From rogue spies to free agents
The more comical take on the world of spying gained Chuck prominence when the series first aired.
But, alas, it is the end of the road for the crime-fighting agents Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin and Joshua Gomez, who unfailingly left viewers in stitches and highly entertained with their romantic and professional woes.
And the creative team on Chuck have ensured the last season is jam-packed with as many curve balls as possible, leaving the actors pretty chuffed and challenged about their final mission.
ZACHARY LEVI (CHUCK)
LEVI’S career was launched with Chuck in 2007. In playing the protagonist – a semi-nerdish but übercool guy who seemingly lacks ambition and direction until he is enlisted by agents from the NSA and CIA – he rocketed to fame.
During his stint on the series, he also switched sides and explored the world of directing.
On playing Chuck for the last time, Levi, 31, admits: “It’s a mixed bag of feelings and a little bitter-sweet for sure, but it’s a blessing that we get one more crack, one more season where we get to hang out and have a lot more fun.
“And we give the audience the best show we can make. We also get to say goodbye to each other and the fans – that’s a rare thing in tele- vision.”
As for his co-star Morgan Grimes being elevated in his role, where he becomes the Intersect this season, he says: “Well, all I know is Morgan gets the Intersect, which is awesome because it means he gets to go and have fun and kick butt and I don’t have to learn any more fights: it’s all on him now!”
Interestingly, Mark Hamill (better known as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars) is cast as the baddie and Levi doesn’t mask his excite- ment about this development.
By the way, Levi directs the fifth episode in this 13-part series. It is titled Chuck Versus the Hack Off and is centred on the protagonist crossing paths with his old rival, Verbanski (Carrie-Anne Moss).
YVONNE STRAHOVSKI (SARAH)
AFTER honing her craft in the Australian TV industry, Strahovski, 29, landed the plum role of Sarah – something of a cross between Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider and Maggie Q in Nikita.
On her vision for Sarah in season five, she says: “I would like to see her have a successful married life and find a happy balance between that and the spy world. We will see how everything goes with this new company that they have opened up, and with Morgan having the Intersect – that’s going to be a wild ride.”
As for the domino effect this development will have on their respective roles, she explains: “It’s going to be different taking care of Morgan with the Intersect than it was with Chuck – he has to become a full spy now. I think she is embracing the fact that he is coming into his own. But there will be a lot of marital spats with Morgan in the middle.”
That Sarah has transformed from the first instalment goes without saying: “I would love to see her skydive, or rock climb. Basically, see her do some really crazy stunts.”
What is Strahovski’s ideal ending for this season?
“I think we probably have to end it with her getting pregnant with triplets or something. I guess it is all a bit emotional. But it’s comforting to know that our fans will follow us wherever we go now as actors – we hope they follow us.”
ADAM BALDWIN (COLONEL JOHN CASEY)
A SEASONED actor, Baldwin was a true asset to the cast. He played his serious yet often detached character with a poker-faced expression that made him kind of an enigma.
On his character surprisingly joining Chuck and Sarah, who have gone rogue, he says: “Yeah, he’s pretty much going to have to embrace the rogue aspect of getting away from government control, isn’t he? It’s going to be tough to walk that line now. Casey has always been that straight arrow shooter, so I don’t know where the heck that’s going to go.”
Rumour has it there will also be a love interest – Gertrude Verbanski.
“That’s definitely true. Well, the talking points (Chris) Fedak (the co-creator) gave us said something about: ‘Casey has either met his match, or his love match.’
“She’s part of a rival agency that comes into contact with Chuck’s new company and apparently Fedak and the boys have it in their heads that we’re going to get friendly.”
Recalling his favourite stunts to date, he says: “Mine was when Zach fell off the roof and I caught him one-armed. That was a tough one, but we pulled it off. That took a few rehearsals, and we had pads down for rehearsals, but we went without the pads when we finally shot it. It was pretty amazing.”
Before Chuck ends, Baldwin admits: “I would really like to work with a bazooka. Blow up some buildings, or a tank. That would be freaking awesome.”
As for whether he feels more pressure to help make this season the most memorable, he shares: “Yes, but it’s been that way every season.”
JOSHUA GOMEZ (MORGAN GRIMES)
HE has gone from playing second fiddle to Levi to finally coming into his own. Heck, I guess it’s better late than never for the 36-year-old actor.
With so much talk about his character carrying the Intersect baton this time around, he laughs: “Well, in true Morgan Grimes fashion, it’s full steam ahead. I think that, unlike Chuck, who thought things through and cared about the welfare of other human beings, Morgan just wants to hurt people with kung fu and take revenge. But I’m very excited.”
That is a huge responsibility, though, and Gomez is fully aware of that.
“I’m scared to death,” he confesses. “But, as I said, I couldn’t be more excited. I hope the fans enjoy it and I can bring some goofiness to the Intersect Project, which I think is what it was designed for originally.”
On the transformation of his character, Gomez enlightens: “I think it’s not going to change the dynamic too much. The show is still Chuck and it is going to be centred on him.
“This is just a new obstacle to be thrown at Chuck – now that his friend has this thing in his head and he knows the pitfalls of that and he knows what his friend is in for – there is obviously Chuck’s natural concern for his friend and him coming to terms with his own abilities… without the Intersect.”
• Chuck airs exclusively on M-Net Series (DStv channel 110) on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.