Awkwafina Reveals Her Role in Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi Casting

Throughout her career, Awkwafina has stolen the show in virtually everything she’s been in. But it turns out her charisma (both onscreen and off) played a big role in Simu Liu joining Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as the film’s title character. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Awkwafina shared new insight into the audition process.

Although her Shang-Chi casting was announced on the same day as Liu’s back in 2019, Awkwafina was the first performer to join the project. Apparently, the filmmakers viewed her character, Katy, as Shang’s “gateway into Asian American culture.” Because of this, the success of her chemistry reads with various actors would determine who landed the role of a lifetime as Marvel’s newest superhero.

“All I knew on that day was that I was a part of finding Shang-Chi,” said Awkwafina. “So I just wanted to do just that. I wanted to come in, do my part, not be distracting and let these actors give probably one of the most important auditions of their lives at that point. So I just wanted to blend in and help them showcase what they could do. But I remember testing with Simu that day, and he was nervous. I was nervous, too. I was like, ‘I hope I don’t get fired in the process of chemistry reading,’ but it was apparent that he was Shang-Chi from the jump.”

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Katy’s obliviousness to Shang’s heritage also plays another vital role in the film. Namely, it works to the benefit of the audience, who are just as confused as she is about her friend’s identity.

“Destin [Daniel Cretton] and I talked about Katy and pretty much everything about her,” added Awkwafina. “Her wants, her flaws, the things she wants to change about her life. That’s what makes for a really strong character. The core of it, though, is really her relationship with [Shang] and how she supports him. I think that says a lot about her.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on September 3.

Are you looking forward to seeing Awkwafina’s performance in the film? Let us know in the comments down below!

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