Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings changed history by being the first Marvel Studios film to have a superhero of Asian descent — Simu Liu. Additionally, the film boasts of a predominantly Asian cast. Director Destin Daniel Cretton and screenwriter Dave Callaham have Asian roots too.
A proud moment for the Asian community, the film is being highly appreciated by both critics and viewers. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 92 percent, Shang-Chi also stars seasoned actor Tony Leung as Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu, or The Mandarin.
But one person who has taken the internet by storm and has catapulted to superstardom is the movie’s protagonist Simu Liu.
The star made a name for himself with CBC sitcom Kim’s Convenience (2016–2021), available on Netflix. He has also appeared in various series like Heroes Reborn (2015–2016), Nikita (2010–2013), Warehouse 13 (2009–2014), Blood and Water (2015– ), Taken (2017–2018) and Air Crash Investigation (2003– ).
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Shang-Chi star.
1. He worked with Deloitte as an accountant
PLEASE STOP USING MY FACE FOR YOUR ACCOUNTING MATERIALS!!
I WAS AN ACCOUNTANT FOR 9 MONTHS I WAS AWFUL AT IT AND I HATED EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY AT WORK
(That’s not to say that accounting is not a perfectly valid pursuit for certain people!! Live yo best life!!) pic.twitter.com/lhqr7Y6YZ8
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) May 16, 2019
In a stint with Deloitte, the Canadian actor worked as an accountant before being sacked. That’s when Simu Liu decided to pursue acting and convinced his parents to follow his dreams. His parents, who are aeronautic engineers, initially gave in only to disagree later when they realised that he was serious about a career in acting.
In an interview with PEOPLE, he shared: “I think they knew that I was going through a lot with the loss of my job. But they became more and more panicked as they realised that I was actually serious. We had a lot of arguments about it. My parents felt like I was throwing my life away.”
2. The multi-faceted star dances and sings like a pro
Liu displays his singing skills on Instagram for his followers and has collaborated with singer-songwriter AJ Rafael for his YouTube videos. He can also play the guitar and the piano with ease. You only have to scroll through his Instagram to know how talented Simu Liu is in the music department as well.
The first Asian lead of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has also lent his voice to one of Shang-Chi’s soundtracks — “Hot Soup”.
In a candid chat with Entertainment Weekly, he revealed about LX4 — a band that he started with his friends in high school. The actor also went on to reminisce about the good old days when he was a part of the University of Western Ontario’s hip-hop dance team.
3. Simu Liu was a stock image model
Me laughing at the people who thought we’d flop pic.twitter.com/7UoLqRXlCJ
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) September 6, 2021
This one made waves on social media, with even the actor sharing stock images, featuring himself, on Twitter along with some hilarious captions.
4. Apart from performing stunts himself, he has been a stunt double
The hype train has left the station, so grab on and hang tight. Make history with us on September 3rd. pic.twitter.com/0q3jFY8IxH
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) August 31, 2021
If the well-choreographed and impeccably performed stunts in Cretton’s Shang-Chi has impressed you, then you should know that the Kim’s Convenience TV series actor was musician Pete Wentz’s stunt double for Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” music video.
5. The Marvel movie star is a writer and producer too
Adding another feather to his hat,Liu co-wrote, executive produced and starred in the 2017 short film Meeting Mommy.
The Shang-Chi star Simu Liu also wrote an episode for a Canadian crime-drama series Blood and Water (2015– ). He was also a part of the show’s cast.
6. Liu has written a memoir
I wrote a book. pic.twitter.com/Xb4o7qFkpQ
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) June 10, 2021
If all this wasn’t enough to impress, you must know that the multi-hyphenated star has penned a book — We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story.
He has collaborated with one of the world’s leading publishing houses, HarperCollins, for this memoir about his family’s struggles in China and when they immigrated to North America. He says, “It was hard, and far from perfect… but it’s OUR story.”
7. The Marvel studios star is a fan of basketball, crochet and anime
View this post on Instagram
When asked about the subreddits he checks out the most, the Canadian actor wrote: “Still pretty much check r/nba on a daily basis to keep up with all things basketball. And occasionally take my talents to r/CrochetPatterns to drop a little knowledge.”
Talking about his favourite anime shows and series, he wrote on Reddit that “Bleach and Dragonball Z but really Pokemon and Digimon” were among those he likes most.
8. He didn’t have much Kung Fu experience before Shang-Chi
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) December 3, 2018
In an interview with guest host Sean Hayes on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Shang-Chi star Simu Liu said that he had to practise several forms of martial arts for the role as his experience with Kung fu was only limited to performing backflips and a couple of stunt jobs in Toronto, Canada.
His transformation into a bona fide ninja is out for the audience to see.
View this post on Instagram
9. Simu Liu is UNICEF’s Canada Ambassador
In October 2020, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) made him their Canada Ambassador.
The actor took to Instagram to share the news. He wrote: “Being a @UNICEFCanada ambassador means being able to shed a light on the plight of vulnerable children all over the world. It means fighting for each child’s right to bare necessities like food, water, shelter, education and immunisation. It means cutting through the misinformation, politicking and manufactured outrage to address real issues affecting children today. I’m incredibly honoured to be joining the UNICEF team and I can’t wait to do great and impactful things together!”
The Kim’s Convenience star has also joined hands with California Milk Processing Board and No Kid Hungry for the Stay Strong Together campaign, which aims to combat child hunger during the pandemic.
10. In a self-fulfilled prophecy of sorts, the actor tweeted Marvel to bring in an Asian-American hero
Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) July 17, 2014
In 2014, way before Marvel’s Shang-Chi was conceived, Liu asked Marvel about launching an Asian-American superhero. When Marvel was thinking about translating Shang-Chi to screen, he persistently tweeted about it in 2018.
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) December 3, 2018
His tweets bore fruit in 2019 when during San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel announced him as the lead of Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings.
(Main image credit: © 2021 – Marvel/Disney via IMDb)