Olivia Liang Cast As Lead In CW’s Female-Led ‘Kung Fu’ Remake Pilot
The CW has found it’s leading lady for their ‘Kung Fu’ pilot, as it raids the ‘Legacies’ cupboard and picks Olivia Liang to take on the main role.
From the people behind ‘Blindspot’, the series follows Nicky Chen (Liang), a young Chinese-American woman who drops out of college and goes on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. When she returns to find her hometown overrun with crime and corruption, she uses her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice, along with searching for the assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor and is now targeting her.
Liang is probably best known at this point for playing Alyssa Chang in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ spin-off series ‘Legacies’ (which for some inexplicable reason, still doesn’t have a UK broadcaster.) She has also popped up in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, Hulu series ‘Into the Dark’, and the mini-series ‘Dating After College’.
Liang joins the previously announced cast which includes Tzi Ma (‘Wu Assassins’, ‘Silicon Valley’) and Kheng Hua Tan (‘Marco Polo’, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’), who play her parents, Jin Chen and Mei-Li, a pair of restaurateurs whose secrets threaten to destroy their lives just as they deal with the return of their estranged daughter. Jon Prasida (‘Hiding’, ‘Warriors’) plays younger brother Ryan, a quick-witted medical student who has to deal with the sudden return of his estranged sister, alongside Shannon Dang (‘The Romanoffs’, ‘The L Word: Generation Q’) as Althea, Nicky’s larger-than-life older sister who’s newly engaged and on her way to planning her dream Chinese wedding. Eddie Liu (‘Silicon Valley’, ‘The Waiting Room’) plays Henry Chu, a martial arts instructor and Chinese art history buff who has instant chemistry with Nicky.
The series is based on the original ‘Kung Fu’ series which ran from 1972 to 1975 and starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin monk who treks around 1880s old west America in search of his half-brother, armed only with his skill in martial arts and Taoist wisdom. The new iteration is written by Christina M. Kim, who was writer/exec producer on ‘Blindspot’. She will also EP the potential series alongside ‘Blindspot’ creator Martin Gero, with ‘Arrowverse’s Greg Berlanti & Sarah Schechter from Berlanti Productions. This is the second time Berlanti Productions has tried a female-led remake of the show, with the previous version landing at Fox, but failing to make it to the pilot stage, so this iteration is already fairing better.
‘Kung Fu’ is currently only a pilot, but we’ll let you know should it go to series.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.