Before ‘Shang-Chi,’ Simu Liu was a stock photo star and he’s 100% proud of it

You might have seen the newly-minted Marvel star behind dodgy watermarks first.

Before 'Shang-Chi,' Simu Liu was a stock photo star and he's 100% proud of it
(Image: Simu Liu; Marvel Studios/Disney)

PSA, Marvel geeks: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is already out, and if you’re one of the skeptics who thought Marvel’s first Asian superhero would bomb at the box office, let its superhero Simu Liu point at you through the screen and laugh, because the film’s actually far from flopping.

And that isn’t just a rib — Liu really did pose like that once in stock photos he shot years back, and he would gladly use the same photos to get the last laugh over his doubters.

Way before he entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and even before he was part of the award-winning sitcom Kim’s Convenience, Chinese-born Canadian actor Liu worked as a stock photo model in 2014. He confirmed the gig in 2017 when a Twitter user spotted his still-incognito face on a magazine cover.

To say that Liu’s jump from stock photo model to Marvel superhero has been tremendous is an understatement. Perhaps “record-breaking” is a better word, since Shang-Chi has broken box office records for Labor Day weekend after posting a $94 million gross sales. This shattered the record set by Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween remake, which grossed a $30.5 million.

As Liu basks in the success of his first superhero movie by meme-fying his old workplace-themed photo, fans are more than eager to share the excitement by bumping even more stock photos back to the limelight. He was even happy to retweet a whole thread of them.

One of Liu’s clapbacks, though, was directed to the very company that hosted his old photoshoots. Bringing up his meager pay, Liu asked if he could get his rightful compensation after his photo appeared everywhere.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently on an exclusive theatrical run and is set to premiere on the Disney Plus streaming platform next month.

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