Star of Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero film says it’s a gift to the 'entire community'

ITV News Reporter Sangita Lal reports on the importance of Marvel's new film to Chinese representation in the industry.

The star of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) first Asian-led superhero film, actor Simu Liu, has called the movie “a beautiful gift to give to an entire community”.

Speaking at a gala screening for the film in London, the 32-year-old, who plays the title character in Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, said the role was “an incredible honour” to play.

“It’s so rare that I feel like people that look like me are thrust into those positions and I think it’s tremendously empowering”, the actor who has Chinese heritage said.

“I think about the kids who will experience what I sort of never did when I was a kid, you know, seeing myself reflected in that way.

“And I really do think that a superhero represents something very unique in that they represent hope, this kind of pure hope and infinite possibilities.

“I hope it’s the first of many and I hope absolutely that I’m not the only one”.

Unscripted - the ITV News arts and entertainment podcast

Liu’s character is a master of Kung-Fu who is forced to confront his past when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organisation.

The Canadian actor previously played Jung Kim in the sitcom Kim’s Convenience and starred in the crime drama Blood And Water.

The film also features Crazy Rich Asians’ Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh, and Benedict Wong returns for his fourth appearance in the MCU.

The film’s director, Destin Daniel Cretton, told PA on the red carpet: “I now have two sons, my second son was born two months into production, and to be able to create a superhero that they one day will be able to watch when they’re old enough and look up to is something that’s really special.

“I never had a superhero who I could identify with when I was a kid, and to be able to have an option for a new generation of kids who look like me or who has a similar background as me, that’s very special”.

“I feel very seen as an Asian-American when I see movies like this that really represent a side of my experience I haven’t seen much on film”, he told ITV News.

Director, Destin Daniel Cretton (middle) says the movie makes him "feel very seen" as an Asian-American. Credit: PA

Cretton also said he felt “very lucky” to be a part of a Hollywood franchise which has made diversity a key objective.

Many in the industry are hoping that the Marvel movie is just the start to changing the representation of people of Chinese heritage on the big screen.

“It’s the beginning of the change and it’s a very good change. Hopefully it just keeps going forward, and stop casting east Asian actors in their stereotypical roles really, because we are not defined by our looks”, actress Daphne Cheung told ITV News.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings opens in cinemas on September 3.