Harry Shum Jr. was recently cast in his first post-Shadowhunters project: ABC’s new drama pilot Heart of Life. Here’s what we know about it so far.

While the Shadowhunters fandom is getting ready to say goodbye to the show in a few weeks, the cast is already fairly busy again. That includes Harry Shum Jr., who earlier this month announced he’s joined the cast of Heart of Life, an ABC drama pilot. The project is still in the very early stages of production, so there is not much information about it yet, but here’s a little rundown of everything we know so far about Harry’s potential new TV show.


Harry Shum Jr. with Katie Findlay. (via Harry Shum Jr.’s Instagram)

What is the project about?

Heart of Life is centered around two sets of adult siblings from completely different worlds who discover they are related. As they get to know each other, they have to “reassess everything they thought they knew about their shared father. As they explore the mystery of their separate childhoods, they’ll experience the difficulty in overcoming the sins of the past, and learn the joys of reuniting with long-lost family.” (source: Deadline)

The pilot is co-produced by ABC Studios and 20th Century Fox and is currently being filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. It was written by Ben Queen (Powerless, A to Z) and is directed by Anne Fletcher (Dumplin’, The Proposal). Queen will also act as an executive producer alongside Paul Weitz, Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar, and John Mayer.


Who is Harry playing?

Many of you may know Harry as a high school student with a passion for dance, an eccentric warlock with a heart of gold, or the mysterious guy from the “Crazy Rich Asians” mid-credit scene. In Heart of Life, Harry will be playing Brendan Winter, whom The Hollywood Reporter describes as a “self-centered world traveler who is good at getting by on his father’s money and is often the voice of reason.” Judging from that description, Brendan doesn’t seem to have much in common with any of those previously mentioned roles, so if Heart of Life gets picked up by the network, it will be interesting to see Harry take on that new character.


The Heart Of Life cast. (via Jessica Stroup’s Instagram)

Who else is onboard?

Not much is known about the cast of Heart of Life yet, so far only a few series regulars have been revealed. Aside from Harry, that list includes the following actors:

Katie Findlay as Sydney Winter

Katie Findlay’s previous acting credits include How To Get Away With Murder, The Magicians and The Carrie Diaries. Most recently, she starred in the romantic comedy Straight Up as well as Search and Destroy, a movie about a young musician trying to make her way through the music industry of the 1990s. In Heart of Life, she will be playing Sydney Winter, Brendan’s sister, who is described as ambitious, caring and awkward, and who takes over her father’s architecture company.

Jessica Stroup as Alexandra Reid

If you’re a fan of Marvel’s Iron Fist, you probably already know Jessica Stroup: She played Joy Meachum in 23 episodes between 2017 and 2018. She also starred as Max Hardy in Fox’s The Following, and as Erin Silver in The CW’s mid-2000s teen drama 90210. She also worked as an associate producer on the 2018 documentary Swimmer’s Ear: A Journey to the Deaflympics. In Heart of Life she will play Alexandra Reid, Wesley’s sister and half of the second pair of siblings the series is centered around.

Dave Annable as Wesley “Wes” Reid

Besides his appearance on Heart of Life, Dave Annable is currently shooting the thriller series What/If, which, according to IMDb explores “the ripple effect of a single decision that changes the trajectory of an entire life.” With the show set to premiere on Netflix, Dave Annable will be playing Dr. Ian Harris. You may also know him from the romantic comedy No Sleep Til Christmas or the ABC Series Brothers & Sisters where he starred as Justin Walker for five seasons between 2006 and 2011. In Heart of Life, he plays Wes Reid, Alexandra’s older brother.

Nick Thune as Jimmy

Nick Thune first started his performing career as a stand-up comedian. After recording multiple stand-up specials for Netflix and NBC, he landed several acting gigs; the most recent one being the main role in the fantasy comedy horror Dave Made A Maze. On Heart of Life, he will be playing Jimmy, who, according to Deadline can be described as a “wiry, aloof, singer/guitar player and aging rock star who drank too much, partied too much and enjoys the lifestyle. But he’s surprisingly sweet, thoughtful and a good listener.”


What song is it based on?

Heart of Life was inspired by a John Mayer song of the same name. The Heart of Life is a single on Mayer’s third album, Continuum, which was released in 2006 and received generally positive reviews from critics. After its debut in September 2006, the album sold over 300,000 copies domestically in its first week, which led to a #2 placement on the US Billboard Hot 200. Continuum also landed in the top 10 of several other countries’ charts and earned John Mayer a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. Most of the songs on the album are mid-tempo and deal with emotional topics such as love and relationships, which The Heart of Life is no exception from. The song is about life and its hardships and points out that despite everything, life can still be good.   

The Heart of Life was never released as a single and doesn’t have a music video, but you can stream it on all major platforms and watch a live version here.


When will we be able to see it?

Thus far sadly no release date has been announced yet. Heart of Life is planned to become a TV series, but as of now, ABC has only ordered the pilot episode. That means there is no guarantee the show will get a full season order and eventually air on TV. Usually, networks decide whether or not to order a full season after the pilot has been shot and reviewed by network executives. The only exception to that rule is straight-to-series orders, where a network or streaming service orders a full 10-13 episode season of a series without ever seeing a pilot. Given that Heart of Life isn’t one of those straight-to-series orders, it will still take some time until we can expect a decision. That’s why there is no release date yet. But there is a silver lining: In just a few weeks this year’s TV upfronts are coming up, also known as the time of the year (usually in May) when networks present their fall programming to advertisers and press. If ABC is planning on picking Heart of Life up for a full season, the network will likely announce it there.


That’s all we know for now about Heart of Life, but we will keep this article up to date, so don’t forget to check in from time to time if you don’t want to miss any new information about the project.