Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday to plug his recently published memoir, We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story, which he said he wrote in hopes of making other children of immigrants feel less alone in the world. However, during the wide-ranging interview with guest host Chelsea Handler, he also discussed getting his start in Hollywood and how it was initially a bumpy path to breaking into the MCU.
As Liu told Handler, he arrived in Hollywood with next to no money to his name, staying in a seedy hostel just off of Hollywood Boulevard, which as every good transplant knows, is where the action is.
However, his newly-signed agent wasn’t moving fast enough for him, so Liu told Handler how he took matters into his own hands by perusing Craigslist for acting gigs — which, as every good transplant can also tell you, is where all the clutch jobs are to be found.
Yet, amazingly, Liu recalled that he got a few decent gigs out of it. In addition to scoring an extra role in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, the 33-year-old said he also got hired as Pete Wentz’s stunt double in a Fallout Boy music video and an appearance in an Avicii video.
“So that kind of validated the whole website for me, I was like, ‘Yeah, Craigslist, like Craigslist is where its at.'” Liu explained. “I don’t care about this stupid agent business, like, yeah I wanna go on Craigslist.”
“And then there were times that were not so great,” Liu continued. “I almost got scammed this one time. I answered this Craigslist ad and it was for an audition, it was very kind of vague as to what it was for, so I show up and do this audition and this guy is like, blown away — like even I was like, ‘I’m not that good of an actor.’ But he was like, ‘This is amazing, I’m gonna call some people, you come back tomorrow.'”
Liu explained that he came back the next day and the guy not shockingly had a job offer for him that paid $25,000 shooting in New York City. The only catch? It required the role to go to a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild.
“So he’s like, ‘Ok, don’t worry, I’ll make some calls,'” Liu recalled. “And he gets on the phone, and he’s having what I know now is a fake conversation, but he’s like, ‘Guess what? He’s not in the Screen Actor’s Guild. Well don’t worry, how much is the joining fee? Oh, it’s $5,000, I’ll let him know.’
At that point, Liu’s spidey sense naturally began tingling, no pun intended, and he thankfully declined the offer.
“And as I walked away, even then I was like, gaslighting myself,” he continued. “I wanted it to be true so badly, but it wasn’t until like six months later, I was on Craigslist again, because I hadn’t learned my lesson, and there was a police posting and there was a picture of the guy, and they had caught him, and they were like, these are all the aliases that he uses.”
“The bottom line is he’s off the streets now, he’s not scamming any aspiring actors anymore,” Liu added. And thank goodness that common sense prevailed because that five grand could have made all the difference between Liu becoming an action star and having to move back to Toronto after losing all his money on a scam. Would hate to see it!