If you’re headlining a new Marvel movie, kicking off what will hopefully be a new superhero franchise, the “product of all who came before you”, well of course you’re going to be on American late night television. It’s a tradition.
Last night Simu Liu made his first appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, guest-hosted by Sean Hayes. This is going to be a time of firsts for Simu. Earlier this week, at the premiere of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, that was his first mega red carpet where he was the lead star. So, naturally, during his interview with Sean, he talked about bringing his parents – his very Chinese parents with their expert level “mental gymnastics”, always there to remind their children who made it all possible.
Simu does well on the show. The predetermined talking points and anecdotes work well, he’s relaxed but also energetic but also not too energetic, a good amount of confidence combined with a good amount of earnestness. As he’s said, and that’s what’s being messaged along with the movie too, he’s ready – he’s ready for the responsibility, for the pressure, and for the moment. And for it not to be a moment. As he told Variety on the carpet the other night:
“Because we’ve been celebrating a lot of firsts in our community — when ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ came out three years ago, we celebrated that as the first studio movie with a predominantly Asian cast in almost 25 years. I’m looking forward to the moment where we no longer celebrate firsts. We’re celebrating seconds, and thirds, and fourths, and fifths. So I’ll take this moment for what it is. It is absolutely that watershed moment. … But I hope that there are many more just like it afterwards.”
What I like about Simu is what I mentioned the other day – he takes big swings. He also said to Variety that, “…I, and we all, believe in this movie and how incredible it’s going to be. It’s truly going to change the world.”
I mean that’s a huge swing, non? To say that your movie is going to change the world?
In my experience as a child of immigrants, the huge swing isn’t the default. Instead, you hedge. You don’t want to expect too much. You protect yourself from disappointment. You play it safe, because the road is already so full of obstacles. But this isn’t what Simu is doing here. He’s leaning into the risk, he’s going for it. From my vantage point, and background, it’s exhilarating to watch.