EXCLUSIVE: Tzi Ma (The Man In the High Castle, The Farewell) and Kheng Hua Tan (Marco Polo, Crazy Rich Asians) have been cast as series regulars in the CW pilot Kung Fu, a reimagining with a female lead of the 1970s David Carradine-starring TV series. Ma and Kheng will play the parents of the protagonist in the project, from Christina M. Kim, Martin Gero, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Warner Bros. TV, where Kim, Gero and Berlanti Prods. are under deals.
Written by Kim, inspired by the original series created by Ed Spielman, in the new Kung Fu, a quarter-life crisis causes a young Chinese-American woman to drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to find her hometown overrun with crime and corruption, she uses her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice…all while searching for the assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor and is now targeting her.
Ma and Kheng will play the woman’s father, Jin Chen, and mother Mei-Li — a husband-and-wife restaurateurs whose secrets threaten to destroy their lives just as they deal with the return of their estranged daughter.
Kim and Gero executive produce via Gero’s Quinn’s House Production Company, which produces in association with Berlanti Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. Berlanti and Schechter executive produce for Berlanti Prods.
Together with his parents and four of his siblings, Ma worked in a family-owned restaurant on Staten Island when growing up. His extensive acting resume includes major roles on Wu Assassins, Veep, The Man In the High Castle, 24, Hell On Wheels and Satisfaction. His feature credits include Arrival and The Farewell, Disney’s upcoming live-action Mulan and Netflix’s Tigertail. He is repped by BRS/Gage Talent Agency and Echelon Talent Management.
Kheng, well known in her native Singapore and Malaysia, co-starred as Empress Dowager on the Netflix original series Marco Polo. She plays Kerry Chu, the mother of protagonist Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), in the Crazy Rich Asians movie franchise. Her English-language credits also include the Channel 4 limited series Chimerica and guest shots on Medical Police, Magnum P.I. and Grey’s Anatomy. She is repped by Zero Gravity, GVA Talent Agency and Fly Entertainment in Singapore.
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