A classically trained musician who happens to have a flair for theatrics is a killer combination. This combination resides in Lili Liu, an upcoming actress from Melbourne who plays an exciting role as the confident and ambitious young woman, Pinyuan Xue in her upcoming musical drama “Life as a Summer Flower,” which was originally written by her good friend, Xiaolin Shen.
Produced by Liu Entertainment (L Enter Pty Ltd), and starring Lili Liu, the musical comedy is centered during the Liang period of Wei Jing and Northern and Southern Dynasties (220-589) in ancient China. The family-oriented narrative of this series focuses on a heroine called Pingyuan Xue who originally hails from a peasant family but later emerges as a warrior who is determined to find her true love. After being overcome with a powerful vision, she becomes a legendary female warrior, meeting the Emperor whom she falls in love with, but then she eventually discovers she’s just being used for a different motive which leads her to go on a journey of discovering herself. While the series is supposed to be a musical comedy, at the heart of it is a message of determination and hope.
FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Lili Liu to discuss her journey in the entertainment industry and her latest project and here’s what went down:
Can you tell us more about yourself? How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
I’m a classically trained musician. I did my piano recital in Sydney Opera House and many other concert venues. But I have always wanted to write my own songs and share my love for storytelling. When my good friend Xiaolin Shen showed me her novel Life as a Summer Flower, I immediately felt I need to turn the story into a musical drama. It’s a story people need to see!
What do you like most about acting?
To become the other person. To think, act, and see the world from another person’s perspective allows me to see the world differently. When I act, I can give the voice to that character, that soul. To help that soul to express herself, to bring that soul to physical life is what I enjoy the most.
Can you tell us about your recent role in your drama series?
Pinyuan Xue is a very confident, independent, and ambitious young woman. She almost never doubts her own ability. She has lots of challenges in her life. She faced many setbacks. But she seems always to have the power to rise from the ashes, like a phoenix reborn from the ashes. I’m learning a lot from her, her brightness, positivity, and her ability to turn her vision into reality are very admirable.
What sort of person is going to relate to this character?
Everyone who begins with a humble beginning, and fights their way to achieve their dreams can relate to Pinyuan Xue. The scriptwriter Xiaolin Shen told me Pinyuan Xue is her ideal character. She is also my ideal. I hope I can be more and more like her.
How is this character like you? Different?
We both have big dreams and visions in life. We both do our best to achieve them. However, Pinyuan is more confident. She is almost always certain, and she doesn’t have many doubts. I have much more fear and doubts. I enjoy being her in the show, she taught me how to face challenges and fear, and how to win the battle fair and square.
Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?
I would like to think I’m the most suitable person for the role. I love this role. The role of Pinyuan Xue and her story really inspires me. It’s a story I have to tell. It took the scriptwriter Xiaolin Shen many years to write the story and develop the characters. I feel very blessed for the trust Xiaolin placed in me, and I will do my best to deliver a performance that even in many years’ time, I can still be proud of. Hopefully, the audience will feel inspired and entertained too.
What’s the biggest challenge to taking on this role?
Singing the monologues and act at the same time. Because it’s a musical, there are many dialogues we need to sing. When I sing and act alongside others, it’s much easier. There is a scene that I need to sing a monologue, like a self-reflection song by myself, I found it takes a lot of skills to make it natural and impactful. That’s something I’m working on at the moment.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
There are a lot of interesting people in my life. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my homestay mum a lot. When I come to Australia for high school, I had an Australian homestay mum, Daphne. Daphne encouraged me to be independent, self-reliant, and to pursue my piano dream! I stayed with her for two years and a half. She drove me to all piano lessons, introduced me to Thai food and Spaghetti Carbonara… Her love and support made the pursuit of my dream a much easier journey. I’m very grateful to her!
How active are you on social media?
Not very active… I try to keep my distance from social media. I use it mainly for work. I prefer spending time with real people. In-person.
What are your plans? Inside your career or out of it.
I want to inspire people to follow their passion and their highest calling. I believe when each of us finds and does what we truly love doing, the world will be a much happier place, we can all fulfill our missions here on earth. I have always been attracted to music, art, and storytelling, everything that beautifies the world, that allows me to express myself creatively. I will continue to create new works in the future. Both music and screen productions. I feel very alive when I’m in the creative process of bringing an idea to life. The creative energy is what drives me every day. My current plan is to do all I can, with my team to create Life as a Summer Flower one that we are truly proud of. Art and music have great powers to break barriers and enhance understanding between people – that’s what I want to do through music and storytelling, to open people’s hearts and create channels for understanding.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Howl’s Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki. “They say that the best blaze burns the brightest when circumstances are at their worst.” This is one of my favourite movie quotes of all time.
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Helping others. I consider people helping each other, be kind and compassionate to each other to be the most beautiful act.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Start a family and have at least two children.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d….”
If I had no fear, I’d sit down and write out my life story. Then, I could understand how I have come to be who I am and where there is next for me to go with my career. I reflect on the events of my life often, and I would like to put them into a narrative structure.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself?
I always whole heartily go after what I want. I don’t have a backup plan. So when things don’t go the way I want, I can feel hurt and disappointed. But I like to stay this way. Because in order for me to go beyond myself, I need to give whatever I do my devotion, my 200% focus. As Rumi said “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens”, I consider any setback or heartbreak on the way are opportunities for me to upgrade myself. So, I wouldn’t change that ‘flaw’ of myself.
“Life as a Summer Flower,” the musical series will be filming in Bendigo in July, so be sure to follow this space to find out more details about this amazing project.