Kim's Convenience and soon-to-be Marvel star Simu Liu has shared a lot of news in recent weeks, but his latest might be the biggest. On Thursday, the actor shared the first look at his upcoming debut book, a memoir, titled We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story.
If that doesn't already have you aching for a copy, here's just a fraction of what it'll cover: Liu's "complicated" childhood, the weight of immigrant family expectations, his determination to follow his dream, and his gratitude for his parents’ sacrifices, love, and life lessons.
The actor shared a peek of the opening page of the book on his Twitter on Thursday, writing simply, "I wrote a book." Yeah you did!
In a HarperCollins press release, Liu said, “I never thought that I would be writing a memoir this young. After thinking about it, I realized that the story I had to share went beyond my own life — rather, it extended decades back to the lives of my parents as they grew up in China and then ultimately made the decision to immigrate to Canada. Their hard work and sacrifice gave me a great life and allowed me to pursue my own dreams. I’m so excited to share my family’s story with the world, including all of the bumps and bruises we experienced along the way.”
In a Vanity Fair story, published on the same day, Simu elaborated on why it's important for him to be "in the spotlight" and "outspoken" about his own individual experience of being an Asian Canadian man.
"You’re talking to a guy that graduated from business school by the skin of his teeth, only to crash and burn at his first consulting job," he said. "What about that C.V. makes me a good representative of Asian Americans and Canadians?"
"I realized, if I don’t step into the spotlight, and the person next to me doesn’t step in, and the people around me don’t step in, then who will? Who’s going to speak for us when we need somebody out there? I want to be outspoken."
Liu, of course, is best known for starring on the beloved CBC sitcom Kim's Convenience, which came to a wrap this year. His biggest project yet, though, will be the upcoming Marvel movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, in which he will star and play the studio's first Asian superhero.
He has also already booked his next big role, rom-com One True Loves, co-starring Phillipa Soo and Luke Bracey.
He made waves just a week ago, too, when, in an incredibly honest Facebook post, he said he was feeling heartbroken that Kim's Convenience had come to a sudden end with the Season 5 finale earlier this year. He revealed, however, that the atmosphere behind the scenes of the show was not one that made him or his co-stars feel comfortable to begin with.
“The show can’t be ‘saved,’” Liu wrote. “It was not ‘cancelled’ in a traditional manner, i.e. by a network after poor ratings. Our producers are the ones who chose not to continue."
"I wanted to be a part of the sixth season. I’ve heard a lot of speculation surrounding myself – specifically, about how getting a Marvel role meant I was suddenly too ‘Hollywood’ for Canadian TV. This could not be further from the truth. I love this show and everything it stood for. I saw firsthand how profoundly it impacted families and brought people together.”
He went on to say that he was "frustrated" with the way his character was portrayed and the way he was being treated by production, due to not only a lack of collaboration but because "our producers were overwhelmingly white and we were a cast of Asian Canadians who had a plethora of lived experiences to draw from and offer to writers.”
It only added fuel to the fire when, after the news the show had been cancelled, it was announced that the one non-Asian character, Shannon (Nicole Power), would be the one to receive a spin-off at CBC.
Although he did note the day-to-day crew were "phenomenal," he also added that the cast was paid very little despite how much of a ratings juggernaut it was for the network, and were often told "to be grateful to even be there."
He later clarified on Instagram that he doesn't feel any resentment toward Power, his "talented scene partner and friend for five seasons," and emphasized his "love for Nicole and my honest desire to see her succeed."
Later that week, co-star Jean Yoon also spoke up, tweeting in response to Globe and Mail writer John Doyle's inflammatory piece criticizing Liu's statement, that "the lack of Asian female, especially Korean writers in the writers room of Kims made my life VERY DIFFICULT and the experience of working on the show painful."
She also added that there were countless "overtly racist" storylines that the cast had to come together to express their concerns.
Neither CBC nor any of the production staff have yet to comment.
In a lengthy statement in Liu's Vanity Fair article, he elaborated on Kim's overall positive legacy, saying in part, "The entirety of the experience helped me express the passion that I, prior to this project, could not properly articulate: pride. Pride in the individual, pride in one’s culture and heritage, and pride in one’s community. I am proud of everything accomplished during our run and cannot wait to see how the legacy of the show and others like it impact future generations in finding their voice and telling their own stories."
[video_embed id='2217977']BEFORE YOU GO: David Schwimmer shares ‘last hug’ photo from Friends reunion[/video_embed]