MCU Star Simu Liu Admits He 'Exaggerated' Martial Arts Skills to Land 'Shang-Chi' Role

The 32-year-old actor made the admission during the latest installment of Variety's 'Actors on Actors' series: 'I wanted the job really badly.'

Simu Liu attends the 19th annual Unforgettable Gala at The Beverly Hilton

Image via Getty/Emma McIntyre

Simu Liu attends the 19th annual Unforgettable Gala at The Beverly Hilton

Simu Liu admits he embellished his resume to land the lead role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—the first Asian-fronted film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

The 32-year-old Canadian actor made the admission during the latest installment of Variety’s Actors on Actors series. West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose highlighted Liu’s dance background and the way it may have come in handy for all the fight sequences in Shang-Chi.

“When I got the part, they asked me about my martial arts background and experience, which of course I exaggerated because I wanted the job really badly,” Liu said. “I had done some work as an on-again, off-again stuntman, but if we’re honest, I think I was more of a dancer than I ever was a martial artist.”

Liu went on to say that he dedicated a lot of time and energy to improving his martial arts skills.

“I started working with trainers and learning how to move,” he continued. “I had such awful flexibility. My groin and my tendons were just so stiff. A big part of that early process was just bending my body and trying to rip those legs apart.”

Though he may have bluffed his way into the role, Liu’s portrayal of Shang-Chi was praised by both critics and fans. The film shattered the Labor Day weekend box office record and earned the second-biggest film opening during the pandemic.

Liu, who is now gearing up to host the 2022 Juno Awards, spoke about the film’s impact and its much-anticipated sequel during an interview with Complex last month.

“OK, I wasn’t necessarily surprised,” he said about the sequel announcement. “I mean, we were the No. 1 movie in the domestic box office in the pandemic era [Editor’s note: Spider-Man: No Way Home has since overtaken it] so I knew that we were probably going to another one. But what I really loved was hearing about [director] Destin [Daniel Cretton] coming back. Again, not a surprise, but we absolutely love to see it.”

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