The classic martial arts action drama Kung Fu, which helped create a generation of enthusiasts in the 1970s, is being revived with female leads by US network The CW.
Deadline reports that Vanessa Kai (New Amsterdam, The Blacklist, Orange is the New Black, pictured) will play the crucial role of Pei-Ling Zhang, a spiritual guide and martial arts master to Nicky Shen, played by Olivia Liang, a disillusioned US college dropout who decides to head back to China in search of some inspiration in her life.
What she encounters instead inspires her to become a warrior.
The original TV series starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a half-Chinese, half-caucasian Shaolin master who travelled through the American West in search of his long-lost half-brother. The series ran for 63 episodes from 1972-75 and as well as inspiring a boom in martial arts its dialogue, often borrowed from the Tao Te Ching, became a a very quotable and much-imitated cultural phenomenon.
A sample quote, from Master Kan: “Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious and cannot be replaced.”
Legendary martial arts figure Bruce Lee argued that he created the concept for the show, a claim that production company Warner Bros denied.
The reboot of Kung Fu will take place in mainland China, as Nicky discovers that her beloved master Pei-Ling has been murdered, but will live on in her memory, guiding her as she fights to protect a community ravaged by corruption and overrun with criminality.
As Nicky hunts down Pei-Ling’s murderer, she discovers that her teacher had her own dark secrets and that her mentor’s past may hold the key to her own future.
The Kung Fu reboot is being produced by Warner Bros TV and written by Christina M Kim, who has penned episodes of Lost, Hawaii 5-0 and NCIS: Los Angeles.
It’s not yet clear when Kung Fu is scheduled and which channel will air it in the UK.
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