the momentum moving forward, and keep the importance of hiring and amplifying the work of more female filmmakers top of mind with gatekeepers that can help bring about parity? One way is to celebrate the work of women creating great content. Kate Herron (director: sex education, exec producer/director: Loki), Sian Heder (producer/writer/director: Orange is the New Black, writer/director: CODA), Christina M. Kim (exec producer/writer: Blindspot, exec producer/showrunner: Kung Fu), Shaz Bennett (writer/director: Alaska is a Drag, director: Queen Sugar), and Ebony Adams (manager of public programs: Women in Film: LA) discuss their current and upcoming projects, as well as the state of the industry. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (senior contributor: Alliance of Women Film Journalists, producer/creator: Women Rocking Hollywood).

Start time: Jul 24, 2021 11:00 am (GMT-07:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)


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Hmm - the showrunners teased enough that I will probably be watching Season 2. Also, I'm glad that Olivia Liang recognizes that Nicky needs to get a job...

‘Kung Fu’ Season Finale: Showrunners Reflect On Nicky Shen’s “Huge Transformation,” Tease Big Bad Of Season 2
By Alexandra Del Rosario    July 21, 2021


DEADLINE: What was the process of putting that jam-packed season one finale together and bringing it back to the monastery? 
I think, it’s interesting to go back and look at what we had planned for the finale. Ultimately, we ended up taking a different path to get to the place we wanted to get. The intention was always to have a jam-packed blast of a finale. It was always really important to us that we found a poignant way for Nicky to have to leave her family behind and return to where it all started. Once that was clear, it became almost a two hander with Zhilan and Nicky, like we really wanted to bring them head-to-head in a rich way that opened up of both of their characters and sent them to a new place.

CHRISTINA M. KIM: It felt right to have a full circle thing that Nicky would return to the monastery.  It was really fun to figure out how that would come about and how that would all culminate in the finale.

She’d obviously gone through a huge transformation. She’d found out a lot about herself and her family history, and she’s returning with her love interest. So, she’s going back as a different person.

DEADLINE: How will we continue to see bian ge affect Nicky and her legacy in the future, now that it has been returned to the Earth? 
The change we’re excited about, without giving too much away, is the myth is now relocating to San Francisco. Without getting into spoilers about what that will look like or what that means, it does set us up for a season where everyone is kind of in the mix of the mythology a little bit more than they were in the first season. It’s not just Nicky’s journey. Everyone’s kind of in the mix, and I think with the Tan family and opening up their story and those characters, including Mr. Tan, I think we have the opportunity to integrate the family story and the mythology moving forward, which I think we are all really excited about.

I think it’s going to be an exciting reboot with the same characters and the same concept. As for the mythology of the warriors and guardians, We are going to see that play out with the character of Nicky’s cousin who she didn’t know about – who we teased at the end of the finale. Her aunt’s daughter, as Mr. Tan said, is the progeny of a warrior and a guardian. What does that mean? That there is someone who has basically fused these two mystical bloodlines. So, I think we’re setting up a very interesting foil for Nicky in season two.
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DEADLINE: The finale sets up Russell Tan to be a much more ubiquitous villain for Season 2. How will the institutional control he seems to have over San Francisco play out in future episodes?
BERENS: It’s exciting to tell a story about Nicky against more of a family, especially one that is kind of a foil to our core family, our protagonist family. This is something that really sung to the writer’s room that we got all excited about at the end of last season. I think we touch on issues of like institutional power and wealth and corruption in season one in an episodic way. We started to build up San Francisco a little bit in season one, but we now have the chance to really dig into but our show’s version of San Francisco, and to dig into San Francisco’s history. I think having this antagonist who has roots in the city and is exercising power in an institutional way is exciting to us and opens up new kinds of stories.

DEADLINE:  Kung Fu has tackled a number of relevant social issues such as Anti-Asian hate, racism, police brutality and sexual harassment. How do you plan to carry over that social awareness to Season 2? 
I think the extent that social issues are baked into the world of the show, we will definitely be keeping that alive. It’s not the last you’ve seen of Althea’s story, and I think the more we dig into San Francisco as a character on the show in season two, I think we will be very much keeping those subjects and those real life issues alive.

KIM: All these stories kind of came out organically as we were breaking the season arc for the characters. We never set out to do a workplace assault story. It really was about Althea’s story, her arc,  and the writers opening up about different ideas and experiences from their work environments. We’re excited to get into the room and see what sort of bubbles up, and what’s on people’s minds, and perhaps, there’ll be more topical issues or not, but something tells me that there will be things like that that will come up.

'Kung Fu' Star Olivia Liang Talks Finale Cliffhanger and Teases Season 2 (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng‍   July 21, 2021


"She's been through a lot," Kung Fu star Olivia Liang told ET of Nicky's rocky journey so far. "I think it's going to be really gratifying. We'll see at the end of season 1 that we watched her step into this fate or this destiny throughout the season -- at first reluctantly, a bit hesitantly, and then now, really fully embracing what she's meant to do. By the end of the season, it's like, 'OK, what comes after that?' You'll see Nicky be okay with a little bit of the unknown."

"Throughout the season, we watched her be headstrong -- she's after this one thing and she can't stop until she gets there. It's going to be really nice at the start of season 2 that Nicky maybe doesn't have a plan," the actress noted. "She doesn't have any idea of where her life's going to go and she's accepted this destiny as part of who she is and is open to wherever that takes her."
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ET: In the finale, Nicky bests Zhilan and spares her. But Nicky's troubles are far from over and it seems there's an even bigger obstacle coming her way in season 2. What do you know?
Olivia Liang:
All we have to go off of is that finale episode. I know our writers' room is getting back together on Monday. I'm sure they all have things percolating in their minds of what they want to see happen, but nothing has been set in stone yet. It definitely seems like biange has followed her to San Francisco and because of that, the mythology and the magic has also entered into San Francisco where her family lives. I think that we can expect to see the Shens, being a part of this bloodline, become much more involved in what Nicky's doing -- even more so than they already were. Maybe Baba and Mama can get involved, [I'm] not really sure, but that's kind of what I hope would happen. This is just me putting it out there, but I would love for Nicky to meet even more guardians the way that she met Simon and she knows Pei-Ling. It'd be really cool to meet more guardians if they all assemble and they're like, "It's in San Francisco, we got to help." I'm literally speculating now. 

Russell Tan's warning at the end is worrisome when he says Zhilan was just a small part of his larger plan and that this is just beginning. That Nicky's cousin is coming.
Totally. With his final words in the finale and teasing that there's a family member of Nicky that is the key to everything, I think that Nicky's put a bit of a target on her back with everything that she did with Zhilan. And Russell seems far more insidious with all of his connections. It almost seems like he was orchestrating this the whole time. He had been watching Zhilan and all of that. Nicky's got a target on her, for sure, and it's going to get quite messy, seeing as perhaps, this cousin that he's been watching -- and I don't know if she's under his jurisdiction. I really don't know any of that yet -- but if her family would become enemies, that would be very hard for Nicky, because family is so important to her.

On a happier note, Nicky and Henry are making strides in their relationship. What do you see for them moving forward?
I would love to see them do regular couple stuff for a little bit, instead of just researching in the library. All of their dates have been about this purpose that Nicky has. I would like to see them go bowling or go for a run or something that's just more normal. I would love to see if Henry has a home, see Henry's apartment because [where does he sleep]?

When season 2 picks back up, there will be a lot of changes for the Shen family. Althea and Dennis are now married, Ryan's trying to pick up the pieces... Is there anything you're pitching the writers?
A couple of episodes ago, Ryan inspires Mom and Dad to go back to their roots and really celebrate Chinese cuisine. I would love to see what that looks like at Harmony Dumplings, hopefully see it booming with business. I still want to see more from Althea's storyline of how she deals with her boss and the aftermath of that. If he goes back to the workforce, I would love to see Ryan blossoming into even more of a young doctor professional and really helping the community. And I think Nicky needs a job. I don't know what she's doing for income!

Kung Fu's Olivia Liang Breaks Down That Finale Game Changer for Nicky, Shares 'Really Fun' Season 2 Hopes
By Keisha Hatchett / July 21 2021


“It really feels full-circle that this generational thing that has been pulling her family, Nicky can finally be the one to say, ‘No, we’re going to do something different with it,'” Olivia Liang, who plays Nicky, tells TVLine. “It doesn’t mean that it’s not there. It doesn’t mean that it’s not a part of us, but we don’t have to react to it, or succumb to it in the way that generations have before. That’s why she chooses to release it back into the earth. She doesn’t want to get rid of it. She doesn’t want to deny that it’s part of her, but she doesn’t want to let it control them.”

Releasing Biange is a game changer, which Nicky alluded to when she told her brother Ryan that she felt different. Whether she meant that physically (new powers???) or just emotionally remains to be seen — Kung Fu has already been renewed for Season 2 — but Liang has her own interpretation of what Nicky meant by that.

“After everything that we’ve seen her go through in Season 1, and how headstrong she’s been about finding Zhilan, finding the weapon, stopping Biange, it was really refreshing to see Nikki at the end be like, ‘I don’t know what’s next, but I know that I want to get boba with my boyfriend,'” Liang explains. “A huge weight has been lifted off her. As far as she’s concerned, things are going to go up from here, and the threat is not imminent. I think she just feels lighter.”
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“I know that Biange energy has definitely followed [Nicky] to San Francisco,” Liange teases. “Because she’s part of the bloodline of warriors, and the Shen siblings and Mama are also a part of this, I think they might get a little bit more involved with the magic and the mythology of it all.”

Liang doesn’t yet know what will happen in Season 2, but hopes the introduction of Nicky’s unknown cousin sets up a complicated family battle in which “someone who’s part of Nicky’s family now has to be her enemy.” As for other wishes for next season, she is also looking forward to exploring more of Nicky and Henry’s blossoming romance outside of the library.

“I don’t want to see them researching ancient weapons anymore,” she shares. “I want to see them go on a real date that involves an activity and some food and they talk about some of the stuff that Henry teases in Episode 4 about his family and background. I’m excited for them to have a normal relationship that doesn’t revolve around magic, weapons and murderers, and destiny.”

When it comes to Zhilan, who was arrested at the end of the hour, Liang hopes to revisit the murderous guardian with a new mission. “I think it would be so cool to see Nicky go up against this bad person, and the only person that can help is Zhilan,” Liang muses. “We visit her in her jail cell, and she’s still as fabulous as ever, and she probably has some of the wards under her spell. I think that would be really fun.”

Liang’s additional Season 2 hopes include seeing resolution for Althea after breaking her NDA, seeing what happens with Harmony Dumplings, exploring Ryan finding love or flourishing in his career, and seeing Nicky find a job and move out of her family home.


Edited by tv echo
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Watch injury turn into a surprise engagement for stunt doubles on set of Kung Fu
Rachel Yang   July 22, 2021


The stunt doubles for stars Olivia Liang and Eddie Liu got engaged on the set of the CW action drama while filming the season 1 finale.

Liang shared a video on Thursday of the epic moment, which happened after Ken Do (who does stunts for Liu's character Henry Yan) tripped and landed on the ground. Megan Hui, filming the scene as Liang's Nicky Shen, quickly approached him in concern.

After some excellent acting, Do pulled out the ring and popped the question, prompting oohs and ahhs from the cast and crew.

Hui's stunned reaction had Do double-checking: "Is that a yes?" It was of course a yes and the couple hugged and kissed, with Hui shedding some happy tears. The beautiful moment was capped off by cheers and claps from the Kung Fu team, many of whom helped make the surprise happen.
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Hui was a stunt double in the movie Snake Eyes, which stars Golding. Hui and Do have also done stunts together for films like Deadpool 2, Skyscraper, Wu Assassins, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow, and more. Hui has also appeared as the character Biyu in two episodes of Kung Fu. The series, a reboot of the 1970s show, got renewed for a second season in May, a month after it debuted.


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‘Big Brother’ Wins Wednesday Ratings, ‘The $100,000 Pyramid’ Takes Viewers; CW’s ‘Kung Fu’ Season Finale Falls From Debut
By Alexandra Del Rosario   July 22, 2021


Also in the same hour was the Kung Fu season one finale. The season ender, which saw a major showdown between Olivia Liang’s Nicky Shen and Yvonne Chapman’s Zhilan, aired to approximately 832,000 viewers and drew in a 0.1 rating. The finale fell from the series’ debut in April (0.2, 1.4M) by a tenth in ratings and about 40% viewers.


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Panel included Kung Fu showrunner Christina M. Kim...

Women Rocking Hollywood 2021: Supporting Female Filmmakers in Post-Covid World | Comic-Con@Home 2021
Comic-Con International   Jul 24, 2021


Now in our 6th year at the San Diego Comic-Con, the Women Rocking Hollywood panel continues to provide a platform for women navigating the challenges of working behind the camera in film and TV. The industry that has historically been out of balance and skewed toward what director Catherine Hardwicke calls “pale and male” is now grappling with how the major studios, independent productions, and streaming media will proceed in a post-pandemic world. How can we keep the momentum moving forward, and keep the importance of hiring and amplifying the work of more female filmmakers top of mind with gatekeepers that can help bring about parity? One way is to celebrate the work of women creating great content. Kate Herron (director: sex education, exec producer/director: Loki), Sian Heder (producer/writer/director: Orange is the New Black, writer/director: CODA), Christina M. Kim (exec producer/writer: Blindspot, exec producer/showrunner: Kung Fu), Shaz Bennett (writer/director: Alaska is a Drag, director: Queen Sugar), and Ebony Adams (manager of public programs: Women in Film: LA) discuss their current and upcoming projects, as well as the state of the industry. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (senior contributor: Alliance of Women Film Journalists, producer/creator: Women Rocking Hollywood).


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