Lucy Liu had some trouble learning her lines for the hit summer animated film "Kung Fu Panda." But that wasn't her fault _ a lot of the time, she said, there weren't any lines to learn.
"Working without knowing what you are doing from start to finish is very difficult," Liu said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It was really improvisation. It was exciting. It keeps you on your toes."
Liu was in Japan on Tuesday with comedian Jack Black and other members of the film's cast and crew for Kung Fu Panda's Japan premiere.
Liu, also known for her roles in "Charlie's Angels" and "Kill Bill," plays Master Viper in the movie, which is about an overweight panda who aspires to be a kung fu master. Along with Black, who plays the panda, Po, the film features the voices of Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie.
Liu said she is particularly happy to be in a movie about China _ both of her parents were from Taiwan before moving to New York, where she was born and raised.
"It didn't take me long at all to decide I wanted to do this," she said.
China seems to be glad she made the film, too.
The movie, which opened in China on June 20 to rave reviews, has made more than $15 million at the box office there _ meaning it has crossed the threshold for what is considered a big hit in that country.
Before that, the movie, which is distributed by Paramount for DreamWorks Animation, pulled in $60 million in ticket sales to debut as the No. 1 movie in North America.
"It has a global message," Liu said.
Liu said although she chose to be in "Kung Fu Panda" because she was attracted by the China angle, she does not want to be limited to playing roles that specifically require an Asian actor, and added that Hollywood is gradually becoming more diverse in the array of parts that are available.
"I think there are more filmmakers out there who are doing more colorblind casting," she said. "I'm hoping it will continue to expand. But it is a long process."