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Simu Liu Defends Henry Golding And Crazy Rich Asians Stars After Accidentally Opening Up The Door For A Casting Debate

Simu Liu became a massive star this past year in particular when he debuted a new Marvel hero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Now that the Chinese-Canadian has found his big break as a Hollywood star, he has recently been opening up about his road to fame, with one bump in the road being that he auditioned and got rejected from a role in Crazy Rich Asians. Following his recent comments, it has sparked a debate about Henry Golding and the movie itself, which Liu has now come back around to defend. 

For over a week, Simu Liu’s brief run-in with Crazy Rich Asians has been a hot button topic the internet has been discussing. Let’s break down everything that happened: 

What Simu Liu Said About His Experience With Crazy Rich Asians 

While Simu Liu guested on the podcast How To Fail With Elizabeth Day (opens in new tab) to promote his recently released memoir We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story, he discussed one element from the book where he reveals that he auditioned for Crazy Rich Asians four times and was rejected from a role. In his words: 

I remember distinctly asking my agent... what I could have done and through some sort of broken telephone, whether it had gone through a studio exec or a casting director before it got to our side, we got, ‘Well Simu doesn’t have the X-factor. The It factor’ And that was just such a crushing blow for me… It felt like someone was telling me that I just wasn’t good enough, that I just wasn’t likable. I didn’t have that thing that made people want to watch it. It was at a time that was very difficult for me, I was trying to figure out whether I could be the lead character or whether I could only be a supporting character for my entire career.

Liu recalled the “crushing blow” before sharing how the rejection also played into his current success. He continued:  

It forced me to take a step back and realize that maybe I wanted it too badly. Like maybe I was too desperate and that desperation was showing in my work. There had to be an element of confidence in what I was doing and self-assuredness. I had to trust I was talented and I was watchable and I was good.

Following Liu’s comments, movie fans have had a conversation about the decision to cast Henry Golding instead of Simu Liu. 

The Online Debate Simu Liu’s Comments Started 

Now to clarify, Simu Liu was reportedly not in the running for Henry Golding’s leading role. The Shang-Chi star revealed that he auditioned for the best friend of Golding’s character Colin (played by Chris Pang), and Michael, the husband of Gemma Chan's character (Pierre Png). Even so, the internet is weighing between Liu and Golding. 

There are two sides to the debate that sparked from Simi Liu’s comments revealing he had auditioned for Crazy Rich Asians about whether the actor is too Asian or not Asian enough for the role. On one hand (and again Liu apparently wasn’t even up for the leading man role), the casting of Golding was being discussed because the actor is biracial, with a White father and Malaysian mother, whereas Liu has two Chinese parents. 

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Crazy Rich Asians is about a Singaporean family. One Twitter user pointed out that “most singaporeans are ethnically Chinese,” arguing Liu would make more sense in the movie, while another user shared that they felt Golding would understand the culture more coming from a Southeast Asian background.

How Simu Liu Has Since Defended Henry Golding And The Crazy Rich Asians Cast 

Following the internet chatter, Liu took to Twitter to say that his experience auditioning for Crazy Rich Asians led to some “really meaningful feedback” and he feels the movie was “PERFECTLY cast just the way it was.” The tweet also includes pages from Liu’s memoir about the process: 

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As Liu shared, 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians “paved way” for more Asian stories to be massive studio movies, including Shang-Chi. Amidst this, it’s interesting to read what the process was like for Liu before making it in Marvel. 

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