Shang-Chi actor, director on finding destiny with new Marvel movie
Asian representation in new Marvel movie is important for star Simu Liu and director Destin Daniel Cretton
In the upcoming Marvel superhero movie Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Simu Liu's titular protagonist has been hiding his past from those around him.
Destiny is a key aspect in the film, which opens here on Sept 1.
And for Liu, 32, the myth is that he engineered his own destiny in getting the role.
In 2018, the Chinese-Canadian star of sitcom Kim's Convenience famously tweeted: "Ok @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi".
Liu, who confesses that the prospect of acting alongside co-stars Sir Ben Kingsley, Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh gave him "imposter syndrome", took the opportunity at a recent Zoom press conference to ask if indeed Marvel Cinematic Universe's (MCU) grand architect Kevin Feige saw that tweet before he was cast.
Feige came clean that he did not, to much laughter from the cast, who then offered to Liu: "It was not your tweeting - it was your acting ability, your constant professionalism and the multiple reads and meetings that you did."
However, in a bid to not let pragmatism kill magic, the film's director Destin Daniel Cretton added the cosmic suggestion: "But I do think the universe saw that."
Shang-Chi was created to ride the 1970s Kung Fu craze in the US.
While the character has been low-key in the comics, the MCU has often turned them into major players.
Feige explained: "We wanted to bring this character into the MCU, but just as importantly, to bring in representation of another kind."
Cretton, whose mother is Japanese-American, added: "What is extra relevant to the culture is that this is a Marvel film, and if we were not putting Shang-Chi shoulder-to-shoulder with all the other amazing Marvel heroes, that would be a big disservice to the culture and the character."
In between the banter, Kingsley - who is of English and Indian descent - also talked about Shang-Chi being a significant film for Marvel due to its Asian representation.
Said the 77-year-old Oscar winner: "When you hear Destin, you know the motives are pure. They are life-enhancing, not patronising, and introduce memory, ancestry, loss, families torn apart and reunited."
Kingsley then added more lyricism. He said: "If your motives are pure as a storyteller, the angels will come to assist you with that story."
Before he made lauded dramas such as Short Term 12 (2013) and Just Mercy (2019), Cretton spent a couple of years as a care worker at a home for at-risk teenagers.
The 42-year-old said: "The job affected my entire life, my world view.
"The stories I'm drawn to contain humour and optimism, but they don't shy from the very real darkness and pain we all experience."