‘Shang-Chi’ Star Simu Liu Admits He ‘Exaggerated’ His Martial Arts Experience Because He ‘Wanted the Job Really Badly’

Simu Liu made his Marvel debut in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and many fans immediately jumped aboard the Simu Liu train. It’s difficult for any actor to join an established franchise seamlessly, but it’s almost impossible with one as expansive as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Liu did whatever it took to prove that he belonged in the MCU, and he went as far as embellishing his martial arts training.

'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' star Simu Liu wears a patterned black suit over a black button-up shirt and black-framed glasses.
Simu Liu | Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ was Simu Liu’s first movie

During San Diego Comic-Con 2019, director Destin Daniel Cretton and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced the casting of Simu Liu and the full name of Shang-Chi. And the rest is history.

Liu started in Hollywood as a stuntman, and he later got cast in more significant roles in television. But his breakout performance came with Shang-Chi, which was also his first part in a movie.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premiered Sept. 3, 2021, and was met with positive reviews. Many critics praised Simu Liu’s performance as Shang-Chi and the choreographed fight sequences. The film also earned $432.2 million worldwide, making it a box office success despite the ongoing pandemic.

The actor lied about his martial arts training during auditions

As a part of Variety‘s Actors on Actors series, Shang-Chi star Simu Liu and West Side Story actor Ariana DeBose discussed their respective films and careers. And during their interview, Liu talked about the training that went into his role.

The actor revealed, “When I got the part, they asked me about my martial arts background and experience, which of course I exaggerated because I wanted the job really badly.”

Impressed, DeBose responded, “You bluffed your way into the part — I love it!” And Liu further expanded on his experience with training for Shang-Chi.

“I had done some work as an on-again, off-again stuntman,” he shared. “But if we’re honest, I think I was more of a dancer than I ever was a martial artist. Pretty much from the moment I was cast, I started working with trainers and learning how to move. I had such awful flexibility. My groin and my tendons were just so stiff. A big part of that early process was just bending my body and trying to rip those legs apart.”

Although Simu Liu lied about his martial arts experience during auditions for Shang-Chi, it all paid off in the end. He tirelessly worked to make sure the fight sequences were the best they could be, and those scenes were some of the best parts of the MCU movie.

Simu Liu will return for a ‘Shang-Chi’ sequel

In Dec. 2021, Marvel Studios announced that a Shang-Chi sequel was in development, and Simu Liu was expected to reprise his role. Destin Daniel Cretton will also return to direct and write the second film.

Given the end of Shang-Chi and the film’s success, many people expected Marvel to continue Shang-Chi’s story. The majority of the movie took place in its own space, even though a few comments let audiences know it was set in the MCU. But during a post-credits scene, Shang-Chi and Katy joined Wong, Bruce Banner, and Carol Danvers at the Sanctum Sanctorum to discuss the ten rings.

Perhaps fans will see Shang-Chi appear in other Marvel films before the sequel. But for now, all anyone can do is speculate about where his story goes next.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is available to stream on Disney+.

RELATED: ‘Shang-Chi’ Star Simu Liu Reveals What He Stole From Set