“This is a very tough and extremely risky industry, but I am not going to give up and walk away.”
You might recognize Dallas Liu from your 9:00 am engineering lecture, but he isn’t your average college student. Dallas plays Maya Erksine’s older brother Shuji in Hulu’s PEN15. Unlike most actors, his ambitions are grounded in reality. “This is a very tough and extremely risky industry, but I am not going to give up and walk away.” In between filming and auditions, Dallas continues to pursue a degree in civil engineering.
In anticipation of PEN15’s season two premiere, Dallas recalls filming season one during his senior year of high school. “I was the most excited to share the show with my school teachers. Telling my teachers all those absences finally paid off, I am actually working now, felt good.”
In this R rated traumedy, “ I get to be myself with this character. I treat Maya like my real younger brother. I play the same role in real life. I definitely give my brother a lot of tough love,” says Dallas. For Dallas, what makes PEN15 one of fall’s most anticipated shows is not only Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle playing the 13-year-old version of themselves but, “the title is very grabbing- PEN15. It makes you think back to the middle school days. It takes place in the 2000s and shows how fashion has changed. There is something we all share from this time in our lives. There are so many things about the show that people gravitate towards.”
Now in its second season, PEN15 is presenting more opportunities for Dallas. “I see more opportunities for different roles. I am here to show them what I got, what I am capable of.”
Dallas’ love of sports helped him break into the business. “My manager found me through a bunch of old karate youtube videos.” Dallas was inspired to pursue a career in acting by his friend Disney’s Kickin’ It, Leo Howard. “Leo was doing karate and acting and that’s what I wanted to do. I got started with acting through martial arts. Leo was one of my biggest inspirations.”
Working on the set of PEN15 with an Asian American co-creator and executive producer like Maya, continues to inspire Dallas. “To see Maya as the head of the show, it means a lot. Maya makes all these big decisions and big moves. I am extremely proud of Maya for what she has been able to accomplish. I hope Asians have more exposure. There is so much diversity in this country and it’s not shown all the time on TV, but I think we are getting closer.”
Season 2 of PEN15 premieres on Hulu September 18th, 2020.
Photos courtesy of Johnny Marlow and Hulu