Asian actors have made a major impact in Hollywood blockbusters this year, playing heroic roles and destroying stereotypes along the way. They are taking the baton from pioneers such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan and raising the status of Asian actors to the next level. The protagonists in some of the year’s biggest films come from diverse career backgrounds, such as hair styling and architecture, before they were sucked into the acting vortex and emerged as globally recognised stars. But who exactly are they? Here we look into five Asian actors who have made it big in Hollywood. Carina Lau’s best bling, from her Cartier tiara to elusive Tiffany pieces Simu Liu: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings The Chinese-Canadian actor made history as the first Asian actor to be cast in the lead superhero role in a Marvel movie . In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings , he plays the protagonist Shang-Chi, a skilled martial artist who was trained at a young age by his father to be an assassin. Released last month, the blockbuster became the highest grossing box office movie in the US for 2021, raking in US$400 million worldwide even without the massive China market , according to Screen Rant. Liu was born in Harbin, China, in 1989 and immigrated to Canada at age five. He studied business at the University of Western Ontario and worked as an accountant for Deloitte before pursuing a career as an actor and stuntman. To support himself, he worked part-time jobs such as a stock image model, a substitute for stunt performers and even dressing-up as Spider-Man for children’s birthday parties, according to BuzzFeed. In 2016, Liu made his TV breakthrough in CBS comedy series Kim’s Convenience as Jung Kim, one of the protagonists. Kim’s Convenience aired for five seasons between 2016 and 2021 and is recognised as one of the most successful shows in Canadian TV history. His other outstanding works include Taken , where he starred alongside Liam Neeson, and series such as Blood and Water , Dark Matter , Orphan Black , Fresh off the Boat , and recently, another Disney project Star Wars: Visions , in which he voices the character Zhima in the Japanese anime anthology series. He also auditioned for the role of Nick Young in Crazy Rich Asians, losing out to Henry Golding. But he told Digital Spy that he expressed an interest in the role of Carlton Bao, the troublesome half-brother of Rachel Chu who will be making an appearance in the sequel. Henry Golding: Snake Eyes The Crazy Rich Asians star plays Snake Eyes , a lone fighter with a mysterious past, in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins , the latest film from Hasbro’s mega-successful toy, comic and media franchise . The 34-year-old British-Malaysian actor never thought he would go down the acting route, showing an early flair for hairstyling. According to Page Six, he left school at 16 to pursue his passion and started work in a barbershop in London. At 21, he moved to Kuala Lumpur to work in front of the camera, earning minor fame as a host of sports programmes and BBC’s The Travel Show . He had initially refused his iconic role in Crazy Rich Asians because he felt he was not experienced enough to take the step up to acting in big film productions, says Filmy One. But the newbie gained immediate success with his cinematic debut as the rich, handsome and charming Nick Young. This was followed by a host of new roles – the ghost Tom in Last Christmas , a gangster known as Dry Eye in The Gentlemen , both in 2019, before landing the Snake Eyes job. He will also appear in the upcoming Netflix drama film Persuasion based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen and spy film Assassin Club . The top 10 celebrities who earn millions from merchandise Lewis Tan: Mortal Kombat Lewis Tan made his studio lead debut in Mortal Kombat , a reboot from the film franchise adapted from the popular video game known for its gory, action-packed fights. Tan portrays Cole Young in the film, a fighter who is knocked down several times in the MMA octagon before transforming into one of Earth’s greatest champion combatants. It grossed more than US$83.6 million worldwide against its US$55 million budget and, according to Screen Rant, it is the most successful film launch for the HBO Max streaming platform. Born in 1987, Tan has Hollywood in his blood as the son of renowned stuntman, actor and Singapore martial arts choreographer Philip Tan. His British mother is former model Joanne Tan. The family moved to Los Angeles when his father was hired as a fight coordinator for Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman . Growing up in LA and later living in France, Thailand, Spain and China because of his father’s work, he identifies himself as a global citizen, according to Men’s Health . Like his father, Tan is a martial artist and started his film career as a stuntman and choreographer. He has trained in boxing, MMA, kung fu, taekwondo, wushu and more, according to Men’s Variety. He performed stunts for such blockbusters as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift , Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End , Olympus Has Fallen and The Hangover Part III . His first big role was Gaius Chau in the AMC series Into the Badlands . He also played the lead role of Zhou Cheng in Netflix’s Iron Fist , Lu Xin Lee in Netflix’s Wu Assassins series and Shatterstar in Deadpool 2 . He will reprise his role in the upcoming Netflix film Wu Assassins: Fistful of Vengeance and will also appear in romantic comedy About Fate . What has the Crazy Rich Asians cast been up to? Daniel Wu: Reminiscence The 47-year-old veteran actor plays seductive villain Saint Joe, co-starring with Hugh Jackman as Nick Bannister in Warner Bros’ action sci-fi thriller Reminiscence . Wu’s parents are both from Shanghai, China, and met in New York before settling in California, where he was born, according to PeoplePill. The Tomb Raider star was interested in martial arts and began studying wushu at age 11 after watching Jet Li in The Shaolin Temple and Donnie Yen in Iron Monkey . Later, while studying architecture, he also attended film courses out of his love for watching films. But even when travelling to Hong Kong in 1997 and becoming a model there, he still had no desire to become an actor. But Wu has since become a trailblazer in the Chinese-language cinema landscape, as well as in Hollywood. Since his film debut in 1998, he has been featured in more than 60 films and has been called “the young Donnie Yen”, according to PeoplePill, thanks to roles as both heroes and villains in Gen-X Cops , Tomb Raider, One Nite in Mongkok , New Police Story , Shinjuku Incident and AMC martial arts drama series Into the Badlands, for which he was also the executive producer. He has also appeared in films made by Jackie Chan, who was his childhood role model and who now considers him like a son, PeoplePill reports. Which celebrities renounced their Chinese citizenships? Chang Chen: Dune In sci-fi epic Dune , adapted from the 1965 sci-fi novel of the same name by American author Frank Herbert, Chang Chen plays Dr Wellington Yueh, a doctor who serves the aristocratic family of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) – a young heir who is entrusted with the protection of the galaxy’s most valuable asset. He has starred alongside other A-list actors such as Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya and Jason Momoa. Chen was born in 1976 in Taiwan with acting in his DNA; his father, Chang Kuo-chu, and his brother, Chang Han, are actors too. He appeared on screen at age 14 alongside his father and brother in four-hour-long film A Brighter Summer Day , which won the special jury prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival. He rose to fame for his role as Dark Cloud in the 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon . He then made a name for himself in Asia’s largest film markets – China, South Korea and Japan – by playing renowned characters such as master Wu Qingyan in The Go Master , a mute prisoner in Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk’s Breath and a mysterious bajiquan master named The Razor in kung fu epic The Grandmaster with Hong Kong veteran star Tony Leung . He was nominated three times at the Golden Horse Awards, and several times for best actor at the Berlinale and the Cannes Film Festival. He won best actor at the third Osaka Asia Film Festival for his performance in The Go Master . In recent years, he starred in veteran Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin , which took home the best director’s prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. He will appear in the Netflix’s upcoming Korean series Suriname with Park Hae-soo, star of global hit Squid Game . Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .