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Brokaw: ‘True Lies’ will be a huge success for CBS

By Francine Brokaw - Special to the Daily Herald | Mar 8, 2023

Courtesy photo

New episodes of "True Lies" air Wednesday night on CBS.

In 1994, the comedy action movie “True Lies” topped the charts. It took a while, but CBS has finally produced a series worthy of the hype.

“‘True Lies’ was obviously one of the most iconic films of the 1990s. It was the first film that cost over $100 million, which would be like $160 million today. And of course, it’s a film by the great James Cameron,” Executive Producer Matt Nix told members of the media. “I found that I couldn’t get the prospect out of my mind. I kept imagining myself coming out of the movie theater in 1994, mind completely blown, and there I was with an opportunity to be a part of that. And how do you turn that down? You can’t.”

He mulled it over in his mind for a long time, trying to best translate the fun and adventure of the film into a TV series.

“Finding the great Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga for our Harry and Helen was the first step,” Nix said. “They’re both accomplished comedians and great dramatic actors. They have amazing chemistry. They’re reminiscent of Arnold (Schwarzenegger) and Jamie Lee (Curtis), but they have their own take on the characters and a magic that is totally theirs.”

And let’s face it, Steve Howey — who viewers will recognize from his time as Van on “Reba” and Kevin on “Shameless”– is so much cuter than Arnold. Every time he’s on screen it’s a delight. As for the plot, the new ‘True Lies’ tries to balance the fictional situation with real world humanity and kindness.

“It’s a show about family, about a group of people that really care about each other and are working through real issues,” Nix said. “‘True Lies’ invites the audience to laugh and have some fun and remember that whatever insanity might be going on in the world, we are all human beings trying to do our best.”

As the pilot, and the rest of the first season, unfold, viewers watch as Helen leaves her quaint housewife life behind and experiences her husband’s real world as an international spy.

“You [sic] got to do all the things that a regular spy show would do, and then you’ve got to do all the things that kind of a family drama would do. You know, you’ve got to play all those emotional beats. And then you’ve also got to do a bunch of comedy things. So finding a way to do all of those things without having the comedy undermine the action or without having the heart of the family story overwhelming the other elements, it’s a balance,” Nix said.

While there is the family aspect and the comedy of the show, there is also a lot of action, and Howey admitted he did most of his stunt work, even injuring himself along the way.

“I pulled my left quadriceps,” Howey laughed. “And then on Episode 12, is when I had this stunt that I had to throw (a character) against the wall, and I threw his stunt double against the wall, and it snapped my finger back. … So, yeah, it hurt, but it was kind of fun, too, at the same time, because it was like, ‘oh, we’re actually really doing something.'”

Although he enjoyed doing his stunts, he added that next season he would defer to a stunt double. Gonzaga also had some physically challenging scenes.

“”I had no idea how much I would need Pilates for this job. You physically have to be strong. I literally need the muscle that comes from that in order to do some of the work. And in my free time, I was taking some boxing classes,” Gonzaga said.

While the movie will always be associated with Schwarzenegger and Curtis, the modern actors did not want to recreate past personas — they wanted to create their own identities.

Audiences will be pleased with all the work that went into this show, which might just be the best new series of the season. “True Lies” premiered March 1 on CBS. New episodes air every Wednesday and are available for streaming after air on Paramount+.


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