Bring out your Tamagotchi, play a game of MASH, or listen to the Spice Girls. PEN15, streaming on HULU, brings back all the nostalgia of the 90's and presents teenage issues that any generation can relate to. Dallas Liu plays the role of Shuji Ishii-Peters, older brother to Maya Ishii-Peters. Throughout the series, Dallas demonstrates an understanding of his art and taps into his former middle school self to deliver a genuine performance. Dallas spent some time with MOOD and talked about his experience on the set of PEN15, using his craft to tackle subjects like racism, and his thoughts on the second season.
Dallas wears a pinstripe double-breasted suit, Wolk Morais, jewelry David Yurman, black leather boots, Ysl.
In PEN15 you portray the character Shuji Ishii-Peters who is Maya's older brother. Tell us more about your character and what your thoughts on the script were after getting your hands on it.
I play Maya's older brother Shuji. He's a pretty cool guy, pretty laid back, although he's also always teasing Maya and he's always really hard on her. I think at the end of the day he's just looking out for her because he cares about her. They have a strong older and younger sibling dynamic that I can relate to in real life. So, you know I understand he just wants Maya to be a little tougher and be prepared for the real world. My initial thoughts about the script since season one-- I knew the show was going to take off right from the start. But when I read the season two script I honestly didn't think it could get better than that. I thought, “Dang they killed it again with this one --that's crazy.” I was just happy to be a part of the second season again and be able to work with Maya and Anna for a second time.
There are several lessons to be learned during the first and second seasons. In particular, the episode "Posh" revolves around racism and microaggressions against Maya. Your character helps Anna see that silence from a white person is just as harmful as joining in on making racist remarks. How does it feel to be a part of a narrative in a tv show that has multidimensional and multicultural characters that tackle this subject?
I'm glad to be a part of it and be able to tackle the issue in the way that Maya and Anna did. I think they did an amazing job. I think filming was real for us. You know it's something that we've all gone through --the minority. So, yeah, it's something that I could relate to and I'm glad that Maya and Anna took the time to dissect how they can approach that problem and do it as effectively as they did.
PEN15 successfully creates a storytelling series that does not shy away from emotions. Whether there's a humorous scene, a sad scene, or a joyful scene, production takes it all the way. What were some of your most cherished scenes with your castmates?
Yeah, I think the main one is when I come into Maya's room and give her a lecture in the second season about her being selfish and not just kind of acting and doing what she wants just to provoke others. Like I said I have a younger brother with about the same age difference. So, there are times when I've had to you know come in there and just give him a lecture about what he needs to do better and how he can work on himself and how he's hurting you know her parents. That was such a good scene that I think like any anybody who has siblings has gone through. I enjoyed it just because like on the show I'm sort of acting like the 14-year-old version of myself and how I would treat my sibling. That was probably my favorite one just because almost word for word like even my brother did some weird stuff back then. [Laughter]
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Photography: Anthony Giovanni
Fashion: Edwin J. Ortega
Grooming: Elie Maalouf
Dallas wears Charcoal Epsom Coat, Paul Smith, mohair 3-button cardigan, Good Fight, ecru tiger graphic shirt, All Saints, olive green shorts, Givenchy, leather black boots, Cos
Dallas wears sky blue wool-blend double-breasted coat, Paul Smith, white walker polo, Good Fight, light vintage indigo cropped jeans, Balenciaga, cotton grey sweatshirt, Good Fight, jewelry David Yurman, black suede cream lace to toe sneakers, Eric Payne.