Simu Liu is coming clean on exactly how much martial arts training he had during the making of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The actor was recently a guest of Kevin Hart on his Peacock talk show Heart to Heart where he talks to A-list actors and musicians in an honest, unfiltered setting. Liu won the starring role as the martial arts expert Shang-Chi, and is one of the many new heroes introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-Avengers: Endgame. When it came time to be honest about the training he received, Simu Liu admitted he downplayed it so he wouldn’t be stereotyped.
“I gotta ask you this. I heard that with the movie you didn’t know any type of martial arts. I heard martial arts was not in your background and you had to learn it for the movie and did 70-80% of the stunts,” Kevin Hart said in the Heart to Heart clip. After asking if he could be honest with Hart, Liu responded: “I purposefully downplay how much martial arts I knew because I am afraid of that narrative of, ‘Oh they cast the martial arts guy to do the martial arts, he’s Asian, of course.'”
Liu added: “I want to challenge people to see me as an artist, the same way Ryan Gosling picked up jazz piano for La La Land. That’s the way I picked up martial arts for this movie. It is not because martial arts is all I do, that’s not because martial arts is all Asian people do, and that’s all they’re good for, and when you see an Asian person on screen they better be doing martial arts. I did the training that was necessary.”
The Shang-Chi star went on to state how he did the stunt training classes, along with being a working actor in Canada, where Canadian commercials don’t pay as well as American commercials. Hart added how to break down stereotypes you must be an “action item,” and how Heart to Heart allows his guests to be themselves and speak freely.
Simu Liu is set to have a starring role in Season 34 of The Simpsons, where he will be voicing the adult version of Hubert Wong, the “perfect future boyfriend” of Lisa Simpson (Yeardley Smith). The Kim’s Convenience actor will guest star in an upcoming episode titled “When Nelson Met Lisa,” set to air as part of The Simpsons Season 34. Joining Liu as guest stars are the recurring Joe Mantegna, reprising his role as mob boss Fat Tony, and Melissa McCarthy as a kid rival of Homer Simpson’s (Dan Castellaneta).
The entire second season of Heart to Heart is now streaming on Peacock.