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Gavin Stenhouse On The CW's 'Kung Fu': 'Representation Is One Of The Most Important Duties Hollywood Has Right Now'

(CBS Local)-- This week, The CW premieres the highly anticipated reboot of "Kung Fu" on Wednesday, April 7. The popular show from the 1970s with David Carradine has been reimagined for 2021 and follows a young Chinese-American woman played by Olivia Liang, who leaves college and takes a life-changing journey to a monastery in China.

As Liang's character Nicky returns home to San Francisco, she finds that her hometown has been overrun by corruption and crime. That's where actor Gavin Stenhouse comes into the picture. Stenhouse plays Assistant DA Evan Hartley and the ex-boyfriend of Nicky.

CBS Local caught up with Stenhouse to preview the new series, discuss the rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans and how his childhood in Hong Kong and the UK made him the man and actor he is today.

"It was really cool because I was born and raised in Hong Kong and a lot of the Asian culture I feel like is in my blood," said Stenhouse, in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith. "I spent 10 years there and I grew up doing martial arts as well. Literally everything popped out of the script and I said 'I have to get this job because it would be so cool to get this job.' I went through the audition process and fortunately the creator Christina Kim picked me."

This series that was created by an Asian-American woman and stars several Asian and Pacific Island actors comes out at a really important time in the wake of a rise in hate crimes and attacks against Asian-American people. Stenhouse is keenly aware of the circumstances around the premiere and how important this show is given everything going on in this country.

"It's heartbreaking in one sense to see that almost every day it seems like there is another video of someone being assaulted," said Stenhouse. "Someone from the Asian-American or Pacific Island community being assaulted. It's heartbreaking and I don't know what the cure is for that, but I do know that representation is one of the most important duties that Hollywood and TV has right now. If a culture or a group of people are represented on screen, then it goes somewhere at least to cover the distance of mitigating that otherness. I think that that otherness is possibly one of the root causes of how these violent acts are happening. In a show like ours, one would hope that bringing Asian-American faces into the home where perhaps you don't have as much access to information about Asian-American communities in your immediate surroundings... I think that is the least we can be doing right now."

Watch "Kung Fu" on The CW this Wednesday or stream in on The CW app.

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