‘Shang-Chi’ star wants to create new experiences for an entire generation of third culture kids

Simu Liu
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Ever since Simu Liu shot to stardom in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the Chinese-Canadian actor has had to make some big adjustments as now he has the spotlight trained on him in all the best and worst ways.

But despite being in a suffocating grasp of constant media scrutiny, Liu is focused on the good that he can bring with his newfound fame, and number one on his list is telling stories that can help celebrate and inform one’s identity, as he stated in an interview with GQ Magazine.

“[Shang-Chi allowed] me to be in the driver’s seat of projects that wouldn’t otherwise exist,” Liu said. “For example, this book, or movies that I’m really excited to help get made. Not necessarily just jumping on to the next studio movie, but there are stories out there that I genuinely feel like without my hand pushing them forward, would never get told.”

“Third-culture kids grew up so starved for that kind of content. I just want the next generation to not experience that,” he added.

“Third culture kid” refers to children who grow up in a culture different from the one that their parents grew up in, or one that’s different from the culture of their home country. They also tend to live in a different cultural environment for much of their childhood.

Liu’s rise to recognition recently landed him a book deal in the form of his memoir We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story, where he opened up about his own experiences struggling with cultural stereotypes and identity as a third culture child himself.

Now that he’s in the proverbial driver’s seat after receiving the MCU’s gift of clout, he hopes to tell stories that will help bring third culture visibility to wider audiences, and give a generation of third culture individuals the representation that Hollywood has historically dropped the ball on.

Liu’s next appearance will be in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film, releasing on July 21 next year.