Tony Leung (梁朝偉) is no stranger to movie fans. Having been in showbiz for approximately 4 decades, he’s easily one of the most revered actors of today thanks to his many iconic roles over the years.
In speaking with Elle Singapore recently, the 59-year-old icon revealed he’s experienced 2 firsts with Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”: the first time stepping into a main villain role and his first Hollywood movie.
“I always feel, everything is a kind of destiny. Many of times, things don’t happen just because you wish for it. Yet suddenly, perhaps the time is ripe, the opportunity to something you’ve long wanted to try pops up. Then naturally, everything will come to fruition,” Tony said, when asked about his Hollywood and Marvel Cinematic Universe debut.
In fact, one of the main reasons Tony agreed to come onboard was after he had spoken to director and writer Destin Daniel Cretton. “I accepted it because of the director,” the legendary actor told the publication. “It just felt right. Plus, this is something I’ve never done before, to play an Asian supervillain. A chance to do something for Asia. I thought, why not?”
As you may know, Tony plays Wenwu aka the Mandarin. He’s not only the leader of the Ten Rings organisation, wielder of the mythical and redesigned ten rings, but also Shang-Chi’s dad. Since this is a version of Mandarin, the Hong Kong star was given room to add his own ideas and characteristics into the villain’s backstory.
“When [Marvel] offered me the role, what they wanted was for me to create a brand new Mandarin, so I got to develop my character along with the filming. I’ve never approached Wenwu from a villain’s standpoint. Rather, I tried to explore the reasons that led him to become who he is. He’s a man with a history, who craves to be loved. He is also human, and he has a family. As I read [the script], I began to consider the many reasons why he’d turn out the way he is — a sociopath, a narcissist, a bigot,” he added.
About his firsts… Tony forgot to mention that “Shang-Chi” also marks the first time he and Michelle Yeoh are appearing together in a movie in almost 3 decades.