Interview with Warrior actor KENNETH FOK “The series has the essence of a period piece, but it has a contemporary feel to it with its own slang making this world unique.”
Set during the Tong Wars of Chinatown in 19th Century San Francisco, Warrior follows Ah Sahm. The martial arts prodigy has immigrated from China and has now joined the Hop Wei (one of Chinatown’s most powerful organized crime family).
Talking to Telly Binge, Kenneth says he thinks the show is different, “Hopefully we have made Bruce Lee proud. It is a cumulative aspect of intricate story, complex characters and relentless action.”
It will make its UK debut on Sky One from Tuesday 25 June and a second series has been announced by Cinemax.
“I don’t think there’s anything else out there quite like Warrior. It’s a period martial arts piece but a graphic novel version of itself. From the dialogue to the music, the show has got its own flavour and street savviness.”
“I loved watching martial arts series as a kid and I’ve trained in Shaolin Kung-Fu myself. Warrior’s fight sequences are entertaining, it is interwoven with drama and covers historical and social issues such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. It’s a show with substance.”
The show’s cast features names such as Andrew Koji, Olivia Cheng, Dianne Doan, Kieran Bew and Ah Sahm.
Fok plays Jacob in the show. “He isn’t motivated by his own agenda. He’s a humble man servant to the Mayor’s wife and is trying to make an honest living amidst the chaos that surrounds him. He doesn’t know any martial arts, but he’s pure of heart.”
“My character has been much of a facilitator and observer in Series 1. The story and characters have been set, whilst the tension between the Chinese and Irish have been building like a roller coaster.”
“It climbs to the first peak by the end of the last episode. The drop happens in Series 2 when my character’s loyalty and sacrifice are tested and it’s quite a ride.”
Warrior’s creator (Jonathan Tropper) recently said the show was aiming to create its own reality, but also stay true to the period. Kenneth agrees, “I think Jonathan has created a world with its own reality. On the surface the series has the essence of a period piece, the set design and decoration are true to the period.”
“When you delve in closer, some costumes and dialogue have a contemporary feel to it with its own slang. It makes this world quite unique.”
So how does it compare to other sets? “It was built at Cape Town Film Studios, we filmed at locations in and around Cape Town. The details and sheer scale of it was impressive. It’s one of the best I’ve seen. They built the set according to the map of San Francisco Chinatown circa 1878.”
“I remember one day when I was taken to set and these huge double doors were opened revealing it. I felt instantaneously transported to the 1800s. All the extras were in their costumes and the set decoration did its magic.”
“The size of this project is second to none; hundreds of extras were used, our stunt team are from all around the world, makeup and prosthetics did an outstanding job.”
Kenneth now says its time for a break. “I’ve enjoyed Warrior the most, it’s been the most challenging shoot I’ve done emotionally and physically. I’m looking at several potential projects and there are some very exciting ones emerging.”