Sixteen-year-old Peyton Elizabeth Lee (Andi Mack, Shameless) has been announced as the titular character in the upcoming Disney Plus series Doogie Kameāloha M.D., as reported by Deadline. As the title suggests, the show is a Hawaii-set reboot of the medical dramedy Doogie Howser M.D.
Lee shared the good news on her Instagram, where she received congratulatory messages from several of her former co-stars, including Lauren Tom (Futurama), who played Lee’s grandmother on Andi Mack, and Skylar Astin (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist), who recently shared scenes with the teen starlet in the Disney Plus original fantasy film Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.
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Doogie Kameāloha M.D. showrunner Kourtney Kang (How I Met Your Mother) allegedly drew from the details of her own background in re-envisioning the eponymous medical prodigy: “Like the central character, Kang is biracial and grew up in Hawaii,” via The Hollywood Reporter. The explicit biracial nature of Lee’s character represents quite the change from her last lead television role for the Disney corporation. According to NBC News, Andi Mack‘s titular character was not conceived as biracial before Lee, a Chinese-American actress, read for the part. Lee’s knockout audition reportedly inspired the show’s producers to call in other Asian-American performers such as Tom and Lilan Bowden (Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss) to play Andi’s family members, NBC News reports. Lee’s real-life father Andrew Tinpo Lee (Roman J. Israel, Esq.) actually makes a cameo as a mailman in an episode from the show’s third season.
Shortly after Lee was confirmed as the lead in Doogie Kameāloha M.D., Kathleen Rose Perkins (I Am Not Okay With This) joined the cast as Dr. Clara Hannon, the mother and immediate supervisor of Lee’s character, as reported by Deadline. Changing the titular character’s parent in the medical profession from their father to their mother is another notable departure from the original show’s scenario.
Perkins previously played early-morning news anchor Mey-Mey on ABC’s Asian-American family sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, where Kang was a writer. Aside from her part on Doogie Kameāloha M.D., Perkins will have a recurring role on the Disney Plus sports dramedy Big Shot, Deadline reports. No news has been made publicly available regarding who has been cast as the father of the Kameāloha family.