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Exclusive: Watch 'Shang-Chi' star Simu Liu recount his MCU journey to Bear Grylls on the side of a mountain

"I get a call from Kevin Feige ... and he's like, 'I'm about to change your life.'"

By Josh Weiss
Shang-Chi Still

After a battle with the Dweller-in-Darkness, you'd think subzero temperatures would be a walk in the park for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu. But not even vanquishing a borderline Lovecraftian entity prepares you for potential frostbite.

In an exclusive clip from the latest episode of National Geographic's Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge (premiering August 1), the actor sits down at a crackling campfire in the frigid Canadian Rockies to discus how he landed the coveted role of Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Emboldened by his work on Kim's Convenience, Liu obtained a work visa that would allow him to pursue a full-time acting career in Los Angeles. He didn't have much luck until 2019, when he got a chance to audition for "an untitled Marvel project, which I was fairly sure was Shang-Chi," he states in the video. Liu adds that his hopes of actually landing the role weren't very high.

"It was like buying a lottery ticket. The odds were so astronomically small. I really didn't expect to hear back. But I got a call a couple weeks later from my manager and he was like, 'Look, you should find your way down to LA, the director would love to meet you.' Knowing that you have a real chance, that's almost the scariest thing of all..."

Two days after meeting with Shang-Chi director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton (and now the director of Marvel's upcoming Avengers: The Kang Dynasty), Liu got a call from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.

"[Feige]'s like, 'I'm about to change your life' and he offers me the role. I think I yelled, I screamed. And then four days later, I was on a plane to San Diego [for] Comic-Con and getting announced in front of the whole world."

Check out the clip below:

Liu's episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge airs on National Geographic this Monday (Aug. 1) at 9 p.m. ET.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings can now be streamed on Disney+. A direct sequel is on the way from Cretton, who is also hard at work on a Wonder Man television series (no release date has been given) While Shang-Chi's future in the MCU is currently unknown, the first movie's mid-credits sequence did tease a major cosmic connection to the hero's circular weapons of choice.

Marvel Studios' next outing, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, officially premieres on Disney+ Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Suddenly in the mood for some serious superhero action? Peacock is streaming Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin right now.