The Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu went viral in April after he took to Twitter his criticism about Ethan Hawke’s Mandarin accent and pronunciation in the second episode of the Moon Knight series, wherein Hawke’s character Arthur Harrow spoke in Mandarin.
Alright Arthur Harrow needs to fire his Mandarin teacher
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) April 9, 2022
During an interview, Simu Liu addressed the comments he had made on Hawke’s Mandarin speech in Moon Knight. The actor, born in China, admits that learning and speaking Mandarin is a challenge. The actor said that more than one person in the decision-making process should have seen how poorly the translator was performing in the show. He said that he had no intention of making it into a “big political thing.” He just wanted to make fun of it because Hawke’s attempt to speak Mandarin in the scene didn’t really resemble the language.
— Zhen Wei (@so_zhenwei) April 9, 2022
Here’s Liu’s full statement about the said criticism:
“I think there’s maybe a misconception that Marvel is this kind of monolithic, all-powerful single organism with infinite resources. I think that it’s easy to allocate the blame to Marvel as a whole. If you really break it down, there was a translator that probably shouldn’t have been a translator. There were probably a couple of people in the decision-making process that should have raised a flag that didn’t. I have full appreciation for the fact that Mandarin is not an easy language. I didn’t want to make it into a big political thing. I just wanted to make fun of it because the sound that came out of that man’s mouth did not resemble Mandarin in any way, shape, or form.”
Mohamed Diab, the director of Moon Knight, responded to Liu’s critique of his film. “Next time, we’re going to do better. There’s still room if one day we’re expanding this, and I think we’re all ears. You won’t meet anyone who believes in representation and that everyone’s voice should be heard more than me.”
Liu has been very outspoken in his support for greater Asian representation in the entertainment industry, especially more so since the rise in anti-Asian hate brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The actor has also refused to sign copies of comics or any material that contained offensive content, including the original Shang-Chi Marvel comics, Master of Kung Fu, which had many offensive cultural stereotypes.
Moon Knight is a TV series based on the comic series of the same name by Marvel Comics. It was released on March 30, 2022, on the streaming service Disney+, consisting of 6 episodes. The series features a star-studded cast with notable actors such as Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, May Calamwy, and many more.
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