Shang-Chi star Simu Liu: I will never change my Chinese name
The creatives behind Marvel’s first-ever Asian-led superhero movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arrived in London last week to attend the premiere on the "Blue Carpet" at the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair.
Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, the director Destin Daniel Cretton and producer Jonathan Schwartz all attended the premiere. Sandra Oh also showed up in support of the cast. Although Tony Leung didn’t make it to the premiere, the night still belonged to the shining Asian Hollywood stars.
Group photo of Shang Chi cast in front of the ten rings. Courtesy: Shang Chi production crew.
The action-adventure fantasy tells the story of a young man, named Shang-Chi, who left his warrior family to live in San Francisco. His father, Wen Wu discovered the mystical and powerful weapon - Ten Rings and founded the Ten Rings organization, conquering kingdoms by the magic power from the Rings throughout history. Trained to be an assassin, Shang-Chi was sent out by his father to do a secret mission, but he decided to leave his father and the organization. Shang-Chi’s younger sister Xialing was left in the Ten Ring’s compound but ran away and found her own underground fight club 6 years later.
After living a quiet life in San-Francisco, working as a humble valet-parking employee with is best friend Katy, while Xialing is running her underground fight club in Macau, Shang-Chi and Xialing are haunted by their own father to get their pendants that once were given by their mother. Wen Wu believes his wife is held captive in her village, Ta Lo, and the pendants are the key to find the way to Ta Lo. Wen Wu sets up his mind to save his wife even though people from Ta Lo told him he was only having hallucinations, but Wen Wu decides to burn the whole village down.
Photography: From left to right: Canadian-American actress Sandra Oh, Simu Liu and Malaysian actress Michelle Yeon. Courtesy: Shang Chi production crew.
Shang-Chi, Xialing and Katy choose to protect the Ta Lo village along with the villagers, a battle ensues…
The action sequences and fight choreography were guided by Jackie Chan’s stunt team, while the filming style was inspired by a range of different kung-fu movies that include The Grandmaster and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Sima Liu who plays Shang-Chi in the film grew up in Canada and still insists on using his Chinese name in pinyin as over choosing an English name. Simu said: “Learning about my name and understanding its roots and where I came from is very important to me and so today, I'm extremely proud of my name and I would never ever, ever change it.”
Photography: Simu gives a speech at the premiere. Courtesy: Shang Chi production crew.
Awkwafina who plays Katy in the film also talked about how it feels to be an Asian actress in Holloywood, she shared her own experience of growing up with few Asian-American role-models and feels that change is happening. Awkwafina said: “Growing up I did not have a lot of Asian American representation. I had Lucy Liu. I love Charlie's Angels. And seeing Margaret Cho does stand-up comedy when I was very young was very important. You have to see people like yourself to materialize your dreams. So, I think it's important for kids to see a superhero like Shang-Chi.”
Photography: Awkwafina at the premiere. Courtesy: Shang Chi production crew.
Director, Destin Daniel Cretton disclosed how he tried to make the film authentically Chinese. Cretton said: “One of our co-writers is Chinese American. That was a place that we started was from his experience growing up as a Chinese American. Once we started shooting, our crew was filled with cultural experts, stunt people and storytellers who were from Mainland China, my interpreter was also from Mainland China. So, we were constantly surrounded by people who were saying, ‘Oh, that's not right. Or you, you probably want a different type of food on the table…all of that was happening along the way.”
Photography: Destin Daniel Cretton, director of Shang Chi gives a speech at the premiere. Courtesy: Shang Chi production crew.
The movie now sits at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and has received a 98% audience score. It currently tops the $250 million global box office peak standing at $257.6 million, exceeding all expectations.
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