"Things like “following your passion” and “finding your creative outlets” didn’t mean anything to me"
Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu has discussed how he became an actor after being an accountant.
In an interview for NBC, Simu Liu talked about how he used to be an accountant before becoming an actor.
Liu is best known for his role as Jung on CBC Television sitcom Kim’s Convenience, which was launched internationally on Netflix in July.
Co-created by Ins Choi and Kevin White, Kim’s Convenience is based on Choi’s broadway play of the same name. The television comedy focuses on the daily lives of the Kims – a Korean Canadian family who run a convenience store in Toronto.
In the interview, Liu first discussed Kim’s Convenience season 3, which will be released on January 2019. Although he could not reveal too much about the upcoming season, Liu said it will be even funnier
“I can say that it’s probably funnier than it’s ever been,” Liu said. “I remember being on set for the first season and every day being scared we were going to get fired. And I feel like we all, to some degree, felt that anxiety because we knew how important the show was and none of us wanted to let it down or let each other down.”
Because the show has proved its success among audiences worldwide, the cast were able to enjoy making the latest season even more.
“We were all just so concentrated on not sucking that I think it was sometimes hard to have fun,” Liu said. “What I’m noticing in season three is that we’re like, “OK, we know we’re here.” We know we’re probably going to go on for quite some time because we’re highly rated in Canada, so it was just an opportunity for us to get more comfortable in our roles and just kind of play and have fun.”
Reflecting on how he became an actor in the first place, Liu revealed that he used to work as an accountant.
“I went to business school and I actually worked as an accountant for about eight months,” the Chinese-Canadian said. “It’s not what I wanted, but it was definitely a move to appease the parents. That, to me at the time, was what it meant to be a fully functional adult.”
Liu added that creativity was not something he considered.
“Things like “following your passion” and “finding your creative outlets” didn’t mean anything to me because I didn’t have that area of my brain,” he said. “So I thought I did the right thing. I thought I got a nice job where I’d be able to put on a nice shirt every day, go to work, and I thought that would be fulfilling, but it wasn’t. And very quickly I think that started to show in my job performance and I was laid off about eight months in.”
The 29-year-old said he was first exposed to the film industry by being an extra on Pacific Rim.
“On a whim, I just started applying to these background acting jobs,” he said. “The first set I ended up on was Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” that was shooting in Toronto and they needed a bunch of Asian extras, and for some reason they put their ad on Craigslist.”
“I picked it up and showed up on set and just got blown away because it was hundreds of people, this big machine, $200 million dollar movie … but everybody wanted to be there. It was very different than being in an accounting office.”
“It kind of opened up something inside of me, so I just started to lean into that. I would do background and extra stuff, I would do student films, I just found every opportunity I could to be on set, and after awhile I accumulated enough work to get an agent.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Liu said the fact that we are still asking about the importance of diversity is telling in itself.
“The fact that we’re in our third season and we’re still getting questions like, “How important is it that a show like ‘Kim’s Convenience’ is on the air?” And you think about all these other actors promoting their shows — they’re talking about the show, they’re talking about the characters,” he said. “Meanwhile, we have to make these sweeping political statements. But I think it comes with the territory. It speaks to where we are as a whole in our representation and our voice at the current time.”
“That being said, it’s a stepping stone to hopefully, one day, actors of color being able to answer questions about their show in the same way that anybody would be able to. I’m sure we all know we’re not there yet, and questions like the “diversity questions” are telling of that. But at the same time, I would rather they ask them then not having the show on air or not casting us at all.”
In related news, Liu was recently seen in Yappie, a film by Wong Fu Productions.