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'True Lies' star Ginger Gonzaga advocates for more Filipino characters in Hollywood

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Mar 04 2023 09:49 AM

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Apart from the opportunity to play her first lead role on primetime TV, Ginger Gonzaga shared why starring in a show like 'True Lies' matters to her.

"The ripple effect that taking this on would have, just by my existence by my casting, I will inevitably get to hire five other Filipinos on a show," the actress said. "When I first started, there was just no diversity and I'm lucky to have been able to work. I would play girlfriends or whatever, but I could if there was ever a pilot about a family, I wasn't gonna be in it because it was gonna be white family, you know. And so that's just the way it was. I literally wouldn't be able to audition for the job because I couldn't be anyone's child because the parents were white, you know? So it was nice to wake up to kind of like the power of accepting a job like this."

Ginger Gonzaga. Photo credit: CBS 'True Lies'
Ginger Gonzaga CBS "True Lies"

She grew up in Modesto, California with her Dutch mother and her Filipino father who was originally from Cebu.

'True Lies' is inspired by the 1994 blockbuster film that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga. Photo credit: CBS 'True Lies'
Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga CBS "True Lies"

In the TV series, Steve Howey plays Harry Tasker who kept his job as an international spy a secret from his wife, Helen, played by Gonzaga.

"It is the Jamie Lee Curtis character, but I intentionally didn't watch the film before I did it because I didn't want to copy her. I love her, I’m not trying — I can't be her. So I just kind of treated it like a brand new role and what I would do with it. And I think that because the show, writing-wise, has the DNA of the movie, it'll be 'True Lies' and then it'll be a very 2023 version of it. I think it's super-fun," Gonzaga shared.

The actress is also a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights as well as mental health awareness for which she is working on an upcoming project for the Philippines.

It was while studying political science in college that she realized that what she really wanted to do was be an actress.

Ginger Gonzaga at the Hollywood premiere of Easter Sunday
Ginger Gonzaga at the Hollywood premiere of Easter Sunday Yong Chavez

In playing a working mother and wife turned spy in 'True Lies,' Gonzaga said she found her most challenging role thus far.

"Motherhood always lends itself unavoidably to just so much caretaking. And eventually you're kind of on autopilot and you don't get off of it for many years because your primary goal now is to make sure that these kids stay alive. And I think that there is sometimes a sense of losing yourself in that because you're just giving and giving."

She added, "when she becomes a spy, and she's forced into this thing, she's also forced to use all of these skill sets that she has. So she's forced to use all the languages that she knows. She's forced to use the physicality that she's good at and it's almost like a reminder, and a return to herself rather than a reinvention. Like: Hang on a second, I'm super special. I know I have to take care of all the people and teach all the time and do all these things, but like, I can do a lot of cool stuff."

Gonzaga was also a series regular in the Disney+ show 'She-Hulk'.

True Lies poster. Photo credit: CBS “True Lies”
CBS “True Lies”

'True Lies' airs on CBS and streams on Paramount+.