Kung Fu: CW Series Casts Vanessa Kai (New Amsterdam) as Series Regular

Christina M. Kim and Martin Gero's (Blindspot) Kung Fu is welcoming Vanessa Kai (New Amsterdam) to The CW series, set for a series regular role opposite Olivia Liang, (Legacies) in the reimagining of the '70s cult television actioner. Kai and Liang join Jon Prasida (Hiding), Shannon Dang (The L Word), Eddie Liu (Silicon Valley), Tzi Ma (The Man In the High Castle), Kheng Hua Tan (Crazy Rich Asians), Gavin Stenhouse (Black Mirror), and Gwendoline Yeo (American Crime). Kim is writing the script for this new take on the '70s David Carradine-starrer, stemming from Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, and Warner Bros. TV. (Deadline Hollywood first reported exclusively)

Kai's Pei-Ling Zhang is a skilled fighter, spiritual guide, and mentor to Nicky Shen (Liang)- one of dozens of monks that lived and trained in an all-female Shaolin temple buried deep in the mountains of Yuanyang province. After her tragic death at the hands of a mysterious assassin, Pei-Ling lives on in Nicky's memory, evoking the lessons and skills her mentor taught her at the monastery. But as Nicky hunts down Pei-Ling's murderer, she will discover her beloved Sifu had her own dark secrets… and will learn that Pei-Ling's past might hold the key to Nicky's future.

Kung Fu -- Image Number: KF_1080x1350.jpg -- Pictured: Olivia Liang as Nicky -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Kung Fu — Image Number: KF_1080x1350.jpg — Pictured: Olivia Liang as Nicky — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

A quarter-life crisis causes a young Chinese-American woman, Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang), to drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to San Francisco, she finds her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption and her own parents (Tzi Ma and Kheng Hua Tan) are at the mercy of a powerful Triad. Nicky will rely on her tech-savvy sister (Shannon Dang), pre-med brother (Jon Prasida), Assistant District Attorney and ex-boyfriend (Gavin Stenhouse), and new love interest (Eddie Liu) as well as her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice … all while searching for the ruthless assassin (Gwendoline Yeo) who killed her Shaolin mentor and is now targeting her.

Prasida's Ryan Chen is a quick-witted medical student who has to deal with the sudden return of his estranged older sister, Nicky. Dang's Althea Chen is Nicky's larger-than-life older sister who's newly engaged and on her way to planning her dream Chinese wedding. Liu's Henry Chu is a martial arts instructor and Chinese art history buff who has instant chemistry with Nicky. Ma and Kheng play Nicky's parents: father, Jin Chen, and mother Mei-Li — a husband-and-wife restaurateur whose secrets threaten to destroy their lives just as they deal with the return of their estranged daughter.

Stenhouse will play Evan Hartley, a highly successful Assistant District Attorney who still has a soft spot for his first love, Nicky, when she returns home. Yeo will portray Zhilan, a cryptic woman with deep criminal ties and a mysterious connection to the Shaolin monastery where Nicky trained in Kung Fu. Her quest for power led her to murder Nicky's mentor, proving that she will be a determined and dangerous foe.

Kim and Gero are set to executive produce via Quinn's House Production Company, which produces in association with Berlanti Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. Berlanti and Schechter executive produce for Berlanti Prods. Hanelle Culpepper (Star Trek: Picard, Mayans MC) is set to direct and co-executive produce the pilot.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

twitter   instagram   envelope