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Fala Chen On Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Ring’s Culture, Love & Tai Chi

Marvel Studios presents Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, an all-new, epic adventure that debuts the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest Super Hero—Shang-Chi—in an origin story that blazes across the big screen with never-seen-before, mind-blowing action, stunning visuals and the MCU’s signature spectacle, with heart and humor.

The film stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, whom we meet living in San Francisco and working as a parking valet, when a group of assassins takes a pendant that his mother gave him when he was young. Shang-Chi and his best friend Katy leave their safe lives and journey to Macau, to warn Shang-Chi’s sister Xialing that danger is coming for her as well. As the fi lm unfolds, Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind. When he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization led by his estranged father, Shang-Chi realizes he must stop him and his Ten Rings cabal.

With the release of Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, Marvel Studios launches its newest Super Hero into the ever-growing and evolving Marvel Cinematic Universe. Joining the adventure is Julliard-trained actress Fala Chen, who has appeared in films in Asia and in the West.

Marvel's Shang-Chi: 10 Easter Eggs & Plot Hints From New Trailer - The DirectCast as Li, Shang-Chi’s mother, both for her remarkable acting skills as well as her training in dance and movement. Watching her onscreen is poetry in motion as Fala is such an incredible performer. Every line and movement she delivers was filled with emotion and beauty. The quiet strength she brings to this character is whats needed to stand face to face with Tony Leung’s Wenwu.

Li is filled with confidence, described by Chen as “a warrior and a Kung Fu master. Her power lies not only in her physical form but also her ability to bring out the best in everyone who’s around her.”

“She comes from a mystical village called Talo and there is a lot of backstory that we haven’t’ exactly seen in the film just yet. I feel like this is just a glimpse of that village and the people from that village. She is a fierce fighter who’s been training all her life, obviously you can see a lot of her strength comes from her understanding of herself and her place in the world. To me at least, it seems like she knows a lot of what’s happening. It’s all within her control, you never see her lose her composure, it always feels like everything is falling into exactly her plan in such a way; whether she internationally planned it or not and her encounter with Wenwu as and example, it feels very natural and spontaneous but at the same time it feels like she knows what she’s doing. I think that sense of confidence and she’s so clear about what’s happening gives her that sense of self and inner strength.”

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Although her character is a Kung Fu master, Chen had never practiced Tai Chi, she trained with a world champion and dedicated her time to represent the art faithfully and truthfully. “It really means a lot to me that this film not only presented different forms of martial arts, but also gave us an opportunity to see the essence behind the physical movements,” says Chen.

“What I loved about her form is that it doesn’t look very forceful, it doesn’t look super masculine. It’s very feminine like a dance but it’s very powerful at the same time. I had the most amazing time working with the stunt team and also along with Tony and many others just to tell the story and not just fight for the sake of fighting but to tell a beautiful romantic story through those movements.”

“It’s the spirit of Kung Fu. It’s the practice of the yin and yang and the Tai Chi and finding inner peace. It not only represents the martial arts, but it’s also a great representation of the Chinese culture. It’s just such an
honor to be able to be part of this representation.”

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As Wenwu’s wife in the story, Fala had a chance to work closely with Asian superstar, Tony Leung. She says of the experience, “We really had a great time working together. I think we found the chemistry as husband and wife, but also, we presented very different points of views regarding power and martial arts and family. It’s really interesting to be able to show the dynamics and the depth of the differences within the same culture. It’s never the same. Every person is a different individual. And I was glad that I got to explore that with Tony.”

“[Being in Shang-Chi] means the world to me. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and a chance to be a part of [an] important story and film like this. I hope I get to represent part of my culture as Chinese-American but also to tell a story that people feel they can resonate universally.”

To learn more about Fala’s experience, check out the video above for the full interview.

Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Ring releases in theaters only on September 3rd.

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