One of the most pleasant surprises out of Comic-Con last weekend was the announcement Simu Liu had been cast as the Master of Kung Fu himself, Shang-Chi. An entirely new role that's set to be introduced in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), Liu was an actor relatively unknown in the United States at the time, with his biggest role having come on the Canadian sitcom Kim's Convenience. As some might expect, Liu was absolutely thrilled to receive the casting news, revealing to ET Canada that he couldn't help but to sob hysterically after receiving the call from Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige.
"It's Tuesday night. It's two nights after I screen-tested in New York," Liu remembers. "When you're an actor, the whole audition adage is 'Forget about it,' Leave it at the door, just do your best job and if they call, they call. This was not one of those times. Every single second was excruciating, every time my phone buzzed my heart skipped. It was a very unhealthy equilibrium state."
Suddenly, the actor found himself trying to find out how other MCU stars found themselves cast, trying to prepare himself for the best, or even worst, case scenario.
"I waited two days and I had gone online and watched videos of all these other Marvel stars and how they got cast and I think I got it in my mind that Kevin likes to call them personally so I thought if my manager calls, it might be bad news but if I get a call from an unknown number, it might be good news," the actor continues. "It's about 6:19 p.m. Tuesday and lo and behold, I'm in my underwear eating shrimp crackers and there's an unknown number from Burbank, California. Now I know Disney Studios is in Burbank so my heart's thumping out of my chest and I jump and am like 'Hello!' and it's the divine voice of Kevin Feige. I'll never forget it, it's so calm, it's so booming."
"He's like 'Simu, hi. We'd like you to play Shang-Chi. Also, we need you to go to Comic-Con in four days.' I can't describe how I felt. I think I cried hysterically, I can't remember if it was on the phone or after, but probably a bit of both."
Along with Liu's casting, it was revealed Destin Daniel Cretton would be directing the film, as previously reported. Also announced was the fact the real Mandarin would be appearing in the film, played by Chinese box office sensation Tony Leung. Comedian Awkwafina is also attached to star.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hit theaters on February 12, 2021. Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.