Awkwafina Talks 'Nora From Queens' and 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' (Exclusive)

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It’s a good time to be Awkwafina. As summer comes to a close, the 33-year-old performer is busy celebrating the back-to-back releases of Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens season 2 on Comedy Central and her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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’s Matt Cohen 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 here. 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’s Lauren Zima, 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.” 

In the meantime, fans can watch her on TV, when Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens returns to Comedy Central on Aug. 18. Season 2 sees life for Nora (Awkwafina) and her family, Dad (BD Wong), Grandma (Lori Tan Chinn) and cousin Edmund (Bowen Yang), grow more complicated as they reevaluate where they are and try new things. 

“We definitely, thematically, go to a lot of different places this season,” she teased, before excitedly talking about all the guest stars, including Chloe Fineman, Fortune Feimster, Kerri Kenney-Silver and Margaret Cho, that make appearances in the new episodes. “The list goes on of all these people that I love and respect. And I’m so honored they took the time out of their schedule to be on it.”

“I really am proud of everything that you know the crew and our brilliant actors have done with it,” Awkwafina added while acknowledging that this comes “on top of a really hard year for everyone,” especially amid pushback on anti-Asian attacks in the spring. 

“I think that making and developing a show, and one that celebrates Asian American representation, is a crazy kind of dual reality, right? There are these things we are writing about, that we’re confronting, that we want to be recognized and we want to be more of, and then there are these horrible events also occurring,” she said, before adding, “As a community, we’re strong… [And] things are being dealt with in a way that I think they never have been dealt with before.” 

Looking ahead, one of Awkwafina’s many anticipated projects includes the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. In this version directed by Rob Marshall, she voices Scuttle, a seagull and friend of Ariel (Halle Bailey). 

“That was very surreal to know that I would get to reprise Scuttle,” she said, noting that growing up, he was one of her favorite characters. “It was such an honor to work with Rob Marshall, and going out to London, and meeting Halle. It’s a dream, so I can’t wait ‘til it comes out.”

While it’s unclear when the Disney film will hit theaters, Awkwafina is still processing what it means to be part of the MCU in such a “special” movie. “I don’t know if I’m ready for that. But when are you ever ready?” she said, before revealing, “It’s so good and I think people are going to have just a good experience back at the movies.” 


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