Showrunner Matt Nix explains how True Lies just might make you cry.
True Lies showrunner Matt Nix joined the cast on the red carpet at the 11th annual SCAD TVfest in Atlanta. I was excited to speak to Matt about the tone of the series and how he hopes viewers will experience it.
True Lies is inspired by the 1994 major motion picture of the same name directed by James Cameron. This time around we have Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga playing leads Harry and Helen Tasker. Both actors bring great comedy to the unconventional scenario of a wife learning that her computer salesman husband has also been a spy for Omega Sector all these years. But the show also boasts a wealth of action and heart.
Read on to find out what Matt had to share.
How do you go about balancing the action with the comedy in True Lies? Can you have too much of one or the other?
Matt: I think you have to be careful to not let comedy undermine the action. There are definitely circumstances we had to avoid. Imagine an action scene where people are trying to save terrified children in real immediate danger. No comedy – we’re not doing comedy there. Similarly, imagine, you could do it the other way where the comedy overwhelms the action.
So, I think what we do is go through things. There are many action scenes where I threw it out – that’s a great action scene, there’s no room for comedy in that. Or that’s a great comedy scene, we can’t be exciting action in that context. So, you know, some things qualify, some things don’t qualify. But I think it’s similar for any show. You talked about Howard Gordon [previously]. On a Howard Gordon show, there’s a tonal range for his kind of action. If you’re on Law and Order: SVU, that is children in danger and there’s no comedy. Everybody has to make those choices.
Speaking of comedy . . .
in this clip, you can “spy” Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga videobombing our interview! Then continue reading to hear what else Matt had to say.
What kind of takeaway do you want for the audience with True Lies? Do you want it to feel like an escape? What do you want them to get from the experience of watching the show?
Matt: Yeah, I mean, True Lies is not a documentary about geopolitical issues. True Lies is not about the challenges we are facing in our world. True Lies is absolutely a fun escape, but I don’t think it’s trivial in the sense that . . . we’ve been working on the finale, and I keep getting notes on it from people and everybody says it made them cry. It’s still funny, but it didn’t make them cry because of the geopolitical spy issues in it. It made them cry because it’s two people that really love each other dealing with a really challenging situation and getting through it in a way that is emotional.
The thing that we said over and over in the writers’ room when stories would come up and stuff, I was always like ‘we are making stories that our audience will relate to. I want if the story is on our show, it should be something that feels like it could have happened to you only not in a spy context.’
SCAD TVfest offered a great opportunity to learn more about True Lies, which premieres on March 1st. Attendees enjoyed a screening of the pilot followed by a panel Q&A with Matt and actors Steve Howey, Ginger Gonzaga, Erica Hernandez and Mike O’Gorman. It was a lively discussion with great camaraderie among the cast members.
Thank you, Matt, for taking time to talk to So Many Shows!
You can watch True Lies on CBS Television Network and the CBS app or stream on Paramount+.
Check out our review of True Lies here.
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