True Lies Stars Steve Howey And Ginger Gonzaga Talk Their 'Insane Level Of Chemistry' For CBS' New Spy Drama

Harry and Helen in CBS' True Lies
(Image credit: CBS)

The long-awaited True Lies show is finally on the verge of premiering on CBS in the 2023 TV schedule, and the network hasn't held back in hyping the new series. Inspired by James Cameron's 1994 film of the same name, this new True Lies stars Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga in the roles originally played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. With showrunner Matt Nix opening up about the importance of finding the perfect leads, Howey and Gonzaga discussed their "insane level" of chemistry as Harry and Helen Tasker!

Even for those who aren't familiar with the 1994 film, the trailers for CBS' True Lies alone make it clear that Harry and Helen's marriage will be central to the new series. When Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga spoke with CinemaBlend as a duo about the show and finding the right kind of chemistry, they only had good things to say each other. Gonzaga shared: 

Steve and I have an insane level of chemistry, and I've had that with other actors, but what's weird and what's special on this show is he and I are – in almost every aspect of this job – the perfect yin and yang. We make the perfect team... and our showrunner is not always there, so we're in charge. We balance each other out with the same true north in a very unique way. We're both alpha, we're both leaders, but we're both super protective, so we're protective of the cast. We want to make sure their characters are there, and I've never experienced it. It's a perfect team and he'll be my friend and family for life, for sure.

Ginger Gonzaga came to True Lies with plenty of TV experience, including a role in Disney+'s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law just last year. While the actress explained that she has had "insane" chemistry with actors before, her dynamic with Steve Howey is something special. Whatever the future holds for the show itself, the actress is confident that her bond with her co-star will last a lifetime. 

It certainly sounds like True Lies found a recipe for success with finding leads who can balance each other out! In fact, the actress went on to share a specific example of how they balance each other out on set. Gonzaga said:

I'm a morning person, and I'd come in, and Steve is like, 'Uh, I'm not awake yet.' And I'm bebopping around! [laughs] He's like 'Ginger, you're gonna lose it by 5p.m.' And by 5 p.m., I am tired! Then Steve is taking over and carrying us. Sometimes he's the straight man [and] sometimes I'm the straight man. Sometimes Helen's goofy because she's anxious, sometimes Harry's goofy because he's like, 'What the eff is my wife doing?' We were kind of reinventing the wheel with how fast and difficult production was, and it really wouldn't have been possible if it hadn't been this team. I haven't experienced that before and I'm so grateful for it. It's really rad.

It must be a strong working relationship if a morning person and night owl can collaborate so well! For all that the new CBS show is billed as a drama, there will be elements of humor as the worlds collide. How could there not be some laughs when a super spy's world and his domestic life suddenly start to overlap? Helen will certainly have some skills of her own to bring to Harry's world as well. 

According to Steve Howey, he knew right from the chemistry read with Ginger Gonzaga that she was the right actress to bring Helen to life on True Lies. She wasn't the first person he read with to play the Helen to his Harry, but she stood out immediately, as he explained:

The chemistry read was amazing. I had to read with several different Helens, and Ginger came in at the very end and actually blew everyone away. I was surfing her wake. She came in with so much energy, and I've said this to her and I'll say it again: she might be a genius. I don't just say that, because I don't like her. I don't. [laughs] For someone to make me laugh, it's a rarity. It really is. She was funny the moment I met her. She had her own point of view, and she's a good person. There's nothing hostile about it… This would have been such a different experience if it was another Helen.

Talk about saving the best for last, apparently! Ginger Gonzaga made an immediate impression on Steve Howey and others during the casting process. Based on how much the stars were laughing and joking with each other during the interview, it's clear that her humor hasn't lost its charm for her co-star. The Shameless alum went on to explain just how dynamic of a duo they are on True Lies:

I don't think we would have been able to pull it out [without her], because those days when we were working every day, all day, and I was doing the physical stunts because I wanted to, she would come in and we'd all be tired and she would crack a joke and I was like 'Okay, let's go.' So every time I got to work with Ginger was a pleasure because she lifted the vibe.

Harry Tasker as a spy means a lot of action sequences, and Howey decided to do his own physical stunts. Helen presumably won't have as many shootouts and chase sequences as her husband (at least at the beginning), but Gonzaga evidently still helped out her co-star while filming those scenes. While he couldn't have known just how well they'd work together in the long run at the chemistry read, he did know from the jump that she was the right fit for the show, as he said:

What you see is what you get. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She's an empath, so she is tapped into all that around and I was just like, 'Please lead when you want to and then I'll lead when you need it.' And then she picked up the slack for me. I tried to pick up the slack for her. The synergy that was created from the very first testing… I was like, 'Please hire her.'

Fortunately, the wait to see Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga joining forces in True Lies is almost over. The new series premieres on Wednesday, March 1 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. For a glimpse of what the show will deliver with Harry and Helen Tasker (and how they'll compare to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis' 1994 team-up), check out the trailer:

True Lies also stars Erica Hernandez, Omar Miller, Mike O'Gorman, Annabella Didion, and Lucas Jaye. If you can't tune in to watch live on Wednesday nights (or will just want to rewatch episodes as soon as possible), you'll be able to find the show streaming with a Paramount+ subscription!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).