That's certainly not the case with "Slevin," which hits theaters in March. In it, Liu stars opposite Bruce Willis, Sir Ben Kingsley and Josh Hartnett, who is her on-screen love interest. Playing Lindsay, an inquisitive coroner who gets caught up in a mobster murder scheme, was freeing for Liu, who says she loved the "child-like, almost naive quality that Lindsay had. She wasn't afraid to say what was on her mind, even if it was something a normal person would never say." Indeed, the whip-smart script is full of lightning-quick banter, much of which was rewritten once the cast was assembled and their natural chemistry began to develop. "I had major rewrites on my script," Liu says. "It went from a couple of lines of dialogue to page-long monologues about everything from borrowing a cup of sugar to penises." She's referring to Hartnett's member, which Lindsay, not viewers, gets a glimpse of in her first scene. "We had so much fun working together; there was just an instant comfort level," she says.
It looks to be a big year for the N.Y.U. and University of Michigan-educated Liu, who will appear in two other films this year — the comedy "The Cleaner" and the horror thriller "Rise" — plus work on three more that were just announced. "I like constantly learning and growing," she says. "I haven't been bored in about 20 years."