Chinese-Indonesian actor Dallas Liu is only 17, but he is already part of Hulu’s hit comedy series, “PEN15,” which debuted on the streaming platform on February 8.
The show is set in 2000 and follows two seventh grade girls, Maya Ishii-Peters (Maya Erskine) and Anna Kone (Anna Konkle), dealing with middle school and the awkwardness of being a teenager.
Liu plays Shuji Ishii-Peters, Maya’s tough but protective older brother.
“I am always teasing her and annoy her and I get annoyed by her. They have a very sibling relationship,” the young actor told NextShark. “But in the end I always do want to protect her. I want to show her the right way and she is my sister and I’m going to show her what’s right from wrong.”
Liu, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, began training in the Japanese Shotokan style of karate, eventually competing in the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) circuit.
His passion for acting and martial arts has helped him land roles such as young Jin Kazama in the “Tekken” film franchise.
“One of my inspirations who got me into acting he actually started out in martial arts as well and then got into acting,” Liu explained. “In martial arts you have to scream, you have to get angry and yell a lot. I think that helps with all the different emotions.”
His other inspiration? Michael Cera, of “Superbad” and “Arrested Development” fame.
“I think he’s absolutely hilarious,” Liu laughed. “From his different roles, I just think he’s a great actor and is really good at portraying whatever role he does.”
One of his biggest career goals is to eventually do an action movie or a superhero film, and be able to perform his own stunts just like his other influence Jackie Chan.
“He’s big for Asian representation,” Liu said. “Him doing martial arts films and being so well known. It’s a huge inspiration for me.”
Liu will next guest-appear in the upcoming Netflix comedy series “No Good Nick,” starring Melissa Joan Hart.
The teen actor wrote a recent essay for Backstage in which he gives his younger self acting advice: “Stay focused, remain confident, work hard, and don’t overthink and get distracted by what other actors are doing.”
Liu also wants to leave some advice for fellow young actors trying to get into the industry.
“In the beginning, times might be tough, but there is and there’s always an opportunity out there for you,” he said. “I feel like it’s easy to want to stop acting because in the beginning I was going out for a lot of auditions, but I was never booking anything and that definitely discouraged me a little bit.”
“But as time goes on, as you put in the work and you stay consistent, I think the opportunities will open up for you.”