Fans of the quirky comedy for adults, PEN15, will be happy to know that Season 2 is currently airing on HULU and STAN.
Described as a cringe comedy, the show follows the lives of two 13-year-olds, as it explores the best and the worst of middle school experiences. Season 1 of the series definitely captured those awkward years that you will want to forget!
The acting and camera work pull you in and take to down middle-school memory lane. Among the talented cast shines young veteran actor Dallas Liu, who plays Shuji Ishii-Peter. Yes, I said, young veteran. He is young, talented, and driven, and once Dallas landed a role in the film Tekken there was no looking back.
We spoke to the young actor ahead of the show airing online.
Dallas, you seem to be a veteran in the TV and film industry. I think it started with the film Tekken; you were pretty young. What made you audition for such a huge production?
One of my martial arts teachers used to be involved in the TV industry and through some connections he asked me if I wanted to audition for the part. I accepted the audition not thinking too much of it, to be honest. I didn’t have any experience at the time and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life at that point. And now here I am.
You have a love for martial arts. When did you start? How has your training impacted the roles you play?
I started martial arts at the age of 5 and stopped competing internationally when I was 13 years old. I think my training has helped me a lot with my roles. It’s kept me from being extremely nervous and anxious on set. It’s kept me disciplined, hardworking, and responsible when it comes to playing the roles as well.
Tell me about the Tricking Movement. Are you still a part of it?
Tricking is a mix of martial arts kicks and flips along with gymnastic twists. Many dance moves from breakdancing are combined with tricking as well. Most people who are involved in tricking mainly come from martial arts but there are also a lot of gymnasts who get into tricking as well and I think it’s because of how endless the possibilities are when combining multiple tricks. I think people love the mix of difficulty and aesthetics in tricking.
Americans love Jackie Chan and his martial art tactics but his acting is truly diverse throughout Asia. He has done hardcore martial arts films and comedic films but also dramatic thrillers. I read that you admire Jackie, what roles are you looking for to follow in his footsteps?
I would like to do films like his Rush Hour series but also work on dramatic thrillers. I feel like that’s a genre that I haven’t been able to dive into yet.
On the series PEN15, you play Maya’s older brother, Shuji Ishii-Peters. Your character has swag and you capture the tough big brother image well. I especially love episode 6, POSH as it deals with race and racism. How did you feel when you read the script?
When I read the script for that episode, I truly felt where Maya was coming from. Being a minority, that’s definitely something I’ve experienced. I was happy to see that they approached racism in this episode the way that they did.
What can viewers expect from Shuji Ishii-Peters in season 2 of PEN15?
You’ll get to see the same old Shuji, but this season will also see a little about Shuji’s backstory and his dynamic within the family.
Do you feel there are more opportunities for Asian actors now than ever before or are the roles still being type-casted?
100%. Especially with all the new types of media creating their own shows and originals that are being made I feel like the opportunities are being made more accessible.
COVID-19 has changed the TV and film industry completely in 2020. Everything around the world was halted. Have you been creating your own content for your fans while we were all on lockdown?
Yes! During quarantine, I realized that I wanted to be a part of the work that takes place behind the camera. Whether it’s writing or directing I’d love to learn more and explore that field as well.
Any new projects coming up in 2021?
Yes, I got to take part in a cool studio feature that I’m super excited for everyone to see!
What does the future look like for Dallas Liu? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
To be honest, I’m not really too sure myself but I hope to have a successful career in this business. This is something that I’m extremely passionate about and I just hope to become the best actor I can be. I don’t want to jinx myself but I just want to make my family proud and happy.
Dallas shows us that youth is not a barrier when you have passion. We look forward to seeing what he has in store for us in 2021. But in the meantime you can catch Dallas on PEN15 Season 1 & 2 streaming on HULU and STAN.
Photographer: Jonny Marlow
Groomer: Nathaniel Dezan
Stylist: Adam Ballheim