While covering The CW’s Upfront 2022 Red Carpet, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kung Fu stars Olivia Liang (Nicky) and Shannon Dang (Althea). After being given an early renewal, it was announced that the show’s third season will be part of the 2022 Fall schedule on Wednesdays at 9 pm ET/PT.
We talked about the fan response to the series, dream storylines, favorite dynamics, the family aspect of Kung Fu, and more! Keep reading for everything they shared.
To start off, I asked about Kung Fu’s well-deserved success and the journey they’re on with the series. “It’s been surreal. I feel like we’re still like, ‘Look at us.’ Shan and I do this all the time, we’re like, ‘We’re blessed, look at us. We’re shooting a show! Can you believe we’re on a show,'” Olivia Liang started. “We’re on set, we’re walking through, they’re waiting for us, and we’re eating crafty like, ‘Oh shoot, we’re working right now. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this is real life.’ It’s every day,” Shannon Dang continued.
Liang expressed, “We’re very grateful. She always reminds me to be grateful. We’re still so surprised that people watch the show. We’re like, ‘five people watch the show and two of them are our moms,’ that’s how we feel. But it’s been great to be so well received and I’m glad that it’s resonating with people.” Dang added, “Especially, in the AAPI community.”
After Olivia stated that they’re “really glad to be one of the shows that represent our community,” Shannon Dang spoke about the feedback and the fact that viewers feel represented by their characters: “I think it’s an honor. It’s a privilege and I also love hearing when generations of families are watching it; people are watching it with their kids and their grandparents, and growing up, we didn’t have shows like ours to watch on television. So to know that we are bringing families together and they resonate with the Shen family, our cast, and they’re being seen, it’s really nice and rewarding. We’re very lucky to be able to be part of that.”
The actresses also shared what would be their dream storylines for Althea and Nicky. “Shannon wants to get in on the action, and she would be excellent at it,” Liang responded. “I would like to get in on the action, but also keep all the fabulous clothes. I don’t mind doing fighting in like Jimmy Choos, that’s totally fine,” Dang answered.
“I’m really hoping to explore more of Nicky’s darker side. She’s so good, maybe to a fault, which is why we saw some bad things go down a couple of weeks ago on the show. But I think it’s really interesting to explore the darker side of her and to see her kind of toe the line of good and bad, and just be more influenced by the harsh reality of the world instead of always being the hero. Maybe an anti-hero moment for Nicky,” Olivia Liang said.
The two immediately agreed that the Shen siblings were their favorite dynamic on the show. Dang said, “We love Shen sibling stuff. It’s fun because we act kind of like how our characters are on the show.” Liang continued to say, “Like Jon is such a little brother.”
Shannon Dang mentioned, “I feel like Olivia is also the center of both me and Jon because it’s like, I’m close to Liv and then Jon is close to Liv, and we’re close to each other, but Liv is like the center.” Liang joked, “I’m a middle child for real.”
“It really does feel like that so it’s really fun to see and it’s always a blast,” Dang commented. “We always just have fun on set together and we play off each other really well. It’s always good,” Liang told me.
Expanding on the sibling relationship, we also discussed how the show doesn’t hesitate to highlight and focus on the family relationships. “I think that’s what makes us different, that’s what made people fall in love with the show. If it was just Nicky going around like kicking people’s butts, I don’t think that’s as interesting, but to know that she has the Shens, and she has Althea, Ryan, Mama, Papa, it makes whatever she does carry so much more weight. It makes us care about them more, so I think that makes the show more lovable,” Olivia Liang explained.
Dang concluded, “I think a lot of people can resonate with the Shen family and fall in love with them, and it’s really nice.”