Olivia Liang feels "empowered" by new TV series Kung Fu

Amy West
·3-min read
Photo credit: The CW
Photo credit: The CW

From Digital Spy

Legacies star Olivia Liang says she felt "empowered" playing a student-turned-warrior in the upcoming martial arts-based series Kung Fu.

The show is based on the 1970s outing of the same name and is set to premiere on The CW tonight (Wednesday, April 7). It centres on Nicky Chen (Liang), an accomplished college-goer who drops out and sets off travelling in the midst of a quarter-life crisis.

Following a cathartic stay at a secluded monastery in China, Nicky returns home to San Francisco and is shocked by its high levels of crime and corruption.

Vowing to bring peace back to the city, she uses her newfound combat skills to take on the local triad – all the while connecting with her family and attempting to track down the assassin that murdered her Shaolin mentor Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai).

Photo credit: The CW
Photo credit: The CW

Related: Legacies star Olivia Liang's Kung Fu reboot will be different, says Tzi Ma

"I feel like a badass," Liang told TVLine ahead of the first episode. "This show is my first real experience with martial arts, and I feel so privileged that I get to learn it for my job.

"Doing these beautifully choreographed fight sequences, it just really makes me feel strong, and it's really translating into my personal life of just feeling a lot more powerful and a lot taller and stronger and bigger and just ready to take on the world."

While its predecessor, which starred David Carradine, followed a white man, this new reboot celebrates Asian culture with its predominantly Asian and Asian-American cast – something that Liang says she loves but also finds "jarring" given what is happening in the world right now when it comes to anti-Asian hate crimes.

Photo credit: Kailey Schwerman/2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Photo credit: Kailey Schwerman/2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Related: Killing Eve's Sandra Oh gives passionate speech at Stop Asian Hate protest

UK police data has confirmed there has been a 300% increase in hate crimes against East and Southeast Asians in the UK.

"I want to see more of [what Kung Fu presents]. I don't want to just see the pain that we're going through, although is important to shed light on it," Liang explained.

"I also want to see us going through joy, falling in love, experiencing good things in life, and our show is going to bring some of that to the screen."

Kung Fu will premiere on Wednesday, April 7 on The CW in the US.

Readers can donate to besea.n (Britain's East and Southeast Asian Network), UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up to Racism, and End the Virus of Racism, which is committed to addressing racism against East and Southeast Asians.

Readers in the US can donate to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, AAPI Women Lead, and Stop AAPI Hate.

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