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5 Questions with Simu Liu and Loretta Yu of Blood and Water

The first ever trilingual drama is set to premiere on Omni TV. Entitled Blood and Water ,the show features as two of its leads, the incredibly talented Canadian actors Simu Liu and Loretta Yu. We spoke to the pair by phone in Toronto, where Liu was preparing to star in a play, and Yu was settling down to a late-day omelette.

Scene Creek: What are doing right now?

Simu Liu: I’m in rehearsals for a play called Banana Boys, and it actually opens tonight at the Factory Theatre in Toronto and will run until November 22nd. It’s just kind of poking fun at these group of guys.

Scene Creek: What should we expect from Blood and Water?

Simu Liu: You should expect compelling stories, from characters you haven’t seen on television before. We have an all-Asian cast speaking three different languages, but not only is it a Chinese story, I think that it’s a very universal story, it’s a drama. I think the fact there are so many Chinese characters speaking all of these languages, I think adds an element of authenticity to everything. This is the first gritty drama with these types of characters.

Loretta Yu: The show is a crime drama that’s based around an affluent Chinese-Canadian family in Vancouver. And it follows the lead detective, who also happens to be Chinese-Canadian but adopted, so she doesn’t have very much in common with her Chinese roots. She’s the head detective for this case, and there’s a murder, and she spends the entirety of the series trying to figure out whodunnit. It’s a little bit of a thriller. My character, Teresa Fae, is the wife of the murder victim. She is pretty much completely isolated and alienated from the family. They want pretty much nothing to do with her, especially after his death and they blame her for a lot of it. And in the meantime, she happens to be a recovering heroin addict and she also happens to be eight months pregnant with the dead father’s child. So it’s pretty light.

Scene Creek: Loretta, you were also in Pretend We’re Kissing?

Loretta Yu: I actually really loved working on that film. That was a lot of fun and (director) Matt (Austin-Sadowski) gave us a lot of freedom to play on the days when we were on set and I really loved working with Dov (Tiefenbach), the lead actor on that movie. He’s a total sweetheart. I met him at the read-through. He was always so kind and generous and forthcoming with any suggestions, and also just to hang out with, we had a really good rapport right away, which also came through in the film as well. It was a lot of fun, but it was a very, very different character than the one I am playing in Blood and Water (Laughs).

Scene Creek: What do you think that the audience will be like?

Simu Liu: Being on the Omni channel, I think that our audience will be people like my parents, who immigrated over here, many, many years ago. They are very much Canadian, but also retain very much of their culture and identity from their home country. I think it’s very awesome that people like my parents will get to see this show, because it does give them something to relate to, and to recognize that they are a part of our country.

I think that the story is incredibly accessible to everyone and I hope that it doesn’t preclude anyone else from watching the show as well.

Loretta Yu: Fundamentally, the important thing to take away from this is that it’s a story about family and these family stories are universal, regardless of whatever race or family background you come from and I think that is most important for people to take away is that they can connect with these characters outside of the colour of their skin, outside of the language that they are speaking. It gives a good perspective within different all walks of life within the Chinese-Canadian community, from the very rich, to the down and out, to those that have little connection to their cultural identity. It’s reflective of real life.

Scene Creek: What’s next?

Simu Liu: The second season of Blood and Water is in development, and I was invited into the writer’s room of the show, so it hasn’t been green-lit yet, but we have episodes ready if Rogers decides to knock on our door and very proud to have written as well as acted for that show and for Breakthrough Entertainment. And in the future, I want to create more.

Blood and Water premières on Omni, Sunday at 10 p.m.