James Cameron’s True Lies was a critical and box office hit back in 1994 and although it wasn’t the first action/comedy hybrid, it became the benchmark for every subsequent entry into the sub-genre that attempted to cash in on its formula and success. Although plans for a sequel have never come to fruition, it looks as if the property will continue on in another medium instead.
Deadline reports that Cameron is working on a True Lies television show and will soon begin shopping the idea around to various networks. Rene Echevarria (The 4400, Castle) will serve as the showrunner and executive producer. Echevarria previously collaborated with Cameron on the acclaimed director’s first foray into television, the sci-fi series Dark Angel.
True Lies followed the exploits of Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a family man moonlighting as a secret agent. After discovering his wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) may be having an affair, he uses his government resources to investigate her lying Lothario and give her the adventure and excitement she’s yearning for. Things go awry and both of them wind up hostages of an Islamic terrorist organization.
When the film ends, there are no more secrets between Harry & Helen and they’re now working as partners. There’s no word if the series would pick up from there and act as a quasi-sequel or simply start from scratch. One thing’s for certain, though – somewhere Tom Arnold is anxiously awaiting a phone call.
Cameron was reportedly ready to get the ball rolling on True Lies 2 back in 2002 but the 9/11 attacks caused him to rethink his plans. Declaring that terrorism was not something to be taken lightly, he put the project on hold and circumstances prevented him from returning to it.
While I’m sure many fans would have preferred a sequel over a True Lies TV series, the fact is the original cast isn’t getting any younger and between Avatar 2, Battle Angel, and The Dive, Cameron’s schedule wouldn’t be able to accommodate it for many, many years.
Of course the landscape for this particular genre is a lot more crowded now and True Lies will have to find a way to differentiate itself from the horde of clones the film helped create. Cameron’s involvement is certainly a plus, but it remains to be seen whether the show will appease fans who’ve patiently waited for the further adventures of the Tasker family.
While it’s not even close to being my favorite Cameron film, True Lies is still satisfying and well-executed. I was definitely interested in a sequel but recognized the window of opportunity had probably closed on that several years ago. For me, the part of the film that’s the most fun is when Helen doesn’t understand that she’s not really a secret agent and believes the whole mess is her fault. I’m less interested in the Tasker’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith-style team-up.
What do you guys think? Can the premise of True Lies sustain itself as a TV show?