Simu Liu dazzles Toronto after buying out theatre for free film screening
The ridiculously-handsome Toronto actor who was just tapped to play Marvel's first Chinese superhero seems like a genuinely good guy — and a true champion for Asian representation in film.
Simu Liu, who is set to star in the forthcoming superhero movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, invited 500 fans to join him at Toronto's Cineplex Cinemas Varsity on Tuesday evening for a free screening of Lulu Wang's highly-acclaimed indie flick The Farewell.
Liu had announced on Twitter not even 24 hours earlier that he and American actor Ryan Potter had managed to buy out the entire theatre for the purpose, and that he'd be giving away tickets to fans on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Being that this is Toronto — a land famous for its inhabitants' practice of lining up for things — keen moviegoers got to the Manulife Centre nice and early.
By 7 p.m., the area outside the theatre was packed.
Upon his arrival, Liu stopped to speak to the gathered crowd about the importance of Asian stories and characters in film.
"We're fighting for representation on screen," he said. "We're fighting to be seen, we're fighting to feel like we belong. And we're fighting to feel like we can own every room that we walk into."
Later, directly ahead of the screening, he told those inside the theatre that the fight for fair representation goes beyond the screen: "In televisions, in political office, across all forums."
.@SimuLiu, aka the newly minted Shang-Chi was in the house to introduce the wonderful @thefarewell. He says Asians need to be represented better on screen. He also said we should channel "Big Asian Energy." pic.twitter.com/GcRpIsJBSU— Samantha Lui (@samanthalui_) July 24, 2019
He also spoke to something he called "Big Asian Energy," generating a round of whoops from the crowd.
Those who got into Liu's screening of the film, which stars his friend and soon-to-be Shang-Chi co-star Awkwafina, were thrilled to see Toronto's newest hometown hero in the flesh.
What a turnout! #SimuLiu, just cast as #Marvel Superhero #ShangChi, gets a hero's welcome home! He bought-out the 9:30 screening of acclaimed #TheFarewell starring upcoming Co-Star #Awkwafina, treating fans to a free movie! Never seen a crowd like this ever at The Varsity! pic.twitter.com/ayxIXNJHaZ— MR. WILL WONG 📸 (@mrwillw) July 24, 2019
Like critics, they also had plenty of good things to say about the film.
We 👏 made 👏 it 👏— leemarie | loveyou3000 (@leemarie0813) July 24, 2019
This theatre is blessed 🙏
Worth the wait.@thefarewell hit all the right spots 💜
We came to see @awkwafina and the rest of the wonderful cast thanks to a special night opened by @SimuLiu
This film is a must-see for all. Really enjoyable watch 😊 pic.twitter.com/QrUPSu6I3I
"Thank you to everyone who showed up for our screening of The Farewell!" wrote the actor on Instagram following last night's screening.
"I can’t describe to you how amazing this film is; the emotional truth of the story cut through to my very core, propelled by the amazing work of [Awkwafina] and [Lulu Wang]."
"The reason that films like The Farewell (and yes, Shang Chi) are so important to me are because they speak to the differences between Eastern- and Western-raised Asians," continued Liu, who, prior to being announced as Marvel's newest superhero, was best known for his work on the TV show Kim's Convenience.
"It is my genuine hope that these movies will bring us closer together by opening a dialogue through which we can share culture with each other, and with the whole world."
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