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A Killer Career

Since actress Lucy Liu gained fame as Ally McBeal's TV nemesis Ling Woo, she has had roles in a number of action films, including a part as one of the heavenly movie trio, "Charlie's Angels".

In her latest film, "Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever," she takes on the role of Sever, a secret agent who plays a game of cat and mouse with former FBI agent Ecks, played by Antonio Bandaras.

Liu told The Early Show that her character for "Ballistic" was originally written to be a man, but, thanks to a little push from her friend Bandaras, she won the part. The two co-stars had worked together before in the movie "Play It To The Bone."

"Ballistic" is an espionage action film that pits Sever (Liu) and Ecks (Baneras) against each other in a race to obtain a new deadly weapon. But when the rules change, these two dedicated adversaries find that the one they're trying to defeat might be the only one they can trust.

Liu says that the co-stars did most of their own stunts to obtain a sense of realism without reliance on green-screen techniques, CGI or extensive post-production editing for enhancement.

Liu puts training for the stunts in the same category as learning an accent or gaining weight for a part. She says it enhances the credibility of the character.

The New York native and graduate of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan started college at New York University and graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. During her senior year at Michigan, she auditioned for a student theatre production of Andre Gregory's adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland." Hoping to be cast in a supporting role, Liu was instead cast as the lead and her acting career was born.

Her film career was thrust into overdrive when she starred with Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore in "Charlie's Angels." Currently, she is filming a sequel to that blockbuster. She also makes a cameo appearance in the highly anticipated "Chicago: The Musical" and will be seen next in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill."

In the past, Liu appeared opposite Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson in "Shanghai Noon" and played a memorable role as a sexy dominatrix opposite Mel Gibson in the box office hit "Payback." She also starred in Mike Figgis' "Hotel."

Liu is set to make her debut as a producer for Universal Pictures. She also signed a deal to produce and star in a contemporary big screen version of Charlie Chan for 20th Century Fox.