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Thread: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

  1. #16
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    More ruminations on racist roots

    MARCH 13, 2019 5:01pm PT by Graeme McMillan
    How Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' Can Escape a Cliched Comic Book Past



    Ron Wilson/Marvel Entertainment

    Director Destin Daniel Cretton and screenwriter Dave Callaham have the opportunity to take what works about the character and reimagine what doesn't.

    The news that Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton has signed on to direct Marvel’s Shang-Chi is something to be welcomed for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that Cretton’s resume is an impressive one (and, perhaps not coincidentally, features collaborations with Marvel stars Brie Larson and Michael B. Jordan). More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that bringing an Asian-American director onto the project brings the likelihood that the movie will be able to sidestep some of the character’s more… troublesome elements.

    Shang-Chi debuted in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition No. 15, a series that would be retitled The Hands of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu two issues later (and, later still, retitled simply Master of Kung Fu). The character was intended less as a push for greater diversity and more as a consolation prize; creators Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin had hoped to make a comic book version of the television series, Kung Fu; when that failed due to rights issues, Shang-Chi was created to — in the words of Englehart in the book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story — “do the Eastern mystical philosophy.” His name was chosen, apparently, by “throwing the I Ching and mixing and matching hexagrams.”

    Things got arguably worse with the decision by then-editor-in-chief Roy Thomas to tie the character to Sax Rohmer’s racist pulp character Fu Manchu, which Marvel had the comic book license to at the time; as a result, Shang-Chi became the son of Fu Manchu, dedicated to fighting his father once he discovered how evil his parent actually was. (While this predated Star Wars and the relationship between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, it came after Jack Kirby’s New Gods, where the heroic Orion fought against his villainous father Darkseid; given that Englehart would take on the writing of sibling title Mister Miracle soon after, he was likely aware of the Orion/Darkseid similarity.)

    Adding insult to injury, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story also revealed that the character’s design was the result of Starlin drawing a “generic [Asian] face” in early designs as a placeholder, only for Stan Lee to insist that it be kept, topped by simplistic color separations meaning Asian characters were given cartoonishly yellow faces in the series, something especially true of Fu Manchu. It was something so noticeable that letter writers to the series commented upon it, provoking apologies and explanations from editors.

    Shang-Chi, then, was originally the result of recycled ideas, racist pulp characters, limitations of technology at the time and editorial mandates that made the character… less than he could have been, perhaps. (To illustrate the idea that the character deserved — and could be — better, the Master of Kung Fu series stuck around until 1983, becoming a critical hit under the pen of writer Doug Moench and artists Paul Gulacy, Mike Zeck and Gene Day as the series moved away from cliche — and Fu Manchu — and towards a more film noir-inspired take.)

    A Shang-Chi movie offers Marvel a chance to basically reinvent the character and keep little beyond the name and the martial arts theme — something that, ironically, offers Marvel a second do-over, as the chance to redeem itself after accusations of cultural appropriation and insensitivity over the Marvel TV/Netflix series Iron Fist arose. Cretton has the opportunity and, as his past work demonstrates, the sensitivity, to ditch everything that doesn’t work about Shang-Chi’s past and, taking lessons from Marvel Studios’ treatment of characters like Hawkeye, the Falcon and Star-Lord, basically start afresh from all-but-scratch. Insiders say this is the approach screenwriter Dave Callaham is taking with the character.

    Sure, it might upset the hardcore fanboys, but if the success of Black Panther and Captain Marvel should have taught Marvel executives, there’s significant financial upside in offering powerful representation to under-served audiences in the MCU. Let Cretton rebuild Shang-Chi into the hero Asian and Asian-American audiences want to see. There’s no worthwhile argument against it.
    Just make the movie already. Or at least cast the lead...
    Gene Ching
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  2. #17
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    Destin Daniel Cretton

    MARCH 13, 2019 11:25am PT by Aaron Couch, Borys Kit
    Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' Sets Director Destin Daniel Cretton


    Getty Images; Courtesy of Marvel
    Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi

    The 'Short Term 12' filmmaker will tackle the studio's first project starring an Asian lead.

    Marvel Studios has hired its director for Shang-Chi, the project that will feature the studio's first Asian lead.

    Destin Daniel Cretton will direct the feature, based on the classic character known for his martial arts prowess. Cretton broke out with the 2013 indie favorite Short Term 12, which starred Brie Larson as a woman working in a group home for teenagers. Cretton reteamed with Larson for 2017's The Glass Castle, and he is currently directing the Captain Marvel star and Black Panther's Michael B. Jordan in Just Mercy, based on the memoir of Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson.

    Other filmmakers who were in the running to helm Shang-Chi included Dear White People's Justin Tipping; Master of None's Alan Yang, who is behind the upcoming John Cho movie Tigertail; and Deborah Chow, whose credits include episodes of Reign, Jessica Jones and the upcoming Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian.

    Shang-Chi, who in the comics was born in China to a Chinese father and a white American mother, first appeared in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition No. 15 and was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin after Marvel failed to acquire the comic book rights to the television series Kung Fu. Shang-Chi was trained as a martial artist assassin by his father, the infamous pulp villain Fu Manchu, but later became a hero after rebelling against his father's ways. Shang-Chi was a hit character in the '70s, and recently saw a revival as a member of the Avengers during 2012’s Marvel Now! Publishing event.

    Wonder Woman 1984 screenwriter Dave Callaham is penning the script for Shang-Chi and will update the character for modern audiences. Marvel is said to be planning on assembling a largely Asian-American and Asian cast for the feature.

    Marvel head Kevin Feige is producing, with Marvel’s Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Jonathan Schwartz executive producing. The studio is coming off of last week's successful opening of Captain Marvel, which has already passed the $500 million mark at the box office and is the studio's first female-led outing.

    News of Shang-Chi comes as Marvel eyes an end to the 11-year journey it began with 2008's Iron Man and will in some ways conclude with next month's Avengers: Endgame. Aside from Spider-Man: Far From Home (due out July 5), the studio has not revealed its post-Endgame plans, though films it has in the works include sequels to Black Panther and Doctor Strange, a Black Widow prequel and The Eternals.

    Cretton is repped by WME and attorney Chad Christopher of Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher.
    Anyone seen Short Term 12 or The Glass Castle?
    Gene Ching
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  3. #18
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    I keep wondering when (or if) the superhero movie genre will begin to tank (i.e., superhero burnout). Especially the Marvel Studios ones. They keep coming out with so many, I don't even follow most of them anymore, especially the Avengers/Thor/Iron Man/ Spider-Man, etc. I haven't followed any of the Avengers or related movies since Captain America: Civil War. After awhile, there is a sameness to it all.

    The genre is red hot right now, but will it experience the same fate as the old-school kung fu and spaghetti western genres? They made literally hundreds of movies in each of those genres for years and years, but now it's all in the past. One might argue that the kung fu genre is still alive, but in reality it's been on life support for at least two decades, and it has nowhere near the variety, creativity, attitude, excitement and fun factor of the golden age of KF cinema.

    All Marvel Studios has to do with Shang Chi is delete the stupid Sax Rohmer/Fu Manchu/Sir Nayland Smith angle, which should be easy to do. They should also make Shang Chi full Chinese, as opposed to requiring him to have a European mother like in the comic. That mix was to make him (like Kwai Chang Caine) acceptable to Western audiences, and added nothing to the Shang Chi character.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 03-15-2019 at 08:56 AM.

  4. #19
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    Feige comments

    Kevin Feige Teases 'Shang-Chi' on 'Avengers: Endgame' Press Tour
    By ADAM BARNHARDT - April 21, 2019 09:55 pm



    Come July, Marvel Studios' Phase 3 will wrap up with Spider-Man: Far From Home but beyond that, the future is still uncertain. Sure, there have been reports of various movies heading into production but the studio has yet to confirm a single film past Far From Home. One of those rumored projects is Shang-Chi, a movie featuring Marvel's martial arts maestro.

    On a press tour stop for Avengers: Endgame in China, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased the introduction of a Chinese Avenger in the coming years, boosting hope that the Shang-Chi film will be one of the projects announced for a post-Avengers: Endgame world.

    "This is not an Endgame question, this is a question about the future," Feige said in response to a fan question. "I'm not supposed to answer questions about the future but in this case, I will because the answer is yes."

    In a separate interview earlier in the week, Feige called the prospects of a Shang-Chi film "very intriguing" to the studio, saying the film will be very different than anything that's come before it.

    “I think every movie that we do is a risk. We only want to do movies that people seem to think are risks. Doing the story of an Asian-American hero of Chinese heritage is something that is very intriguing to us. It will be really different and special,” Feige said when asked if Shang-Chi is viewed as a risky project.

    “I hope audiences around the world respond to it in the same way they did to Steve Rogers... whether they have [an] American flag or not. It’s about the individual storyline, spectacle and adventure that come with Marvel Studios movies.”

    Captain Marvel is now in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Studios films include Avengers: Endgame on April 26th and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 2nd.
    It's all about who they cast for the role to me.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #20
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    Donnie & Ludi

    SHANG-CHI Shortlist Reportedly Includes AQUAMAN's Ludi Lin; Donnie Yen Also Said To Be Up For Role



    Reports indicate that Marvel Studios is looking at a November shoot for the Shang-Chi movie, and we now have word on two actors that may be on the shortlist for lead roles.

    Mark Cassidy | 6/17/2019



    All signs point to Marvel Studios getting Shang-Chi into production later this year, and we now have word on two actors who may be in line for lead roles in the film.

    According to That Hashtag Show, Ludi Lin (Aquaman, Black Mirror, Power Rangers) is a top choice to play the titular martial arts expert - although there's no indication that he has met with the studio about the role just yet. Apparently, 13 Reasons Why actor Ross Butler is also on Kevin Feige's radar.

    In addition, Marvel reportedly "hopes to meet" with the legendary Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) for another lead role. While there is a chance it's Shang-Chi himself, it's far more likely to be the mysterious "wise old statesman" character we heard about last month.

    While THS has brkle plenty of scoops in the past, we'll have to take this as a rumor for the time being. If there's anything to it, expect the trades to weigh in sooner rather than later.

    Shang-Chi will be directed by Destin Cretton from a acrip by David Callaham
    Ludi would work for me. I just saw him in Black Mirror S5:E1 and thought he was good in that. Donnie is too old for the lead, but would make a good supporting character.

    What this needs is Awkwafina or Ali Wong...
    Gene Ching
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  6. #21
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    Who's it gonna be?

    JULY 15, 2019 11:48PM PT
    China Thrilled by Prospect of Chinese Casting for Shang-Chi, ‘Marvel’s First Chinese Hero’
    By REBECCA DAVIS


    CREDIT: MARVEL/DISNEY/KOBAL/SHUTTERSTOCK

    China’s internet is thrilled by news that Marvel appears to be insisting on casting an ethnic Chinese actor as Shang-Chi in the master of kung fu’s own spinoff film and has begun scouting out candidates for the role.

    Variety reporter Justin Kroll tweeted Sunday that Marvel is apparently “putting out test offers for a group of men in their 20s” for its “Shang-Chi” movie. He added that the studio has “been adamant to reps offering up their clients for the role” that candidates “have to be of Chinese ancestry,” with no other Asian ancestry accepted.

    Twitter is blocked on China’s highly censored internet, but that hasn’t stopped the tweet from going viral in the mainland. Users have screen-grabbed it and spread it on China’s parallel Weibo platform, where the hashtag “Shang-Chi casting” has since been viewed 100 million times, and the hashtag “Marvel’s first Chinese hero” has been viewed 590 million times, as well as picked up by all the major entertainment media outlets.

    “First we got China’s first Disney princess, and then we got China’s first Marvel hero!” one publication declared excitedly, referring to Disney’s “Mulan,” whose title character is played by Chinese-born actress Liu Yifei. Last week, the first trailer and poster for the film caused a sensation on the Chinese internet, with some users saying they even shed tears of excitement.

    Most of the online chatter about Shang-Chi at present is about whom users would love to see in the role. Age notwithstanding, some of the more popular names bandied about have been Eddie Peng (“Operation Mekong”), Zhang Jin (“Ip Man 3”, Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster”), Wu Jing (“Wolf Warrior 2”), Huang Jingyu (“Operation Red Sea”), Ashton Chen Xiaolong (“Ip Man 2”), Li Xian (“The Founding of an Army”), rapper Jackson Wang, Leo Wu Lei (TV series “Nirvana in Fire”), and Liu Haoran (“Detective Chinatown 2”). Peng, who is starring in the upcoming big-budget Dante Lam blockbuster “Rescue,” is a clear favorite.

    China is a critical market for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has an enormous, vocal fan base in the world’s second-largest film market. In April, “Avengers: Endgame” broke dozens of box office records in the mainland to earn a massive $614 million, becoming the country’s third-highest-grossing film of all time. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” has grossed $166 million so far in Chinese theaters, while “Captain Marvel” brought in $154 million in March.
    Ashton Chen Xiaolong would be awesome. I knew him when he was a little boy. Here's my cover story on his dad, Chen Tongshan - Shaolin Masters Keeping the Faith (NOV+DEC 2008)
    Gene Ching
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  7. #22

    Question Does he even know Kung Fu?

    Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ Finds Its Lead
    By Justin Kroll

    Marvel has found its next superhero.

    The studio announced that Simu Liu has been tapped to star in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” during its Hall H presentation at Comic Con, joining cast member Awkwafina, who was also announced during the presentation. Additionally, Veteran actor Tony Leung has joined the film as The Mandarin, an uber-villain introduced in “Iron Man 3. “Destin Cretton is on board to direct.

    Insiders say Liu was one of several actors who tested this week for the part and was chosen by Marvel just before the studio headed into Comic Con.

    The original Marvel Comics Shang-Chi follows Shang, a half-Chinese, half-American superhero created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin. In the comics, Shang-Chi is a master of numerous unarmed and weaponry-based wushu styles, including the use of the gun, nunchaku, and jian. Shang-Chi first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 in 1973.

    Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige is producing the film. Marvel’s Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Jonathan Schwartz are executive producers on the project.

    Liu, whose family moved from China to Canada when he was a child, originally worked as an accountant, before moving over to acting as an extra in Legendary’s “Pacific Rim” in 2012.

    Soon after, he began nabbing smaller roles in films like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Nikita” before getting his big break in the short lived NBC series “Taken.” Following “Taken,” he landed one of the lead roles in “Kim’s Convience.”

    Liu is best known for his Canadian TV show “Kim’s Convenience,” which has been on air since 2016. Liu was also recently tapped to join the cast of “Fresh Off the Boat” upcoming season.

  8. #23
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    Marvel's first Chinese superhero: Simu Liu cast as Shang-Chi



    I was at SDCC but no, I didn't get into the Marvel panel in Hall H. There were people camped out for that the night before.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #24
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    Jin Hyun·July 22, 2019·7 min read
    Simu Liu Became Marvel’s First Asian Lead With a Tweet




    The Asian American community has been dreaming of getting our very own Asian superhero for years, especially after the success of Marvel’s “Black Panther”.

    This past weekend, we saw the official cast announcement for the highly anticipated film, “Shang-Chi”, with Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu revealed to be portraying the titular martial arts master.

    Liu opened up to The StarThe Star in en exclusive interview on the announcement:

    “I honestly hope this will help to change perceptions of the way Asian Americans and Canadians perceive themselves. Millions of children will watch this movie and feel like they belong in the larger part of the conversation, that they can accomplish anything themselves.”



    As it turns out, Liu has been campaigning for an Asian American superhero long before plans for “Shang-Chi” were even announced.

    Back in 2014, he tweeted at Marvel, writing, “Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?”

    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?

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    Liu has been showing interest in playing a superhero for quite a while now, making this an even more exciting moment for him and his fans everywhere.

    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    People ask why I go shirtless a lot; look, I’m just waiting for Hollywood to make me a superhero suit. #stillwaiting #sunfire #namor #terrymcginnis #amadeuscho



    View image on Twitter
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    Four years after his initial tweet to Marvel, the Disney-owned company officially announced its plans for its very first Asian-led superhero film, to which Liu once again tweeted, “OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi“

    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi

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    The 30-year-old “Kim’s Convenience” star’s tweets have clearly charmed the creators of the film as months after his second tweet to the studio, Liu was finally revealed as the actor portraying the character of Shang-Chi.

    Last night, Liu jokingly responded to his own old tweets, thanking Marvel for getting back to him.
    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    · Jul 17, 2014
    Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?

    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    LOL

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    Well ****.

    — Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) July 21, 2019

    See also

    January 5, 2015

    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    Thanks for getting back to me https://twitter.com/SimuLiu/status/1069696323056586752

    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi

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    While fans are celebrating this announcement, it hasn’t been lost on Liu that the role of Shang-Chi is a huge responsibility to take on, and is a great opportunity for all Asian Americans. “There is so much at stake here; we are fighting for our identity, for our right to be seen, to BELONG,” he wrote. “Eternally grateful to Marvel, to Kevin, Jonathan and Destin for this gift. @awkwafina LET’S GET TO WORK BABYYYYY!!!”

    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    Now that the craziness is over, the work begins.

    There is so much at stake here; we are fighting for our identity, for our right to be seen, to BELONG.

    Eternally grateful to Marvel, to Kevin, Jonathan and Destin for this gift. @awkwafina LET’S GET TO WORK BABYYYYY!!!

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    Alongside Liu, “Crazy Rich Asians” star Awkwafina and legendary Hong Kong actor Tony Leung have also joined the cast.

    “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is set to hit theaters on February 12, 2021 as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four.
    I only looked into Liu cursorily. Does he have a martial background?
    Gene Ching
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  10. #25
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    All Hail the King



    Marvel’s Forgotten One-Shot: All Hail the King

    Marvel Studios held a showstopping Comic-Con panel last weekend, but the most intriguing announcement was about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The Asian-actor-led Marvel movie doesn’t hit theaters until February 2021, but in the meantime, we have a bit of required viewing for anyone excited to see Shang-Chi on the big screen: a direct-to-video short called All Hail the King.

    Released as a bonus feature with the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray (a Marvel Studios low point), this One-Shot was easy to miss. Back then, the studio packaged each movie with a short film that expanded the MCU even further, and All Hail the King is one of the best, featuring Ben Kingsley’s phoney Mandarin villain in jail as he comes face-to-face with the secret criminal organization he pretended to lead.

    With Shang-Chi slated to reveal the actual Mandarin (played by Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), All Hail the King feels like necessary viewing now. The 13-minute short film offers a compelling look at the Ten Rings, a group that could play a huge role in the MCU as we head into Phase Four. It also features Ben Kingsley in top form, and it ends on a thrilling cliffhanger that might even lead straight into Shang-Chi.

    You can find the entire thing right here, or just dig up a Blu-ray copy of Thor: The Dark World to watch it the way Marvel intended. — Jake Kleinman
    Gene Ching
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  11. #26
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    can't please everyone...

    ...especially Chinese netizens.

    I just hope he has decent Kung Fu, ya know?

    Some Chinese think Shang-Chi isn’t hot enough (for them anyway)
    Photo: Handout
    by Qin Chen

    When Marvel cast Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, the studio’s first Asian superhero, the Chinese internet reacted with a collective gasp.

    The casting of the muscular Chinese-Canadian heartthrob, known for his role in the sitcom Kim’s Convenience, may be celebrated in the West, but for some Chinese, he just doesn’t look the part.

    “He looks like how Westerners think us Asians all look,” said one commentator on China’s Twitter-like Weibo. The message is the second-most liked response to a report about Marvel’s casting decision on July 20.

    “Single eyelid, small eyes, square face, check, check, and check,” said another popular post.

    Many say they prefer someone along the lines of Eddie Peng, a Canadian actor born in Taiwan. Peng fits what most Chinese would prefer to see in a romantic leading man: deep-set eyes, narrow nose, chiseled face.

    The reaction on Chinese social media highlights the large aesthetic gap that exists between the East and West about who’s considered hot (or not) among Asians.

    “The kind of Asian beauty embraced by the West would not be considered mainstream in China at all,” Maggie Mao, fashion director of Grazia Magazine China edition, told Inkstone.

    And the complaints would be hard for Marvel to ignore given that China is one of Marvel’s key markets. Avengers: Endgame made 22% of its box office earnings in China.

    Separately, Shang-Chi’s casting of a beloved Hong Kong actor to play a villain that many argue has roots in racism has some calling the film “anti-Chinese.”

    Chinese people have long griped about Hollywood directors casting only “stereotypical-looking” Asians.


    Sandra Oh, a Canadian-American actress, won the 2019 Golden Globe's Best Actress in TV drama.

    From Lucy Liu to Sandra Oh, massively successful entertainers of Asian origin found attractive in the US are often considered unconventional in China.

    Mao, the fashion director, said many Chinese don’t understand why Western tastemakers aren’t casting an aspirational kind of Asian beauty.

    “If you look at the Kardashians, how they have become all-consuming in the US, you find both Americans and Chinese are pursuing similar things: a heightened sense of beauty,” she said.

    As in many parts of East Asia, celebrities in China, especially female stars, are often pale and slim, with perfectly symmetrical and chiseled features.

    Mao said Hollywood rarely seems to cast Asian actors with pale complexions or doe eyes, which are strongly preferred by Chinese.


    Kim's Convenience

    @KimsConvenience
    "We can accomplish great things when we just turn off that fear in ourselves."
    Head over to our Facebook page to learn more about what drives @SimuLiu
    ��https://bit.ly/2LzoAIk

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    Chinese netizens believe Hollywood is “narrow-minded” when it comes to Asian looks.

    Ruonan Zheng, a senior reporter of Jing Daily, a digital publication on luxury business in China, said: “I think the real complaint is of Americans' lack of understanding of China and what’s considered beautiful in China.”

    “Stunning round eyes, curly hair, and pale skin tone, those are in-vogue beauty trends in China.”

    Fan Bingbing and Kris Wu are two prime examples of the most sought-after looks in China.


    Fan Bingbing (left), Chinese actress, and Kris Wu (right), a Chinese-Canadian actor and singer. Photo: EPA-EFE/Franck Robichon and handout

    “Take Lu Yan, for example, most Chinese find her unattractive, and can’t wrap their heads around how Lu would be qualified as a supermodel,” said Dr Wei, a plastic surgeon in Beijing who declined to give her full name.

    Lu, 37, was one of the first Chinese models to make it big in the West. At home, her look was considered “unusual.”

    Dr Wei attributed this aesthetic difference to what she calls “aesthetic fatigue.”

    “When you are in Asia and almost everyone has a flatter nose and smaller-set of eyes, a defined feature helps you to stand out of the pack,” she said.

    “It also explains why Westerners sometimes seek an Asian look, because it's exotic and different from what they have,” Wei added.

    Mainstream Chinese beauty standards are heavily influenced by Korean and Japanese popular culture, which took Western aesthetics and mixed them with Asian trends.

    Fashion editors say Chinese beauty standards are rather uniform, perhaps because of the country’s relatively ****genous population.



    QIN CHEN
    Qin is a multimedia producer at Inkstone. Most recently, she was a senior video producer for The New Yorker’s video team. Prior to that she was at CNBC, making short documentaries and writing about how technology shapes lives.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #27
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    Fu


    Marvel Doesn’t Own The Movie Rights To Shang-Chi’s Biggest Villain

    BY NICHOLAS RAYMOND – ON AUG 26, 2019 IN SR ORIGINALS



    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to finally introduce Iron Man's most iconic villain, The Mandarin, to the MCU, but Shang-Chi's greatest enemy, Fu Manchu, will be nowhere in sight. Why? Because Marvel no longer owns the rights to the character. Mandarin is replacing Fu Manchu as his primary antagonist and possibly as his father as well.

    It was confirmed at SDCC 2019 that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be part of Marvel Studios and Disney's lineup for Phase 4 of the MCU. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the movie stars Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung as the Mandarin, and Awkwafina. Shang-Chi will be the first Marvel film to focus on an Asian superhero, too, which has drawn even more attention to the project. In Marvel Comics, Shang-Chi is the Master of Kung Fu and one of Marvel's two most prominent martial arts superheroes, with the other being Iron Fist.

    In the movie, Shang-Chi will face off against the Mandarin, a villain who has been teased since the first MCU movie, 2008's Iron Man, with the introduction of a terrorist organization called the Ten Rings. Marvel notoriously faked out audiences with Ben Kingsley's Mandarin impersonator in Iron Man 3, but the Marvel one-shot, All Hail the King, proved that the real Mandarin exists somewhere in the MCU. He'll finally make his long-awaited debut in Shang-Chi, taking the place of the character's comic book arch-rival, Fu Manchu.

    WHO IS FU MANCHU?



    Created in 1913 by Sax Rohmer, Dr. Fu Manchu was an evil Chinese criminal mastermind who was often identified by his iconic mustache. Fu Manchu was the leader of a Chinese gang called the Si-Fan. He used the Si-Fan to carry out his dream of returning China to its past glory. His schemes were often thwarted by MI-6, as well as his long-time nemesis, Sir Denis Nayland Smith.

    Rohmer featured Fu Manchu as the titular villain of several novels, published between 1913 and 1959. Due to Fu Manchu's popularity, Rohmer's novels were eventually adapted to the big screen. In the early 1970s, Marvel Comics acquired the rights to Fu Manchu from the Rohmer estate and arranged for the character to be used as the main antagonist and father of a new kung fu hero, Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi's comic book series, The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu, borrowed a sizable chunk of the supporting cast from the Rohmer novels, but also introduced a few new characters to join Shang-Chi in his quest to defeat Fu Manchu.

    In Marvel Comics, Fu Manchu is an immortal criminal genius who is often described by Shang-Chi as the most evil man in the world. He trained Shang-Chi to be an unquestionably loyal instrument of death, but was disappointed when Shang-Chi turned against him. Shang-Chi teamed up with agents of MI-6 to take down Fu Manchu and his criminal empire. Fu Manchu and MI-6 clashed numerous times over the course of the series.

    MARVEL DOESN'T HAVE THE RIGHTS TO FU MANCHU



    Marvel's The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kun Fu series had a successful run that lasted from 1974 to 1983. Around the time of the book's cancellation, Marvel's licensing rights to Fu Manchu expired. Since the series was cancelled, Marvel opted not to renew the rights. In the years that followed, Shang-Chi appeared in only a handful of comics as a guest star. Later on, Marvel took an interest in reviving Shang-Chi's story and his battles with Fu Manchu, but they no longer had the rights to use the villain. So the comic book writers avoided mentioning his name.

    Using Fu Manchu was an issue even though Rohmer's novels are now in the public domain. According to CBR, the Rohmer estate trademarked the "Fu Manchu" name, which kept Marvel from using it in marketing. Eventually, this problem was solved when a Secret Avengers comic renamed him "Zheng Zu" and declared "Fu Manchu" to be an alias.

    To this day, Marvel still doesn't have the rights to use Fu Manchu, and now that they have found a way around this problem, it's highly unlikely that this will change, despite the fact that it also keeps them from using other Rohmer creations as well. Sir Denis Nayland Smith, Dr. Petrie, and Fu Manchu's daughter, Fah Lo Suee, all appeared in Master of Kung Fu but have been ignored ever since the licensing rights expired.

    MARVEL DOESN'T WANT HIM ANYWAY



    Marvel not owning the rights to a hero's greatest villain may look like an enormous obstacle when it comes to giving him a solo movie, but this isn't the case for Fu Manchu and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Fu Manchu isn't in the same category as Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four, or other big-name properties that Marvel fans have wanted to see in the MCU. In fact, Marvel Studios wouldn't use Fu Manchu in a Shang-Chi movie even if the character's rights weren't a problem.

    When Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was confirmed at SDCC 2019, some Chinese fans reacted in anger over Shang-Chi's connection to Fu Manchu, a character who many feel is an insulting caricature of Chinese culture. It's been said that his appearance, personality, and plan to bring China back to its ancient glory are offensive to Chinese. Fu Manchu was a reflection of "Yellow Peril", and the idea that East Asia was a threat to the western world. This response to Fu Manchu is actually nothing new. The controversy surrounding Fu Manchu goes all the way back to 1932, when the Chinese embassy issued a complaint about MGM's The Mask of Fu Manchu, a movie which saw Fu Manchu on a mission to kill white men and take their women.

    Shang-Chi creator Jim Starlin confirmed that he quit writing Shang-Chi's comics after being "horrified" by the Fu Manchu books. Starlin also hopes that Fu Manchu will be kept out of the movie, and this appears to be exactly what Marvel intends to do. Fu Manchu is problematic for Marvel Studios in more ways than one (considering how important China is to Disney's box office), and since Marvel has already found a perfect replacement in the Mandarin, this is one villain who may never appear in the MCU.
    Those flesh tones in those old comics...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  13. #28
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    Destin Daniel Cretton


    ‘Shang-Chi’ Director Destin Daniel Cretton on His Vision for the New Marvel Film

    BY MATT GOLDBERG OCTOBER 14, 2019



    Marvel made another excellent hire when it brought on Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton to helm the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Marvel hopes that the film will be able to take off with Asian-American audiences like Black Panther was able to with African-American audiences, and they definitely have a talented director for the job.

    Christina Radish recently spoke to Cretton for his upcoming drama Just Mercy (click here for my review from TIFF) and asked what it was like pitching the movie to Marvel:

    What’s the process like, when you go in to pitch for a movie like that? What is the experience of pitching to Marvel and Kevin Feige like? Is it terrifying?

    CRETTON: Yeah, it’s terrifying. I didn’t think I was going to get it, so that helps you feel not as terrified. The process of pitching is like anything. You just go in and speak your heart, and speak what you feel is important, and what you would love to do. And if they respond to that, then that’s going to be a good relationship. If they don’t respond to it, you don’t get the job, and it’s probably good that you don’t get the job.

    How did you then find out that you got the job?

    CRETTON: They just called me back in and told me I got the job.

    When they brought you in and actually told you in person, did you try to play it cool?

    CRETTON: No. They’re all so warm there. It’s a really warm family. So, it was a lot of hugs, and then it’s just, “Let’s get to work.”

    Image via Marvel Comics

    Cretton noted that they plan to start filming early next year. He also talked about hiring The Matrix cinematographer Bill Pope for Shang-Chi and how his style will fit with what they’re going for on the film:
    What made you choose Bill Pope as your cinematographer? Is there something that he brings to that kind of world that you were specifically looking for?

    CRETTON: Yeah. He has a really beautiful style, that’s both naturalistic and grounded, but also heightened, in the best way. And anybody who can shoot The Matrix is probably gonna do great with this one.

    Is that within the kind of tone that you’re looking to bring out with the story?

    CRETTON: Yeah. I think particularly for our first Asian/Asian American step into the MCU, that tone feels right.

    Image via Lionsgate

    Finally, Cretton talked about how exciting it is to give young Asians and Asian-Americans the chance to see themselves up on screen with a superhero who looks like them:

    If you could go back and tell the child version of you d that you’d be making this movie, what would that have meant to him to know that?

    CRETTON: It would have been amazing because I would have been able to have a superhero that looked like me, rather than choosing the superheroes that I could imagine looking like me, under the mask. I was really into Spider-Man, or even the Incredible Hulk, because they I could picture myself under the Spider-Man mask, or as The Hulk because, when he was The Hulk, he was not really specific to any ethnicity. So, it’ll be nice to give that kid somebody who he can at least say, “Oh, that one looks like me.”
    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens February 12, 2021. Look for more from our interview with Cretton closer to the release of Just Mercy, which opens Christmas Day.
    Matrix eh?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  14. #29
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    Simu Liu

    Meet Simu Liu: the actor playing Marvel’s first Asian superhero Shang-chi is battling global stereotypes
    Cinema
    The Chinese-Canadian plays a martial-arts master in 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which Marvel hopes will be an Asian Black Panther
    Charley Lanyon
    Published: 5:00am, 7 Dec, 2019

    This hotel room in West Hollywood, dimly lit with the curtains drawn, shows no signs of film-star excess. No half-full bottles of flat champagne, no overflowing ashtrays. No powder-flecked mirrors on the countertops. No cracks in the plasma television. Just some fresh clothes folded neatly over a chair and, on the table in front of us, a Nintendo Switch and a big bag of sour candies.
    And anyway, its occupant isn’t exactly a film star. At least not yet. Thirty-year-old Simu Liu clears off a spot on the couch and apologises for the mess. This room – what a TripAdvisor review might deem “perfectly adequate” – has been his home for the past few months. The only clues Liu has spent that time intensively training are empty Muscle Milk cartons strewn around the place. That and the muscles themselves, defined but not ostentatious under a form-fitting shirt.
    As we talk, Liu is the consummate Canadian: welcoming, warm and unfailingly polite. He seems relaxed. Rested. There’s little to indicate this sweet, earnest Torontonian may soon count himself among the most famous actors in the world.
    “Kids are going to dress up like me for Halloween,” he beams.


    Shang-Chi is a fictional character, often called the Master of Kung Fu. Photo: Marvel

    We’ll have to wait to confirm this, but the prediction is not outlandish. Liu has been tapped for the eponymous lead role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, due out in 2021: the Marvel cinematic universe is about to get its first Asian superhero.
    Asian-Americans make up 6 per cent of the United States population but account for only 1 per cent of leading roles in Hollywood, according to a 2018 study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, in Los Angeles.
    The buzz is unanimous in hoping that Shang-Chi will do for Asians what Black Panther (2018) did for Africans: barnstorm sorely lacking mainstream representation; prove non-white stories can deliver at the box office; and, in this case, sell a few tickets to China’s coveted cinema-going millions.


    Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu will play Marvel Cinematic Universe's first major Asian superhero Shang-Chi. Photo: AFP

    While there has been progress – recent films Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Abominable (2019) and The Farewell (2019) cast Asian actors and focused on Asian experiences – the enormity of the exposure and sheer cultural clout of an Asian Marvel hero is unprecedented.
    “When I found out Simu got the role, I literally screamed in my car,” says Philip Wang, an LA-based actor and a co-founder of Wong Fu Productions who has worked extensively with Liu. “This is a guy who truly deserves the mantle of being the first Marvel superhero Asian lead.”
    Liu’s trip to San Diego Comic-Con, in July, where he met fans who will likely define his celebrity – and had lunch with Angelina Jolie – left him delighted but reeling.
    “It’s terrifying,” he says. “When I got the call from Marvel, I was crying, just hysterical, and I remember thinking immediately after, ‘Why am I crying?’ I think it was because this is such a wonderful opportunity, and my life is going to change forever. But I am going to have to say goodbye to certain parts of my life. There’s a kind of grieving process that has to start as well.”


    A young Liu. Photo: courtesy of Simu Liu

    Liu never expected to be an actor. Just six years ago his career consisted of one on-screen appearance as an uncredited extra. But now he has only a year or so to go from being a Chinese-Canadian immigrant with zero martial arts experience to playing the greatest kung fu master in the universe.
    There’s a phrase in Hollywood for what he is about to experience: “the Chris Pratt effect”, cannonballing from well-liked supporting sitcom actor to global superstar shouldering a profitable film franchise. He may be smiling – he’s always smiling – but inside, Liu is freaking out.
    Even he describes himself as a “partial celebrity”. Liu is recognised in LA mainly by his visiting countrymen, thanks to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s runaway 2016 hit Kim’s Convenience, centred on a Korean immigrant family in Toronto. Liu played Jung Kim, a reformed bad boy, or as a friend recently squealed, “the super hot one”.
    Always a critical darling – Ashley Westerman, at National Public Radio, in the US, described the show as “quippy and smartly written” and said it “found lasting success in being both funny and deep” – Kim’s became a bona fide global hit after premiering on Netflix last year.
    Pivotal, no doubt, but to equate Liu’s story with Kim’s would be to fail him, and to do that thing Liu condemns so vocally: reduce a wrenching, triumphant and unique immigrant story into something bite-sized and saccharine for mass (read: white) audiences.
    Simu Liu was born on April 19, 1989, in Harbin, the capital of China’s northernmost province, Heilongjiang, best known for its frigid winters, annual ice festival and namesake beer. He was raised by his grandparents after his parents moved to Canada to attend graduate school at the prestigious Queen’s Univer*sity in Kingston, Ontario, intending to send for him once they were established.



    Liu’s years in Harbin had their privations – even running water was intermittent – but his “gentle and patient” grand*parents doted on him and he was happy. When he turned five, everything changed. Liu’s father arrived in Harbin to collect his son – the earliest memory he has of his dad – and take him across the world to Mississauga, a bland western suburb of Toronto, Ontario, and a common landing point for middle-class Asian immigrants.
    The adjustment was harsh, and not just because it was every bit as cold as Harbin. Liu went from being the coddled firstborn and only son in a traditional Chinese home to a much less forgiving situation: the firstborn and only son of young, first-generation immigrants who had sacrificed everything for his eventual, and very much expected, success.
    Instead of his grandparents’ loving warmth, there was criticism, pressure and, as Liu wrote in an open letter to his parents in Canadian magazine Maclean’s, in 2017, levels of affection limited to “letting ‘put on a jacket, it’s cold outside’ stand in for ‘I love you’”.
    Liu studied finance at the University of Western Ontario – like Queen’s, one of Canada’s Ivy League-level institutions – then bagged a parent-pleasing job at accounting power*house Deloitte, in downtown Toronto. There was just one problem: “I was a serial slacker,” Liu says, laughing. “I just wasn’t a motivated person.” He was soon fired for what he says were obvious reasons. “Make no mistake, I was doing a subpar job.”
    I realised I had been living my life all wrong. The more times you get to redefine yourself, or get to change the course of your destiny, the more you want to do it
    Simu Liu, actor
    Adrift and feeling that he had nothing to lose, when he saw a casting call on Craigslist for extras to appear in Pacific Rim (2013) – a sci-fi film being shot by Guillermo del Toro in Toronto – he went for it. Try as you might, you won’t be able to pick him out of the crowds on-screen, but the experience was life-changing.
    “I realised I had been living my life all wrong,” he says. “The more times you get to redefine yourself, or get to change the course of your destiny, the more you want to do it. The more you learn not to take the world as it is, the more you learn to see what things should be. For people who may not have had those catastrophic failures in their life, they might not have the ability to do that.”
    The former slacker began hustling for roles, winning forgettable walk-on parts in films and a few lines in cheesy television action shows. And when he couldn’t land an acting gig, he worked as a stuntman.
    Then, in 2015, he got his first break, in Blood and Water, a little-watched drama targeting Canada’s Chinese popula*tion, in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
    “Although I was a pretty new actor, it was the first time I had been part of anything of that calibre,” Liu says. “And it was the first time I felt like I had a platform. True, it was a tiny Canadian show that nobody ever watched, but I was a series regular.”
    His role as Paul Xie, the secretive son of a billionaire real-estate developer whose brother is murdered, helped him secure representation – he is still with the same managers – and brought him to the attention of the Kim’s Convenience casting agents.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  15. #30
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    Continued from previous post



    Liu in the cockpit of a plane as a child. Photo: courtesy of Simu Liu

    Americans got their first taste of Liu in the short-lived TV action series Taken, which premiered on NBC in 2017 and was based on the eponymous film trilogy starring Liam Neeson. Liu played Faaron, a stereotypical tech guy who sat at a computer supporting spies in the field. “I said ‘enhance’ a lot,” Liu jokes.
    He made a big impression on set. Actress Jennifer Marsala remembers him fondly: “He was fun to be silly with, backstage. We were supposed to be at this covert government agency and we’d all be singing and dancing, and Simu would be doing backflips. He has this incredible singing voice, and he’s also a really good dancer.”
    Liu was apprehensive about leaving a show on a big US network for a quiet sitcom back home, but matters were taken out of his hands when virtually the entire cast of Taken was replaced before the second season.
    “We knew Kim’s was important, but we didn’t know the show was going to hit the way it did,” Liu says.
    Each episode attracted nearly a million viewers, coast to coast, in a country where the Stanley Cup, the biggest game in ice hockey, Canada’s national sport, drew audiences of four million this year.
    Kim’s Convenience boosted Liu’s stature, but that exposure also politicised him. “[It] introduced me to issues that were greater than just being an actor getting a job. I’d been talking about issues of representation for a while and basically just not doing a good job at it,” he says.
    He started to wrestle with what it meant to be a Chinese actor in North America and what responsibility he had to his viewers and community.
    “I realised that representation is not just the ability to see yourself reflected on screen, but to see what you can be. So if I see Asians portrayed as losers and nerds, at least on a subconscious level, that’s all I believe I can be,” he says.
    I realised that representation is not just the ability to see yourself reflected on screen, but to see what you can be
    Simu Liu
    Pushing that envelope, eight months before the Shang-Chi casting, Liu tweeted: “OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi”. Months later, after the role had been announced, he followed up his original tweet with a typically wry: “Well s***.”
    He recalls the incident with a laugh. “I didn’t just send a tweet and then they called,” he says. “[It was] a long process of phone conversations, callbacks and auditions that happened over a couple of months.”
    Shang-Chi the character was conceived in 1972, as the son of super villain – and notoriously racist stereotype – Dr Fu Manchu. For a time, he joins the Avengers and in one storyline teaches Spider-Man to fight after he loses his “spidey sense”, helping Peter Parker develop his own martial art, “the way of the spider”. This bit of arcana was not lost on Liu, who has tweeted his support for Spider-Man staying in the Marvel cinematic universe amid rising tensions between Marvel and Sony, who share ownership of the character.
    Having been so careful to avoid playing into Asian stereotypes, the irony of being cast as a “kung fu master” caught the attention of the actor.
    “Starting out, I wanted to be an American leading man,” he says. “I wanted to be Tom Cruise. I wanted to be Matt Damon. And it’s funny, Tom Cruise has done plenty of action movies, Matt Damon has done Bourne, but they were never pigeonholed. I’ve done one family crime drama and then a family sitcom and now I’m doing an action film and I’m likely going to follow that up with something completely unrelated.”

    Simu Liu

    @SimuLiu
    OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi

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    Before being cast, Liu had said publicly he didn’t “want to be a kung fu star”. Not only are the optics problematic but, until recently, he had no fight training whatsoever.
    Learning to play a master of all the world’s martial arts in a year of pre-production is no easy task.
    “I am training very hard, believe me. I have our stunt coordinator, Brad Allan, a phenomenal martial artist who trained under Jackie Chan, and he’s assembled a wonderful team around me,” Liu says.
    At least his parents finally seem convinced of his success. Not because he was cast in a big-budget film, but because he will appear opposite Hong Kong movie legend and Wong Kar-wai muse Tony Leung Chiu-wai, star of Chungking Express (1994) and In the Mood for Love (2000). Also cast is another of Liu’s favourite actors, Awkwafina, who has experienced her own rapid rise to film stardom, going from cult rapper to Crazy Rich Asians scene-stealer and the lead in The Farewell.
    “I haven’t had the chance to talk to Leung yet,” Liu says, “but I met his visage and his body.”
    His what?
    “I was at my costume fitting yesterday. It was … weird. They take you to a place and they infrared-scan your body and 3D-print you, life-size, so they can fit clothes. There was a 3D-printed me, Awkwafina and Tony Leung. It’s crazy,” he explains.


    Shang-Chi (centre) is set to take his place in the Marvel cinematic universe. Photo: Handout

    It is no coincidence that Shang-Chi is slated for release at a time when Hollywood is increasingly covetous of China’s massive cinema-going public, the second largest audience after the US. Co-productions between the two countries are now common, and more films are being produced to appeal to Chinese audiences, even as political and economic tensions between the two nations grow ever more fraught.
    Still, American-made, Asian-centred hits have gained little traction in China. Crazy Rich Asians, for example, failed to resonate with audiences in China because, among other things, the American humour didn’t translate.
    There is hope Shang-Chi will be an exception – like Abominable – and do equally well in both countries. But early reactions from Chinese cinephiles have not been entirely positive. In one YouTube video, people questioned on the streets of Beijing thought Liu was “too ugly” to helm a Hollywood blockbuster, a charge unimaginable to anyone who has spent a few minutes with him. For Liu, it was less about his appearance than the general atmosphere of distrust, which he puts down to the misinformed and racist depictions of Asians and Asian culture in American TV and film.
    “They’ve certainly been burned before,” he says, throw*ing up his hands. “They’re just being rightfully defensive of who they are. They feel like there’s a potential for Hollywood to really eff this up, and maybe it would be easy for me to be like, ‘Well, eff them, what do they know?’” (Yes, he said “eff”; he’s a good Canadian boy.) “But then, I mean, when I look at the leading men in Asia, I agree with them. I don’t look like them. But that’s OK. I look forward to showing them something new, that leading men come in different shapes and sizes.”


    Liu with his grandparents. Photo: courtesy of Simu Liu

    People who have worked with Liu are convinced he’ll pull it off.
    “From the beginning, Simu has been an active voice for our community, unapologetic of his Asian background and mission to help bring us forward,” says Wang. “I know he’ll represent us well and also use this opportunity to be a driving force and inspiration for all of us. He already has been.”
    There are a lot of expectations riding on this film and its star is feeling the pressure.
    “To take a quote from Stan Lee, the legend himself, ‘With great power there must also come great responsibility’. But I think the reason I have the platform I do is because I’ve leaned into my Asianness. If you are going to ask an entire population to support you, to rally behind you and give you a platform, I won’t shy away from that responsi*bility. I feel like we’ve been shying away from it as people for too long, especially the children of immigrants who are taught to keep their heads down. We have reached the limit of that philosophy.”
    Heady topics perhaps for a superhero film?
    “Well,” says Liu, as self-assured as a superhero should be, “I really think this movie could change the world.”
    I need to check out Kim’s Convenience.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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