The Huffington Post reports that Liu was born in Canada and immigrated to Canada when he was 5 years old.
In addition to playing Marve’s Shang-Chi, Liu is also well known for his role as Jung Kim on the television series “Kim’s Convenience.” The Canadian sitcom, which ran for five seasons and concluded earlier this year, centers around a Korean family who runs a convenience store in Toronto.
According to his IMDb page, Liu has also made appearances on “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens” with his first acting credit being the CW television series “Nikita.”
Here’s what you need to know about Liu:
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1. Liu Initially Expressed His Interest for Shang-Chi on Twitter
Being Shang-Chi is a dream come true for Liu — one that he mentioned back in 2018.
On December 3 2018, Deadline reported that Marvel Studios would be “fast-tracking” a movie centered around Shang-Chi. That same day, Liu posted a tweet expressing his interest in playing the Asian superhero.
Liu told The Hollywood Reporter that the tweet played no part in getting him the film’s titular role, though. It was just a coincidence. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed to Digital Spy that he hadn’t known about Liu’s tweet beforehand; it was Liu’s acting that got him the role of Shang-Chi.
2. Before Getting Into Acting, He was an Accountant
In a 2018 interview with NBC Asian America, Liu mentioned he worked as an accountant before pursuing an acting career.
According to the school’s website, Liu is a 2011 alumnus of the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School, having earned an Honors Business Administration degree. Afterward, he went on to work in accounting. He told NBC Asian America that it wasn’t his own desire but rather “a move to appease the parents.” But Liu only lasted in the position for a couple of months.
“I thought I did the right thing,” Liu said of the accounting job. “I thought I got a nice job where I’d be able to put on a nice shirt every day, go to work, and I thought that would be fulfilling, but it wasn’t. And very quickly I think that started to show in my job performance and I was laid off about eight months in.”
On Twitter, Liu said that the severance money he received after being let go from his accounting job at Deloitte was used on “a professional portfolio shoot.”
3. Liu is a Former Stock Photo Model
In 2014, Liu did a photoshoot for stock images, according to his Twitter. Among the photos he posed for included that of him posing as a businessman and someone exercising. Ironically enough, one of the pictures of him posing as a businessman ended up on the cover of an accounting textbook.
Liu also mentioned that the photoshoot earned him just $120.
4. He Used to be a Spider-Man Character Performer for Kids’ Birthday Parties
Shang-Chi is the superhero that Liu will be known for from here on out, but it’s not the first Marvel hero that the Chinese Canadian actor has been paid to portray.
In a Men’s Health feature from May, Liu detailed his experience as a Spider-Man character performer for children’s birthday parties. He’d do flips and interact with the kids while dressed as Marvel’s web-slinger.
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Liu described the Spider-Man costume he wore as the “Walmart” version. He said that it was of low quality and more so resembled the old Spider-Man cartoon than the one now used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
5. Liu is Friends with Professional Basketball Player Jeremy Lin
In January 2019, Liu posted a photo of himself with professional basketball player Jeremy Lin. The two met thanks to the Canadian Chinese Youth Athletic Association (CCYAA). In the caption for that Instagram post, Liu mentioned that he was laid off from his aforementioned accounting job around the same time that Linsanity happened. He went on to say Lin’s sensational basketball play at that time encouraged Liu as he strived to pursue an acting career.
Per the team’s site, Lin signed with the Toronto Raptors — Liu’s hometown team — the month after the duo met. When the signing happened, Liu shared a welcome post for the basketball player on Instagram, expressing his approval of the move.
The Raptors would go on to win the 2019 NBA Finals, and Liu joined Lin at the championship parade to celebrate the momentous occasion.
As Lin went unsigned with no offers during the 2019 NBA offseason, Liu posted a tweet that showed support for his friend and the belief he has in him as an NBA talent:
Earlier this year, CCYAA hosted a virtual event titled “Catching Up with Jeremy Lin & Simu Liu.” CCYAA’s website described the event as an opportunity to “Join Toronto BFFs Simu Liu and Jeremy Lin as they catch-up on their lives, reminisce on the good old days in Toronto and talk about their passions and projects.”