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Thread: Kung Fu TV show CW REMAKE

  1. #16
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    Bradley Gibson

    ‘Power Book II: Ghost’s Bradley Gibson To Recur On ‘Kung Fu’ Reboot ; Quentin Plair Joins ‘Roswell, New Mexico’
    By Dino-Ray Ramos
    Associate Editor/Reporter
    @DinoRay

    February 22, 2021 3:07pm

    Courtesy of Jane Jourdan, The CW
    Bradley Gibson, who currently recurs as Everett on the Starz series Power Book II: Ghost is set to join the forthcoming reboot of Kung Fu at the CW in a recurring role.

    Gibson will play the character of Joe Harper in Kung Fu. He is described as a man in his 20s who is a graphic artist and community organizer in Oakland. Joe is “funny, sexy, hip — deeply serious about his work and his activism, but equally committed to the joys of life: friendship, art, love.”

    Heis a social butterfly, having a foot in many of the San Francisco Bay Area’s communities including gay San Francisco, bohemian San Francisco, the Black community of Oakland — which is where he grew up. Joe is an idealist, but he’s profoundly realistic about the many obstacles to deep, systemic change. However, he can’t keep his guard up about is love. He has an intensely romantic streak that will draw him to Nicky (Olivia Liang) brother, Ryan (Jon Prasida) They couldn’t be more different, but they find themselves drawn to each other, bonding over their shared passion for their respective communities.

    Gibson was the most recent Simba in The Lion King on Broadway. He also appeared in A Bronx Tale after making his Broadway debut in Rocky. Heis set to return for the second season of the aforementioned Ghost, which is currently shooting in New York. He is repped by BRS-Gage and Steve Maihack at 44 West Entertainment.

    In another bit of CW casting news, Rosewell, New Mexico has added Quentin Plair in a recurring guest star role.

    The actor is set to play Dallas, a “charmingly enigmatic preacher with the ability to divine people’s troubles and provide them with the counsel they seek.” He is thoughtful and well-versed in many religions. He has a passion for music and is able to quote scripture and lyics from Biggie Smalls in the same breath. Dallas draws others into his orbit with his unique outlook on the big mysteries of life and will cross paths with Rosa during a pivotal point on her road to recovery.

    Plair was most recently seen starring opposite Ethan Hawke and Daveed Diggs in the Showtime series The Good Lord Bird. His credits also include BET’s The Quad, ABC’s The Good Doctor and Hello Cupid for for Black & Sexy TV. He has also co-starred in the Netflix film Burning Sands and Drumline for VH1. He is repped by David Lederman at Innovative Artists and Lesley Brander at Monogram Management Group.
    I recently found out that an acquaintance of mine, a fellow reporter that I met in the Badlands, is a writer for this show.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  2. #17
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    April 7, 2021

    Feb 24, 2021 3:35pm PT
    The CW Sets ‘Kung Fu,’ ‘The Republic of Sarah’ Premiere Dates (TV News Roundup)


    By Natalie Oganesyan


    The Republic of Sarah -- "Pilot"
    Philippe Boss/The CW
    In today’s TV news roundup, The CW announced premiere dates for new and returning series, including “Kung Fu” and “The Republic of Sarah,” and the 2021 Writers Guild Awards will be hosted by Kal Penn.

    RENEWALS
    CNN has picked up a second season of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” an original series featuring the actor’s travels across Italy. Season 2, which will premiere in 2022, will follow Tucci as he explores the culinary sphere and cultural traditions of new regions in Italy. The series is executive produced by Tucci for Raw TV, Adam Hawkins, Eve Kay and Amy Entelis and Lyle Gamm for CNN Original Series.

    Vice TV announced four docuseries — Michael K. Williams’ “Black Market,” “I Was a Teenage Felon,” “While the Rest of Us Die” and “The Devil You Know” — have been greenlit for second seasons. Returning after a 5-year hiatus, “Black Market” explores the factors that lead people to participate in underground economies and illicit trades. Season 2 is produced by Freedome Productions and Picture Farm and co-produced by Vice World News. The second volume of “I Was a Teenage Felon,” produced by the Intellectual Property Corporation, will follow how average American children pursue smuggling, dealing, scamming and hacking through first-person interviews and cinematic visuals. Season 2 of “While the Rest of Us Die” will explore decades of government decisions that have widened the wealth gap, such as prioritizing large corporations over the interests of working-class families. Efran Films and Vice TV will produce. “The Devil You Know,” produced by Vice Studios, will return with a six-part season that uncovers the growth of online cults in the United States through the investigation of cult leader Sherry J. Shriner and her New Age Alien Agenda, a lizard cult.

    DATES
    The CW announced that its new dramas “Kung Fu” and “The Republic of Sarah” making their series debuts April 7 at 8 p.m. and June 14 at 9 p.m., respectively. The network will also premiere the new seasons of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “Dynasty” and “In the Dark” respectively on May 2 at 8 p.m., May 7 at 9 p.m. and June 9 at 9 p.m. And, an all-new one-hour special “World’s Funniest Animals: Spring Fling” will air April 30 at 8 p.m. “Kung Fu,” which stars Olivia Liang, Tzi Ma and Kheng Hua Tan, will follow a young Chinese-American woman Nicky Shen (Liang) who must protect her hometown, overrun with crime and corruption, with the help of her loved ones and martial arts skills. Starring Stella Baker and Luke Mitchell, “The Republic of Sarah” unfolds as a rebellious high school teacher goes head-to-head with a greedy mining company that aims to destroy her town.
    I don't even watch broadcast TV anymore but I'll surely tune in for this at some point.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #18
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    EW exclusive

    The trailer is only available on ET right now, but it'll be everywhere soon.

    'Kung Fu': Nicky Shen Battles Bad Guys in Action-Packed First Trailer (Exclusive)
    By Philiana Ng* 9:00 AM PST, March 8, 2021

    ‹›
    Now playing
    Time to see Nicky Shen in action.

    Kung Fu debuts its very first official trailer for the upcoming CW drama series, led by Legacies' Olivia Liang and legendary actor Tzi Ma, and only ET exclusively premieres the action-packed minute-long promo. (See the first photos from Kung Fu.)

    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 (Kheng Hua 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.

    The Kung Fu trailer opens with Pei-Ling offering words of wisdom to her protégé, Nicky, as she embarks on her kung fu training: "To truly master kung fu, you will must find peace -- peace with your family." Easier said than done as Nicky foreshadows, "Peace and my family don't really go together."

    Cut to an awkward family meal around the dinner table celebrating Nicky's unexpected return home and it's clear she has a lot of catching up to do with her family. "Golden child's back baby!" her brother Ryan quips, after she breaks the news she's likely not going back to law school.

    Not long after Nicky's back in town, she meets martial arts expert and Chinese history buff Henry, who quickly becomes an ally, and her three years away of secret kung fu training sessions under the tutelage of Pei-Ling reveals itself in intense street fights and badass hand-to-hand combat situations against unsavory folk. To say her siblings are stunned by this unforeseen turn of events is an understatement.

    "You're a kung fu, butt-kicking hero?!" Nicky's sister Althea says, a bit in awe, after witnessing her (and Henry) take down a group of Triad baddies without so much as batting an eyelash.

    And of course, things are bound to get complicated when Nicky turns to her former love Evan for help and reassures him that she "stepped in" to handle a dicey situation. When he doesn't seem to be persuaded by Nicky's diplomatic choice of words, she finally acknowledges the truth. "More like... punched and kicked," she admits as the trailer cuts to Nicky beating down on an army of men solo.

    "You took down an army by yourself. You basically walked on air," Henry says, clearly impressed by Nicky, who brushes off his compliments. "It was physics," she states matter-of-factly. Something tells us Nicky's about to be The CW's latest badass heroine to grace the screen. Watch the official trailer above.

    The groundbreaking drama, created by co-showrunner Christina M. Kim, is also executive produced by co-showrunner Robert Berens, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, Martin Gero (Blindspot) and David Madden. Hanelle Culpepper directed and co-executive produced the pilot. Also starring in recurring roles on Kung Fu are Ludi Lin (Power Rangers, Mortal Kombat) and Bradley Gibson (Power Book II: Ghost).

    Kung Fu premieres Wednesday, April 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  4. #19
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    Kung Fu (The CW) Trailer HD

    Gene Ching
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  5. #20
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    Olivia Liang & Tzi Ma

    ‘Kung Fu’ Stars Olivia Liang & Tzi Ma Condemn Atlanta Shootings, Explain How CW Series Can Be Part Of “Long-Term Solution” To AAPI Hate
    By Alexandra Del Rosario
    TV Reporter
    @_amvdr

    March 17, 2021 10:31am

    Kailey Schwerman/The CW
    During a panel Wednesday promoting their upcoming series, Kung Fu stars Olivia Liang and Tzi Ma responded to the rising number of violent acts against Asian Americans, condemning the latest incident in Atlanta when a gunman killed eight people, a majority of whom were Asian American.

    “What happened last night in Atlanta with eight people killed breaks my heart and I’m not quite sure what the short-term fix is,” said Ma, who appears in the upcoming series as Jin, the father of Liang’s Nicky Shen. “We are the long-term solution.”

    “It pains me, everyday it happens, everyday it’s something,” he added.

    While Ma said he’s unsure of any quick fix to bring justice to the victims or undo the racist attacks, he said Asian American representation in television and media are part of long-term goals. Liang agreed with her co-star, adding that “the timing of our show is really impeccable.”

    Written by Christina M. Kim and inspired by the original series created by Ed Spielman, in the new Kung Fu, a quarter-life crisis causes a young Chinese American woman, Nicky (Liang), to drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to San Francisco, she finds her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption and her own parents Jin (Tzi Ma) and Mei-Li (Kheng Hua Tan) are at the mercy of a powerful Triad. Nicky will rely on her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice…all while searching for the ruthless assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai) and is now targeting her.

    Liang said that the Kung Fu reboot is a notable moment for Asian Americans in Hollywood and spoke about the importance of representation and inclusion in media.

    “We need to be invited to people’s homes who don’t see us in their everyday life just to humanize us, normalize seeing us and remind them that we are people just like they are and that we have a place in this world,” she said. “Hopefully having this show in their homes will expand their worldview.”

    Also condemning the racist attacks was Kung Fu executive producer and co-showrunner Kim, who said the Atlanta shooting Tuesday was “absolutely sad and tragic.” She echoed her stars’ points about representation in media and how her show can be apart of bringing about cultural awareness and acceptance.

    Kim wrote the pilot episode and serves as executive producer/co-showrunner with Robert Berens. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Martin Gero and David Madden also serve as executive producers. Hanelle Culpepper is directing and co-executive producing the pilot. Kung Fu is produced by Berlanti Productions and Quinn’s House in association with Warner Bros Television.

    Kung Fu premieres April 7 on the CW.
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    Gene Ching
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  6. #21
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    Kung Fu Sneak Peek and Q&A | WonderCon@Home 2021

    Gene Ching
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  7. #22
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    Kung Fu: Inside The History of a Martial Arts Classic

    Read my latest feature for Den of Geek: Kung Fu: Inside The History of a Martial Arts Classic

    Gene Ching
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  8. #23
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    Who's tuning in tonight?

    I'm really curious how this will be received. My NDA is expired now because today's is the premiere.

    Personally, I wasn't impressed. I luved Tzi Ma. He was the best part, and unusually timely given #stopasianhate. I want to see a show where he's the dad of a bevy of ninjettes.

    But seriously, eager to hear your opinions on this one.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post

    But seriously, eager to hear your opinions on this one.
    Well, if you want opinions, tell people what CW means! Ever try searching for something that is two letters? Eventually discovered that it stands for CBS/Warner, and then it took a while to find that its KTTV channel 5 on Dish! I must be getting old, because to me CBS was always channel 2...

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    I'm really curious how this will be received. My NDA is expired now because today's is the premiere.

    Personally, I wasn't impressed. I luved Tzi Ma. He was the best part, and unusually timely given #stopasianhate. I want to see a show where he's the dad of a bevy of ninjettes.

    But seriously, eager to hear your opinions on this one.
    Wonder if there's any historical examples of a sword handle having a heating element, whether gunpowder or gas? Watched the whole show. Could hardly follow it with so many commercials. Have not watched TV for years...

  11. #26
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    Where to stream

    The Kung Fu Video pilot is here on The CW site.

    Looks like they'll be streaming new eps every Thursday here. I'm obligated to watch.

    The premiere did okay. We'll see if they sustain it.
    Ratings: Kung Fu Gives CW Slot a 2-1/2 Year Audience High, Nancy Drew Rises
    Matt Webb Mitovich
    Thu, April 8, 2021, 8:32 AM·2 min read



    In the latest TV show ratings, The CW’s Kung Fu debuted on Wednesday night to 1.4 million total viewers and a 0.2 demo rating — improving upon Riverdale‘s season averages to date (530K/0.14) and, in fact, giving the time slot its largest audience in two-and-a-half years. TVLine readers gave the premiere an average grade of “B”; read recap.

    Leading out of the reboot, Nancy Drew (666K/0.1) rose to its largest audience in 16 months while (faint praise alert!) improving on last week’s 0.0 rating.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #27
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    Renewed for season 2

    ‘Kung Fu’ & ‘Stargirl’ Renewed At The CW
    By Peter White
    Television Editor
    @peterzwhite

    May 3, 2021 10:30am


    CW

    The CW is continuing to kick-ass with renewals.

    The youth-skewing broadcaster has picked up freshman series Kung Fu for a second season and handed a third season of DC’s Stargirl ahead of its sop****re debut.

    This comes as the network continues to look for stability in its scripted lineup – bringing the number of renewals for the 2021-22 season to 15 with only The Republic of Sarah, which launches in June, still pending.

    The renewal of Kung Fu is not a surprise. The drama kicked off strong with more than 3.5M viewers watching the premiere episode and it had the highest total viewership number for a Wednesday debut in 7 years since The 100 debuted in 2014.

    Kung Fu follows a young Chinese American woman, Nicky Shen, played by Olivia Liang, whose quarter-life crisis causes her to drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to San Francisco, she finds her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption and her own parents Jin (Tzi Ma) and Mei-Li (Kheng Hua Tan) are at the mercy of a powerful Triad. 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 ruthless assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai) and is now targeting her.

    Christina M. Kim wrote the pilot episode and serves as executive producer/co-showrunner with Robert Berens. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Martin Gero and David Madden also serve as executive producers. Hanelle Culpepper directed and co-executive produced the pilot episode. Kung Fu is produced by Berlanti Productions and Quinn’s House in association with Warner Bros. Television and is inspired by the original series created by Ed Spielman.

    Similarly, last year’s premiere of Stargirl was The CW’s most-watched summer debut in six years. The show’s second season premieres on August 10.

    Stargirl follows high school sop****re Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) and her stepfather Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) as she leads an unlikely group of young heroes to take on the legacy of DC’s very first superhero team, the Justice Society of America. In the thrilling second season, Courtney and her friends take on one of the most frightening adversaries in DC’s mythology – the dark entity of corruption known as Eclipso.

    Geoff Johns is showrunner and executive produces with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. Based on the characters from DC, it is produced by Berlanti Productions and Mad Ghost Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

    The renewal of both shows has been made slightly easier due to corporate synergies. Kung Fu’s premiere episode also aired on TNT, the basic cable network owned by The CW co-owner WarnerMedia.

    The CW Sets Summer Premieres For Final ‘Supergirl’ Season, ‘DC’s Stargirl’, ‘Roswell, NM’ & More; ‘Riverdale’ Moves To August

    The pick-up of Stargirl, meanwhile, is part of a deal between The CW and HBO Max to co-finance the show. The show originally aired as part of DC Universe, but was renewed for a second season by The CW in summer 2020 and a deal was worked out between the broadcast network and the streamer where The CW gets first run followed by its launch on HBO Max.

    These are the latest examples of the two companies working together – they recently picked up Wellington Paranormal, a New Zealand horror mockumentary based on Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows film, together.

    “We are beyond proud to continue to share the stories of Nicky Shen and Courtney Whitmore, two strong, powerful young women at the center of this new generation of hit shows for The CW in Kung Fu and DC’s Stargirl,” said Mark Pedowitz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The CW Network. “While each boasts remarkable talent on both sides of the camera, Kung Fu and DC’s Stargirl have not only treated fans to some visually stunning action and high-flying heroics, but they also both strike very powerful emotional chords as they delve into the family dynamics and personal relationships at their core, and we are so excited to see what happens next.”

    They join recently renewed series including Superman & Lois, Walker, All American, Batwoman, Charmed, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Dynasty, The Flash, In the Dark, Legacies, Nancy Drew, Riverdale and Roswell, New Mexico.
    Anyone watching this? I am. I feel obligated.
    Gene Ching
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  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Anyone watching this? I am. I feel obligated.
    Is there not some easy way of watching this without ads?

  14. #29
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    Brett Chan

    I find it fascinating that Warrior & Kung Fu are both choreographed by Brett Chan. This two shows are like yin and yang when it comes to choreo quality.

    Jun 3, 2021 9:05am PT
    ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘Kung Fu’ and ‘Warrior’ Stunt Coordinator on Keeping Fights Grounded in Character


    By Danielle Turchiano


    Brett Chan
    Courtesy of David Bukach
    With more than two decades in the business, Brett Chan has racked up quite the résumé as both a stunt performer and a coordinator. On the small screen alone he has dozens of credits from superhero dramas “Arrow” and “Supergirl,” to Netflix’s “Altered Carbon.” Now, he is responsible for the stunts on a quartet of high-adrenaline series: TNT’s “Snowpiercer,” WarnerMedia’s “Warrior,” the CW’s “Kung Fu,” and the upcoming “Halo” for Paramount Plus.

    How does a character’s backstory affect the kind of fight style you create for them, especially on a show like “Snowpiercer” where people from all walks of life are crammed on that train?
    It’s basically characters first, and then you have to elaborate from there. Daveed Diggs’ [character Andre Layton] was an ex-police officer, and so was [Mickey Sumner’s Bess] Till, but they both have very different backgrounds in terms of what their positions were in the police force. [Layton] had been on the force for a little bit longer, so he had a little bit more of a street toughness to him. I tried to give them a little bit more adeptness because police do some basic self defense, gun disarms and how to deal with situations with multiple people or when you’re trying to keep a person [subdued]. It’s always harder to be police officer because you can’t just hit people, you always have to try and and incapacitate them by not striking at them, but at the same time keeping yourself safe. Neither Till nor [Layton] had any martial arts training. The Jackboots were trained military guys — soldier types — so we gave them a standard basic etiquette about how they move with their weapons and we gave them a little more regimented look. They had a definite order about they move in formation, and you have to because if you don’t and one side falters, then the line gets overrun and they can pull you over.

    Between Season 1 and Season 2 of shows like “Warrior” and “Snowpiercer,” did you have time to get in and train with any actors, or did they have to rely on muscle memory?
    If anything the actors came in more gung ho for Season 2: They loved the stunt team training room and spent more time in there than anywhere else. As more actors joined the “[Warrior”] cast in Season 2, it was more about trying to get them out of the stunt training room. Many of our stunt team remain very close with many of the actors. When Season 3 got renewed there was not any doubt that everyone would do whatever they needed to do in order to be a part of that season. It is an anomaly of a show and if you ever get to work on one like this in terms of the people and content of the project, you are lucky. It is one in a million. [Between seasons of “Snowpiercer”] there isn’t really time to do anything. It’s really up to the actors themselves. Mickey, in her spare time when she wasn’t filming, was training [such as in] jujitsu. It was on her own time. She just wants to train and kick butt — and she wants to be able to show women empowerment, that women don’t need to be saved by men all the time; they can have their own collective of how they survive, especially in that type of climate, where you have to be a little sneakier. She wanted to look like she was better at it, and she was really good and she picked it up really fast. We can definitely give her moves to make it look like she’s a fighter. And we always paired her with a really good dance partner, per se, so she can showcase what she’s doing.


    How does the train setting on “Snowpiercer” inform the scope of what you can accomplish in any given stunt sequence?
    It can’t be all martial arts. And we have cots in it and we’re dealing with extras. You’ve got to fill the train; you can’t have a car with 50 people and they’re all stunt guys. We have to be really cognizant of that, but we still have to make it look chaotic. We have to keep the action mitigated a certain way so that we can keep our actors safe and keep everyone else around them safe at the same time. I’ll either be able to choreograph on the actual train booth, depending on if they’re shooting or not. If not, then I’ll go tape out the dimensions of it and use boxes and choreograph everything in there. And it definitely limits what you can do and where you can go because the train walls aren’t all solid. Because we have to be able to take the walls off and on and move really fast between shots, that means we can’t always bang against the train walls or they’ll fall and hurt people.

    Do you have leeway to have walls moved if you need a bit more room for something special?
    They built some trains to be like that, like the Night Car: it’s supposed to be like a giant, two-level thing and it’s wider. But it’s definitely confining and it limits the weapons you can use because if you start putting long weapons in there and you’re swinging them around, you’re hitting people behind you and in front of you. But we’ve had no injuries!

    The second season finale had an unexpected dog attack stunt. How complicated was that to pull off, given everything you’ve already talked about as limitations?
    We used the actual trainer to be the person the dog attacks because he knows that person already. A dog comes on set, no one’s going to touch him, no one’s allowed to pet him, [there’s] no, “Oh you’re so cute!” You can’t do that because the dog’s got to keep the focus. We keep all things off the set that don’t need to be there because that changes the parameter of things, too.

    What sequence did you feel was the most complicated to choreograph and then successfully achieve on the day of production on Season 2 of “Warrior”?
    Episode 205’s Zing vs. Li Yong fight and the Episode 209 riot sequence with the individual fights were the most difficult because of logistics involved due to the time we had. We were shooting four episodes at once and I was action directing all of them while still choreographing and doing other work for them. Additionally I was in development for Episode 6 simultaneously. Episode 205’s saving grace was director Loni Peristere. He gave me full control to go to town, allowing me to time manage. He was extremely collaborative. For Episode 209, director Denny Gordon was also extremely collaborative and was a large reason I was able to execute such a difficult sequence. If I had to pick one fight that was the most complicated it would definitely be the riot with the individual fights in Episode 209.

    When you have characters like Ah Sahm, who are martial arts experts when they are introduced, what is your philosophy about “topping” the fights and sequences, to continuously show off more of those characters’ skills?
    I don’t know if it is just because they are cool fights or needing to “top a fight,” but more of that I think it all comes down to the story and the characters. Really, a fight is just a fight — but if you give it the story and individual characteristics associated with each character at that moment in time, the motivation for the fight becomes more meaningful and has more impact. As storylines changed in Season 2, so did our fight sequences.

    How different was experience on “Kung Fu,” in which Olivia Liang, who plays the lead, had no martial arts training before the show but whose character needed to look like an expert?
    Even after 10 years, you won’t even really be really that good in a stylistic martial art, and this is specifically stylistic. I said, “They need a little bit of martial arts training, give me eight weeks to train them.” But they gave me this girl who had no martial arts training and five days to to train her. None of the leads had martial arts training. But when they showed up, all they did was train. Olivia said, “I don’t care, I want to train Saturdays, Sundays.” We trained four to six hours a day. She has a dance background so she did fantastic, and she’s just getting better and better.

    How does the mysticism element of “Kung Fu” affect what you are creating?
    The show was never meant to be “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” has its audience has its genre, and it’s fantastic, but Christina [M. Kim], the showrunner, basically said, “Let’s ground it.” So, it was about keeping the kung fu grounded into daily fighting, but keeping the flair of the styles. We pick her movements depends on the style. Tiger is a very aggressive style, while crane is not. So you see a lot of crane, but when she’s angry, you’ll see the tiger come out. And then we start blending the two together, which starts leveling off her emotional levels. We tried giving that purpose to everybody.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #30
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    Catharsis

    Watching Martial Arts Movies Amid Anti-Asian Violence Is Much-Needed Catharsis
    Movies and TV shows like 'The Paper Tigers' and 'Warrior' show the beauty of Asian American survival.
    By Frances Nguyen
    June 8, 2021, 4:00am


    IMAGE VIA YOUTUBE
    When I saw the opening seven minutes of Mortal Kombat on Instagram, it was the first time I’d felt anything in the realm of joy in over a month. Given the contents of the clip, I was also a little horrified at myself.

    Faithful to its video game source material, the violence in the film begins almost immediately. Within the opening minutes, a woman dies. A child dies. Hanzo Hasashi—the man who will become Scorpion, the character in the game I played most often growing up—liberates what looks like quarts of blood from the bodies of his masked opponents before confronting his nemesis, the man who will become the ice-wielding assassin Sub-Zero. The teaser leaves you at the edge of a fight that promises to be an enthralling one; here, once again, someone will surely die violently.


    The theatrically gory film was an odd source of comfort during the weeks-long despondency I felt following a series of shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of whom were women of Asian descent. With a never-ending reel of brutal violence against Asians circulating online, there was something refreshing about escaping into a world populated by people who look like me and who are portrayed as strong.

    Coming at the end of a year that gave rise to more than 6,600 reported instances of anti-Asian hate between March 2020 and March 2021, and where assaults continue almost daily across the country, watching a group of Asian characters wield their bodies with physics-defying agility and precision to deliver bouts that look and feel more like physical dialogue than combat made for a stark contrast to the images I was seeing on news broadcasts and social media, which tend to foreground Asian bodies as quiet, passive vessels for someone else’s rage.

    Examining some of the most brutal recorded attacks that have taken place this year—on elders Vicha Ratanapakdee, Vilma Kari, and Yao Pan Ma—the abridged stories captured on camera repeat the same refrain: The Asian body appears and is brutalized; that’s all that we see. For Asian Americans, these scenes invite us to participate in a ritual of vicarious trauma: Without sound, our minds train instead on the movements of the bodies that appear on screen. We imagine ourselves and our loved ones in the only body that bears our likeness—the victim’s—and our own bodies are activated by the input of threat.

    Up until recently, however, Hollywood has arguably done little to provide counter-narratives to these stories, narratives that acknowledge the real-life experiences and agency of the individuals who are navigating what it means to be Asian in America in real time. A report released last month—co-authored by sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen, author of Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism, and Stacy L. Smith, founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative—revealed that in the top 100 films of 2019, just over a quarter of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) characters die by the end of the film—and all but one dies violently. The study also notes that 42 percent of the API characters experienced disparagement, including racist/sexist slurs, with 30 percent being tokenized (meaning they were the only Asian character in the film or scene) and 67 percent channeling tired Asian stereotypes. Notably, only 13 percent were portrayed as “fully human,” (ie, complex characters with agency) which the report measured in terms of them having a wide spectrum of relationships.

    I wasn’t alone in gravitating toward media where strong Asian characters took center stage. After the shootings in Atlanta—and after the video of Vilma Kari’s attack went viral—Yuen, the report’s co-author, told me that she and her friends started watching Kung Fu on The CW, a reboot of the 70s show starring David Carradine that premiered in early April.

    Though the original was not without its shortcomings (the lead role, of a half-Chinese Shaolin monk who wanders the Wild West, went to the white actor instead of Bruce Lee, despite Carradine having no prior martial arts training), the CW series gives the story a 21st century update. This time around, the lead is an Asian woman—and, importantly, an Asian woman who kicks ass. Olivia Liang’s Nicky Shen stands alone as the only Asian American woman lead on network television right now, and her characterization as a strong and capable defender of her hometown of San Francisco offers some counterweight to the blunt fact that Asian women are twice as likely to report being targets of anti-Asian hate than Asian men are.

    “Certainly, our show is not the solution, but I hope that we are a part of the solution,” showrunner Christina M. Kim said in a press conference a day after the Atlanta shootings.

    As Yuen sees it, the show’s main draw is its constellation of rich characters with developed backstories. “As an Asian American watching it, I feel empowered, not just because there’s martial arts but also in seeing people who aren’t just the sidekick, or the friend, or the villain,” she said. “They are the leads, and you feel like you can see yourself in different parts of them.” Ultimately, she said, that’s the goal of the report: for Hollywood to represent API characters as complex, multidimensional human beings—just like in real life.

    The Kung Fu reboot isn’t the only recent work that draws on martial arts as a vehicle for telling more three-dimensional human stories. The Paper Tigers—a charming comedy about three washed-up, middle-aged former kung fu disciples looking to avenge their sifu’s murder—uses the martial art as a way of telling a story about redemption, brotherhood, and becoming men.

    Released to streaming platforms and select theaters on May 7, The Paper Tigers complicates the strong-versus-weak narrative by presenting its heroes as both in different moments. They’re strong when they’re aligned to the teachings of kung fu—which espouse traditional Eastern values like honor, discipline, humility, and bravery—and weak, both physically and morally, when they stray from them. Throughout the film, the men contend with choosing when to fight and when to walk away: When his son gets beat up by the school bully, Danny, the lead character, tells the boy that he should have walked away from the kid who has been terrorizing him and his friend. Later, after one of the Tigers is sorely wounded, Danny heads off to a fight, but not before calling his son to tell him that he’s proud of him for sticking up for his friend. Fearing that he might not make it to see another day, he tells his son how to make a fist, but offers this information with a warning: “If you go looking for a fight, that makes you the bully.”

    Beyond the moments of pitch-perfect comedy (see: the many fortune cookie-worthy proverbs doled out by a white sifu, the men’s former schoolmate rival, in Cantonese, which none of them understand), there’s also something deeply gratifying about seeing bodies, out of practice for 25 years, reckon with their limitations and slowly relearn their discipline, building back their strength over time. Tran Quoc Bao, the film’s writer and director, said he wanted to highlight martial arts as a practice of discovering one’s inner strength, and learning the right moment to express it. “With martial arts,” he said, “it’s that constant sharpening of the sword knowing that you can hang it up and not use it.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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