DALLAS (KDAF) — Walker Independence is the newest show on The CW. It all takes place in Independence, Texas, in the 1800s. With diverse and eclectic residents running from their past chasing their dreams and keeping their own secrets.
Actor Lawrence Kao who plays Kai in the show talks about the opportunity to be in a Western show with a diverse cast.
“It’s really cool, because there are just a lot of diverse characters. Being able to flesh out a character that looks like me is something that we haven’t seen before. Kai is just a character that used to work on the railroads in San Francisco. He found himself in Independence, Texas, and he was trying to establish a new life here. He is trying to start over and find his identity. As we see, in each episode, more things are revealed about his character, and along with all the other characters as well.”
I heard you talk about his character, being on the railroad. A lot of people don’t know about the history of Chinese Americans, working on the railroad in the 1800s. I want to know, what was it like filming a period piece compared to other past projects that were set in the modern day?
“It’s, it’s fascinating, I never thought that I would be able to shoot somebody like this. It’s been fun to do the research. It’s different. Because when you’re on a set like this, you know, there aren’t any, like moving cars, there aren’t any crazy special effects. No one’s got their cell phones out. There aren’t any, like, technological advances. So, it’s cool to just be free and open to what the setting is. The set design is so amazing, too. Being surrounded by that, it’s pretty free.“
I can remember back in the day, seeing a lot of Westerners that didn’t have a lot of Chinese American actors in those roles. They were all often played by other actors of other ethnicities and I want know how does it feel to be a Chinese American in a lead in this series during the 1800s.
“It’s awesome, man. It’s cool, but it definitely holds a lot of responsibility. I was apprehensive at first because it was like, ‘Man, this is going to be interesting. I wonder how they’re going to tell this story.’ Everyone’s been super open to collaboration. Being a being on a project like this and having my relatives and my parents see me even speak Mandarin and speak the language, is fun for them to watch. I feel like it’s a stepping stone for more opportunities for people that look like me to be in Westerns to be in all kinds of different kinds of genre television.”