Actor Dallas Liu speaks to EJ about Shang Chi and Avatar: The Last Airbender…
Dallas Liu is heading down the path of becoming a must-watch name. From scene-stealing in PEN15 to landing his first Marvel role, Liu will take the industry by storm. Possibly sooner than later, he stars as the fan-favorite Zuko with his upcoming role in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
During our conversation, Dallas Liu talked about his early inspirations, working on the set of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and tackling the iconic role of Zuko. Also, make sure you check out Liu talking about his love of the anime My Hero Academia.
So, you’re in the MCU now, you’ve played in Mortal Kombat and Tekken films, and you are starring in an upcoming anime adaptation. Where did your love of these things start? Were you a fan of video games and anime growing up?
Uh, definitely anime. I tried to get into video games as a kid; I did play a lot of Halo and Call of Duty. With Tekken, I played with my brother a ton, and obviously, now I’m like a fan of that game.
You seem to attract all these nerdy things, though. Working in the MCU and starring in Avatar must feel cool.
I mean, it’s the MCU; who doesn’t want to be a part of Marvel!? And yeah, now with Avatar: The Last Airbender, I get to play just a dream role in Zuko. I’m super stoked.
Besides all this pop culture stuff, I noticed you have some great competition videos from your martial arts days. Where did that passion start?
Oh man, When I was a kid, I watched a lot of Power Rangers, actually. Specifically SPD. That kind of inspired me to start doing martial arts.
One of my friends, he’s the son of Sugar Shane Mosley, the boxer. We would go to the same martial arts studio together. We started at like five years old, and I just ended up sticking with it till I was about 13.
Do you ever miss it? Do you want to go back to the competition, or do you like the acting path fully now?
The acting path is 100% like my passion, but I do think it is good to keep up and train. I feel like martial arts is good for the mind and the body.
So, congratulations on the new film, by the way. You appear in Shang Chi as Katy’s brother. What was it like seeing yourself on the big screen?
It was definitely a new experience. I was at a loss for words. Cause I didn’t even know how to really react, it felt so awkward; I got really giggly.
But it was a moment that I’ve been waiting on. Since the beginning of high school, I’ve been working my butt off, so it was cool to see it finally happen. I’d like to thank everyone that’s been supporting me since then.
You got to work with Awkwafina and Simu Liu, was the energy on set as fun as it felt on screen?
I had a blast in that scene that I was in, and just working with them was an experience. They’re both such talented actors, and working with them allowed me to pay attention to how hardworking they are. Overall the environment of being around them and on set was great, working with Destin Daniel Cretton as well.
Did you get to bond with Awkwafina at all on set?
I got to hang out with Awkwafina offset a little bit and, you know, just bond with her, get to know each other. Hopefully, one day I’d love to work with her again on something else. Um, along with Simu, whether it’s a Marvel or not.
Awkwafina told me these affirmations, just telling me that you have a place in this industry, especially with its moving forward with diversity. And with all the tons of streaming services and everything like that. To be aware that there are just so many projects coming out all at once.
Are there any other dream projects before we get to the biggest new thing you have coming up? Is there any other Marvel or DC or anything like that you would love to join? Maybe A My Hero Academia adaptation?
Oh, I would absolutely love that. If there’s a live adaptation of that, I don’t think I’d ever recover from the happiness and joy that I’d feel. I’m a huge fan of My Hero as well.
Is there a character for My Hero you would love to be?
Well, with where we are in the manga right now, I’d love to be Deku. I think seeing him grow from like that little crybaby wannabe hero to where he is now is absolutely insane. I also love Todoroki a lot. Oh, or even Dabi; I feel like that would be a super fun character.
I’m hoping we’re manifesting this into the universe for you.
Thank you so much!
Now, I can’t finish this without asking about Avatar: The Last Airbender. You’ve been confirmed to play Zuko. I know you are very early in production, but what can you tell us about the project and how pumped are you?
Um, I actually can’t really say anything at all.
Yes, I don’t want the Netflix ninjas to attack. I understand.
I will say it’s Zuko. One of the best-animated characters with one of the greatest character developments in animated series that we’ve seen. He’s also a fire-bender, which is just awesome.
I can’t wait to take part in such a huge project that has so much love for the animated series. I just hope that everyone can enjoy this project just as much as possible.
Many thanks to Dallas Liu for taking the time for this interview.