Lucy Liu `Having a Blast' Filing Lawsuits on Fox's `Ally McBeal'

Article excerpt

Television writer Nancy McAlister was in California for the TV midseason press tour.

PASADENA, Calif. -- "Feisty" appears to be the operative word in describing Ling Woo, the litigious newcomer to Fox's Ally McBeal. In fact, "cold" was the quality that kept actress Lucy Liu from getting the part of Nell, played by Portia DeRossi. But in one of those Hollywood-style happy endings, creator-writer David Kelley wrote Ling Woo specifically for her.

Now a regular on the popular Monday series, Liu considers the role a breakthrough not only for her but Asian-Americans. Ling Woo, who has brought a number of highly irregular cases to the firm (this week, she sued the environment for her allergies), rarely smiles with a blunt, in-your-face honesty. A little shy in the romance department, she's more sensitive than people may think.

"I'm having such a blast," said the actress, who previously appeared on ER and NYPD Blue. She was a series regular on Rhea Perlman's short-lived sitcom Pearl, portraying a brainy college student. On an episode of The X-Files, she played a young woman with lymphatic cancer.

Her feature film work includes the soon-to-be released films Payback, costarring Mel Gibson, and True Crime, directed by Clint Eastwood.

"I'm doing stuff that I never thought I'd be able to do," said the New York native who didn't speak English until approaching school age. An accomplished artist, she received a grant to study in China several years ago and has exhibited her work. …

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