Great news for fans of culturally specific comedy and Canadian heartthrobs: Simu Liu will guest-star on an upcoming episode of "Fresh Off the Boat."
Details are scant about where the Toronto-based actor will fit in on ABC's family comedy. But according to pop culture blog Angry Asian Man, Liu's character's name is Willie and, intriguingly, "the role has something to do with noodles."
Liu will appear in the show's upcoming 100th episode. He called the series's longevity "truly a landmark achievement for Asian Americans onscreen."
Liu, best known for playing the estranged son in a tight-knit Korean family on the CBC series "Kim's Convenience," told HuffPost Canada that the "Fresh Off the Boat" role is a huge one for him: it's his first time shooting in L.A. for a major U.S. network show.
"I've spent a lot of time [in L.A.] in the last two years and as with any other actor trying to find their own way in Hollywood, it's been full of almosts, not-quites and if-onlys," he said in an e-mail. "Sometimes, you just need to see the ball go into the hoop."
"Fresh Off the Boat," now in its fifth season, is loosely based on the real-life childhood of celebrity chef Eddie Huang. The comedy stars Randall Park, Constance Wu and Hudson Yangas a Taiwanese family who run a steakhouse in Orlando, Florida.
Lui is already friends with Park and Yang and said that everyone he's interacted with on set has been friendly and gracious.
"I went in to shooting expecting a bit of a culture shock transitioning from a Canadian set to a US one, but to be honest I was struck by how seamless it was," he said.
"From the diversity on and off screen to the friendly vibe, it truly felt like I was back home."
Liu, who hosted a public screening of "Crazy Rich Asians" in Toronto over the summer and recently called out a studio audience for laughing at Asian stereotypes, says he initially started watching "Fresh Off the Boat" for its cultural significance. He's kept up with it, though, because he genuinely enjoys the show. He said that the comedy straddles that rare line of being both wholesome and really funny at the same time.
"['Fresh Off the Boat] has brought so many nuances of our culture onto the screen, like Asian glow, success perms and our aversion to running the dishwasher," Liu said.
"The success of the show is a big part of why 'Kim's Convenience' is on the air today."