Fala Chen Cast in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi”

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, many film productions have come to an abrupt halt, including Marvel Studio’s highly-anticipated movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings <上氣>. With filming pushed back, fans have no choice but to anxiously await the completion of Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero film, starring Simu Liu (劉思慕) as titular character Shang-Chi and Tony Leung (梁朝偉) as The Mandarin. According to Murphy’s Multiverse, viewers may also see Chinese actress Fala Chen (陳法拉) taking on a key role.

Sources believe Fala is cast as MI6 Agent Leiko Wu since that role has not been filled yet. Leiko Wu is a martial artist who teams up with Shang-Chi to fight against his enemy, The Mandarin. She also plays the love interest of fellow MI6 Agent Clive Reston.

Murphy’s Multiverse connected the dots when they noticed Fala mutually follows Simu and Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton on social media. They also discovered Simu has been liking and commenting on Fala’s Instagram posts. In late January, the actress shared a photo of handmade dumplings online, and Simu’s comment on the picture suggested that he had participated in the cooking session.

Source: HK01

This article is written by Hailey for JayneStars.com.

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  1. Looking forward to watching Fala’s improved (hopefully) acting.

    1. @jimmyszeto
      There are a lot more question marks surrounding Fala’s acting than Maggie’s when she went to Hollywood.

      But why the Maggie Cheung comparison? There’s been countless Chinese actresses that have starred in Hollywood films over the past 20 years.

      Her roots? Fala isn’t even a native HK’er.

      Or did you mean Fala’s potential to rise to Maggie’s level of stardom on the international stage. Then yes, I do agree.

      1. @anon
        There hasn’t been a cantonese speaking TVB actress reaching the level of Maggie Cheung. Can I visualise Fala being in a similar status Maggie Cheung in 15-20 years time? I can. Obviously it is easier said than done and there will be many factors which could affect Fala’s path. Whether she would have a child and retire, if she can compete internationally since HK movies are pretty much finished, timing and luck, scripts etr. Odds are against her but her chances are as good as anyone right now…

      2. @jimmyszeto

        I’d be surprised if she will be in another HK movie again if it’s true that she landed a role in Shang Chi. In the worst case scenario, if this movie is a bust, and her opportunities in Hollywood dry up. She’s more likely to return to China to film in dramas and movies than to starr in another HK movie or drama production again. Other then that, yes I agree with you.

      3. @anon
        It is still possible to reach that Maggie level in the hearts of the Hong Kong people. Without HK movies, it will have to be the long hard route of making it as superstar in Hollywood. No one has done it before but no one had done that before until Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan burst into the scene too.

      4. To be fair, I thought after ‘Triumph in the skies’ and Fala hit a bottleneck with her struggles in that series. Shows what can happen if you face your fears and seek to improve on your weaknesses…

      5. @jimmyszeto after the whole trump fiasco I doubt fala will go back to hk. Like someone else stated shes either going to breakout in Hollywood or start filming in china. Hk sort of blacklisted.

      6. @luye personally i’m a fan of fala so obviously i’m not against her and I don’t mind where she acts. But hk people are not very forgiving especially when it comes to any issues with china at this moment. Did you see what happened to many artists whether they tried to speak up for or against china? Pakho was almost blacklisted for voicing out his opinion. Fala’s ig comments had to be turned off for a while because people were hounding her like crazy. Her comment wasn’t even that bad and did not even concern hk they completely twisted her words. Besides I doubt fala would want to return to hk unless she was really desperate. Why settle for hk when the market in china and the us is much bigger.

      7. @holiday
        If Fala becomes a international superstar one day and that’s a big ‘of’ then HK will grab her and take her as one of their own again. That’s how It works…

      8. @holiday yes, i’ve noticed lately that many celebrities disable their comments section. I believe Pakho & Ali urged people to vote on their Insta – which was twisted to being “anti-China” by Chinese people.

        Fala called out Trump for saying “Chinese Virus” – which was twisted to being pro-China by HKers. It’s absolutely ridiculous how people can twist others’ words & then label them into a certain category.

      9. @anon There’s been countless Chinese actresses that have starred in Hollywood films? Countless?/ WHAT A JOKE! how many? 1 million? or 100 million? How many of these so called ‘china mainland stars’ have ever appears in more than 8 Hollywood movies? The main reason Hollywood get 1 or 2 china star to act in their movie is to simply to get into china market, nothing more than that. Don’t tell me you are so naive to think that those china stars are selected due to their acting skill, haha. Let’s face it, dude, those so call china stars are desperately try to join hollywood or south korea group to be international star, if not, they are just a normal tourist when they are visiting other countries, Not happy with my comment? then name 1 or 2 these rookie china mainland homegrown star who is more popular than Jay Chow, Jolin Tsai, or Andy Lau who are already well known internationally, from east asia to south east asia. Don’t have to think to hard, i can tell you NONE.

      10. @anon anonniniang hits right at your nerve, LOL chinese music industry is dominated by taiwan, and while HK movies industry is no longer as hot as it what it was in the 80’s or 90’s, the legendary and international status of HK movies stars remain untouchable. Andy Lau, Chow Yun Fat, Aaron Kwok are well known name in southeast asia countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, F4 and 5566 from taiwan are the most talk about group during their peak. From your past comments i can see that you are very cocky and have been trying to undermine non-china movie stars, especially those from HK, i can tell you the hard truth, during my work trip to southeast asia countries, the most talk about movie stars and singers are still those old timer from HK and Taiwan. so stop playing your propaganda to promote those wannabe primary school brats who have zero acting skills!!!

      11. @anon are you in your right mind to put Maggie Cheung in the same league as those wannabe chinese actresses? LOL It’s like comparing a wannabe primary school brat, who thinks he/she is pro basketball player just because of a lucky 3 point shot, to a real pro NBA basketball player, LOL Maggie Cheung is a true well known international star who need no introduction. Her name is already a ‘household brand, alongside with well known HK actress like Anita Mui or Taiwan singer like Teresa Teng, They are cultural icons.

      12. @cuteyhair
        When did I say Fala Chen is on the same level as Maggie Cheung?

        You need to work on your comprehension and re-read what I wrote.

        The closest thing to such comparison is Fala Chen has the POTENTIAL to be like Maggie on the same level of stardom years from now. That is a real possibility.

      13. @cuteyhair
        Wow. You are so narrow minded! It sounds likely you think there’s are a few past superstars that will never be match in fame. Get real! Anita Mui at one time was singing in the streets and Tony Leung was yet to apply for TVB acting class. Stop disrespecting all the potential up and comers. It’s not ‘3 point lucky basket’ to study a few years in top class school. Respect others career and hard work, please…

      1. @sehseh
        don’t forget shi qi, although not hk but she was in many hk production. probably more than any other ones.

      1. @hetieshou
        Jimmy was referring to Fala’s chance of reaching Maggie’s level of stardom. That is different than reaching her level of acting.

      2. @anon
        You are probably right but Fala has the advantage of a better education than Maggie and we are still basing her acting on her TVB years which have long gone. Who knows what level she is at now…

      3. @jimmyszeto
        Being educated is one thing but having the innate talent to act well is a different story. There are plenty of actors and actresses from China for example who are well educated in terms of acting but their acting is still not so great. Maggie may not have been good at the beginning but has grown so much through years of experience which is impressive. Many can act for years but still suck like as some say Linda Chung and Myolie Wu. They have acted for years but their acting has not improved much or they can only play a certain type of role. Their acting is not versatile.

      4. @hetieshou
        Education is important and we have to look at percentages rather than using a select few as examples. There are a some uneducated self taught actors in the 80s such as Tony Leung and Stephen Chow. They are rare geniuses who are necessarily not born with it but obsessed with the profession to the extent of following idols Stephen Chow(Bruce Lee, Michael Hui) and Tony Leung(Robert Di Niro). They were observant and strive to improve acting on a daily basis since a young age. If we look at actors/actresses from Hong Kong of Performing arts as that the many have either gained critical acclaim or at least no criticism of their acting. Examples- Anthony Wong, Tse Kwan Ho, Wong Cho Lam. Louisa So, Cheung Tat Ming. Sunny Chan etr. The reason for this is not a coincidence. The actors educated in acting are rather technical and understands different acting methods, own strengths/weaknesses and various stages for performing. Regarding Fala, she has a good college background, a good many years in acting TVB, Juilliard qualification, experience in Theatre/movies. It’s a good package to continue developing further. Can’t compare to some pageant winners/TVB class graduates who may not necessarily be in for the acting. Could be motivated by fame/money/job and even if passionate about acting may not be educated enough nor has the relevant training. Linda and Myolie are examples of this. They could only reach a certain low level which is their peak. Lack of Understanding of acting techniques nor inner acting methods. There are some exceptions who do learn through years of experience though and that is likely their sudden Increase in interest In acting…

      5. @anon
        Maybe but time will tell as I feel even with education, you must have the inborn talent to act well. It is like singing because you either have it or you do not. You can get trained and experience helps, but if you want to reach a very high level you need to naturally have it.

    2. @jimmyszeto

      The odds are not really against her right now, she should have a fair bit of opportunities after Shang- Chi (if it’s true) since Crazy Rich Asians established an Asian market in Hollywood

      1. @hbc1
        I believe it was Fresh Off the Boat that helped established a market for Asian actors in Hollywood. So far its still mostly Asian women that has benefited from the opportunity. Asian men are still only getting minor roles. Tired of seeing the WMAF pairing tbh.

      2. @anon
        I was referring to movies specifically not small screen productions but in any case that is true

      3. @hbc1
        I work in the odds industry and I can assure you that the odds are still huge. Maybe internationally then Fala has a good opportunity to reach that level but in the eyes of HK it will take a long while to exceed Maggie. Plenty have started well and didn’t last Anita Yuen, Cecilia…

      4. @jimmyszeto
        Hollywood is certainly evolving, with an increase in Asian representation in movies such as this and Mulan etc. I think Fala has potential but won’t be to the level of Maggie Cheung in terms of a cantonese speaking TVB actress

  2. i am not surprised at all. very few english speaking chinese actress out there that has been cast in western drama. i knew this would happen. sooner or later, selena li would be in one too if she sticks around.

    1. @m0m0
      I’m not as optimistic about Selena as I am with Fala Chen being a success in Hollywood. For one, she never went to Julliard. Whether that actually improved Fala’s acting besides the point. The most important aspects are the personal and industry network that she was able to develop while attending school there for 3 years. I think that made the biggest difference in Fala landing her role in an HBO TV series and the Marvel role in Shang-Chi.

      Selena to date has only been able to land in a small budget Canadian TV series and another low budget Canadian short film that sadly most people don’t care to watch nor have access to watch it. The Canadian TV series is only available on CBC. Americans can’t even watch that. I don’t think she has landed in any Hollywood productions (big or small) to date. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

      1. @anon very true. At the same time Selena’s popularity in HK skyrocketed.
        Isn’t she managed by a big American company? She’s definitely doing better than when she was at TVB so we can only hope she continues to have meaty roles.

      2. @bubbles23

        She is managed by a talent agency called Authentic – self-proclaimed largest talent agency in NY with a staff of less than 200 employees. Which doesn’t mean much since Hollywood is in LA, not NY. Also, their website doesn’t list any of their contracted artists. This implies that most, if not all of their artists are unknown in the industry.

        Their website is just a simple one-page website. It doesn’t list many projects that they have participated in. The few that they have listed, they didn’t even elaborate in detail in what capacity they were involved. It’s possible that they could’ve sent a background actor to each of these productions and still earn credit for having participated.

        If you are a respectable and reputable talent agency, you would list all of the artists you have under management on your website to show your strength and influence in your industry and list the projects that you were involved in, in detail, and in what capacity.

        Authentic rubs me off as an agency that doesn’t have any famous and successful artists under their wings and can’t land any significant roles in major Hollywood productions. Correct me if I am wrong.

        Generally, an A-list agency that has A-listers like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, etc. would not sign on an unknown artist like Selena.

        I can’t say that Selena is doing better now than when she was at TVB.

        Authentic website: http://www.authenticm.com

      3. @anon I read that Authentic (or someone from there) manages Brie Larson.
        I still think Selena is doing better though, at least in Hong Kong. The sad thing is she is getting old per showbiz standards so she definitely won’t be “the next big thing” outside of HK. TVB owes her more than a favourite character award imo.
        If Fala is truly casted in Marvel, she’ll be the biggest celeb from HK by FAR. Marvel is the biggest franchise. Julliard is the best arts school for a reason. Fala getting good opportunities shouldn’t be a surprise considering her background.

  3. Great news for Fala foray into international market.
    There are some negative comments among c-netz since they still perceive Shang-Chi as anti-Chinese, so Fala career in China (if she wants, anyway) will depend on the outcome of the movie and Chinese audience sentiments. I don’t think she’s looking at Chinese market though.

    1. @sehseh

      It really depends on how the writers for the movie will portray the plot. It won’t be out of the ordinary if the movie is significantly different from the comic book. With how much Marvel (and Hollywood) are trying to bank on China (the #1 movie market in the world). I highly doubt they will produce a movie to intentionally anger the Chinese audience, knowing well beforehand that they have been complaining about the racial and discriminatory undertone from the comic books since the start.

      1. @anon China the #1 movie market in the world?, soon it will be past history, haha, The new headline will be “China WAS #1 movie market in the world” Come out from your frog well, and face the hard truth on current world development, haha.

  4. @anon There’s been countless Chinese actresses that have starred in Hollywood films? Countless? WHAT A JOKE! how many? 1 million? or 100 million? How many of these so called ‘china mainland stars’ have ever appears in more than 8 Hollywood movies? The main reason Hollywood get 1 or 2 china star to act in their movie is to simply to get into china market, nothing more than that. Don’t tell me those china stars are selected due to their acting skill? LMAO. None of those China stars come close to Maggie Cheung or those old 80’s HK stars when come to acting skill and none can come close to Taiwan singers when come to singing skill. Wake up dude, this is hard reality,money can never promote one talent. Unless they act in Hollywood movies or join South Korea group, those china stars can forget about being true international star, the most, they are only well known in China, HK, or maybe Taiwan. LOL Not happy? Name 1 or 2 homegrown China mainland singers whose popularity can surpass Jay Chou or Jolin Tsai, Don’t have to think hard, None. haha

  5. I hope she does get the role. She sacrificed alot to study at the height of her HK career. It will be good to see her rewarded for the efforts.

    On a more depressing note. I wonder if movies will even do well in the current climate. Still a lot of bad sentiments against chinese people at the moment.

    1. @megamiaow
      the political climate part i agree w/ you. if mulan does well, not just in china, then shang chi is probably going to do well too. but it is a legitimate concern that chinese people are not welcomed in most of the world b/c of this. i am afraid of traveling any where in the next decade or so besides asia.

      1. @m0m0 marvel movies already have a hardcore fan base. Even awful captain marvel did well. So I’m not worried.

  6. Great news and hopefully news is true. As for comparison wi thy h Maggie cheung, never thought Maggie was pretty or could act. So for me fala is a step up.

    1. @funnlim
      maggie is a good actress. i rewatched the movie with her and leon, her acting was on point. fala on the other hand, barely average acting. if it wasn’t for her rich husband setting up with connections, i doubt she could have made it on her own.

      1. @m0m0

        I agree with your assessment of Fala’s ‘barely average acting” during her days at TVB which was about 8 years ago.

        But in order for her to land her roles in The Undoing and Shang-Chi. Her acting had to of been above-average to survive the numerous rounds of Hollywood casting auditions. These Hollywood directors and producers aren’t blind. Unless you’re already established which Fala is not, it takes more than connections to get these roles.

      2. @luye
        i am not saying her getting the role was b/c of her ex. but her entrance to the school. like said, her acting and credentials were just average, wouldn’t you think that with her ex owning an entertainment company set her up to meet a few important people thus her admission to such a prestigious school?

        i am not doubting that her landing on the roles was not her doing. Very possible b/c of her acting which might have been improved through training and life experiences.

      3. @m0m0

        Fala entered the entertainment industry in 2005 via. Miss Chinese International pageant, and had been acting since until she applied and was accepted into Julliard in 2016. That’s 11 years of experience acting in movies and TV series coupled with a few years of leading actress experience for a major TV network in HK. I think that’s more experience than most of her classmates at Julliard. Judging by the pictures that she took with her classmates. Most of them are in their mid-20’s, there’s no way they have more acting experience and had accomplished as much as she did outside of academics.

        Academic grades are important to get into grad school but life and work experiences are just as important, if not more important, especially in the field of acting.

      4. @anon
        Being experienced and educated is one thing, but I feel if you just don’t have the skill then you just do not. Of course years of experience helps too but if you want to be a true and professional actor/actress then you need to kind of be born with it. Same goes with singing…

      5. @m0m0 @anon
        Agree with @anon. Plus Fala already had an great education prior to entering the industry. Questioning Fala’s credentials is questioning Julliard’s entrance criteria. Not any randomer can get in. Looking at the lead actresses in recent years at TVB not many have much of an education of any at all. You can put them In the school and they would gain nothing from it…

      6. @jimmyszeto @anon
        This is probably unpopular opinion but for me personally, I feel it’s a bigger deal that Fala got cast in HBO series The Undoing than in Shang-chi. Sure, Fala’s role in the series is a minor supporting role, but it’s a role that she got cast in NOT based on her ethnicity (versus Shang-Chi, which yes is a major Hollywood production and her role there is much bigger, but part of the reason she was chosen is because she’s Asian). I read the book that The Undoing is based on and there are no Asian characters in that book whatsoever — in fact, it’s actually one of those stories where race doesn’t factor into it at all (the basic premise is about a therapist who seems to have a perfect life on the surface, but a lot of things are actually going horribly wrong behind-the-scenes and how that affects her state of mind is explored in the story). Of course, I don’t know the circumstances of how Fala was cast in the series (i.e.: connections or she actually auditioned) but the fact that the story has nothing to do with race, well, let’s say it WAS auditions, then that means she got the role because of her status as an “actress” rather than “Asian actress”, which is a step in the right direction, since for me, truly “making it” in Hollywood is being recognized and cast for your talent rather than for your looks or ethnicity. True, Fala isn’t there yet, but with her role in The Undoing, she’s on the right path (as long as she and/or her management company keeps going down that path, that is).

      7. @llwy12 When you say this book doesnt factor in race, it doesnt mention any ethnicity? Although I would hope what you say is true, Im not sure that she didnt get selected based on her race – being that they needed to offsite the cast so that they are not all white. There’s rarely a production these days that do not include at least one or 2 ethics in the mix. Either way, I guess it still gives asians more opportunities.

      8. @megamiaow Of course, it’s still possible that they cast an Asian to balance things out, but I doubt it because 1) Fala’s role is minor, why would they go to the trouble for a minor role, 2) this is a regular HBO mini-series made for an American audience with no intention of having it air in China, so there’s no need to include a “token Asian” role, and 3) the story is not ethnicity-centered — it’s essentially a psychological thriller that focuses on a marriage therapist (Nicole Kidman’s character) whose husband (Hugh Grant’s character) conveniently goes missing when a murder occurs in her community and when a bunch of other things start happening, she starts to suspect that her husband isn’t who he seems (that’s a very high level description…there’s actually more to the story than that but too lazy to write it all out). From what I’ve seen from the trailers and such, Fala is mostly in the group scenes at the school…also, most of the promo materials I’ve seen don’t even mention her, which tells me her role is very minor, so basically they are not going to go through the trouble of changing the story or whatnot just because of her.

      9. @megamiaow Yea, though that’s based on the promo material and the story as it is in the book…won’t know truly until the series airs to see how the scriptwriter and director decided to interpret / adapt the story (though I still doubt that it will stray that much)…

      10. @jimmyszeto
        Being educated does not prove much. Many actresses in China are highly educated at the prestigious acting universities but many of them are not that great at acting.
        They are average at best and some are good. Acting like singing is a skill that you have to sort of be born with.

      11. @hetieshou
        I am of the opposite. From what I’ve seen, a majority of actors that have gone to acting schools in China can act.

      12. @hetieshou
        I am of the opposite. From what I’ve seen, a majority of actors that have gone to acting schools in China can act in dramas. It shows especially when they are in ancient costume dramas.

      13. @anon
        I am not saying that all of them cannot act but a number of them aren’t so great in spite of being educated. My point is education does not always guarantee that you will be great at something regardless of what it is.

      14. @m0m0
        I agree and Maggie is a very good actress. I watched many movies with her and her acting is good and versatile. I cannot say the same about Fala. Her acting has always been hardly average to below average.

    2. @funnlim
      You are in the minority as if Maggie did not act well, she would not be where she is right now. Connections and all can only get you so far. Fala’s acting has always been average to me. Even after getting educated, I doubt she is much better because acting is a skill that you either have or you do not.

  7. Fala is 5″7″, has a good body, a pretty face, speaks English well, and is a Julliard graduate, is there a reason not to cast her? Gemma Chan would have been a second choice, but perhaps too tall and not femme fatale looking enough? Gemma Chan, I would consider more mature and elegant.

    1. @jesspepperwang Wasn’t Gemma Chan already in Captain Marvel? And she’s also in another upcoming Marvel film, The Eternals. She is like one of the rare actress to play multiple characters in Marvel Universe films.
      So looks like Hollywood runs out of English-speaking, beautiful Asians to cast on the Marvel Universe films? Lol

      1. @pompidur
        you’re right, there are so few english speaking asians in hollywood. that’s why i think they would cast anyone who’s just out there.

  8. I wonder why no one even dares bring up Lucy Lui.. is her English not up to scratch? If so, how did she get into Julliard?

  9. 51 and 5’3″ but an actress in her own right with emmy wins. Physical beauty wise, I am not sure Lucy Liu is up there. At the very least, Fala is prettier.

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