Five Favorite Films with Lucy Liu
The actress also talks indie comedy The Trouble with Bliss and her upcoming martial arts epic with the RZA, The Man with the Iron Fists.
In a busy career across movies, stage and TV, Lucy Liu has played all kinds of roles: fashionistas, Charlie's Angels, animated snakes and -- perhaps most memorably -- sword-wielding, scalp-collecting bosses of deadly assassination squads. She's currently appearing in Detachment and this week's The Trouble with Bliss, an independent New York comedy co-starring Dexter's Michael C. Hall and 21 Jump Street's Brie Larson. With the movie opening in New York, LA and across VOD, Liu called in for a conversation about her role, while also sharing some stories from the Chinese set of The Man with the Iron Fists -- the upcoming martial arts movie directed by and starring the RZA, with Russell Crowe, Gordon Liu and Pam Grier. Read on for more of the chat, but first up -- her five favorite films.
(Yimou Zhang, 1987; 100% Tomatometer)
One of my favorite films is Red Sorghum, by Zhang Yimou, who's an incredible director -- just incredibly visual. The way that he shoots a film and takes a time in history and connects it to somebody; he takes a moment in somebody's life and also connects it historically to what happened between the Japanese and the Chinese during the war. I just think it's so elegantly done. It sort of shows not just what's going on in the family itself, but links that personal story -- you get involved in that and then connected to the backdrop of the war, how their family, how their business all kind of connects. It's incredibly heartbreaking and very real. It was very impactful. I saw it when I was in college, and I was destroyed. [Laughs] Destroyed by that movie. There's a quality in his movies that really stands out, that I haven't really seen in a lot of other movies.
Another movie that I really love -- and I'm sure you know it -- is It Happened One Night, which is, I think, one of the best romantic comedies out there. I remember seeing that movie and falling in love with Clark Gable and just thinking how fantastic that backdrop was, on the train. It seemed like a very real relationship, like they really were in love with one another. [Laughs] I didn't seem so pat, you know?
(Wong Kar Wai, 2004; 84% Tomatometer)
I also love 2046 by Wong Kar Wai, a film which I thought was so beautifully shot, with an incredible story. I love that he uses the location as a character. He has a very romantic way, a very sexy way of presenting everything, and the cinematography in that is absolutely stunning. He obviously has a very strong vision for what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. All of his movies, I think they're very intimate: They don't always require huge stages, but he always seems to capture something in a very small area. I like the way he presents things. He creates an atmosphere and you get swept into it right away.
I love Being There, it's one of my favorite movies -- with Peter Sellers, who I thought was brilliant. I love how underplayed but so incredibly funny it was, you know... dry. [Laughs] There's something wonderful about the misconceptions [about the main character] that create the simplicity of all of it. The misconceptions create a simplicity which then creates this aura. I love that movie.
(Francis Ford Coppola; 1972, 1974; 100%, 98% Tomatometers)
Next, Liu talks about her role in The Trouble with Bliss and shares some stories from the set of RZA's forthcoming martial arts epic, The Man with the Iron Fists.
Then I have, well, I have two movies: Godfather one and two. An incredibly absorbing story that unravels and captures a time that really existed in New York. It just draws you in and just keeps you. There are moments in that that you can't believe. You watch it and you go, "Oh, right" and then you hear the dialogue and then you realize that this is an incredibly famous quote. [Laughs] It's all-time, basically. A side one that I love, just 'cause I grew up watching it, and it happened to air around my birthday in December, was The Sound of Music. It reminds me very much of my childhood, that kind of hopeful, contagious optimism that Julie Andrews had -- and also set in the backdrop of war. But that's more of a childhood thing. Then there's Drunken Master, but for different reasons, and different entertainment values, you know? It's hard. There's a list a mile long. In very small font. But asked to narrow it down, I will narrow it down to those movies right now. [Laughs]