By Justyn Fulton & Gustavo Castillo, Dec. 7, 2021
Unleashing the powerful rings of knowledge, guest speaker Simu Liu joined Cal Poly Pomona students and staff in a Zoom event to unleash one’s inner superhero in time for finals week.
In the highly attended “Unwind With ASI” webinar, Hollywood’s newest superhero from Marvel movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” talked about the power of following one’s dreams as well as the insecurities he still faces even after being cast as Shang-Chi.
“Allow yourself to dream and think about what if. I was not a motivated guy (in school) and I think I was afraid to admit to myself that I wanted to do something else. When I graduated and got my first accounting job I remember being like ‘Oh shit.’ I was looking at the rest of my life and I went to work miserable every single day, not to mention I was terrible at my job,” said Liu.
According to Liu, after getting laid off from his job he adopted the mentality of allowing himself to dream and think about “what ifs.” After scouring Craigslist for acting jobs in Toronto, Liu found himself on the set of Pacific Rim. Cut to Sept. 3, 2021, and Liu is now the first ever Asian superhero with Shang-Chi, whose presence on the big screen has broke the all-time Labor Day box office records of $127 million.
Despite his successful role, Liu tapped in on his natural human instinct of feeling insecure while auditioning and stated if he didn’t hear a callback, he would at least say he auditioned for a Marvel movie.
“I felt like there were actors out there that were taller, better looking, better at martial arts and I was looking at the character Shang-Chi, the greatest martial artist in the history of Earth and I was like, ‘I’m not it,’ you know?” said Liu.
To his surprise, Liu received a call back from Director Dustin Cretton and got invited to Los Angeles. Cretton was familiar with Liu’s previous role on the Netflix series “Kim’s Convenience,” which focuses on a family store and the life of a Korean-Canadian family in Toronto. According to Cretton, it was clear Liu was unafraid to play a flawed human and that the key to Shang-Chi’s character was someone who could capture that. He was looking for a guy who was not a superhero from the moment he was on screen.
Given the webinar setting, Liu communicated with four ASI BEAT members hosting this event. One host was communication major and student activities assistant with ASI BEAT, Monica Martinez.
“It was to say the least so cool and exciting to interview the Simu Liu. He was so kind and genuine throughout the whole process and made all of us feel very comfortable when asking him questions,” said Martinez.
According to Liu, he believes his vulnerability attracted fans who followed Liu even further than just his acting. Students like communication major Paolo Paras started following Simu Liu after his Marvel appearance.
“I first saw Simu Liu in Shang-Chi as big of a shock as that is,” said Paras, “I thought he was a genuine guy and seeing him talk was really cool. I’m glad I was proven right today.”
As the event concluded, they asked Liu a series of fire-round questions, like, “What superpower would you want to have?” or “Which Avenger would you want to partner off with in a dance battle?”
The Cal Poly Pomona community was delighted to be in his presence for the conclusion of the event where attendees shared in smiles and laughter.
Following the words of Liu, “Good luck on finals. Go Broncos!”
Featured image courtesy of Monica Martinez
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