Southeast Asian actors who should be on Shang-Chi with Simu Liu


Everyone has been talking about Shang-Chi, an Asian Marvel superhero, coming to theatres. While we’re all super hyped up about seeing a film about a martial arts master who can use his Wushu mastery like no other, it’d be a lie to say that we aren’t anticipating Simu Liu’s debut as the titular character.

Led by Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu, best known for his role as “Jung” in Kim’s Convenience, he is melting hearts left and right not only with his talents but with those washboard abs.

Even though we haven’t seen Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings yet, we already have a note for the hypothetical sequel: cast more hot guys. Movie producers, here’s a list of Southeast Asian actors worthy of joining Simu Liu’s hot squad.

Check out our other celeb articles:


1.  Henry Golding – Nick Young from Crazy Rich Asians


First on the list is this Sarawak-born dreamboat, Henry Golding.

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Image credit: @JAMNPP

Other than being the most beloved son in Singapore’s wealthiest family – the Youngs – in Crazy Rich Asians, he hosted a TV programme with the BBC called The Travel Show.

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Image credit: @henrygolding

Keep your eyes peeled for this multi-talented actor and hairstylist’s leading role in superhero film, Snakes Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins. The film is said to be released within this year.

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Golding in Snake Eyes
Image credit: @henrygolding


2. Manny Jacinto – Jason Mendoza from The Good Place


We’ve got a talented Filipino actor on the list: Manny Jacinto. *Oh dip!*

Best known for his role as “Jason Mendoza” in The Good Place, the actor also played “Yao” in the television series, Nine Perfect Strangers. Btw, Nicole Kidman was in it too.

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Image credit: @mannyjacinto

Another one of his noteworthy works was when he was a patient on The Good DoctorSeeing him as “Bobby Ato”, a pro-gamer who was diagnosed with cancer in his brainstem and arm totally confirmed that this guy’s got range. *Bortles!* 

For anyone who wants to go out with Jacinto himself, here’s some heartbreaking news – he’s already engaged to another Canadian actress, Dianne Doan.

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Image credit: Page Six


3. Vincent Rodriguez III – Josh Chan in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend


Californian-born and Filipino-American TV star Vincent Rodriquez III can not only act but also sing and dance.


Image credit: @vrodrigueziii

Fans may recognise him from Netflix series, Insatiable, where he played “Detective Rudy Cruz”. Besides being badged up as a police officer, this hunk is probably most famous for his role as Josh Chan in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a musical series that won four Emmys.

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Image credit: @vrodrigueziii

What is he doing now? Rodriguez is currently working on another TV series, With Love.

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Image credit: @vrodrigueziii

We’ve got some bad news for those who are hoping to snag this guy’s heart – Rodriguez is happily married to his spouse, Mr. Gregory Wright.


4. Ross Butler – Zach Dempsey in 13 Reasons Why


Ross Fleming Butler has played in a number of Netflix productions including 13 Reasons Why, Riverdale, and the last two installments of the To All The Boys trilogy.


Look! He even already has a role as a superhero under his belt. Butler in Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Image credit: @rossbutler

The half Chinese-Malaysian actor’s abs – we mean “acting talents” – are enough reason for him to join Simu Liu’s hot squad.

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Image credit: @rossbutler

Butler not only has a dreamy appearance, but his buttery voice landed him a role in Raya and the Last Dragon.

shang-chi-simu-liuImage credit: @rossbutler

Fun fact: Butler didn’t gain support from his mother when he wanted to become an actor. She originally hoped that he would become an engineer.

His circumstances motivated him to inspire other Asian-Americans to realise their creative potential at a younger age, according to Paper Mag.


5. Tony Jaa – Ting from Ong-Bak


Next up is Thailand’s very own martial arts and action actor Tony Jaa. Just in case we need to refresh your memory, he hunted monsters in Monster Hunter alongside Milla Jovovich.

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Image credit: @tonyjaaofficial

Viewers will notice Jaa didn’t have any dialogue in about 90% of his scenes, but he was “Hunter” for a reason.

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Image credit: @tonyjaaofficial

Jaa exemplifies the phrase, “actions speak louder than words” – his spin kicks and high splits were enough to draw our attention – he really didn’t have to speak.

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Image credit: @tonyjaaofficial

Known as Jaa Panom in Thailand, the martial arts actor got his English name after his breakthrough role as “Ting” in 2013’s Ong-Bak – a film that gained global recognition. Jaa later went on to star in other Hollywood films like Furious 7 and xXx.


6. Pierre Png – Michael Teo in Crazy Rich Asians


We all know that Crazy Rich Asians had a star-and-ab-studded cast; one of them is Pierre Png, who played the tech start-up CEO, Michael Teo.

Singaporean actor Pierre Png was named the island’s most handsome actor in 2018, by TodayOnline. But, tbh, we already knew that.

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GIF: The Androphile

Png also received made Mediacorp’s Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes list in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

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Image credit: @pierrepng

One of his current projects is This Land Is Mine. It’s a TV series that depicts Singapore during Britain’s occupation of the island nation.

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Image credit: Me Watch


7. Lawrence Wong – *’nuff said*


Lawrence Wong is another starlet that’s straight out of Malaysia, but later became a Singaporean in 2016. In the same year, Wong decided to pursue his acting career in China, according to the Straits Times.

In 2018, this dashing heartthrob was given the title Best Supporting Actor at New York’s 14th Chinese American TV Festival. The same year, Wong was named Asia’s Most Promising Actor at the Asian-American Television and Film Festival Golden Oak Award, reported The Star.

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Image credit: Line Today

Wong’s most recent work is a role in the Chinese series, One Boat, One World. C-drama fans, you’d want to add this show to your list because you’ll get to see Wong in one of the leading roles as a very dapper “Wang Ziyang“.


Image credit: Today Online


*Bonus* Joe Taslim – Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat


Even though we’ve wrapped up our list with Lawrence Wong, we’ve decided to add Joe Taslim from Indonesia as a bonus.

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Image credit: Antara News

For Mortal Kombat fans out there, you’ll immediately recognise him as “Sub-Zero”. His ultimate assassination skills are unparalleled.

He was also in several other big movies like Star Trek Beyond, The Swordsman and Fast & Furious 6.


Image credit: IMDB

The actor and ex-Judo practitioner’s breakthrough role was in award-winning Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption. The movie received several accolades in the United States, Ireland and Canada, according to IMDb.

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Image credit: @joe_taslim


Actors who are as hot as Simu Liu


Ever since Shang-Chi’s release, Simu Liu has been the talk of the town. Totally fair. I mean, he’s not only the lead actor in the first Marvel film with an Asian superhero but is also an all-around hottie.

We’re sure that the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will not only raise awareness about the lack of Asian superheroes, but also of multiple swoon-worthy actors.

What do you think? Who else deserves to be included in our list?


Cover images adapted from (L-R): @mannyjacinto, @vrodrigueziii, @ohohlawrence

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