From Rachel at Collider.com comes this very informative interview with Chuck co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak, and our leading man, Zachary Levi:
During comic con I got to go to a couple of interviews, the first of which set my geeky heart to new levels of excitement as I got to interview the cast of Chuck.
First up were the show’s creators Josh Shwartz and Chris Fedak, and really, it is always heartwarming to realize that the creators of your very geeky show are also about as geeky as you are. It just builds a bit of confidence and trust, you know. It’s okay, they understand.
They talked for a bit about Comic Con and the reactions they had the previous year.
JS: We operate from a place of “only disaster can foster at ever turn.” We were horrified last year going into it. We were terrified last year cause we were like, you know, people are going to be like “what the hell is Chuck and who are these people? Do we have any credibility in this world?” And [the panel] was very fun and it felt like a good way to launch the show. So this year we are expecting the opposite.
CF: We feel like we raised expectations, and this year is all about lowering it.
They also mentioned a few special things that were going to be presented at the panel, namely a 6 minutes footage reel for season two, showing off scenes from the first six episodes, (also showing come guest stars’ appearances, so as Tony Hale and Jordana Brewster) and also a special Comic Con introduction “to the troops” by Adam Baldwin.
The previous day Josh Schwartz had mentioned that Chuck would be starting up 2 years in the future for season 2, apparently this isn’t so.
JS: No, no. I think I was being sarcastic at the panel and I think it might have been misinterpreted. All of the Lost fanatics that were there paying much more attention to the time travel between Desman and Penny. But it was really, um, I was kidding. I was just saying that it feels like it’s been two years since we were last on the air. But, yeah, that’s an interesting idea actually, we’re gonna come back and Chuck is 48 years old. No it takes place a sort of indistinguishable amount of time since the last episode. It’s sort of designed like a second pilot, I think within the first two minutes of the show you’re caught up and you’re on the new adventure.
So, possibly they are trying to get us off the scent, or he really was being sarcastic. We’re not going to find out until the premiere!
Q: Can you tell us what is in store for fans of the show?
JS: More! More of everything!
CF: Bigger explosions, more romance.
JS: Wanna talk a little bit about the sort of deepening of the mythology this year a too?
CF: Yeah, that was something we sorta figured out last year. When we first started working on the show we kinda thought it would be stand alone episodes, each week Chuck would have a new mission. The more we worked on it and the more episodes we made, we realized the people were really interested in the mythology; why Chuck, why was he chosen, why did Bryce send those secrets to him? And just, what was the back story of all these characters, cause they were so interesting. So as we were heading towards episode six of last were we thought, well, let’s get into that. So this year I think we’re really going to focus on kinda deepening the mythology of the show, and really kinda going, from the first episode, in the first ten minutes of episode one we kinda had to do an immediate change up for the season. And from that point on, each episode to another we’ll learn more secrets each week.
JS: It’ll still have this sorta like “villain of the week” storyline, it’ll be a close ended story, but everything is built under this large umbrella of the season. Something catastrophic happens at the end of the first episode that will sorta launch us in. And we’re also really owning the romance right out of the gate this year. The show is swooningly romantic this year I would say. And there is a moment at the end of the third episode between Zac and Yvonne that even I get a little misty at. So we’re really coming out of the gate and owning the romance, and I think it’s really heightened. You know it’s something we found that both of them could do, Zac’s really funny and Yvonne can kick ass in a very credible way, but she’s also really great at playing vulnerable and that real side of Sarah, that woman who longs for a real life and yearns for that simple life of hanging at Chuck’s apartment with Ellie and Captain Awesome and being a real girl and tapping into that. And Zac also is really great in the dramatic scenes so we want to write towards that as well.
CF: We really take pride in our action scenes, but sometimes the most riveting scenes are just the emotional moments between our stars. They’re really fantastic.
JS: I’d say we have a lot of fun guest stars this year too. But I think in a way that feels . . . We found out last year we did the episode where Kevin Weisman from Alias was the villain, and people really responded to that. And I don’t know necessarily that that was our most nuanced villain we’ve ever had, the former Olympic gymnast with the truth serum, but people really responded to it. You don’t have a lot of time to get traction with some of these villains, you come in. . . but people gravitated toward him cause they knew him and it was fun to see him in a very different roll. So we sort of built off of that idea a little bit, so we have a lot of sort of familiar faces, but in rolls I think that feel earned, it doesn’t feel like it’s becoming The Love Boat.
Q: Can you name some of these guest stars?
JS: I sure can, I can name them quickly, too. Michael Clark Duncan in the Season Premiere, John Larroquette plays Rome MontgomeryÂ –
CF: The master seducer . .
JS: Yeah the Master Seducer, former spy, now a drunk, who has to help Chuck seduce Sasha Banachek, the Black Widow, played by Melinda Clark. Bryce Larkin (Matt Bomer) comes back. Tony Hale joins the cast, Buster from Arrested Development, as Emmett Milbarge, the officious new manager of the Buy More who’s very suspicious of Chuck.
Q: Is he recurring?
JS: Yeah yeah, he’s in for a long run. He’s really funny too. First day on set, we saw the footage, we’re like “this guy just feels like he’s part of the Nerd Herd.” Which he can take as a compliment or not, I guess, I’m not sure. Michael Strahan of the New York Giants is, by the way, actually hilarious, and he plays the manager of the Mighty Jocks, sports store, which actually was a story line when Damon Lindelof moderated our Chuck panel at the Paley Festival, he pitched us this whole storyline of like, the Sports Jocks, who were like this sports authority store in the strip mall next door, and we were like, that’s really funny.
CF: And we had that opportunity with Micheal Strahan and we were like, lets use that Mighty Jocks idea!
JS: And he’s really funny in it. And I think Nicole Richie, some of you may have heard about in a shower scene involving Kung Fu. And Jordana Brewster as Jill, Chuck’s childhood sweetheart, who has come back to turn his love life upside down. And she’s really good, so . . .
Q: How hard was it to get Nicole Richie, was it hard or . . .
JS: No, she came in and read! I mean she was . . . We were like, “okay, that could go either way,” it’s gotta be good, you know. I’ve worked with Paris Hilton before on The OC, it was . . . you know, a limited range sometimes with these people. But she came in and was really funny and surprisingly . . .Cause we were like “isn’t Yvonne like, several feet taller then she is in an action scene?” But it’s totally credible when they beat the crap out of each other with lead pipes.
CF: It’s really vicious and exciting, we’re working on that episode right now and the fight scene is amazing.
JS: And when you see what Sarah looked like. . . you’ll get a glimpse of it at the panel of what Sarah looked like in High School. It’s pretty fantastic.