Chung has moved up by the ranks of tv composers, working over the previous 4 years on quite a few Greg Berlanti-produced sequence together with “Blindspot,” “Riverdale” and “Batwoman.”
However with the CW’s reimagining of the Nineteen Seventies basic “Kung Fu,” Chung not solely tackles the music of a talked-about sequence however is rediscovering her personal private heritage as nicely. “I used to be equal components excited and terrified,” she confesses. “This sequence is celebrating each Chinese language tradition and Chinese language-American tradition. It’s breaking down previous guidelines and partitions, and creating a brand new narrative. I really feel like I’m actually a part of that, which is particular and completely sudden.”
Chung is second era Chinese language-American: Her father is Chinese language, though born within the U.S.; her grandparents emigrated from southern China. “Engaged on the present, once I see conversations between the dad and mom, I ponder if these are a few of the conversations that my grandparents had, and the sacrifices they made, coming over to this nation,” she says.
The reconfigured “Kung Fu” not solely recasts the lead as a lady but in addition fills the solid with Asian-American actors; showrunner Christina M. Kim is herself Asian-American and several other of her writers are of Asian descent. But, surprisingly, Chung’s intercourse and ethnicity usually are not why she landed this plumb task.
She met government producers Kim and Martin Gero whereas co-composing the weekly scores of their NBC sequence “Blindspot.” “It’s a kind of good alignments,” she explains. “By at the moment’s requirements, it appears to make a variety of sense. However I admire that it got here to me in that pure method, that there was already a connection there, versus `we’re on the lookout for a feminine, and a Chinese language particular person.’ It places the concentrate on relationships and music fairly than on issues I had nothing to do with.”
Chung and Kim talked at size in regards to the function of music in “Kung Fu,” when it will be acceptable to invoke a “Chinese language” sound and when to easily underscore the feelings of household and the inevitable motion sequences, given the martial-arts expertise that Nicky (Olivia Liang) acquired throughout her time in a Shaolin monastery.
“With the Asian dad and mom, I do lean into the Chinese language component,” Chung says, “as a result of the cultural specificity is there. Among the issues they speak about are distinctive to Chinese language tradition or the immigrant story.”
She employs the weird colours of the erhu, a two-stringed bowed instrument; numerous Chinese language percussion devices together with the paigu, zhangu, dagu and tanggu drums; and different Asian sounds together with Dharma bells, tuned gongs and the pipe gamelan. Solos from the extra standard violin and cello, plus every thing Chung herself performs together with piano and electronics, taste the weekly scores.
Pei-ling (Vanessa Kai), Nicky’s Shaolin mentor, has a theme that calls on these Asian sounds. “There’s additionally a theme that has nothing to do with Asian tradition,” she provides, referring to her “Nicky’s Calling / Journey” theme, which refers to “following one’s coronary heart, discovering one’s function.”
Chung has a few week to compose every rating, which might run 35 minutes or extra. She continues to co-compose “Riverdale” and “Batwoman” (each with Blake Neely) and is beginning work on the HBO Max animated sequence “Gremlins: Secrets and techniques of the Mogwai,” which additionally boasts a largely Asian-American solid. She was additionally not too long ago nominated for a Society of Composers & Lyricists award for her music for the impartial movie “The Misplaced Husband.”
“Kung Fu” has already had a huge impact, each on audiences and on Chung herself. However these roundhouse kicks as Nicky battles crime in San Francisco are nothing new to the composer: She has a black belt in Taekwondo.