Kevin Feige is the head of Marvel Studios, and he has been with Marvel since 1998. He was a producer on Iron Man and Thor before being appointed as president of production in 2008. Simu Liu is a co-founder of Blockchain Labo, a company that focuses on blockchain technology for gaming.
Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios and head of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has been working on the MCU for over a decade. His work has helped push the MCU to new heights with films like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. Read more in detail here: kevin feige.
(Photo courtesy of Brandon Davis / )
The cast, director, and executive producer of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings gathered for a virtual press conference on Thursday, with journalists from all around the globe attending. Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, and Ben Kingsley were among the cast members present. Ronnie Chieng hosted a panel that included director Destin Daniel Cretton and Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige. Following the film’s screening in California on Monday night, the first responses to the film emerged online. The following are live updates from the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings virtual press conference.
At 10 a.m. PT, the news conference started. “The goal was to bring [comic books] to the big screen,” Feige says from the outset. “Casting Robert Downey Jr. was the greatest risk,” he adds of the MCU, and he gives Downey Jr. credit. “That choice, and the fact that it was successful, gave us authority.”
It then shifts to Cretton, who discusses his experience as a childcare worker in a group home with adolescents. “That work changed my life and my perspective on the world,” Cretton adds. “I feel like the tales that I’m attracted to are a mix of comedy and optimism, but they also don’t shy away from the very real sadness and suffering that we all face as humans,” he added. “I feel that this film encapsulates a lot of the ideas that I hold dear.”
Sir Ben Kingsley is invited to say hello to “Ronnie’s mother,” which he enjoys before explaining how playing Mahatma Gandhi had comparable societal ramifications as this film. “All of this comes from Destin’s heart, from Kevin’s heart,” he adds, explaining how the tales are based in memory, grief, and families ripped apart and rebuilt. He attributes their experiences to them. “It would be relaxing and therapeutic if we can show the energy [from the set].”
Chieng asks Meng’er Zhang about the distinctions between the stage and the set. She was “very anxious” about the film, but Feige helped her relax. “I also recall performing some stunts, and it was very different from stage acting,” she said. “I recall the make-up crew applying the finishing touch to my face to ensure that everything was in place… ‘3, 2, 1, action!’ and the wind…! I’m ready, I was ready, I’m in character…!”
Chieng inquires of Awkwafina about the physical requirements. She said, “I believe this was somewhat more physically taxing [than SpongeBob].” “I felt more like falling, so I was working with gravity like a puppet. My neck sort of gives out when I fall. It’s an issue for me… I went to a racing track and learned to drift, which is a lot of fun…then I learnt to shoot a bow and arrow.”
Simu Liu claims that working with such great and renowned co-stars gave him “impostor syndrome.” “I had never allowed myself to envision myself as a member of the MCU,” he said. Awkwafina is credited for soothing his anxieties. “It was like waking up in a different dream every day.”
Were Shang-Chi and Katy romantically involved? “Aren’t all friendships love interests?” you may wonder. Cretton retaliates. “We have a lot of pals who aren’t of the same gender as we are. It’s purely platonic, yet it’s also warm and loving… We haven’t seen much of it on television before, so we’re really looking forward to bringing Shang-Chi and Katy together… Because Shang-Chi is so deep in his inner battle, it also seemed like the only natural route to proceed.”
Warren Thompson wonders whether Simu Liu’s tweet on Shang-Chi helped him get noticed by Marvel. “I didn’t know that,” Feige said. “Simu, it wasn’t your tweeting that caused the problem. It was your acting…I’m not sure whether Sarah Finn, our casting director, saw it.” They were also unaware that Simu Liu was athletic and skilled in martial arts. Simu Liu’s audition, in which he performed a backflip and landed in the Black Widow stance, complete with a hair flip at the finish, was seen by Cretton.
They’re asked whether they’ll introduce a lot of Mandarin to the movie. “That discussion began in the writers room, and then it was always an issue once our actors came in,” Cretton said. “These are all multilingual, trilingual, quadrilingual characters that could speak whatever language they’d speak at the moment.”
Simu Liu brings out a wonderful piece of conversation in which English-speaking characters are called out for not speaking, “ABC.”
When did the movie start to focus less on the property and more on the culture? Feige said, “It was always about both.” “To bring this character into the MCU particularly, but also, more significantly, to offer representation of a different sort to this film.” Feige remembers Cretton approaching him with a pitch presentation that was “truly this narrative, this father, this son,” and hopes Cretton will release the pitch presentation at some point. The nice part, according to Cretton, is that it’s a Marvel picture that’s doing the representation and inclusiveness.
Was there any advise from Ryan Coogler for Cretton? “I have a strong emotional connection to Shang-story,” Chi’s Cretton remarked. “It’s a journey of self-discovery, maturation, and learning to deal with pain that he’s been avoiding his entire life…when he’s finally able to embrace the good and the bad and accept it all as a part of himself, that’s when he steps into his big boy shoes, and I believe that’s what we’re all doing as humans… I had a huge personal phobia about going into a movie like this. One of the final things I promised myself before I pitched to Kevin was that I was going to be myself. I’m prone to feeling compelled to be someone other than myself. I promised myself I was going to be myself, and I’m glad I did. They asked me, “Have you always wanted to make a huge Marvel movie?” and I wondered to myself, “Should I tell them?”” He remembers telling his agency only weeks before that he had no desire to work on a Marvel film. He revealed to them that Shang-statement Chi’s ignited something in him, prompting him to seek out a meeting, which led to this. “You’re an idiot for saying that last thing,” he thought as he walked away. Ryan Coogler was the subject of his discussion. “I was terrified of going into a major studio film like this, both for fear of what it could do to me and for fear of the pressure. Will I give in? I was terrified of a number of things. ‘The pressure is hard,’ Ryan remarked to me, and it truly helped me relax. It’ll be the most difficult job you’ve ever done, but none of the stress or difficulties come from the people you’re working with…there is a culture of inquiry and discovery that emanates from the top down. There is no fear-based mindset in this company, which has enabled us to take risks and pursue the same fearless exploration with everyone involved in this film…and I believe that is a big reason why it came out the way it did.”
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