Tony Leung on avoiding father roles before Shang-Chi: Don’t want to be reminded of how my dad treated me


Hong Kong star Tony Leung, who plays a negative role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, says he turned down the part of a failed father in the past as it bore resemblance to his own childhood.

In the upcoming Marvel movie, Leung’s first Hollywood venture that comes after an illustrious career in internationally-acclaimed films such as In The Mood For Love, Happy Together and Chungking Express, the actor plays a villainous father to the titular hero.

“Someone actually approached me to play the role of a failed father but I rejected it because I don’t want to be reminded of how my dad treated me,” Leung told GQ magazine for a cover story.

The 59-year-old actor said his solitary childhood led him to hobbies like reading, cycling and visiting museums.

“Maybe it’s because of my childhood background, which made me distance myself from people… Since then, I’ve learned to find something that I really enjoy doing whilst I’m alone. Because you cannot always rely on being with people to feel happy, right?”

Leung said though he could not imagine someone with superpowers, he could understand his character of Wenwu and how he “is a failure of a father”.

“Frankly, I couldn’t imagine someone in the real world with superpowers…But I can imagine someone like him who is an underdog, who is a failure of a father… On the one hand, he’s a bad father, but on the other, I just see him as someone who loves his family deeply. I don’t think he knows how to love himself.”
shang chi stills Shang-Chi releases in India on September 3. (Photo: Marvel)
Chinese-Canadian star Simu Liu plays the lead in the Marvel film, which releases in India on September 3. In a recent interview with PTI, Marvel chief Kevin Feige said getting Leung, a legend in international cinema circuits, to play Wenwu was special as the actor made it a “well-rounded tragic figure”.

“We at Marvel have been lucky to have worked with a lot of famous actors, people you could call living legends (but) none of them are as impressive or hit that term legend as much as Tony. He had never been to a Hollywood set before. I live in Los Angeles, sometimes you see other actors around, but Tony was just this mythical figure only in these amazing movies.

“Meeting him personally, which I only did briefly before the shutdown, was incredible. Wenwu is a new character. We really wanted him to have villainous overtones but to be this well-rounded tragic figure that you feel for in a deep way. Nobody is better than Tony for this. We had high expectations for what he will be able to bring to this movie and he surpassed them all. It is an extremely special performance,” Feige told PTI.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi also stars Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Ronny Chieng, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu and Benedict Wong.

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