Simu Liu has revealed that he was turned down from several different roles in the 2018 film “Crazy Rich Asians,” a moment he says took a blow to his confidence at the time.
The actor’s agent later informed him that the rejections were due to his lack of an “it” factor.
He shared his story on a recent episode of the “How to Fail” podcast while discussing his newly released memoir.
Liu, who has since gone on to star in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” as Marvel’s first Asian superhero, remembered being “devastated” by the casting decision.
His first audition for the film was for the lead role of Nick Young, which ended up going to Henry Golding. He then auditioned for Colin Khoo and Michael Teo, supporting roles which were given to actors Chris Pang and Pierre Png, respectively.
“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,” Liu recalled.
“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.”
The experience served as a lesson for Liu.
“It forced me to take a step back and realize that maybe I wanted it too badly,” he continued. “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 that I was talented, and I was watchable, and I was good.”
On Twitter, the actor shared a few pages from his book in which he discusses the same incident. In his book, Liu clarifies that the words didn’t come directly from the “Crazy Rich Asians” director John M. Chu, and that they were somehow muddled when passed down through the number of people involved in production.
“I can’t deny that it still hurt like hell back then, but life has a way of bringing things full circle, and Jon and I had already become friends by the time this book was being written,” reads a line from his book.
In his caption, the actor noted his views on how the cast turned out. “In the end, that movie was PERFECTLY cast just the way it was. And paved way for all of us!” he said.
Liu was recently revealed to be a part of the upcoming “Barbie” live-action movie as one of three Kens.
Meanwhile, a “Crazy Rich Asians” spinoff movie is in development, centering on the romance between Astrid and Charlie.
Featured Image via Time, Warner Bros.