Simu Liu

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Simu Liu
Simu Liu by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Liu at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019
Born (1989-04-19) April 19, 1989 (age 31)
NationalityCanadian
Alma materIvey Business School
OccupationActor, writer, stuntman
Years active2012–present
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese劉思慕
Simplified Chinese刘思慕

Simu Liu (Chinese: 劉思慕; born April 19, 1989) is a Canadian actor, writer, and stuntman. He is known for his performance as Jung Kim in the award-winning CBC Television sitcom Kim's Convenience.[1] He received nominations at the ACTRA Awards and Canadian Screen Awards for his work in Blood and Water.[2] He will portray the superhero Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). He is set to become the first Asian actor to lead a Marvel Studios film.

Early life and education[edit]

Liu was born in Harbin, and immigrated to Canada at the age of five. He was raised in Erin Mills, an area of Mississauga, Ontario. He is an only child.[3] He attended University of Toronto Schools for high school. Liu graduated from Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario in 2011 with a Honours Business Administration (HBA) degree. He worked as an accountant at Deloitte but was eventually laid off.[4] He decided to explore other career options before deciding to pursue a career as an actor and stuntman. He has a background in martial arts such as Taekwondo and Wing-Chun, as well as gymnastics.[5]

Career[edit]

Liu first got his start working as an extra on Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim.[4] His early onscreen credits include Nikita (2012) and Beauty and the Beast (2014). In 2015, he was a member of the Heroes Reborn stunt team, appearing in three episodes as a stunt double. He next appeared as a series regular in the OMNI Television crime drama series Blood and Water (2015–2016), for which he received ACTRA and Canadian Screen Award nominations in 2017.[6][7]

Liu in 2016

In 2016, Liu was cast in three television series. Liu was cast as Jung in the CBC television adaptation of the hit Canadian play Kim's Convenience.[8] He was cast as the ex-CIA analyst Faaron, loosely modeled on real-life ex-analyst Rodney Faraon, in the NBC prequel series Taken based on the film franchise starring Liam Neeson.[9] Later that year, Liu joined the cast of the hit BBC-Space series Orphan Black for its fifth and final season.[10] On stage, Liu was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award in the Outstanding Ensemble category alongside his castmates in the Factory Theatre remount of the play Banana Boys.[11]

In 2017, Liu joined the cast of the second season of Slasher as well as the CityTV miniseries Bad Blood, both as recurring characters.[12] The following year, he appeared in the science fiction television series The Expanse and the YouTube series Yappie.

In early 2019, it was announced that Liu would be joining the cast of ABC's Fresh Off the Boat as a guest star.[13] He ended up starring as a noodle vendor named Willie in the 100th episode of the series.[14]

At Comic-Con 2019, it was announced that he has been cast as the Marvel Comics superhero Shang-Chi in the upcoming film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be Marvel's first Asian-led film.[15][16] Liu had previously petitioned for the role on Twitter in December 2018 when the movie was revealed to be in development.[17] Before his casting, Liu expressed interest in playing either Sunfire or Namor.[18] The movie is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and scheduled to hit theaters on September 3, 2021 [19].

In December 2020, it was announced that Liu would be starring alongside Mark Wahlberg in Arthur the King.[20] The casting announcement, along with his subsequent removal of a 2018 tweet criticizing Wahlberg for his race-related hate crimes and request for a pardon prompted heavy backlash and accusations of "selling out" against Liu.[21] Liu explained that he joined the movie because he adored the screenplay and deleted his tweet "as a gesture of professionalism and to open the door to progressive conversations and (hopefully) positive change". While acknowledging his initial anger at Wahlberg, Liu expressed hope that working with him would be an "opportunity to educate and do some good... [progressive] discussion will lead to dialogue, and dialogue will lead to action.”[22]

Aside from his work performing onscreen, Liu is also a writer and filmmaker. Liu participated in the writing room for Blood and Water, during which he helped break the story for the show and wrote an episode for its second season.[2] He also wrote an online piece for Maclean's magazine in December 2017 detailing his experiences growing up in an immigrant family. The article was later published in the magazine's January 2018 issue.[23] As a filmmaker Liu has written, directed and produced short films which have screened and won awards in festivals across the US and Canada. His most recent short film Meeting Mommy, which he wrote and produced with Tina Jung, was released in February 2018 on the Wong Fu Productions Youtube channel. The film amassed over 250,000 views in its first week.[24]

He is currently developing long-form projects under his 4:12 Entertainment banner.[25][26]

A news item in January 2021 stated that Liu had been in Australia shooting the Marvel film during a part of 2020 and was unable to return to Toronto on the planned date, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was finally able to do so as season 5 of Kim's Convenience was nearing the end of production. According to Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Liu then spent "an almost crazy bootcamp-esque period of like nine straight days, where he [shot] all the stuff that he missed out on". The production followed strict COVID protcols.[27]

Accolades[edit]

Liu was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and an ACTRA Award in 2017 for his work in Blood and Water.[2] He, along with his Kim's Convenience castmates, won the ACTRA Award for Outstanding Ensemble in 2017. Liu and his castmates were subsequently nominated for the same award in 2018 and 2019. Kim's Convenience also went on to win the award for Best Comedy Series at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards.[28]

Liu was named one of Hello!'s 50 Most Beautiful Canadians and 25 Hottest Bachelors in 2017 and 2018.[29][30][31]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Director Notes
2013 Pacific Rim Extra Guillermo del Toro Film debut
2021 Women Is Losers Gilbert Lissette Feliciano
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings dagger Shang-Chi Destin Daniel Cretton Post-production
TBA Arthur The King dagger Simon Cellan Jones Filming

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2012 Nikita Hong Kong Police Constable Episode: "3.0"
2013 Warehouse 13 Bartender Episode: "Secret Services"
Played Gunman Episode: "Made - Daniel"
Mayday Narita Air Traffic Controller Episode: "The Final Push"
2014 Beauty and the Beast EMT Episode: "Both Sides Now"
2015 Blood and Water Paul Xie Main role
Make It Pop! Randy Episode: "Rumors and Roommates"
2016 Taken Faaron Recurring role; season 1
2016–2021 Kim's Convenience Jung Kim Main role
2017 Orphan Black Mr. Mitchell Episode: "Clutch of Greed"
Dark Matter Technician Episode: "Nowhere To Go"
Slasher: Guilty Party Luke 2 episodes
Bad Blood Guy 3 episodes
2018 The Expanse Lt. Paolo Mayer Episode: "Dandelion Sky"
Yappie Tom Main role
2019 Fresh Off the Boat Willie Episode: "Under the Taipei Sun"
2020 Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Garbage Boy Episode: "Grandma & Chill"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Category Result Ref
2017 Blood and Water ACTRA Awards Outstanding Performance – Male Nominated [32]
Canadian Screen Award Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Program or Series Nominated [33]
Kim's Convenience ACTRA Awards 2017 Outstanding Performance – Ensemble Won [34]
2018 Kim's Convenience ACTRA Awards 2018 Outstanding Performance – Ensemble Nominated [35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kim's Convenience – CBC Media Centre". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Simu Liu – Academy.ca". Academy.ca. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Clay, Chris (October 27, 2016). "Mississauga-raised actor stars in Kim's Convenience, lands role in NBC's Taken". Mississauga News. Mississauga ON. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "KollabCast Episode 144 – Simu's Convenience w/ Simu Liu". Kollaboration. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Cornblum, Marcy. "Simu Liu for Toronto Sun". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on December 2, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  6. ^ "Simu Liu | Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program | Canadian Screen Awards". Academy.ca. January 8, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Service, Wire (February 27, 2017). "Kim's Convenience scores two prizes at ACTRA Awards". Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  8. ^ "Kim's Convenience: A TV first that doesn't buckle under the pressure – Macleans.ca". Maclean's. October 10, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Clay, Chris (October 27, 2016). "Mississauga-raised actor stars in Kim's Convenience, lands role in NBC's Taken | Mississauga.com". Mississauga.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  10. ^ Kelley, Seth. "'Orphan Black' Reveals Sneak Peek, Sets Cast for Fifth and Final Season". Variety. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "2016 DORA MAVOR MOORE AWARDS NOMINEES" (PDF). Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  12. ^ "Shaftesbury | Slasher wraps production on Season 2". shaftesbury.ca. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  13. ^ "'Kim's Convenience' Actor Simu Liu Will Guest Star On 'Fresh Off The Boat'". HuffPost. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  14. ^ "'Fresh Off the Boat': 'Kim's Convenience's' Simu Liu Drops by 100th". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  15. ^ Sandra Gonzalez. "Marvel's latest leading man Simu Liu will soon be a 'household name'". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  16. ^ Smith, Neil (July 22, 2019). "Marvel Phase 4: A new era for diversity in Hollywood?". BBC.
  17. ^ Worgaftik, Gabe (July 22, 2019). "Shang-Chi star Simu Liu asked Marvel about playing Shang-Chi on Twitter 8 months ago". AV Club.
  18. ^ "20 Questions With Simu Liu: Skincare, Korean BBQ, And Power Rangers | NBC Asian America" (Video). NBC News – via www.youtube.com.
  19. ^ "Is This Our First Look At Tony Leung's Mandarin In 'Shang-Chi'?". Heroic Hollywood. 2021-04-02
  20. ^ https://deadline.com/2020/12/shang-chi-simu-liu-arthur-the-king-lionsgate-eone-simon-cellan-jones-1234656317/
  21. ^ https://www.thewrap.com/shang-chi-star-simu-liu-mark-wahlberg/
  22. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/CI-gS99D2yb/
  23. ^ "A Chinese-Canadian to his parents: 'Privately, I yearned for your love' – Macleans.ca". Maclean's. December 4, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  24. ^ Wong Fu Productions (February 28, 2018), Meeting Mommy, retrieved March 4, 2018
  25. ^ Chew, Cohan (May 23, 2019). "INTERVIEW: Kim's Convenience star Simu Liu answers YOUR questions". Resonate. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  26. ^ Kollaboration SF Community Spotlight: Simu Liu, retrieved January 17, 2020
  27. ^ "Video: Kim's Convenience cast talks season 5, Marvel, Star Wars and COVID". Now Toronto. January 12, 2021. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  28. ^ Vlessing, Etan. "Canadian Screen Awards: 'Alias Grace,' 'Maudie,' 'Anne With an E' Dominate". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  29. ^ "Canada's Most Beautiful 2017: See who made the list!". Hello! Canada. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  30. ^ "Canada's 25 Hottest Bachelors of 2017". Hello! Canada. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  31. ^ "Canada's Most Beautiful 2018: See who made the list!". Hello! Canada. June 25, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  32. ^ Davis, Erin (February 28, 2017). "Move Over, Oscars: Canada's Finest Talent Inspired at the ACTRA Awards". Toronto Guardian. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  33. ^ "Kim's Convenience star Simu Liu thanks his immigrant parents for his Canadian life". CBC. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  34. ^ "Simu Liu, new Marvel superhero & Kim's Convenience star, writing a memoir". CBC. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  35. ^ "The 16th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto Nominees". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved September 20, 2019.

External links[edit]