WonderCon 2023: ‘True Lies’ Series Forges Its Own Path; Also A Preview Of What To Expect
by Gary Catig
The film True Lies made an instant impact when it was released in the summer of 1994. The spy action comedy that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis took audiences by storm and scored big at the box office. Almost 30 years later, a television series drawing inspiration from the film is now on the small screen. At WonderCon 2023, we had the chance to speak with executive producer Matt Nix, and stars Steve Howey and Omar Miller. Below are some takeaways from our conversation.
A Tale of Two Spy Stories
Nix is also the creator of the fan favorite series Burn Notice and people couldn’t help but notice the espionage links to his new True Lies. However, they couldn’t be further apart since Burn Notice featured a more realistic portrayal of spies while True Lies fits the grandeur and the Hollywood stereotype of the genre. One thing he does find in common between the two: both feature people who want to make the world a better place.
If you’re hoping for a crossover of some sort or at least some guest appearances, Nix quickly poured water on the situation. Both Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell are currently busy with other projects while Gabrielle Anwar doesn’t act as much these days. The executive producer did say there could be some hope in the future and liked the idea of Donovan playing the ideal bad guy in True Lies.
Things Get Personal
If you haven’t been watching the series, Helen Tasker has gradually revealed aspects of her Filipino heritage. Nix talked about the process of bringing the background of actress Ginger Gonzaga, into her character.
“I think particularly when you think about on American television, people become sort of generically Asian. The world of Asia is one thing, but it’s not. The Philippines has a distinctive culture and foods. I liked the idea of ‘Why is she a linguist?’ Because she came from another country. Even if you live in the Philippines, you’re probably speaking multiple languages. I think the more you can lean into the specificity of what the actors like to do and what the actors do well, and deepen that connection with that character, the show just benefits.”
Expanding the Ensemble
Early on in True Lies, the focus has been in developing Harry (Howey), Helen, and their relationship. Beginning with this week’s episode five, the series is starting to explore the other characters of the team, such as Luther Tenet (Mike O’Gorman) and Maria Ruiz (Erica Hernandez). There are even more characters to be introduced that will become part of this unconventional family. Early breakout, Mrs. Myers (Deneen Tyler), is also set to return later. Regardless, the show will look at issues of friendship and balancing work and stress.
Miller talked about playing Gib and how his onscreen persona is going to transition from team member to team leader, and how he might play a bigger role out in the field rather than just being the man in the van. Episode eight will be Gib specific, and though it’s unclear if it occurs in this episode, Miller revealed Keith David will play his father. In addition, we’ll learn why Gib is the way he is and why he is a bit of a lone wolf. Yet, the actor also teased how his character might find some romance in the second half of the season. If you recall, in the pilot, Gib teased Harry about his wife and now Gib will be the one who gets the ga-ga eyes himself.
The Future of True Lies
If the show is able to receive a second season, you can expect some of the guest stars to come back like Matthew Lillard‘s The Wolf. But in the near future, you haven’t seen anything yet. This is the time where it distinguishes itself from the film. Miller enthusiastically revealed “we take the formula and throw it on its head. Something completely different. Episodes 11, 12, 13, it’s a whole different ball game!”
As opposed to the “threat of the week format,” the season finale will be a two-parter. The talent was tight lipped on what will happen but Howey declared, “Our last episode was fun, special. That’s one to see.”
New episodes of True Lies air Wednesdays on CBS.