If this is his real wife and life, then why doesn't it feel right? As he sets about recovering his memory and figuring out why he got knocked out in the first place, Jake soon finds that he has a girlfriend, Gina (Lucy Liu), a waitress in a diner that he's inexplicably drawn to.
While Jake's character seems like a role that actor/comedian Cedric the Entertainer was born to play, Diana and Gina seem like a step away from the faire that Sheridan and Liu have been enacting on screen lately – so who started the ball rolling?
“It would have to be that big, bad, cuddly, brilliantly talented Cedric,” Sheridan begins. “Everything I've ever seen Cedric in, he just warms your heart. We did a read-through of the script and there was just a chemistry that was undeniable. I thought ‘this is going to be a lot of fun.' It lived up to everything I thought it was going to be.”
Liu, who co-produced Code Name along with Cedric, had a similar experience on the casting front, but working behind the cameras gave her a peek in a direction she'd like to head in.
“As an executive producer, you can go in there and really have an opinion without worrying that someone's going to be like, ‘Why is she taking over the set?' It gives you a certain amount of freedom and you feel like you're part of a team. You're looking at the movie on an overall level as opposed to, ‘How am I getting through?' It becomes more of a universal thing,” Liu says.
As the Cleaner storyline holds, Jake begins to make his skepticism known about being married to Diane, so she's obliged to convince him with a little lingerie dance. Sheridan sheds a little light on the shoot.
“I had no idea what I was going to do. I've seen Cedric dance – he's got those moves,” she says with a laugh while imitating his “Kings of Comedy” schtick. “He's got it going on, so I'm trying to do a couple of those [moves] thinking ‘I'm way too white to pull that off.' [It was] mortifying. So, I just came up with my own crazy little dances.”
Liu had a racy scene to prepare for as well – a dream sequence in which she and Sheridan, both clad in bikinis, engage in a water fight while splashing around in a bubble-filled baby pool. While the resultant footage might be considered eye candy, the reality is that the scene was shot on a cold set after a long day.
“We shot it at like three in the morning. It's like, ‘OK, kiddie pool, winter, lingerie – we need to put some bubbles on because it's more fun with bubbles.' Bubbles kept disappearing, so they had to keep filling the thing with bubbles and shooting,” recalls Liu.
Back in the '80s Sheridan portrayed the crafty vixen Page Matheson on “Knots Landing,” but these days the British actress is getting introduced to a new generation of fans in the role of divorcée Edie Britt on the popular ABC series “Desperate Housewives.”
Liu, who holds a degree in Asian Languages and Cultures, has managed to negotiate her career trajectory around getting typecast. Still, she's not a babe-in-the-woods about the realities around her and credits her cultural studies with broadening her worldview.
When asked if she has any pearls of advice for women of color who want to follow in her footsteps, Liu cuts to the chase straightaway.
“I think the most important thing is just to work on something that you care about, and as work comes along to make sure that you make choices for yourself. … If you stop trusting yourself and start listening to other people, you're going to get lost in the mix because everyone has a different opinion for you … you have to listen to your heart.”
Liu concludes, “I think people are so willing to give up their lives for fame and for career that they end up giving themselves up. You can only be an artist if you are portraying part of yourself or a reality of something, even if you don't relate to the character at all. [If] there's a molecule of that person in you, then you just take it and expand it. If you're just putting it on like a shirt, it's never going to be something that the audience is going to embrace.”
Code Name: The Cleaner is currently in theaters.