“Shang-Chi” Star Simu Liu Gracefully Responds to Criticism On Being “Too Ugly”
The world was divided when Marvel announced that Chinese Canadian actor, Simu Liu (劉思慕), will be the first Asian American superhero, playing Shang-Chi in the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. While many fans expressed their happiness for Simu, who has struggled to make a name in Hollywood since 2012, some fans did not hold back in saying that they are disappointment, arguing that Simu is “too ugly” to be a Marvel superhero.
In a YouTube video titled “Is The Asian Lead For Marvel ‘Too Ugly’ For Chinese People,” passersby in Beijing were shown pictures of Simu and were asked about to rate his attractiveness. Reactions were mixed, with some pointing out that there are different beauty standards for Chinese men in the West.
One street interviewee said, “Chinese and Americans have different ideals of what Chinese men should look like. For example, if this were a Chinese superhero movie, he probably wouldn’t have gotten the role. But he got cast in Hollywood, so his looks must fit the Americans’ view on what Chinese men should look like.”
In a Facebook post shared on the closed group Subtle Asian Traits, Simu clapped back at the video with a graceful—yet also vulnerably inspirational—response. “Not the best way to wake up,” said Simu. “3.5 [rating] and they pronounced my name wrong!”
Simu continued, “I think this is a very teachable moment. I’ve had people question me my entire life. A lot of teachers thought I’d never amount to anything, a lot of producers, directors, writers AND costars have questioned my acting ability, and I’ve been rejected from countless conservatories, grants, programs, etc. I’ve been second-guessed at every single possible step of my career.
“The reason why I’m still standing is because I’m singularly focused, I have the utmost believe in my abilities and I refuse to let the opinions of others define me. In your careers, in your lives, no matter where you go, you will always encounter voices of doubt. Some will come from people who are frighteningly close to you. Are you going to let those voices own you? Define you? Keep you from achieving what you want?
“That isn’t to say you can’t have bad days, and that you shouldn’t use your support systems and talk about how you feel like I’m doing right now. I’ve never been called ugly so many times in my entire life! For me, it’s never been about trying to shut the voices out – it’s a fruitless effort (especially if people happen to be making Youtube videos about it lol). Rather, it’s about learning to let the voices exist and be OKAY with it. I’m still doing my thing, and I’m still over the moon happy I get this amazing opportunity.
“I’m not going [to let] a few voices of doubt ruin that for me, and neither should you, in whatever you are pursuing in your life. Bet on yourself. Own your greatness. Take that spotlight.”
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings also stars Awkwafina and Tony Leung (梁朝偉).
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
I find it hilariously ironic. So I assume these Chinese people referred to the current popular Chinese actors, aka the “fresh meat,” are the ideal of what Chinese men look like – the funny part is that those actors go under the knife, styling, hair and make-up, are copied from Western and other Asian, primarily Korean, countries. So why are they the ideal representation of Chinese men??
I REALLY hope the script is good, Simu can act, and this turns into a blockbuster hit so it’ll slap these shallow-ness in the face.
The hate-mongering isn’t coming only from Chinese netizens.
There’s be plenty of
‘she’s so ugly…..he’s so ugly” in reference to Awkwafina, Simu and other celebrities by non-mainlanders here on this forum.
He is alot more suited then the pretty packaged boys.
I think most Westerners tend to forget is that the PRIMARY reason why Shang-Chi the movie is even reality is to appease the Chinese audience and to market to the 1.4 billion in China. Their main target market are NOT Oversea Asians. Let this be clear.
China IS the TOP reason why this movie is a reality – not because of the diversity movement, not because of equality.
However, since Simu and Awkwafina were announced for their roles in this project, many Chinese Marvel fans felt betrayed and disappointed because this is NOT what they wanted. In their perspective, it seems like Marvel was saying one thing (to appease China), but was doing another (telling western audience that it is a diversity movement and picking a lead that is ugly AF by their standard.. whether you agree with the beauty standard is beside the point).
China does not care about the diversity movement. They do not want this to be a political and social movement. They do not care about race equality. All they care about is how the Chinese should be presented to a global audience through the lens of Hollywood…..because they’ve always felt that Hollywood has never done the Chinese justice in films.
Personally, I can understand why the Chinese are disappointed, I don’t blame them.
Honestly, wait until they see how Awkwafina looks, if she has a significant role, combined with Simu being the lead, it will fail in China for sure, but will be a success in the west.
Heck, many Chinese on Chinese forums are already calling it a boycott because of Simu and how Marvel has gone against their promise.
Here is a good explanation from a white guy who lives in China, knows his Chinese history and culture better than most, and can explain the situation better than I can.
@anon I a glad the West chose a actor they found suitable regardless how China audience feel. In fact, often the Asian stars US movie picks are not Chinese . They audition and pick actors based on skills and not just a pretty face.
I am a Chinese and I am proud to be one. But I do not wish US film makers to bend their backs to please China. It is their film and their choice.
I dont see China casting Western actors in good roles in China either. In fact, very often the western cast they choose are a joke and cannot even act. Too much stereotyping and racism.
You and others netizen can choose not to watch the movie. As a Chinese and along with all my Chinese friends in China, all of us are looking forward to a good production that is not based on pretty faces but actors with good skills.
I will sit and enjoy this movie immensely and supporting Sumi Liu. And fu*k those that judge Simu base on his looks instead of his skills. This is not a Look of the Year competition..
“I am a Chinese and I am proud to be one. But I do not wish US film makers to bend their backs to please China.”
Sure, but Marvel had specified that this movie is mainly targetting China. So regardless of your personal opinion about them caving in to Chinese interest or not, it’s irrelevant because you’re not a majority shareholder of Disney, and they’ve made the business decision to target 1.4 billion Chinese, not the 5 million (whatever the exact figure is…) of overseas 2nd/3rd generation Chinese.
“You and others netizen can choose not to watch the movie.”
I am merely relaying a voice here. A voice that is rarely heard nor discussed in the west. That is the voice of the Chinese. A voice that can no longer be ignored. Just because I am relaying it, it doesn’t mean that is my opinion. I am merely a messenger – don’t shoot me. As for whether I am personally going to watch it – it depends on how the rest of the production pans out.
“I will sit and enjoy this movie immensely and supporting Sumi Liu. And fu*k those that judge Simu base on his looks instead of his skills. This is not a Look of the Year competition..”
Sure that is purely your opinion, an opinion, that Disney won’t hold the utmost weight to because your opinion is of the west. Marvel is targetting China with this movie.
@anon I am keen to see if Marvel will crave in to which group. I am from mainland China and a huge group of my friends and movie fans will love to see Sumi cast. We trust the producers will pick the best person for the role based on his skills.
I dont know if you are Chinese from China but you really do not speak for us. As those that complains online do not make the majority of us. There are huge Sumi supporters too.
“Disney won’t hold the utmost weight to because your opinion is of the west.” You are so wrong to even think that. I am just a Chinese that like reading English sites online along with Chinese sites. But my opnion and many others are just as important. In fact, I am sure the Chinese investors in Disney will make their voices heard. And it will be interesting to see who they support. The trusted producers or the voices of some Chinese netizens.
As for your voice on behalf of China here, I want to stress there is no need for that. We can all speak for ourselves. And we dont need others to relay our opinions as it s often very one sided and biased.
There are many cultured China who do not share the same opinions as regular internet netizens, we respect skills and quality instead of just looks
Thank you for your support of China. Much appreciated. But please remember China is huge and many Chinese netizens who loves to complain do not make up the nation.
“I dont know if you are Chinese from China but you really do not speak for us.”
I am not speaking for anyone. I am merely relaying their message in my original post. Stop stating the obvious. I’ve clarified this point.
“As those that complains online do not make the majority of us. There are huge Sumi supporters too.”
The majority of Chinese don’t even know Simu and have never seen his work. Some don’t even think he fits the role. Some don’t think he’s good looking. A small fraction know him and thats you and your friends. Great.
“Disney won’t hold the utmost weight to because your opinion is of the west.” You are so wrong to even think that.”
No I’m not, your view is a reflection of how mainly westerners think. They do not represent a majority of how Chinese think. Their views fall somewhere in between what I said. They either never heard of him, don’t think he’s fit for the role or don’t think he’s good looking or a combination of two or three of these traits.
“As for your voice on behalf of China here, I want to stress there is no need for that. We can all speak for ourselves. And we dont need others to relay our opinions as it s often very one sided and biased”
Stop telling me to speak for myself only while you speak on your behalf, as well as your friends, and everyone else that supports your view.
“There are many cultured China who do not share the same opinions as regular internet netizens”
Yes because only cultured Chinese people share the same opinion as you and those that don’t are uncultured. /s
Recommend you watch c-drama Longest Day in Chang’an available on Youtube and Amazon Prime.
African-american actor Djimon Hounsou has a good role in this historical drama. And the leading man Lei Jiayin looks like Simu Lu.
Chinese stereotyping and racism in casting western actors pales in comparison to the long history of racist caricatures of Asians in Hollywood [email protected] 16 Candles, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Big Trouble in Little China, Mummy: Tomb of Dragon Emperor- a small list among the many.
@msxie0714 I have finished this drama two days ago. It is very good and it is a keeper.
I too agree with you comment about how Asian was badly portrayed. It is the same for West in Asian dramas and movies too.
But currently, that is still not changing much.
I’ve watched the youtube you suggested. I understand what’s the guy is saying about the problem with Shang Chi, but, for Marvel’s first Chinese superhero, there really is no other better choice. Of all the few Chinese superheroes Marvel has, Shang Chi is the most well known and has the longest history. Others are either newly created or obscure/seldom used.
They can use Jimmy Woo, who is a very good representation of a Chinese hero, but he was ruined in the ‘Ant Man and the Wasp’ movie when they made him into bumbling idiot.
But, Marvel can still retract and said the bumbling is all an act to cover his real identity as the leader of the Agents of Atlas.
I’ve never watched Simu act so I can’t comment on his acting abilities, but I personally don’t think he’s bad-looking. Maybe not as handsome as the other Marvel actors but I’m happy for him for getting the role.
@rayne I too am happy he got the role. I really hate how the world need to bend over backwards to please China and some of their childish netizens. Fortunately, I know many mature Chinese who do not feel this way at all.
The same way the world has bent over backwards in the last 200 years for Great Britain and America. The tables are turning, better recognize that now, sooner rather than later.
@anon Just like how China is sending military tanks and troops to HK, preparing to use violence on the protestors if they dont stop their protest.
Hong Kong will need to recognised they are part of China.
I dont agree to using violence but it seems China is sending a clear message to everyone who is not willing to turn over backwards for them.
Is China trying to conquer the world or are they just climbing back from the years of silence?
“Just like how China is sending military tanks and troops to HK”
This is false. Where are you getting the information that China is sending tanks? They are not. Sending armoured vehicles is not the same as sending military tanks.
“preparing to use violence on the protestors if they dont stop their protest.”
All reasonable force is necessary to contain violence. You can’t talk your way out of a riot.
@anon Definitely a mistake on tanks as it is Trucks they are sending in.
“All reasonable force is necessary to contain violence. You can’t talk your way out of a riot.” Many mainland Chinese will not disagree as it happened to them too.
I dont find him handsome but there are better looking Chinese male out there with abs. I don’t find him heroic. And to mainland china crying over the racism and what nots, come one… Marvel will change the story so no worries, it will be demainlandchinesetesized by the time it reaches the cinemas and the world, according to how Mainland China sees it, will be fine!
Comments are closed.