From the popular ’90s TV show, Ally McBeal, to Oscar-winning filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 film, Kill Bill — actor Lucy Liu has been part of numerous hit projects in Hollywood as well as on TV. In a career spanning over 25 years, she says she has seen the American entertainment industry change “for the better” in many ways. In a telephonic chat, the actor talks to us about her new show — a modern-day adaptation of Sherlock Holmes — and how things are different for women in showbiz.
Being a non-Caucasian, you made it big in Hollywood. Is that process easier today?
I think different races are being represented more and more now. Change doesn’t happen overnight. When I started, things were different, and, now, people are more aware, and things are looking up.
When people make statements like, “Lucy Liu ages well”, do you take it as a compliment or do you find it sexist?
I do not find it overtly sexist, but yes, after a point, the limelight does become harsher for women. It is, as if, age says more about who we are, which is obviously incorrect. When a publication mentions men, they just go with the name, but when they write about women, it is name coma age; as if age is going to represent the quality of work that we do. I find it so amusing.
There has been a lot of speculation about how much you earn...
For women, it has always been a struggle to be financially independent, irrespective of whether you have a family or a partner, or neither or either. I’m not complaining about how much money I make, and I definitely do not make insane amounts of it. But whatever I earn, I do it as a self-made person.
What led you to make a documentary, titled Meena, which is based on the human trafficking situation in India?
I participate in the programmes of UNICEF, as I am their ambassador. Thus, I get to be involved in so many projects. The documentary was an intense experience. Being involved in its filming process, and visiting Mumbai to shoot it was an overwhelming experience. I’m glad the documentary sheds light on the situation.
Season 1 of your TV show, Elementary, in which you play the role of Joan (Dr Watson), goes on air on AXN India, today. How was the experience of directing episodes for it?
It’s always great to step behind the camera, and help put the narrative together.
How has Sherlock and Joan’s relationship progressed?
There’s definitely a bond between the two that they cannot take for granted.