Between a powerful line reading and a skilful backflip, the actor-director Destin enchanted Daniel Cretton.
By Mary Beth McAndrews Published September 12, 2021
Entering the Discourse is a three times a week column that tells us who’s saying what about new releases and upcoming projects. Today we’re hearing from Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings Director Destin Daniel Cretton and actor Simu Liu talk about Liu’s audition for the title role.
For actors Simu Liu, join Marvels Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings was a huge break. He was previously known for his television work and starred in series such as Kim’s Convenience and Blood and Water. He is also a trained stunt performer who specializes in Taekwondo and Wing Chun.
Now Liu is using this diverse experience to venture into the film world. In the episode of Marvel Cinematic Universe he plays the cartoon character Shang-Chi, a martial arts master who has to face his past in order to defend himself against the ten-ring organization.
Call Liu’s ‘good’ audition
Before securing the role of Shang-Chi, Simu Liu had to go through the audition. director Destin Daniel Cretton decided to make two scenes from Liu Goodwill hunt. While it seems like an odd decision, Cretton was influenced by Gus Van Sant’s 1997 film and looks a lot like Shang-Chi as Matt Damon’s character Will Hunting.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the director says:
“Will’s character represents that mix of masculinity and vulnerability. He also has a secret and a superpower that he does not fully understand and that he has not stepped into. “
In the same interview, Liu agrees:
“This movie is all about a guy who goes out of his way to hide who he is. He’s a genius hiding in civilian clothes. Shang-Chi is also someone who puts on a mask every day. The point is for Shang-Chi to learn that although there is a prescribed fate his father gave him, he can also go his own way. It’s pretty Asian-American. “
How Simu Liu mistakenly mimicked Matt Damon
What scenes from Good Will Hunting did Destin Daniel Cretton choose for Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi auditions? The first is when Will and Skylar talk about Will’s family on the racetrack while Will tries to pretend he has come from a happy and healthy home. The second is when the two characters separate.
In another interview with Empire magazine, Liu talks about the latter moment:
“It’s such a beautiful scene and it’s much more dramatic and intense… it doesn’t work without a Boston accent. Not possible.”
“I couldn’t help delivering the lines with a tiny bit of Matt Damon affection, which as an actor shouldn’t be. If you’re shooting scenes from a movie that has already been released in class, the most unoriginal thing you can do is copy everything the actor did, right? But it’s so hard, especially when you love a movie and the performance of certain lines is burned into your brain. You just understand. “
The black widow pose
The culmination of his Shang-Chi audition was when Simu Liu did an impromptu backflip into Black Widow’s iconic superhero pose. In an interview with Slashfilm, Cretton reveals:
“He actually did that backflip into the pose that Black Widow makes fun of. He backfliped straight into the Black Widow’s knee pose, hair pulled up, and looked straight into the camera as he got closer to his first audition.
It might be silly, but why not show off your martial arts and gymnastic skills while having a little fun? Liu also tells Slasfilm:
“I thought it couldn’t hurt that I auditioned for a Marvel movie … and I could show them that I can do a superhero pose.”
It was obviously worth it for Liu. He grabbed the lead role in a film that held top box office positions for two straight weekends.
Related topics: Entry into the discourse
Mary Beth McAndrews likes found footage and will fight you if you say otherwise. When she’s not writing, she’s looking for Mothman with her two cats. Follow her on Twitter @mbmcandrews. (You / you)