Simu Liu stars in the new Marvel movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — out this weekend — but there was a time when he wasn’t so sure he would be chosen for the gig.
Although he had martial arts experience and campaigned heavily to get the part, he tells ABC News he was nervous about whether or not Marvel would think he was the right guy, admitting that he had “assumptions” — including that Marvel was looking for a “literal kung fu master.” However, the actor soon realized that it was about so much more.
“From the moment I met [director Destin Daniel Cretton], I kind of clued into what he was looking for, which was something, I think, deeper and something that more spoke to a human experience and to vulnerability and intimacy rather than just playing into the action sequences,” he explains.
Needless to say, Liu landed the role of a lifetime, which also happens to be his first movie role — something he’s ridiculously grateful for and says has “changed [his] life.”
In the film, when we meet Liu, he plays an unassuming guy named Sean who loves his job parking cars in San Francisco and just wants to hang with his best friend, played by Awkwafina. But we soon learn Sean is actually Shang-Chi, son of two ancient mystical warriors, trained in high level combat.
So does Liu feel more like Sean or Shang-Chi?
“I think like Sean, though, I think I’m somebody who feels very much caught between two worlds a lot of the time,” he shares. “And, like Sean, I am also partial to going to karaoke with my buddies on a Saturday night and belting out the lyrics to ‘Hotel California’ or ‘A Whole New World’ or ‘Old Town Road.'”
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