‘Kung Fu’ Star Olivia Liang is Fighting on Her Own Terms

When Olivia Liang first hears what outlet I’m from, she tells me that she just got off a panel for Kung Fu moderated by my editor-in-chief, Keith Chow. I asked her how it went and she said it was ‘really good.’ Knowing she’s been doing interviews and panels all day, I told her I’d be quick with my questions. Liang has been doing press non-stop for the past two weeks and doesn’t look to be slowing down as the series is set to premiere on The CW. Fortunately, Liang knows it comes with the territory when you’re starring in a network television series, especially one that is breaking barriers as the first predominantly Asian cast centering around an Asian heroine and her family. 

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Action-Filled ‘Kung Fu’ Reboot is Relatable for Asian Americans

It has been almost 50 years since the premiere of 1972’s western martial arts series Kung Fu, which starred white actor David Carradine yellowfacing as a mixed Asian Shaolin monk. Back then, that was the norm for Asian character roles. But now, Kung Fu is getting a complete reboot/retelling of the story and righting the wrongs that were made from the original. Developed by Greg Berlanti and Wendy Mericle, the new series centers around a Chinese American woman, Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang), who returns home to San Francisco, after spending three years at a Shaolin Monastery in China to escape the familial pressure to be successful and marry into a nice Chinese family. Her time at the Monastery is cut short when her mentor/teacher, Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai)  is murdered by a mysterious assassin. With nowhere else to turn to, Nicky returns home to face the family she abandoned and somehow find Pei-Ling’s killer. 

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Thoughts on Remaking Jet Li’s Shaolin Temple in 3D

Over the weekend, Deadline reported that Justin Lin, the director single-handedly responsible for sending the Fast & the Furious franchise into the stratosphere (and who also helmed the indie movie that launched the careers of a thousand Asian Americans over a decade ago) has been tapped to do a 3D remake of the film that similarly launched Jet Li’s career, The Shaolin Temple.

According to Deadline, the plan is to bring in an “A-list Hollywood” writer for the script and work with a budget over $100 million. Pretty ambitious for a Mandarin-language kung fu flick, but it seems the target audience is in Mainland China as much as it is the rest of the world.

“The aim is to make an unprecedented Chinese-based tentpole with story, style and scope that will resonate with global audiences as well,” [Perfect Storm Entertainment CEO Troy Craig] Poon says.

It’s no secret that we love martial arts films here at The Nerds of Color. But I couldn’t think of two Nerds who love the genre more than Raymond and Shawn S. So I asked them what they thought of Justin Lin bringing his talents to The Shaolin Temple.

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