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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

How Simu Liu became Shang-Chi with a tweet and a mysterious phone call

Many believe it was the fateful tweet Simu Liu composed on December 4, 2018 that changed his fortunes and snagged Shang-Chi for him. The tweet, which is still up, read, "OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi."

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 3, 2021 8:19:33 am
Simu Liu, shang chiSimu Liu's take on Shang-Chi has received positive reception. (Photo: Marvel Studios)

Simu Liu essays the titular superhero in Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the first MCU film featuring a superhero of Asian origin.

Liu, a Canadian of Chinese descent, began his career as an extra on Guillermo del Toro’s monster movie Pacific Rim. After years of stunt work, he was cast in Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience — his first break. He was also a part of sci-fi thriller series Orphan Black’s final season, but remained little known

Many believe it was the fateful tweet he composed on December 4, 2018 that changed his fortunes and brought him into the ambit of Marvel Studios.

The tweet, which is still up, read, “OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi.” After he was cast he quote-tweeted the original tweet and quipped, “Thanks for getting back to me.”

However, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige insisted that the tweet did not play a part in the actor’s casting and he actually found out about the viral post after Liu was already Shang-Chi.

Feige said during the film’s premiere, “Along with our casting director Sarah Finn, (we) scoured the Earth looking for Shang-Chi. He tweeted, which we found out after he was cast; but he had an amazing audition, he had an amazing reel, did some great work up on in Canada. And just brought as you will find soon a relatability to it that all Marvel heroes need but he can also achieve, we believe, that sort of iconic status to stand within the pantheon of Marvel heroes.”

In a press conference, Liu explained his casting process as an answer to a question. He said, “I remember very clearly it was 6:30 pm. I was in my underwear, and had just woken up from a nap. I was eating shrimp crackers, not doing anything. And then I got a phone call from an unknown number in Burbank, California. I remember my heart skipped a beat because it was so mysterious. I feel like I knew who it was. It was Kevin Feige, and he offered me the role. It was such an insane moment because I knew that my life would never be the same. And he said, ‘Look, in four days, I want you to go to Comic Con. And we’re going to bring you out in front of everybody. You’re going to be announced to the world as our very own all new Shang Chi.’ And that’s what he did. He flew me down and my life really was never the same after that.”

It appears Marvel’s trust on Simu has paid rich dividends. The film, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, has received highly positive reviews, with a 92 per cent score on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus reads, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn’t entirely free of Marvel’s familiar formula, but this exciting origin story expands the MCU in more ways than one.

Also starring Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, and Tony Leung, the film releases on September 3.

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