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.


Red Sorghum (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.




It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934; 97% Tomatometer)

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?




2046 (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.




Being There (Hal Ashby, 1979; 95% Tomatometer)

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.




The Godfather; The Godfather: Part II (Francis Ford Coppola; 1972, 1974; 100%, 98% Tomatometers)

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]



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.

Comments

Robert G.

Robert Gassaway

Some thoughtful choices from a beautiful actress who we've yet to see the best from I think. Her descriptions intrigue me to see all of her choices beyond The Godfather. NOTE: The Godfather II is playing at Cinemark Theaters April 5th only!

Mar 29 - 05:06 PM

Robert G.

Robert Gassaway

Really looking forward to seeing her and Russell Crowe in RZA's directorial debut "The Man with the Iron Fists". BONG!

Mar 29 - 05:15 PM

Mark Hamstra

Mark Hamstra

Her choices and descriptions sound authentic. I haven't seen the Asian films but loved the others. Really enjoyed watching her in SOUTHLAND this year.

Mar 30 - 10:04 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I can tolerate her films so far, but the thing I remembered most about her was her nasty attitude toward working with Bill Murray while doing the Charlie Angels movie, which because of her Bill didn't want to return to starring in the sequel!

Mar 29 - 05:06 PM

Brandon De Pillis

Brandon De Pillis

Bill Murray doesn't do sequels.

Mar 29 - 06:43 PM

Aaron McKee

Aaron McKee

Ghostbusters 2, Garfield 2

Mar 29 - 08:49 PM

Lord Naseby

Lord Naseby

I heard he did both of those with both him and his family at gunpoint.

Mar 29 - 08:52 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

he looks like he walks thru most of his roles...maybe he does them all at gunpoint ....

Mar 31 - 08:37 AM

Emmanuel S.

Emmanuel Soufflet

Really?! What about Ghostbuster 2 ?!?

Apr 1 - 04:49 PM

Jack Ingoldsby

Jack Ingoldsby

I met her briefly... she was perfectly pleasant to a complete stranger

Mar 30 - 11:05 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I'm sure she's fine since everybody has a bad day too, but according to Bill Murray openly said Lucy was the only person he didn't get along with amongst the cast!

Mar 30 - 03:21 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

I think that says more about Bill Murray

Mar 31 - 08:38 AM

Ryan Molloy

ryan molloy

Perhaps only Asians are immune to Bill Murray's charm and humour.

Mar 30 - 03:34 PM

Brian Walton

Brian Walton

Lost in Translation suggests otherwise ;-)

Mar 30 - 03:41 PM

Holden D.

Holden Drover

Now that's on my top five for sure......

"lip them"
"lip them?"

Mar 31 - 04:10 PM

Jack Ingoldsby

Jack Ingoldsby

Gentlemen, I think we are making an unwarranted assumption that Ms Liu was at fault.
We don't seem to have considered the possibility Bill Murray was being the jerk.

Mar 31 - 06:57 AM

ap sirius

karl anderson

absolutly my point and probably the case...

Mar 31 - 10:33 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

And this is where I'd wish RT would let us post GIFs, like the puppy-dog Bill Murray face as Sean Penn is announced Best Actor for "Mystic River".

Apr 2 - 08:26 AM

Wil H.

Wil Huff

I think you have it reversed: I love him but Murray is notorious for being extremely moody and difficult to work with on the set. Given that no one else has ever had a problem with Liu that I've heard of that one probably falls on him (if that is indeed the reason he didn't want to return; he doesn't like doing sequels in general).

Mar 30 - 09:12 PM

Eric Donn

Eric Donn

Actually if you read up about the whole situation it was Bill Murray who didn't get along with Lucy Liu...not the other way around

Mar 31 - 11:47 AM

jimb14red

Michael Sullivan

He should thank her then. Why he was ever a part of that garbage in the first place I have no idea.

Mar 31 - 03:26 PM

Holden D.

Holden Drover

haha... yeah

Mar 31 - 04:11 PM

Ryan Brandon

Ryan Brandon

Who cares, there should have been NO charlies angels in the first place

Apr 12 - 08:01 PM

Robert G.

Robert Gassaway

Really looking forward to seeing her and Russell Crowe in RZA's directorial debut "The Man with the Iron Fists". BONG!

Mar 29 - 05:15 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

She seem's to love films that have incredible direction. You don't see that often. An Actress that respects direction. Ba Zing!

I kid I kid, you don't see that from many Actors either.

Mar 29 - 05:32 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

Oh man this is a great list. Nice shout out to Red Sorghum! As far as Yimou goes I prefer Ju Dou, but I'm just glad someone mentioned something by him. And Kar-Wai is always welcome too.

Mar 29 - 06:06 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Wow, Lucy Liu. That's so...retro. Seriously completely forgot she existed for a while there. Glad to see she's getting back in the game.

Mar 29 - 06:26 PM

Mark Hamstra

Mark Hamstra

that means you missed the last season of SOUTHLAND. she was excellent in it. SOUTHLAND is the best 'cop' show on tv since THE WIRE and HILL STREET b4 it.

Mar 30 - 09:58 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Yeah, but isn't the new season of Southland a fairly recent development too? That's what I was saying. She burst onto the scene then for a couple years there nothing or at least minimal voice work and now she's back in several things again.

Mar 31 - 07:55 AM

Brandon De Pillis

Brandon De Pillis

Bill Murray doesn't do sequels.

Mar 29 - 06:43 PM

Aaron McKee

Aaron McKee

Ghostbusters 2, Garfield 2

Mar 29 - 08:49 PM

Lord Naseby

Lord Naseby

I heard he did both of those with both him and his family at gunpoint.

Mar 29 - 08:52 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

he looks like he walks thru most of his roles...maybe he does them all at gunpoint ....

Mar 31 - 08:37 AM

Emmanuel S.

Emmanuel Soufflet

Really?! What about Ghostbuster 2 ?!?

Apr 1 - 04:49 PM

Aaron McKee

Aaron McKee

Ghostbusters 2, Garfield 2

Mar 29 - 08:49 PM

Lord Naseby

Lord Naseby

I heard he did both of those with both him and his family at gunpoint.

Mar 29 - 08:52 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

he looks like he walks thru most of his roles...maybe he does them all at gunpoint ....

Mar 31 - 08:37 AM

Lord Naseby

Lord Naseby

I heard he did both of those with both him and his family at gunpoint.

Mar 29 - 08:52 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Great calls by Zhang Yimou and Wong Kar-Wai, and "Being There" is Peter Sellers' masterpiece (sad but true, Strangelovians). Waiting for the FB douchebags to weigh in on how dishonest she is. Of course people fear 'taste' - they always fear the unknown.

Mar 29 - 09:19 PM

jimb14red

Michael Sullivan

Why would it be sad to say Being There is Seller's masterpiece? I disagree with it being better than Dr. Strangleove but Being There is pretty damn close.

Mar 31 - 03:32 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I was just anticipating the inevitable debate between which one was Sellers' best.

Apr 2 - 08:28 AM

Martha Dowden

Martha Dowden

As a tremendous Sellers fan, I think his best films are so broadly different that I wouldn't even attempt to compare them. I love The Optimists, which is now on US dvd and very different from both Strangelove and BT; distinctly more British in tone but a somewhat lost gem. I sometimes liken his film career to the early, middle and late stages of Beatles albums. Can you compare Rubber Soul and Sgt Pepper or the White album? Inevitably some will...there are stand-outs in each phase.

Bravo to Ms. Liu for Being There in appreciating Sellers!

Apr 2 - 08:57 PM

Curtis G

Curtis Gropp

I can't hear her over the sound of how pretty she is.

Mar 30 - 01:52 AM

anDy

Andreas Babs

Amen ahahaha so gorgeous

Also, any woman that picks Being There as a favorite movie is instantly a keeper.

Mar 30 - 02:07 PM

TheFriendlyOtter

Matt Malone

She has a more coherent idea of what makes some films good than a lot of the paid film critics out there.

Mar 30 - 09:52 AM

Jack Ingoldsby

Jack Ingoldsby

I met her briefly... she was perfectly pleasant to a complete stranger

Mar 30 - 11:05 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I'm sure she's fine since everybody has a bad day too, but according to Bill Murray openly said Lucy was the only person he didn't get along with amongst the cast!

Mar 30 - 03:21 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

I think that says more about Bill Murray

Mar 31 - 08:38 AM

Ryan Molloy

ryan molloy

Perhaps only Asians are immune to Bill Murray's charm and humour.

Mar 30 - 03:34 PM

Brian Walton

Brian Walton

Lost in Translation suggests otherwise ;-)

Mar 30 - 03:41 PM

Holden D.

Holden Drover

Now that's on my top five for sure......

"lip them"
"lip them?"

Mar 31 - 04:10 PM

Jack Ingoldsby

Jack Ingoldsby

Gentlemen, I think we are making an unwarranted assumption that Ms Liu was at fault.
We don't seem to have considered the possibility Bill Murray was being the jerk.

Mar 31 - 06:57 AM

ap sirius

karl anderson

absolutly my point and probably the case...

Mar 31 - 10:33 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

And this is where I'd wish RT would let us post GIFs, like the puppy-dog Bill Murray face as Sean Penn is announced Best Actor for "Mystic River".

Apr 2 - 08:26 AM

Mark McKee

Mark McKee

I thought she would only choose Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever 5 times.

Mar 30 - 11:10 AM

Roger Lai

Roger Lai

+1

Mar 30 - 02:19 PM

Sneaks Jacobsen

Sneaks Jacobsen

yo ive never commented on this before, but these picks are too good. finally. funny only her and sasha grey have come with some realness.

Mar 30 - 11:28 AM

jimb14red

Michael Sullivan

So people are being fake when they have favorite movie lists you disagree with?

Mar 31 - 03:35 PM

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