Vanessa Kai (New Amsterdam, Orange is the New Black) has been added as a series regular on The CW’s reboot of Kung Fu, via Deadline. The reimagining of the 1970s series, created by Ed Spielman (Gordon’s War, Cool Red), will bow with a female lead in Olivia Liang (Legacies). Kai joins a cast that already boasts Tzi Ma (The Farewell, Rush Hour), Kheng Hua Tan (Crazy Rich Asians, The Blue Mansion), Jon Prasida (Emo the Musical), Shannon Dang (Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison), and Eddie Liu (Never Have I Ever, Broad City).
According to Deadline, this adaptation sees Liang assume the role originated by David Carradine (Kill Bill, Vol. 2, Bound for Glory). Facing a life crisis, Liang’s Nicky Chen abruptly drops out of college, retreating to a monastery hidden in the rural mountains of China. Here she is mentored, learning various martial arts and skills from a wise Shaolin monk.
Kai will play the role of Nicky’s trusted monk mentor Pei-Liang Zhang, according to Deadline. The leader of the all-female temple serves as a spiritual guide for Liang, endowing her with wisdom and life lessons. Unfortunately, Zhang is tragically murdered, leaving Nicky only memories to guide her.
Nicky will need these lessons upon her return to the States when she finds her hometown riddled with corruption and crime, Deadline reports. Not only will Nicky have to fight for justice in her community, but she will be forced to evade the same assassin that silenced her mentor. And the closer she draws nearer to the killer, the more secrets are revealed about mentor Zhang’s past.
The series will be executive produced by Christina M. Kim (Lost, Blindspot) and Martin Gero (LA Complex, Bored to Death) through Gero’s Quinn’s House Production Company, via Deadline. Kim will also write the series. Additional producers include Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash) and Sarah Schecter (All American) via Berlanti Productions, and Warner Bros. Television.