The hit 1994 spy movie “True Lies” is getting the series treatment on CBS.
The new show, premiering March 1 (10 p.m.), is based on the James Cameron blockbuster of the same name. It follows Harry Tasker (Steve Howey), who’s married to language professor Helen (Ginger Gonzaga). They have two teenage kids.
Helen thinks that Harry has a boring job selling computers to insurance companies, and he’s constantly getting stuck at sales conferences — but, unbeknownst to her, he’s actually an international spy for the US intelligence agency Omega Sector. Whenever Harry his wife that he’s away on business, he’s actually on a mission. Matters become complicated when Helen discovers her husband’s double life.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis starred in the original movie, but Howey, 45, said he never intended to imitate Schwarzenegger.
“I vowed to never do [Schwarzenegger’s] accent,” he told The Post. “Out of respect for the man. It’s low-hanging fruit [and] everybody does it. You won’t have any footage of me doing that accent!”
He said he’s a Schwarzenegger fan, having grown up with his movies.
“’Conan The Barbarian,’ and those swords and sandals ’80s movies – that’s what I was into,” said Howey. “‘True Lies’ came out in the ’90s, and I was a huge fan of that movie. When this came around, the TV version, I was like ‘Wow, okay. They know I’m not an Austrian body builder, right?’ I’m not as buff [and I’m] a little bit taller. But, I know how to fight and where to shoot.”
Howey, who co-starred in “Reba” and “Shameless,” has also appeared on other shows including “Sons of Anarchy” and “New Girl.” He said he’s crossed paths with both of his “True Lies” predecessors, over the course of his years in Hollywood.
“I got to meet Jamie Lee Curtis,” he said. “There is the Starlight Foundation, which gets people to come and talk to these kids and families at the Children’s Hospital of LA, so I got to see and talk to her there, years ago. My then-wife [Sarah Shahi] also did a movie with her husband, Christopher Guest. And, I’ve met Arnold at a cigar shop. We had just a quick hello. He was very charming and humorous.”
Howey said that he and Gonzaga tried to make the CBS version of “True Lies” different from its big-screen predecessor.
“Here’s the thing — it’s hard to look around the corner when you’re getting shot at and look cool. You’ve gotta have a certain je ne sais quoi about yourself,” he said. “The ones who can pull it off are Arnold, Sylvester Stallone, Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis. There’s that cool factor. And a lot of that machismo is going away. It’s the masculinity of yesteryear. Schwarzenegger is way more of a stud than I am. I think he has that in spades, to be that guy.
“After meeting [‘True Lies’ co-star] Ginger, I was like, ‘She’s fun.’ She made me laugh every day when we were shooting. I wanted to make it about us. It was more of a partnership. It was a conscious decision to make it our own.”