Set to be released in September 2021, Shang-Chi is poised to make history as the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that focuses on an Asian lead as well as having an Asian filmmaking team.
Liu will be playing the titular character, Shang-Chi, who is a skilled martial artist trained from a young age by his father to be an assassin.
Here is everything we know about Liu.
Who is Simu Liu?
Simu Liu is a Chinese-born Canadian actor — but he was not always in the business of showbusiness.
Liu’s professional background is actually in the business of, well, business. He graduated with an Honours of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario and took a job as an accountant in Toronto at Deloitte.
After being laid off in 2012 at the age of 23, Liu explored other career options before eventually deciding to move into acting and performing stunts as a stuntman.
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On his decision to pursue acting, Liu told Character Media that there was no set point where he said, “‘Oh, I’m laid off from my job. I am now going to pursue acting'”, but rather “it was just meant to be something to pass the time” before moving back into the workforce.
He calls it a “happy accident”.
Accident or not, Liu now has thousands of fans worldwide, including those on social media. His Twitter account has almost 250,000 followers, and his Instagram account has almost 420,000 followers.
If the history of Liu’s Marvel co-stars is anything to go by, the thousands will soon turn to millions. Although, you may not realise that you might actually know him already.
What movies and TV shows has Simu Liu been in?
Aside from his role as an extra in the 2013 film Pacific Rim, Liu’s early onscreen credits include ‘Hong Kong Police Constable’ in a 2012 episode of action-thriller television show Nikita and ‘EMT’ in a 2014 episode of science-fiction police procedural Beauty and the Beast.
Liu was also part of the Heroes Reborn stunt team, appearing in three episodes as a stunt double in 2015.
It was his role as a series regular in crime drama series Blood and Water (2015-2016) that truly saw him gain recognition as an actor, receiving ACTRA and Canadian Screen Award nominations for his work on the show in 2017.
The star also played Jung Kim, the troubled son of Sang-il and Yong-mi Kim and brother to Janet Kim, in acclaimed television series Kim’s Convenience from 2016 to 2021.
It was this main role that earned him a loyal fanbase, and an ACTRA Award in 2017 for Outstanding Performance — Ensemble.
Liu has also guest-starred in Orphan Black, Fresh Off the Boat and Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, and played Gilbert in the drama Women Is Losers, which was released in March 2021.
He was one of Hello! Canada‘s 50 Most Beautiful Canadians and 25 Hottest Bachelors in 2017 and 2018.
In addition to upcoming Shang-Chi, Liu will star in an undisclosed role in Simon Cellan Jones’ film Arthur The King, which is currently filming.
Is Simu Liu in a relationship?
While Liu has no official wife or girlfriend, there is speculation he has been or is romantically linked with Korean-Canadian actress and model Tina Jung — but neither have confirmed the nature of their relationship.
Liu and Jung appeared to have met in 2016, either on the set of Kim’s Convenience, where she played Jeanie Park in two episodes, or Beauty and the Beast, where she played ‘Student Jennifer’ in one episode.
Jung has also appeared in Suits, playing Bridget in the 2018 episode ‘Right-Hand Man’ and Good Witch, playing Olivia in the 2019 episode ‘The Prince’.
The duo most recently worked on short film Meeting Mommy, which they wrote and produced together. Released in February 2018 on Wong Fu Productions’ YouTube channel, the short amassed over 250,000 views in its first week.
It now has 690,000 views.
What is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings about?
Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be part of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, joining upcoming films Black Widow (2021), Eternals (2021), Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Black Panther II (2022), Captain Marvel 2 (2022), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2022), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) and Fantastic Four.
Phase Four kicked off earlier this year with the release of series WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus, and will continue with shows Loki, What If…?, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Secret Invasion, Ironheart, Armor Wars and a currently untitled series focusing on Wakanda.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will follow Liu’s character, Shang-Chi, who is forced to confront his past as he is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organisation.
The film will revisit the Mandarin, a classic Marvel villain who originally appeared in Iron Man 3 and was played by Ben Kingsley.
In Iron Man 3, however, the Mandarin turned out to be an actor, and the actual Mandarin will be played by Tony Leung in Shang-Chi.
The Mandarin will take on a different form to its source material — in the comics, the Mandarin is Fu Manchu, who is also Shang-Chi’s father.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton told Entertainment Weekly he wanted to change the problematic aspects of Fu Manchu, who instead will now be replaced by an original character called Wenwu.
While Wenwu will also be Shang-Chi’s father and the Mandarin, Cretton said Leung’s Wenwu brought “a humanity” that the character needed that would also not play into Asian stereotypes.
Cretton wanted to avoid making Wenwu “a one-dimensional villain with no heart” by ensuring the character has “a deep ability to love”.
Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, Ronny Chieng and Dallas Liu will also appear in the film, which is said to also feature the Marvel character Death Dealer in an unknown capacity.
Earlier this week on April 19, which is also Simu Liu’s birthday, the star released a teaser poster showing Shang-Chi in costume.
Marvel Studios then quickly released a new teaser trailer for Shang-Chi on the film’s official social media platforms.
Does Simu Liu have a background in martial arts?
The character Shang-Chi is well-known for his prowess in martial arts and is also called the Master of Kung Fu.
Liu, who stands at a height of six feet (approx. 180 centimetres), seems to be perfectly cast — according to The Toronto Sun, the actor has a strong background in martial arts such as Taekwondo and Wing-Chun, as well as gymnastics.
Due his martial arts and stuntman skills, and the fact that the character of Shang-Chi does not wear a mask, Liu actually learned and performed many of his own stunts for the film.
Shang-Chi was originally scheduled to be released on February 12, 2021, the first day of the Chinese New Year, but was delayed to May and then July due to coronavirus.
It is now set to be released only in cinemas on September 3 this year.
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