Emmanuelle Chriqui loves playing wildly different roles

Rick's Reviews

Travis Fimmel (left) and Emmannuelle Chriqui play wild characters in “Die in a Gunfight.” (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

(KGET) — Emmanuelle Chriqui has made it her mission to make sure that she never gets typecast in a singular type of role. All you have to do is look at her latest work to see how well that has been going.

In the CW Network series “Superman & Lois,” Chriqui plays the level-headed, big-hearted Lana Lang. That role is a 180-degree opposite to the character of Barbie she takes on in the new feature film release “Die in a Gunfight.” Barbie gets great joy and satisfaction from living on the edge with the love of her life (played by Travis Fimmel).

“When I look at my career, I never want to see a straight line,” Chriqui says. “I want to see a wavy line. I always want to challenge myself and surprise the audience. As soon as they think I am one thing, I want to come out and do something else.

“That’s fun and it is also what we do. We get put in boxes because they like that person in the role. The truth is that actors have so much more to give than what our body of work is.”

Her search for original roles can take her to film, TV or even theater. Chriqui knew she wanted to play Barbie as soon as she saw the script because the role was so different from anything else she has played.

She had one big stipulation.

“I had a conversation with Collin Schiffli, the director, and said to him ‘Can we just go all out with this?’ He said that was like music to his ears,” Chriqui says. “Travis and I got to create this larger-than-life, dynamic duo who are super grounded in their love.

“It is not often when we get to lose ourselves this way.”

Barbie is the free-spirited girlfriend to Wayne (Fimmel), an Aussie hitman with an open mind and a code of ethics. They are drawn into the story of Mary (Alexandra Daddario) and Ben (Diego Boneta) who are the star-crossed black sheep of two powerful families engaged in a centuries-long feud.

These stories are told in a stylish fashion by Schiffli that is part Quinten Tarantino and part Guy Richie. Wayne and Barbie are the 21st Century answer to Bonnie & Clyde if those gangsters/lovers took steroids.

The way Chriqui approached playing Barbie was to go big or go home.

“I was comfortable with the role because of my co-star. I know how Travis roles and he is such a risk-taker,” Chriqui says. “So it was safe to go big and because we stayed within the context of the film, I don’t think we went too big.

“To not really go for it would have done a disservice to the film.”

The two current projects are the latest credits in a diverse career for the Canadian. She’s best known for her role as Sloane on the cable series “Entourage” but has also worked on “The Mentalist,” “Murder in the First,” “Cleaners,” “The Passage,” “Shut Eye,” “TRON: Uprising,” “Thundercats” and “The O.C.”

Chriqui completed work on “Die in a Gunfight” before the launch of “Superman & Lois.” She went from a role that was so wild and uninhibited to one who sees the world through rather mundane eyes.

“One of the things that’s so compelling about our show is that we talk about reverse mortgages. We talk about people needing a loan, we talk about mental health,” Chriqui says of “Superman & Lois.” “We talk about all these things and we have Superman fighting in outer space, but it doesn’t seem so crazy.

“It doesn’t seem so out there. And that’s one of the things that I think collectively, we’re so proud to be a part of because of that.”

Generally, Chriqui will do extensive research to have the best understanding of the character to play the role correctly. She found by creating a backstory for Barbie – as with other roles – she can play the role with more depth and make a better connection to the audience. There is more clarity in understanding the role.

When she signed on to “Superman & Lois,” Chriqui was aware of the long history of Lana Lang in the comic books, movies and TV shows. She opted not to look at any of that material because this version of Lana Lang, Clark Kent, Lois Lane and the rest are very different.

“I talk about the history of Clark and Lana and one of the things that is very clear is that yes, they dated in high school. But besides that they’ve known each other since kindergarten and Lana certainly treats Clark as one of her closest friends, one of the people that knows her the best,” Chriqui says. “There’s a lot of history there. But it’s nice that in this incarnation of the world, it’s not just based on their romance, it’s like a very rich, long history.”

“Superman & Lois” currently airs at 9 p.m. Sundays while “Die in a Gunfight” will be released in theaters and be available through On Demand starting July 16.

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