In terms of making a splash in your feature film debut, they don’t come much bigger than playing the title role in a Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster, with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings transforming Simu Liu from a relative unknown to an international superstar overnight, instantly winning the actor a legion of fans across the world.
While the mystical martial arts fantasy was technically his first-ever credited role in a movie, it wasn’t quite his first big screen appearance ever. Almost a decade previously, Liu had been part of Guillermo del Toro’s giant monsters vs. giant robots spectacular Pacific Rim, although he was little more than an uncredited extra.
Despite playing such an insignificant role in the grand scheme of things (we are talking about a $150 million effects-driven epic, after all), the 33 year-old admitted in an interview with The Guardian that it instilled him with the desire to chase his dreams of making it in the industry, one way or another.
“I remember totally getting swept up in the energy of it all. I never thought that I could be the lead actor, but I was looking at the stunt people and I was like, I can be one of those guys. I felt like I was making up for lost time. My perception was that everybody was further ahead than me, so if I stood any chance, I had to catch up.”
These days, Liu is one of the most in-demand young talents in all of Hollywood, and you can bet that a lot of people have combed through each frame of Pacific Rim trying to see if they can spot him.