'Marry Me': Lucy Liu gets physical in romantic comedy debut
"It's not so much to me about the fairy tale wedding as it is about meeting the right person," she tells the press to promote her romantic comedy debut. "I think if you ended up wearing a paper bag and ate pizza for the reception, you wouldn't really care because you'd be so happy because you were with the right person."
That viewpoint plays out in "Marry Me" for Rae Ann Carter (Liu), a social worker who's ignored her dreams of becoming an artist and feels that it's time to settle down ... but not settle for less than the perfect person for her. Could it be Luke ( Steven Pasquale), the new guy in her life who keeps her on her toes, ex-boyfriend Adam ( Bobby Cannavale) who's suddenly back in the picture or Harry ( Enrique Murciano), the suave jet-setter who owns a castle?
(Watch the trailer and sneak peek of "Marry Me.")
Although Rae has three men vying for her hand in marriage, she's nowhere near perfect, which is why she's having difficulty choosing.
"I enjoyed that she was a real person, filled with flaws and made tons of mistakes," observes Liu. "She was trying to balance everything and she kind of overwhelmed herself in certain areas in her life. She was actually lost. A lot of people feel like that. She didn't have a great deal of confidence in herself either, and so it helped to have that vulnerability in her character."
"Marry Me" has its share of soul-searching and character growth, but it's also a romantic comedy, emphasis on the "comedy." In particular, Rae and Luke have a very verbal relationship with lots of snappy banter.
"It's like 'His Girl Friday,' that kind of thing," explains Liu. "[Writer Barbara Hall] wasn't afraid of language and using words. It wasn't just antics. It felt like they were real things, some sort of mental sparring that happened."
In contrast, Liu says she was unprepared for the amount of physicality necessary for a comedy.
"There's a lot of action. You don't really train for that. There's a lot of running around," she says. "If [Rae] sees someone she's not supposed to see and is trying to hide, there becomes something immediately physical about her actions of trying to get away or disappear. I lost about eight pounds doing the movie."
No doubt that weight loss helped her in the wardrobe department. Rae wears lots of form-fitting silhouettes, stiletto heels and jewel-toned accents that have a quirky but stylish aspect to them that's unlike what one would imagine for a typical social worker.
"Originally, we tried to sort of do the idea of the social worker, very down to earth, khakis and collared shirts," acknowledges Liu, "but I have to say we tried on the outfits and I looked like I just got off the boat. For some reason I could not pull off that look right.
"So we just decided, 'Forget it. We're just going to go more stylish,'" she says. "There's a really gorgeous teal blue, greenish Victoria Beckham dress that fit so well, that was pretty comfortable to wear. We gave her colored glasses, different colored heels and also bright-colored bags. She was also an artist. She had a flair."
Despite having discussions about Rae's everyday wardrobe, Liu wasn't much help when it came to planning the wedding at the end of the movie. When the set hairdresser and makeup artist wanted to give her the wedding look of her dreams for the movie, she drew a blank. Even when they gave her a veil to wear to get her in the mood for visualizing that special day, she wasn't inspired.
"She put the veil on my head and I felt absolutely nothing," Liu recalls. "I said, 'It's fine, actually. We shouldn't waste hours trying to figure out the wedding when I'm happy doing whatever you want.' She was shocked but I think she realized after the movie that I don't really have the idea in my mind."
The miniseries also stars Annie Potts, Vanessa Marano, Elizabeth Bogush and Danielle Nicolet.