Emmanuelle Chriqui and Emily Osment aren't just breaking out of the box in "Cleaners;" they're exploding the expectations of fans used to seeing them in "Entourage" or "Hannah Montana."
"It was beyond fun. It is what I've wanted to do for a very long time," Chriqui told me during a Sept. 25 call with reporters. "It was fun getting to kind of surprise people, because I think people think of me in a certain way."
In the action-adventure series, which debuts on Sony's Crackle Oct. 3, Chriqui and Osment play assassins who are asked to do an errand for their boss (Gina Gershon), who then throws them under the bus when the women discover a sedated boy in the trunk of their car. They end up becoming targets of their boss' ruthless client, his henchman and the FBI agent (David Arquette) investigating the child's kidnapping.
"Cleaners," from writer-director Paul Leyden, is a fast-paced, bloody thrill ride that offered Chriqui the chance to play a badass babe. The actress did a lot of her own stunt work and some "pretty heavy-duty training," she said, but an injury prevented her from doing all the stunts she wanted to do. Still, Leydon said, she killed it.
"She ended up being way more than I ever expected," he said of his star, who also produced the series with Leyden, a longtime friend. "She was just unbelievable in it."
Both Leyden and Chriqui think fans will be even more surprised at Osment's performance. The veteran of children's shows "is so badass in this, it is out of control," Chriqui said.
Added Leyden: "I think both girls are really going to shock people. We haven't seen them play these types of roles. And it just fits like a glove on both of them. This show's a fun romp and the girls really embrace that tone. And they embrace the spirit of it—physically and performance-wise."
"Cleaners" is just one of several original projects announced in May by Crackle, which already is home to the Jerry Seinfeld series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." The Sony-owned Crackle last month showed its first feature-length movie, the martial arts flick "Extraction," and is working on a sequel to the David Spade comedy "Joe Dirt."
It's other upcoming series include the street performer doc "Play it Forward," the crime show "Strand Street" and the second seasons of action thrillers "The Bannen Way" and "Chosen."
While the Crackle "suits" gave him near-total creative freedom, Leyden said, he's also pleased to be releasing the show on the Web because he believes the online entertainment model "is the future."
"You can slave away on an independent film and people really like it and whatever, but there's limited space to show that and for people to actually watch it," he said. "This is an exciting content platform where you work on something, you get it made, you're proud of it, people are going to see it."
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