Despite the news of Yellowstone ending, Sheridan’s New Series Special Ops: Lioness (formally known as Lioness) has gone on to rock the movie industry once more.
Casting some highly decorated celebrities including Zoe Saldaña, Nicole Kidman, and Morgan Freeman, the movie set was so charged that upcoming actress Laysla De Oliveira mentioned how nervous she had been to be on set with them.
In the series, Zoe Saldaña plays joe the station chief for the CIA's Lioness program who heads a group of strong, clever women in the force who aim to take down organized terrorists. While Nicole Kidman plays Kaitlyn Meade a CIA senior supervisor who is cunning and smart at the same time. She knows exactly what cards to play and when to play them to get the high-ranking position she currently has.
Under this two powerful women comes in Laysla De Oliveira who plays Cruz Manuelos an ex-Marine and the newest member of the CIA's Lioness squad. She has the biggest role in taking down the crime organization and may have to risk her life to complete the mission.
According to Laysla, the show has been a life changer for her career. And although she had to spend months learning how to kick butt and handle weapons, she feels it's more than worth it because she's now on a first-name basis with her co-star, Nicole Kidman.
Speaking on how she landed the role with Toroto life, the young actress recalled the process she had to follow: “My agent got the script, and they were asking actors to send tapes, so we did that. I chose three scenes from the pilot, we sent them in and Taylor responded. Normally they go through all of the possible candidates and select the top ones to come in for a screen test, but this experience was different. It was 2021. I was in Toronto quarantining while I was shooting Locke & Key when I got a call from Taylor asking me to come out to Montana to work on some scenes. My heart dropped into my stomach, and soon after I was hopping on a plane, meeting him on the set of Yellowstone. He was actually directing the episode that was shooting so I was performing scenes from Lioness between their set-ups.
Speaking on how she felt about starring in a show with such huge names like Zoe Saldaña and Nicole Kidman on the cast, Laysla gave a brief rundown on how she felt when she heard the names of her co-stars.
“At first, I didn’t know about the co-stars. I remember Taylor mentioning “Nicole” a bunch of times and I was like, “Nicole…Kidman?“And then Zoe Saldaña is someone whose career I’ve always admired so much. That part of the job was definitely exciting and nerve-wracking, but mostly I was anxious about the extreme physical demands of the role. I was a hot yoga girl before this. I’d never held a gun”
Responding to the question of if she played it cool when she met her co-star who had Oscars and a billion-dollar franchise to her name. Layla stated: Well, it’s not like there was an official meet and greet. I met Zoe for the first time during a camera test. I turned around and she gave me a big hug right away and said how excited she was to work with me. I couldn’t let go of the hug for an abnormal amount of time. We still laugh about that today. With Nicole, I went to work early the day before we shot our first scene together to do what I like to call “exposure therapy.” My plan was to watch her from afar to see what she was like on set and then we ended up crossing paths. I introduced myself and she was like, I know who you are, I’ve been watching the dailies. Then she complimented my work, at which point my soul left my body. Now I call her Nicole, which is just unbelievable.
Apart from Laysla, another actor in the show who had his first big break in the movie was Bassem Youseef.
In the Lioness series, he takes on the role of billionaire Amrohi, the bad guy in the movie that the CIA pulling all the strings to catch. Amrohi in the beginning of the movie looks like a typical billionaire who has the world at his feet but he's hiding some serious and dark secrets. It's no wonder the CIA is after him.
Before landing this role in the Lioness series, Youssef was a popular Egyptian comedian.