"Dangling off of things and flying, falling backward…it’s really different from, say, an indie rom-com. It’s really cool. It’s so weird to switch from 'friend mode,'" Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, told the magazine.
But despite the departure from her usual rom-com roles, the 33-year-old actress can't help but point out the significance of Shang-Chi for the AAPI community and the pride she feels in being a part of the first Marvel film to star an Asian superhero.
"These movies make me so proud, just as a watcher, because they contribute to visibility, which I do think has real-life effects," she explained. "When the AAPI community is seen as not ancillary characters, it’s almost like, then people will know that we’re here, you know?"
Opening in theaters on Sept. 3, the comic book adaptation sees Awkwafina playing Katy, a hotel valet and friend of Simu Liu’s titular hero and martial artist, Shang-Chi. And at the film’s premiere, she told ET that audiences are "going to see the power that is Simu Liu."
"We’re going to go into another world. I think that there’s a set of characters and a story here that’s very unique but also sits really well amongst the larger universe," she continued.
The film also reunites Awkwafina with her Crazy Rich Asians co-star, Michelle Yeoh, who plays Jiang Nan. Reflecting on their time together on set, Awkwafina recalled, "We were hanging out in Australia and remembering how not that long ago we were hanging out in Singapore, doing that movie."
She added that it was "really cool to reunite with her again."
And the two could possibly share the screen again, if the long-awaited sequel to Crazy Rich Asians finally moves forward. In an earlier conversation with ET, the performer confirmed that "there is a sequel." However, "when and where, I don’t know," she admitted. "But I can confirm that it still exists."
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters Sept. 3.