Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu Confirms Barbie Role, Explains Why He Waxed For The Movie

Simu Liu surrounded by antiques in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

2021 was a dynamite year for Simu Liu. Sure, it wasn’t great that his TV series Kim’s Convenience was canceled, but between making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, starring in Women is Losers and lending his voice to projects like Bright Samurai Soul and Star Wars: Visions, it’s safe to say there were more ups than downs for him last year. Now Liu is in the midst of filming his next big movie, Barbie, and in addition to confirming how he fits into the Greta Gerwig-directed and Margot Robbie-led flick, he also explained why he decided to wax himself for the role.

Simu Liu stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to talk about his memoir We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story, and before the interview wrapped up, Colbert brought up his current gig in Barbie. While Liu didn’t go so far as to confirm the rumor that he’s playing another Ken doll (he simply agreed with the host that it’s “very vague” about who he’s going to be), he did clarify that he will be playing a doll of some sort while talking about his waxing experience:

They gave me the choice very early on. They were like, ‘Well first of all, dolls don’t have leg hair. You’re gonna have to get rid of this, and you can either shave it off or you could wax it off.’ And I chose to have it waxed off, because I want to be an ally. I want to be an ally to everybody out there who has waxed their legs on the regular. I want to know, and I want you to know, that I feel your pain now.

Anyone remotely familiar with the Barbie dolls know how smooth those toys are, meaning that leg hair is a no-go for the actors starring in the Barbie movie. Simu Liu could have easily chosen to just shave, but he went with waxing instead to feel like that pain was like. I guess watching Steve Carrell go through it in The 40-Year Old Virgin wasn’t enough. Stephen Colbert also jokingly asked if Liu shaved “just the legs” or anywhere else in particular (if you catch his drift), to which the actor responded that “it’s not that kind of the movie.”

Simu Liu was cast in Barbie back in February, and we can also expect to see his character take part in a dance sequence. So far the only officially confirmed roles in Barbie are Margot Robbie playing the main version of the title protagonist and Ryan Gosling playing the main version of Ken. However, new Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwi (who kept his role as the iconic Time Lord secret from Liu and the rest of the Barbie cast for two months) is also rumored to be playing a different Ken, while Issa Rae and Hari Nee are supposedly playing different versions of Barbie. Will Ferrell is also reportedly playing the CEO of a toy company, and the other members of Barbie’s extensive cast include America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Alexandra Shipp, Michael Cera and Rhea Perlman, to name a few.

Barbie hits theaters on July 21, 2023, the same day Oppenheimer, another movie with a massive cast, arrives. Once we start learning more concrete details about Simu Liu’s role in Barbie, and the movie as a whole, CinemaBlend will pass them along. For now, you can revisit Liu in action as Shang-Chi with your Disney+ subscription.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.