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What You Might Not Know About Marvel Star Simu Liu

Simu Liu, who plays the titular Shang-Chi in Marvel's upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is gearing up to be the MCU's next big star. The Canadian actor, who was born in Harbin, China, and moved with his family to Mississauga, Ontario, as a young child, has been acting since 2012.

He is best known for his role in the hit Canadian comedy Kim's Convenience, which follows the misadventures of a Korean-Canadian family running a convenience store. Liu received a nomination for Outstanding Performance by the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Actors for his portrayal of eldest son Jung Kim. He also starred appeared in the 2017 television adaption of Liam Neeson's Taken, and the popular Canadian crime drama Blood and Water

Liu's upcoming role in the MCU, however, will undoubtedly be his biggest yet, and he has wanted to star in the franchise for some time. In 2014, he tweeted, "Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt. America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?" We're sure Liu could have never imagined he would go on to become that hero. 

In 2018, when Marvel announced the Shang-Chi film, Liu took to Twitter again, this time saying, "OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi."

Little did Liu know his dream was soon to become a reality. However, acting wasn't always part of his life plan.

A very fortuitous firing

Though Simu Liu had always been interested in the arts, like many people, he initially chose a more stable career path. Per The Globe and Mail, Liu graduated from the Ivey Business School at Canada's Western University, where he majored in accounting. He then took a job with international accounting firm Deloitte. Less than a year into the job, Liu was laid off. However, he took that as a sign to pivot toward his passion for acting.

With such a big role (and surely, big paycheck) now, it seems losing his accounting job was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

The actor doesn't seem nostalgic for his days behind a desk, either. In 2019, he tweeted a picture of an accounting textbook featuring his face, saying "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." 

We're confident that Liu definitely doesn't feel the same way about his current line of work.

Simu Liu's stuntman background is perfect for the MCU

Any actor signing up for a Marvel project knows that some stunts will be required. Fortunately for Simu Liu, he has significant experience in that department.

In fact, he launched his acting career as a stuntman, starting in the 2012 horror film Sick. He also gave his talent for stunts to other projects, including Heroes Reborn and an episode of Designated Survivor. Surprisingly, Liu was even a stunt-double for musician Pete Wentz in the music video for Fall Out Boy's song "Centuries." Outside of his work as a stuntman, Liu is an experienced martial artist and gymnast and often takes to social media to showcase his talents.

While most major film studios want to protect their leading stars from accidents while doing stunts, it's highly likely that Liu did plenty of his own during filming for Shang-Chi. With his impressive athletic background, Liu was arguably the ideal choice to kick off this new entry to the MCU.

Simu Liu is active behind the camera, too

Apart from his experience as an actor and stunt performer, Simu Liu is also a writer and filmmaker.

He began writing during his time on Blood and Water – where he was able to join the writer's room — and even penned an entire season 2 episode. Liu has also written and starred in three separate short films. These include Open Gym, a story of a man joining a martial arts class, and Meeting Mommy, about a little girl who only sees her mother once a year. The latter movie was an official selection at the 2017 Reel World Film Festival.

Notably, Liu also wrote, directed, and starred in a short entitled Crimson Defender vs. The Slightly Racist Family, where he stars as a superhero facing his greatest challenge: racial ignorance.  

Additionally, Liu has his own production company, 4:12 Entertainment, and has shared that it was "created with the specific mandate of supporting [Asian American] stories." The company is named for the day (April 12) in which Liu was laid off as an accountant.

Simu Liu is a vocal activist

In his real life, Simu Liu has been a vocal activist against anti-Asian racism, which has unfortunately seen a surge during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2021, he even wrote a guest column for Variety on that very topic.

"You need to know why rhetoric like 'the China virus' encourages hate toward all Asian people — not just Chinese. Anti-Asian racism is very real, and it will not be solved with an opulent rom-com or Marvel superhero, but with you — the bystanders — acknowledging the validity of our pain," he wrote in the powerful, affecting article.

Liu was also featured in 2021's Time's 100 Talks, where he shared his feelings on being the first major Asian superhero. "I loved comics as a kid, I loved superheroes, but I really didn't see myself represented in that space," he explained. "I really hope with this movie, kids who are like me, who grew up similarly, can have that. That's really the power of representation: seeing yourself on screen and feeling like you're a part of this world, which for Asian children who have grown up in the West hasn't always been the case."

Liu seems to have the whole package to be a Marvel star — acting chops, athletic ability, and of course, leading-man good looks. We're eager to see his debut in the MCU as Shang-Chi and can't wait until the film drops on September 3, 2021.