Kim's Convenience actor Simu Liu has made the leap from sitcom star to comic book movie superhero, playing the lead role in Marvel's new Shang Chi film, and we have all the details on what fans need to know about him. The world got its first taste of what to expect from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings when the film's first teaser debuted on Monday morning. Coincidentally — or perhaps, the plan all along — the teaser also happened to drop on Liu's 32nd birthday.
Born in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China in 1989, Liu immigrated to Ontario, Canada when he was around five years old. An only child, Liu would grow up to attend the University of Toronto Schools for high school, and then graduate from Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario in 2011 with an Honours Business Administration (HBA) degree. He worked as an accountant for some time before deciding to use his background in martial arts such as Taekwondo and Wing-Chun, as well as gymnastics, as a way to break into acting and stuntman work.
Liu's first big opportunity came when he was cast as an extra in Pacific Rim in 2013, though prior to this he'd appeared in an episode of The CW's Nikita. He would also go on to appear in the network's reboot of Beauty and the Beast and was part of the stunt team for Heroes Reborn. Liu also appeared as a series regular on the Canadian crime drama Blood and Water, which earned him award nominations.
In 2016, Liu was cast as Jung Kim in the sitcom adaptation of Kim's Convenience, which is based on Ins Choi's 2011 play of the same name. The show debuted in 2016 and ran for five seasons, ending on April 13 with its series finale. During his time on the show, Liu also made appearances on other TV series, such as Taken, Orphan Black, The Expanse, and Fresh Off the Boat.
Marvel has long been interested in making a Shang-Chi film, and in 2018 it was reported that the company was fast-tracking the development of a movie for its Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. In 2019 announced that Liu had been cast to play the lead in the film, which also co-stars Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, Ronny Chieng, and Michelle Yeoh. Notably, Lui had previously vied for the role by tweeting, "OK [Marvel], are we gonna talk or what,": and then adding a hashtag for "ShangChi." Less than a year later, he was announced as having landed the role.