Right when the hype for Marvel’s highly awaited all-Asian cast superhero film Shang-Chi was brewing, the internet couldn’t help but dig deeper into the past highs and lows of the movie’s lead star Simu Liu.
Right before the release of Shang-Chi, a Twitter user under username @falconspatriot got hold of stock images featuring Simu Liu. And as expected, the internet couldn’t stop talking about the hilarious pictures when it was shared on Twitter all because his humble beginnings became evident.
The pictures were taken many years ago for iStock, an online royalty-free, international microstock photography provider. And Simu charmed fans with his humorous approach to his pictures by instead turning them into a meme, making the marketing campaign at Marvel more proud.
The stock photos turned meme was so popular that even iStock came in to join in the conversation through their official Twitter handle. But surprisingly, it proved that Simu was definitely not happy with the past experience of working with the platform as contrary to his smiling countenance in the stock photos.
The Real Story Behind Simu’s Stock Photoshoot
The 32-year-old actor wasn’t a household name prior to being cast in Shang-Chi and those familiar with Simu’s earlier projects understand why. After all, for almost a decade, he worked in small supporting roles in movies and shows like Pacific Rim, Nikita sharing a very short amount of screen time.
And for a struggling actor like Simu who was fired from his first job as an accountant and trying to make it into Hollywood, paying bills was a priority as well. So, he turned to become a model and doing every possible job he could find. From working in children’s birthday parties to doing stunt work, he made sure to pursue his dream and make sure his wallet wasn’t empty.
So, in 2014 when Simu was still a small-timer in showbiz he offered to do modeling for iStock. Interestingly, offering to model for iStock is not so fruitful, because any sort of company can buy your pictures and have the legal ability to sell or use them for an indefinite period of time. And this means the model or artist featured in the picture gain no royalty fees whatsoever, even if a tech giant like Apple ends up using it.
In short, it’s like making a movie for a salary of $5000 and the company ends gaining revenue of almost $50,000 without having to share the profit with you.
Simu Wants iStock To Pay Models More
The stock photos of Simu are being flooded in his social media accounts with a lot of modifications and hilarious captions. And on 7th September 2021 when it was apparent Shang Chi was doing well at the box office, the artist clapped back at haters by sharing yet another stock photo of himself in a meme like caption writing,
At that moment, iStock replied with a really flattering tone and something unbelievable .
Like come on, who really believes that a grand company like iStock believed Simu Liu while doing an everyday photoshoot? Are they like a wizard or something?
To be honest, Simu was back then just an everyday actor for everyone including iStock and they definitely didn’t believe in him no matter how much they exaggerate after his newfound success.
Interestingly, Simu knows this all too well and had a perfect reply to them asking them whether iStock is ready to share royalty fees with him from all the money they made from his pictures.
Some might say that iStock has no obligation to pay him because of their contract and business model. But this isn’t the point at all Simu tried to make.
Let’s keep in mind that when an actor signs to allow his pictures in iStock, it’s almost like betting on his career because the pictures can end up anywhere with modification as well.
Just imagine you’re an actor about to audition for a Christian movie and one of your pictures in iStock gets modified and sold for a billboard to promote Playboy Magazine. Yes, you lose money and an opportunity in such a situation.
So, all that Simu is trying to say is that platforms like iStock ought to pay models for reasonably. Because not all actors end up succeeding like Simu and he shared this frustration indirectly during an interview with Jimmy Fallon as well.
So, yeah, the highest one actor earns in a day while shooting for iStock is $200 while unknown where the picture will end up. Simu wants iStock to do better because the economy is getting tougher while Billionaires are aiming for a space marathon.