Simu Liu beefed up to star in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the upcoming Barbie film. Liu’s latest project, however, required different preparations.
Starring in the romance movie One True Loves alongside Phillipa Soo (Hamilton), Liu revealed how he prepared for the role. Based on the New York Times best-selling book of the same name, the story follows Emma (Soo) and Jesse (Luke Bracey) living the perfect married life together. That is until Jesse tragically dies in a helicopter crash on their first wedding anniversary. Four years later, Emma has let herself find happiness again. As she is about to marry her best friend Sam (Liu), Jesse miraculously resurfaces, turning her world upside down. Emma is torn between deciding to pick one of her two great loves.
To familiarize himself with this unchartered acting territory, Liu did his research. He told Yahoo! Entertainment, “I had a long list of romantic comedies that I wanted to watch. Just to kind of get a sense of what the genre is, what the patterns were.” He learned there are “aspects of that kind of old archetypal-type romantic lead that are maybe a little outdated.”
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Liu, who turns 34 this month, said he loves that the movie asks an ambitious question — which all good romances do. He lists Pretty Woman (“Can love trump status and class?”) and Hitch (“Can you coach love?”) as examples. Of One True Loves, Liu says it asks: “‘Can you have more than one soulmate over the course of your life?’ I think that’s just a really interesting question to explore. And I think we’ve all in some way shape or form, we’ve all kind of gone into our past. Maybe romanticized our first love and sometimes wondered, ‘Were we meant to be with that person? Whatever happened to that person?'”
He praised the book’s author, Taylor Jenkins Reid, for the message that people should give themselves credit for who they grew into. Liu says, “That person is a very different person and has very different needs than that much younger version of you whose understanding of love may have been maybe a little bit more naive at 16.”
One True Loves hits theaters this Friday, April 7. It’s available on digital services Friday, April 14, and on-demand Friday, April 28.