Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens on Friday. This is the MCU’s first theatrical release in a long time and Shang-Chi is their first Asian-led superhero movie so, as I’ve been saying, it’s a lot – but it’s also exciting. The movie is really good, Sarah’s review will be posted this week, along with my thoughts about how so much of Chinese and kung fu culture have been incorporated into the story.
For now though, let’s focus on the person playing Shang-Chi, the Chinese Canadian actor who is about to become a globally recognised star. What a time to be Simu Liu.
Over the last few weeks, in our photo agencies, I’ve been seeing more and more paparazzi shots of Simu as he travels from LA to London to New York to promote the movie. Here he is in New York yesterday, signing autographs for fans and waving to photographers camped outside his hotel, the same treatment that so many stars before him have received. This is his life now. This is what happens when you become a Marvel superhero and there are action figures in your likeness, your character’s costumes sold at department stores ahead of Halloween. And the movie hasn’t even come out yet.
On Instagram yesterday, Simu shared a video of his recent experience ahead of the Hollywood premiere of Shang-Chi that happened a couple of weeks ago. You see him hanging out with his co-stars, getting ready for the red carpet, going from junket interview to late night talk show to more interviews, all while maintaining a level of enthusiasm you’d expect from someone who is taking on this kind of spotlight as his life, literally, is changing in real time, no exaggeration.
Here’s someone who doesn’t seem to mind the attention, who is basking in the glow of all this Marvel shine. An actor who not only isn’t over it, but who never imagined he’d be in it, and who really never got see anyone else be in it before either. Kinda like how we talk about the privilege of being on a red carpet, say at the Oscars or whatever, period. And the celebrities who for a long time were all sucky about being asked what they were wearing when as we are seeing more and more now, there are people who previously were never invited to those experiences, people of colour, trans people – and when they are? They welcome the opportunity to be called beautiful, to talk about their style and their beauty vibes.
And that’s the energy I’m getting from Simu here. No doubt, there is pressure as we get closer to Friday but at the same time, what he’s going through is unprecedented in the industry. But he looks like he’s having a good time. As Duana always says, this is what makes it fun for everyone else – when they’re having fun, because it *should* be fun, that’s the point of entertainment.