It's the truth: “House of Lies” remains ferocious and funny in its second round.
The edgy Showtime series has resumed episodes at 9 p.m. Sunday on the strength of Golden Globe and NAACP Image Award nominations for star Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, the slick management consultant always striving to keep himself, the equally sharp Jeannie (Kristen Bell) and the rest of his high-living “Pod” team (Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson) a step ahead. That's crucial now that they've evaded an unwanted merger, but there also are personal matters to attend to, sometimes mixing uncomfortably with professional ones.
“It took a second to try and find who he was again, to get back in the groove again,” Cheadle says of stepping back into Marty's skin for Season 2. “I was coming right off filming ‘Iron Man 3.' I had about five days, then I started the show again, so it was a little tricky.”
Indeed, Marty consistently operates with all pistons firing, so Cheadle must also.
“It's pretty interesting,” he says, “and we were lucky that we had a lot of time to develop the scripts. I was seeing them before I had to go back and finish ‘Iron Man 3,' so at least I had an understanding of what it was going to be like.”
Cheadle actually had a concept of that even before reading the words, since Marty always will be the driven, in-your-face Marty.
“I think the foot is on the gas fully,” says the veteran of “Hotel Rwanda,” “Traffic,” “Ocean's Eleven” and many other movies. “It's daunting, the energy output it requires, and you have to stay healthy. In TV, there's never enough time. We're sometimes shooting 12- to 14-hour-days; the crew is always working that long, so it's a lot to ask of everybody involved, but it's a job that I love to feel exhausted from doing.”
The same goes for co-star Bell, who has been making the new “House of Lies” season while expecting her first child with significant other Dax Shepard.
“She's a well of vulnerability and manipulation and perversion,” Bell says of Jeannie, “all these emotions that women are not supposed to have as the female on a television series. She's written so well, she's just an onion. There's always a new layer I can peel back.”