SPOILER ALERT: The following reveals major plot points from the CBS’ True Lies premiere episode.
Bombs are going off and there’s danger at every corner, but housewife Helen Tasker (Ginger Gonzaga) is none the wiser—at least for now—in tonight’s premiere of CBS’ True Lies.
Helen’s husband Harry (Steve Howey) is an international spy balancing family time and his latest case that could endanger humanity globally. But when work calls Harry away yet again, his beloved Helen has had enough and is tired of sacrificing their relationship for his career. She’s had enough.
What to do? Harry thinks fast and figures out a way to make both his trip and his marriage work by combining a mission and a romantic trip to Paris. What could go wrong? Everything, of course. When the bad guys locate Harry, he’s having dinner with his wife at a restaurant that was unknowingly booked by the bad guy. They were easy to find since they knew their location, and now they have to think quickly because their lives are on the line. Harry bluffs and tells Mr. Baddie Helen is his supervisor, a role she steps into almost effortlessly. It’s impossible to tell who is more impressed with her skills: Harry or Helen herself.
“It was important to me to protect Helen’s intelligence and not make her look totally naive. I love playing her and I want to protect her,” Gonzaga tells Deadline. “I went into the audition not having watched the movie which gave me the opportunity to create this character and see how I could Ginger-fy her.”
“As far as bringing in some comedy, I really leaned into her anxiety. She’s an endearingly anxious person, who once she becomes a spy and sucking at that, finds some confidence. She’s been on autopilot as a wife and mom for so long that it’s so much fun when she gets thrown into highly stressful situations and she overly commits to them. This is waking up all types of different things in her brain and reminding her of all the different skills she has,” she added.
Helen and Harry are the parents of two high school kids, Dana (Annabella Didion) and Jake (Lucas Jaye), who are also feeling disconnected from their father due to his frequent trips out of town. In the pilot, there’s no hint that their children could be dragged into future missions a’ la Spy Kids, but Gonzaga isn’t opposed to the idea.
“Annabella and Lucas are talented actors and awesome people so they could definitely pull that off,” Gonzaga said. “But right now? I don’t know. We will have to wait and see. What’s funny is after Helen becomes part of the spy world, she learns there are all these characters who were also in on the secret. The woman who lives next door to us, Mrs. Myers [Deneen Tyler], is a nice cat lady who we find out later is a counter surveillance officer. I’m always saying it’s thanks to her that we sold this pilot. [Laughs]”
Back to Helen’s come-to-Jesus moment when she’s dragged into this dangerous mission and completely unsure as to what’s real and what’s not. Going with the flow, the pair are led to a helicopter where Gonzaga and Howey re-create the famous scene from the 1994 film of the same name between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis who originally played the Taskers.
“We weren’t overwater but someone was dangling from a helicopter. I asked to do the stunt but was later told I couldn’t due to insurance issues,” Gonzaga shared with a laugh. “There was a stunt woman who actually falls out of the helicopter and it looks really jarring seeing it happen. The rest of it was created with me using really high wire and I’m suspended by my arms. It was honestly more ab work than I’ve done in my entire life! I love that Jamie did it live while James [Cameron] was holding the camera. It’s what really makes movie-making so fun.”
Gonzaga also revealed they shot the scene from the film where Curtis is doing a sexy and accidentally falls but most of it ended up on the cutting room floor.
“What I loved that Jamie did was the sexy dance where she falls over. I read somewhere that it was an accident so she just popped back up. When I saw that moment, I thought, ‘Oh, it me,” said Gonzaga. “We did have a longer wink to that in the pilot. I was so hellbent on doing the dance while being sexy but I wanted to fall hard on the ground, then I wanted to be held down. So, it was the opposite of what Jamie did. I wanted to be genuinely injured for like 5 seconds too long. The whole thing didn’t make it into the episode but it’s a wink at that moment fans of the film will find little nods in the series like that,” she added.
True Lies airs on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on CBS.
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