From accountant to actor to Marvel’s latest superhero, Canadian Simu Liu is living out his wildest dreams.
“It really felt like Cinderella. Like a fairy godmother waved a magic wand and all of a sudden – ta da! – and I’m at the ball,” the “Kim’s Convenience” star tells ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante. “It’s beyond anything I ever could have imagined or dreamed of.”
Just days after Marvel’s big Hall H announcement at Comic-Con, which introduced the world to the Liu, the actor is back home in Toronto, recounting his whirlwind week. That’s right – Liu reveals he only found out about nabbing the new role seven days ago before being whisked away to Comic-Con as “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was announced as part of Marvel’s Phase 4.
“It all came to part in the span of a week which is the craziest part. You spend your whole life reading about superheroes and maybe one being one and then in just lie a day, they’re like, ‘okay,'” he explains.
Two days after he screen-tested for the role of the superhero in New York, Liu reveals he got a call from Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige while the actor was “at home in his underwear, eating shrimp crackers.” With the news he not only had the part but would have to be in San Diego on stage at Hall H in 4 days, Liu was ecstatic.
“I can’t describe how I felt. I think I cried hysterically. I can’t remember if it was on the phone or after but probably a bit of both,” he says, admitting he’s been “obsessed” by the idea of Shang-Chi for years, tweeting about it years prior. “I couldn’t process it. Just having to go to San Diego so quickly but then also not being able to tell anybody was really hard. Though I told my parents. It was just like, ‘holding it in, holding it in,’ for this announcement that was going to happen and when I finally showed up in San Diego… I just saw like all of the characters I had watched on screen over the last 11 years just passing by. There’s Black Widow, there’s Hawkeye, there’s Loki, there’s Thor, and I was one of them. That was kind of when it hit for me.”
“I don’t think there’s any way to prepare for 8,000 people, some of who have been camping out in order to see you and so I just felt like I owed it to them, to the world, just to be present in that moment,” he describes his Hall H experience. “And just in that moment, I felt sheer gratitude of everything so I tried to let that show.”
“I can’t wait, not only for Asian audiences here in Canada and America to watch it, but also Asian audiences in Asia. I think that’ll be such an amazing experience just to witness,” the actor says, telling Carlos he’s excited about bringing some representation and diversity to the MCU.
“I think about when I was a kid and deciding who to dress up as for Halloween. I didn’t really have necessarily an option that directly spoke to me,” he explains, adding that he dressed up as Green Lantern and Captain America as a kid. “I love superheroes. I think that they’re our modern-day Greek Gods… these larger-than-life legendary people and it feels crazy to me now, hopefully, that in a couple of years people will be able to dress up as Shang-Chi.”
Liu is hoping the diversity continues beyond Shang-Chi.
“It doesn’t stop there. Shang-Chi is only one and there are many that have to come after him,” he adds.
With all of the casting news happening so quickly, Liu isn’t quite sure what happens next.
“I’m reporting for duty in a couple of weeks so I’ll find out then,” he reveals. “I know we have an amazing creative team assembled, an awesome stunt team that has already reached out and we’re talking. It’s going to be a lot of fun crafting the movements of this character, how he fights, and how that evolves over the course of the movie.”
“I know it’s going to be amazing when fans see it,” he says.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and co-starring Awkwafina and Tony Leung, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” will be the second feature film in Marvel’s Phase 4, debuting in 2021.