Simu Liu Says He Wanted 'Shang-Chi' Role So Badly He 'Exaggerated' His Martial Arts Background

The Canadian actor made the revelation to Ariana DeBose, who was left stunned in disbelief that it was also his first ever movie role.

Fake it 'til you make it! That's the mantra Simu Liu subscribed to in order to land his breakthrough role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings, admitting he "exaggerated" his martial arts skills because he so "badly" wanted the titular role.

The 32-year-old actor became a global sensation after joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2021, but little did anyone know Liu "bluffed" his way into the role. During a discussion for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series, West Side Story star Ariana DeBose said she admired Liu's dancing background (he was in a hip-hop competitive dance team in college) but admitted being taken aback by his sheer physicality in Shang-Chi. Then came the bombshell.

"When I got the part, they asked me about my martial arts background and experience, which of course I exaggerated because I wanted the job really badly," admitted Liu, to which DeBose replied, "You bluffed your way into the part -- I love it!"

Liu went on to explain that he "had done some work as an on-again, off-again stuntman, but if we’re honest, I think I was more of a dancer than I ever was a martial artist."

Lucky for him, training for the role happened immediately.

"Pretty much from the moment I was cast, I started working with trainers and learning how to move," he said. "I had such awful flexibility. My groin and my tendons were just so stiff. A big part of that early process was just bending my body and trying to rip those legs apart."

And, while he was at it, Liu dropped a nugget that was unbeknownst to DeBose.

"But what was great too is it was my first movie," said Liu before DeBose interrupted with, "Wait, what? Was that your actual first movie?" Liu responded, "It was the first, yeah." Needless to say, DeBose was blown away.

"What a crazy first movie to do, right?," quipped Liu.

To his credit, Liu manifested his Marvel superhero role. Back in 2014, the indelible actor tweeted, "Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?"

Marvel can thank its lucky stars it made the right call. With Liu at the helm, Shang-Chi would go on to become the biggest movie of 2021, and so far it has hauled in more than $430 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo