As a professional actor, Taiwan’s WeiJen Liao gets to live several lifetimes in one. She gets to become someone new and experience a plethora of emotions that may not normally come to her. Through acting, she explores the intricacies of society, discovering with each new role what makes a different personality really tick. In turn, by exploring her craft, she learns more about herself and her own life. It is a unique artform, and one she truly loves.
“I enjoy doing a lot of research and learning new skills when a role requires me to. Through all the experience I have from different classes of society, I am grateful that I am able to bring these real personalities and issues into my film work. I think audiences should know what’s going on in the world from each corner of our culture, so we can keep our unity whether it is a country, a family or a community and keep improving our environment,” said Liao.
Liao, a seasoned and award-winning actor, is best known for her work in the fan favorite horror flick The Willow Man and the international commercial for Itron. She likes to constantly be hard at work, and refused to let the COVID-19 pandemic slow her down. She is currently busy filming the anticipated drama The Summer of 52 presented by SCENES PLUS, and when she first read the script at the beginning of quarantine, she knew she had to be a part of it.
“The first time I read the synopsis about this project, I thought, oh my god, I am in quarantine right now and the story is about a natural disaster, which is almost like what we have been going through. I was intrigued with how the filming would go,” said Liao.
The Summer of 52 is a story that travels across several countries during the Summer of 1952. A dramatic 50’s style black and white story involving stolen art, love affairs, spies and intrigue. Written and Directed by Michael Scordakis, the film takes a unique approach, having the actors film their scenes in isolation. Liao was eager to experiment with such an obstacle, and so far, has greatly impressed.
“WeiJen is an absolute joy to work with. She is one of those rare talents that not
only becomes invested into the character and scene but also listens to the nuances that the Director is trying to convey. Communication is a key component, and working collaboratively to bring out the best in a performance is the main goal. WeiJen is a true professional, in that she asks the right questions, works with our team flawlessly and always brings a compelling performance,” said Scordakis. “WeiJen doesn’t just act, she becomes invested in the character and performance. That is a professional commitment that makes a huge difference.”
In The Summer of 52, Liao plays a character with two different identities. One is Jennie, an actress, and the other one is a Chinese Arts dealer. They both are equally strong, independent, and know what they want. They also know how to get along with people well, even people they don’t like, and they always have their ways to get things done including getting other people to do things the way they want them to.
Liao was intrigued to travel back in time for her roles in the timeline of the 1950s, where women were far less independent and respected professionally. Playing strong female characters in such a time was inspiring for Liao, who researched the era intensely. The environment of this story was very similar to now where we are living, where a natural disaster hit and everything shut down. She found it easy to pull from current events to get into that mindset for her characters.
“One of the messages we want to deliver to the audiences is to encourage them to keep having faith that we can overcome this current crisis. Because of that, I was able to develop the strong side of these two characters. Before playing these strong female characters, I spent over a year researching other strong women and their behavior, the way they think, talk and act, and some of the strong choices they may make. After I got familiar with playing this type of role, I was comfortable to play such characters in The Summer of 52,” said Liao.
This exciting and innovative project is still filming, so keep an eye out for it when it is released on Roku and other streaming TV channels.