Folks on the internet and in the media are finally starting to talk about SHANGHAI CALLING, for which I’m very grateful. But I’ve noticed that most of the hubbub is focused on Bill Paxton and Daniel Henney. Henney and Paxton definitely deserve all of the attention they’re getting, but SHANGHAI CALLING is an ensemble picture that succeeds thanks to great performances from the entire cast. So starting this week, I’m profiling our stars and giving you the scoop on the amazing things they did to make this movie great. Let’s begin with…
Comedy fans need no introduction to Eliza, the most talked-about cast member on the hit ABC television series “Happy Endings.” If you haven’t seen this show, do yourself a favor and watch a few episodes online, it’s great. As a former TV comedy writer, I know how difficult it is to find actors who are both beautiful and funny. Eliza is a rare gem — she’s tall, gorgeous, and has incredible comic instincts. In fact, some of the best jokes in SHANGHAI CALLING were lines that she improvised on the spot. (I’m not going to tell you what they are, in order to preserve the impression that I am a COMEDY GENIUS.)
Like all hilarious people, Eliza is also a little nutty, which led to great outtakes as well as an occasional halt in production because she couldn’t stop laughing at something happening inside of her brain. That’s OK — we needed someone nutty to fly to China and star in our movie on one day’s notice.
The thing I appreciated most about Eliza was how hard she worked on learning her Chinese lines. No, Eliza does not actually speak Chinese. But she had to speak a ton of it in SHANGHAI CALLING, and she did so well that after our private screenings in China, a couple of audience members asked me Eliza got the part because she was bilingual. (That’s a real compliment.) Regretfully, I had to cut one of my favorite scenes from the movie, a big comedy scene in which Eliza argues with two other Chinese-speaking women over who should get a new luxury apartment. It’s hard to explain. Hopefully we’ll get to put out a DVD and Blu-Ray so that Eliza’s fans can see the deleted scene.
Speaking of which, all of you Eliza Coupe fans must come and see her in SHANGHAI CALLING. (Premiering May 3 at the Newport Beach Film Festival! Tickets on sale now! And May 10 at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival! Tickets on sale soon!) I believe that this is Eliza’s first significant movie role, so support her by watching it! This will help me, too — making SHANGHAI CALLING a success is probably the only way I’ll get to work with Eliza again!