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 Liang’s character Nicky Chen, 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).

“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.

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.”

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