True Lies TV Show Boss Reveals What Star Steve Howey Needed To Play Arnold Schwarzenegger's Movie Role

Steve Howey as Harry Tasker in CBS' True Lies
(Image credit: CBS)

The spy adventures of Harry and Helen Tasker are on the way to 2023 TV schedule with the upcoming premiere of True Lies on CBS. Based on the 1994 film of the same name, the show had to find the right stars to play the roles originated on the big screen by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. With the first episode on the way with leads Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga, showrunner Matt Nix opened up about the challenge of finding the right actor to play the character immortalized on film by Schwarzenegger. 

The TV show stars Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga as Harry and Helen Tasker. While Helen will start out in the dark about her husband’s Omega Sector adventures, Harry will already be in spy mode. That meant finding a star who was ready to handle playing a spouse and as well as a spy. When Matt Nix spoke with CinemaBlend at SCAD TVfest in Atlanta, the showrunner explained how important it was to find the right people to play the leads: 

Super essential! When you think about anybody reacting to the show who is familiar with the movie, one of the things I realized when we started the casting process was, 'Wait a second, we've got to cast someone to play the role that Arnold Schwarzenegger played.' It's not going to be anyone as big as Arnold, but it can't be someone small. So I was like, 'Yeah, I guess I just need someone really tall, super jacked, very good looking, very funny, who can also act dramatically, and ideally who likes to do stunts.' Then Steve Howey walked in, and I was like, 'Sold! We don't need this anybody else. That's good. We're good. Let's just go with Steve Howey.'

Well, Steve Howey should certainly be flattered that Matt Nix immediately decided that he fit all of those requirements to play Harry Tasker! Not being as big as Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t a problem for this show, according to the showrunner. Interestingly, while Howey came to True Lies with plenty of TV experience, his many years of Shameless weren’t exactly packed with the kinds of stunts that are on the way with his new show. 

CBS is certainly going all-out on promoting True Lies, and all signs point toward Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga as a duo just as dynamic as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, whose team-up for the 1994 film (written and directed by James Cameron) stands the test of time. The CBS show is also the first time that a TV version of the movie has actually made it to the small screen, after rumors of a John Cena-led series back in 2010 and Fox development reports in 2017

Of course, a show airing in 2023 is going to have plenty of differences from a 1994 film beyond just the stars, as even the fictional spy game is bound to have changed in nearly three decades! Fortunately, the wait to see the CBS version is nearly over. Of the many facts about the True Lies series that have released so far, it’s clear that the show isn’t going to just be a repeat of the movie and will instead stand on its own. 

Plus, Matt Nix has experience on a number of other TV shows, including creating The Gifted and Burn Notice. Just take a look at the full trailer for a preview of what’s on the way with True Lies:

True Lies premieres on CBS on Wednesday, March 1 at 10 p.m. ET with Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga as Harry and Helen Tasker. The 10 p.m. time slot pits the new show up against ABC’s A Million Little Things (now in its final season) and NBC’s Chicago P.D., which has long dominated 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and is on the verge of hitting 200 episodes. Based on all the promotion that True Lies has received from CBS so far, it seems safe to guess that it will be network television’s next big hit. 

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).