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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings actor Simu Liu posted a lengthy message on Friday, the day of the film’s opening, citing the importance of Asian representation in storytelling and thanking Disney for “throwing the full weight” of its platform behind the action-adventure Marvel movie.
“The sun rose today to a world where Asian superheroes exist as the leads of their story; that is the gift that @destindaniel and @marvelstudios have bestowed upon all of us, across all communities, everywhere,” began the actor in a caption that appeared beside Shang Chi-themed original artwork from filmmaker and digital artist, Jarvis.
He went on to speak about the film’s director, Destin Daniel Cretton, “who has put more work into this thing than you could possibly imagine.” Liu thanked Cretton for his dedication, thoughtfulness, commitment and personal sacrifices, “and for giving me the opportunity to be a vessel for your story.”
Liu plays the title role of Shang-Chi in the Marvel Studios film, a Kung Fu master who must confront his past when drawn into the Ten Rings organization. The project is Marvel’s first superhero movie that centers on an Asian lead.
Upon its opening on Friday, Shang-Chi grossed $29.6M in ticket sales from 4,300 locations. Expectations are set for an opening of $75-85 million for the four-day frame, meaning that Shang-Chi is on the path to be one of the biggest domestic openings of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere in Hollywood last month, that “a lot of reads, a lot of auditions” went into the casting of the superhero role. “There’s no magic formula. It’s a feeling. It’s a sense of both the ability to be relatable and grounded and at the same time take your place in that pantheon of heroes.”
In his post, Liu thanked his co-stars, including Awkwafina, Benedict Wong, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Ronny Chieng, Florian Munteanu, Meng’er Zhang, Ben Kingsley and Tony Leung, “for allowing a complete newbie to occupy space in your world.”
And then, Liu made a bold statement about the film’s potential to inspire real social change.
“I’ve said before that this film will change the world,” he wrote. “A smile where there wasn’t one before. Pride where there was shame. Compassion where there was ignorance. If we reach out and touch even one person, then aren’t all of our lives better for it?”
Liu ended his post by declaring: “Today, finally, we make history.”
A number of comments appeared soon after the post went live, including a response from Cretton, who said “It has been my honor.”
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