Into The Dark is a horror anthology television series produced by Blumhouse Productions to stream on Hulu. The first season, which premiered on October 5, 2018, consists of twelve feature-length episodes, each based on a different holiday. With each new episode, we are introduced to talent we haven’t yet seen before as many rising stars make their presence known in the series. This is especially so as the anthology series tackles its second season. One of these rising stars is Olivia Liang, who s seen in the St. Patrick’s Day installment of Into The Dark titled CRAWLERS.
For the release of CRAWLERS, we got the opportunity to interview Olivia, where we discussed everything from how she came to love playing the character of Yuejin to how she balanced humor with the more logical personality of her character and concluding with what advice she would give to WOC trying to break their way into the industry.
What’s your favorite aspect of playing the character Yuejin in CRAWLERS?
Olivia Liang: Oooh. Okay. This might get a little too philosophical, but the first thing that comes to mind is I love that her name was Yuejin and that nobody paid any attention to the fact that her name was Yuejin. Because, you know, it’s a very Asian name but it wasn’t — no attention was drawn to it. It was just like a part of the story and it wasn’t a big deal; so, that was great to have…just kind of normalizing an Asian name. But, on top of that, I love that Yuejin was the kind of…that person who was pointing out that everything was ridiculous. Like you guys, this all sounds really crazy. Of course, she ends up being wrong. But I like that she was that realistic anchor throughout the story. Yeah, so it was really fun to play that.
I think you are hilarious as her! My favorite part in CRAWLERS is where you’re like, “An alien invasion?” So, I completely agree. I think she was a grounded character, but I thought she was very funny and very fun.
Olivia Liang: Awesome. Thank you so much. Yeah, I think we all throw out a little bit of comedy to play our character.
So, as an actor, how do you go about preparing a character, especially for something as zany as CRAWLERS?
Olivia Liang: This is always a hard question because I feel I should say something like I meditate or I go method and blah blah blah…but really, it’s all on the page. Brandon [Zuck] was a really great guide for this character for Yuejin. Our director…he really helped me get into her, that headspace and explained a lot of where she was coming from and her experience and how she was feeling this whole situation. So, really, Brandon helped me a lot with crafting who Yuejin is. In terms of preparation, Yuejin isn’t too far from who I am, so it wasn’t hard to lock into who she was. It was just a little bit more heightened and more cynical than I usually am. Yuejin isn’t too far from Olivia, so it’s easy to get into her.
That’s great. So, what do you most enjoy about the horror genre?
Olivia Liang: I think I really like the direction it is going these days, especially with movies like Get Out, Us and even like Fantasy Island. It’s a lot more — think, brain-work heavy and then there’s a lot of comedy, and they’ve been infusing a lot of that comedy. There’s always that. They’ve been infusing a lot of comedy relief into these recent ones. And I think that person that is anchoring and calling out how scary or how ridiculous these things are is making the horror movie genre really fun to watch. That person is almost saying what the audience is thinking so it feels like a really interactive experience.
Oh, I love it. You know, in improv, the grounded person is the one who calls out all the unusual things that are happening, and I feel a lot of the times get the biggest laughs because as you said — very eloquently — they are pointing out what the audience is thinking,
Olivia Liang: Exactly.
So, it was really really great to see. What are some next projects up ahead? Can you tell the superfans out there anything about the highly anticipated reboot of “Kung Fu”?
Olivia Liang: All I can say is that I am very sore. I am taking a break right now to chat with you, but it’s really unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s an all Asian cast, all Asian background. It’s so wonderful to see all of these Asian Americans. It’s like a true Asian American story. I feel like or at least one aspect of a very true Asian American story. I personally have related to my character Nicky in more ways than I can count. So, I’m really excited that hopefully this pilot goes well and we’ll get to share this story. And hopefully, people get to be seen and heard. It’s going to be badass. A lot of cool fighting. A lot of heart and a lot of family.
Everyone on the internet is super excited. I know I am.
Olivia Liang: I’m excited that people are excited. No pressure!
Do you have any advice or inspiring words for WOC trying to break into the industry?
Olivia Liang: Oh man. Yeah. We are not each other’s competition.
Love it. Love it!
Olivia Liang: It was so wonderful when we were testing for “Kung Fu”, it was a lot of Asian actors that are quote-unquote each other’s competition. We’re all fighting for these limited roles. None of us looked at each other like, you’re going down. As each person went into the room, we all hugged. We gathered around in a circle. We ate lunch together afterward. And we were like, you know what guys, whoever gets this part, it’s a win. That this pilot is getting made — it’s a win for us. And so we were just happy that overall, it was pushing the community forward. And I guess just any actors or women of color, we are not each other’s competition. There is room for everybody. We just have to keep pushing.
I think that’s beautiful. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. It’s been very inspiring.
Into The Dark’s CRAWLERS is now available on Hulu for streaming. On the fence about whether or not you want to take the green beer plunge? Check out our review of the film HERE.