'Kung Fu' Cast Hopes CW Reboot Is 'Part of the Solution' in Fighting Anti-Asian Racism

Tzi Ma, Olivia Liang and more react to Tuesday night's tragedy in Atlanta.

The cast of The CW's Kung Fu reboot gathered together Wednesday morning on the Vancouver set for a virtual press day. But what took place in Atlanta the night before, where six women of Asian descent were killed, weighed heavily on their minds.

"What happened last night with eight people killed breaks my heart," legendary actor Tzi Ma told reporters Wednesday when asked about Tuesday night's tragedy. "I'm not quite sure what the short-term fix is and I know we are the long-term solution. To do our show, to show the world who we are. And hopefully those messages will come out loud and clear about inclusion, about representation. These are part of our long-term goals. Short-term solutions, I don't have any. We aim to knock it out of the park, man, because it's important to all of us that this happens."

"That's my thought of it. It pains me. Every day it happens, every day it's something. And we did everything we can," Ma continued. "At first there was no coverage and then there's coverage. Everybody talked about it. Everyone I know and everyone I don't know talked about -- from the president on down to the House of Representatives and it still goes on every day. So I have no answer for that. Hopefully our long-term solution will make a difference."

Kung Fu star Olivia Liang spoke about the timing of the Asian-led drama's upcoming premiere in the context of an increase in anti-Asian violence.

"The timing of our show is really impeccable," she acknowledged. "So much about representation and inclusion is not so much that we as Asians need to see ourselves represented on the screens, but we need to be invited into people's homes who don't see us in their everyday life. Just to humanize us, normalize seeing us, remind them that we are people just like they are and we have a place in this world. And hopefully having our show in their homes will expand their worldview for them."

Added co-star Kheng Hua Tan: "At its core, Kung Fu is all about social justice. And episode after episode, you see every single character trying to rise above their inhibitions or fears to do what is right. And you see characters of all ages and all walks of life trying to work together to do what is best for the community to help. It doesn't come easy. I think the characters go through many challenges in order to find what it is that works as a group. I'm hoping that audiences that actually see characters like the ones that are represented in Kung Fu overcoming challenges will find inspiration to maybe adopt that for themselves in their real lives."

A modern-day reimagining of the 1970s series and starring a predominantly Asian cast, Kung Fu follows a young Chinese American woman, Nicky Shen (Liang), who drops out of college and goes on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to San Francisco three years later, she finds her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption and her own parents, Jin (Ma) and Mei-Li (Tan), are at the mercy of the powerful Triad.

In order to go up against the powerful crime syndicate, Nicky will rely on her tech-savvy sister, Althea (Shannon Dang), and Althea’s fiancé, Dennis (Tony Chung), pre-med brother, Ryan (Jon Prasida), Assistant District Attorney and ex-boyfriend, Evan (Gavin Stenhouse), and new love interest Henry (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 assassin, Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman), who killed her Shaolin mentor, Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai), and is now targeting her.

"Our show is not the solution but I hope we are part of the solution," creator/co-showrunner Christina M. Kim said. "And having a show like ours on the air makes us part of the narrative and as Olivia said, brings us into the homes of so many people. And brings about cultural awareness and acceptance. I hope that we are a part of the solution."

Kung Fu premieres Wednesday, April 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. 

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