Eddie Liu 劉立德 (Kung Fu, Never Have I Ever, and Silicon Valley) last came on the podcast during Season 6 Episode 6, “Pilots in a Pandemic”, where he talked about what it was like to book his biggest gig right before the height of the pandemic. Now, 2 years later, Eddie just wrapped up Season 3 of The CW’s Kung Fu. He opens up about what his life is like now, the ups and downs of the series regular life, and representing Asian American characters in Hollywood.
Eddie Liu: One thing that I didn’t notice when I started this job was how much more focus and how much more effort you need to take in investing in your self-care – physically, emotionally, mentally. Woof. We were doing this thing — when we started in the fall after we got picked up and when we finally moved to Canada for the first time at the peak of COVID — I mean, this was pre-vaccines. The world was fuckin’ terrifying, right? It still was. Every reporter as we started to get ready to premiere the show, it’s like finally the news started to cover the spike in Asian hate crimes, and then people are like, “What’s it like to represent an Asian-American family?” I’m just like this is way heavier than I ever expected this to be.
Sam Valentine: Yeah.
Eddie Liu: Like, all of a sudden there’s a lot of responsibility and there’s a lot of very solemn awareness about what you’re doing. For something that should be fun and should be entertaining, we pendulum back and forth between this is an honor, this is a very serious — this is a privilege that many would want to be in, and, at the same time, looking at what we do on the show I’m like, “Wait, don’t forget, guys. This is supposed to be fun, too. This is entertaining as well,” you know?
Sam Valentine: Yeah.
Eddie Liu: There’s that aspect to it.
Sam Valentine: I mean, the idea of booking a fun CW show, your brain never goes, “I’m gonna become a figurehead of a moment in history during a really hard time.”
Eddie Liu: Yeah.
Sam Valentine: How did you deal with that? Was it a combination of therapy and meditation and journaling? What did you do to take care of yourself in the time in which the pressure was on to be good at your job and then also to represent a group?
Eddie Liu: I think I’m still finding it. In going back to the topic of, like, the ebb and flow of how some days you have it and some days you don’t, that I eventually did come to grips on. Like, we have this beautiful responsibility to entertain and to represent, to an extent. We’re definitely not saying we represent all Asian-American families. That would be — you know, we’re just trying to represent this Asian-American family by being true to ourselves, and that was something that we found, that no one entity can represent everyone at all times. That’s just not fair. That’s just not the way that it has to be. So we just very much embrace we recognize all these things that people are saying about this and that and everything about that in the news, and we knew that the best way that we could do what we wanted to do was to honor those things and be true to ourselves. The more true to ourselves that we stay, that’s how you best represent yourself, especially within the community.