Birth name: Simu Liu (SEE-moo LEE-ew)
Simu Liu was born on April 19, 1989 in Harbin, China, as the only child to his parents. At the age of five, his family immigrated to Canada, and he was raised in Erin Mills – an area of Mississauga, which itself is a suburb of Toronto. He attended University of Toronto Schools for high school, and then graduated with an Honours Business Administration degree from Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario in 2011. He initially worked as an accountant at Deloitte but was eventually laid off, which led to him exploring other career options and pursue a career as an actor, model and stuntman. It was this career change where his background in martial arts such as Taekwondo and Wing Chun, as well as gymnastics, would prove beneficial.
Simu’s first project was working as an extra on Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim in 2013. His early on-screen credits include 2012’s Nikita and 2014’s Beauty and the Beast. In 2015, he was a member of the Heroes Reborn stunt team, and he ultimately appeared in three episodes as a stunt double. He next appeared as a series regular in the OMNI Television crime drama series Blood and Water from 2015 until 2016, for which he received ACTRA and Canadian Screen Award nominations in 2017.
Simu’s break-out came when he was cast in three television series in 2016. He was first cast as Jung in CBC’s Kim’s Convenience, which was an adaption of a play of the same night. Additionally, he was cast as the ex-CIA analyst Faaron, loosely modelled on real-life ex-analyst Rodney Faraon, in Taken, an NBC series that served as a prequel to the Liam Neeson film. Later that year, Simu joined the cast of the hit BBC/Space series Orphan Black for its fifth and final season. On stage, Simu was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award in the Outstanding Ensemble category alongside his castmates in the Factory Theatre production of the play Banana Boys.
In 2017, Simu joined the cast of the second season of Slasher as well as the CityTV miniseries Bad Blood. In both shows, he played a recurring character. The following year, he appeared in the science fiction television series The Expanse and the YouTube series Yappie. In 2019, Simu guest starred as a noodle vendor named Willie in the 100th episode of the series Fresh Off the Boat.
Headlines were made at Comic-Con 2019 when it was announced that Simu had been cast as the Marvel Comics superhero Shang-Chi in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The film will be Marvel’s first Asian-led film. Simu had previously petitioned for the role on Twitter in December 2018 when the movie was revealed to be in development; those tweets later went viral as the movie’s promotional campaign ramped up.
Aside from his work performing onscreen, Simu is also a writer and filmmaker.
Simu participated in the writing room for Blood and Water, for which wrote an episode for its second season. He also wrote an online piece for Maclean’s magazine in December 2017 detailing his experiences growing up in an immigrant family, which was later published in the magazine’s January 2018 issue.
As a filmmaker, Simu has written, directed and produced short films which have screened and won awards in festivals across the US and Canada. His most recent short film Meeting Mommy – which he wrote and produced with Tina Jung – was released on the Wong Fu Productions YouTube channel in February 2018. It had amassed 250,000 views in its first week alone.