The Shang-Chi Scene That Destin Daniel Cretton Had To Direct Via iPhone From A Hospital

Simu Liu is Shang-Chi

Directing a Marvel Studios movie sounds like it would be challenging enough without massive shifts in one’s own personal life. There are so many balls to juggle with regards to the enormous crews (on any blockbuster film, if we’re being honest) that if you are distracted by a personal development, it could drastically affect the production schedule. But it sounds like Marvel came up with a win-win solution for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton when his wife went into labor with their second child while he was on set. He told the story to CinemaBlend’s official podcast, ReelBlend.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is opening in theaters this evening, and there is a scene that has been the focal point of the trailers. It shows the new Marvel hero (played by Simu Liu) as he stands in front of a wooden post that’s marked in the spot where Shang-Chi punched it, repeatedly, as part of his training regimen under his father, Wenwu (the legend, Tony Leung). But Destin Daniel Cretton wasn’t on set the day they shot that footage. As he explained to ReelBlend:

I was shooting the next morning, and I had to rush my wife to the hospital, and we had our child in the middle of the night. They were shooting the scene where Shang-Chi is home at his dad’s compound, and he goes up to that post. We see it a lot (in the trailers). The indentation from his childhood hits. And then he sits down and has a memory of his mom. That was a scene that I actually directed from my iPhone in the hospital (laughs).

Technology. It can help us coordinate and communicate from anywhere. Including the hospital room where your wife has just given birth to your second child, allowing you to direct an emotional beat in a superhero drama and not miss a dramatic moment in the history of your own family. We’re so proud that Destin Daniel Cretton shared that personal story with the ReelBlend crew.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens up the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a brand new corner, one that’s steeped in magic and mysticism, as well as the martial arts. Our main character is a master of kung fu, and has been trained by his father to be the world’s deadliest assassin. Only, Shang-Chi rejects his family’s legacy for as long as possible, until the moment that he no longer can ignore his father’s power. Here's our full ReelBlend episode, with our interview with Destin Daniel Cretton on behalf of the next Marvel Studios movie.

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The film stars Simu Liu as the title character, and he’s joined on screen by Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Meng’er Zhang, Ben Kingsley and Benedict Wong. Oh, also, there are two end-credits scenes, so stay in your seats.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.