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More with the Nerd Herd: Q&A with Josh Schwartz and Zachary Levi of NBC's "Chuck"

What, you might ask yourself, happened to the rest of the interview I did last week with Chuck's star Zachary Levi and co-creator Josh Schwartz? I'm glad you asked.

While I parcelled out some of the juiciest scoops for you in the Chuck interview roundup last week (including news of Rachel Bilson joining the cast), below is my Q&A with Levi and Schwartz, the perfect peanut butter-and-chocolate combo of geek (sorry, nerd) power since J.J. met up with Damon Lindelof to talk about a little show called Lost.

What TV series most influenced Levi and Schwartz? (Ahem, other than The OC, that is.) Their thoughts on self-contained episodes vs. serialized storylines? Will we see the return of Matthew Bomer's rogue spy Bryce? And will the stunts in subsequent episodes be as cool as they were in the pilot? Read and learn, grasshopper, and watch as Levi and Schwartz turn the tables on me to interview themselves for a bit.

Q: I just want to say Chuck is already one of my favorite shows of the new season--

Zachary Levi: Yay.

Q: Yay! My question is how self-contained are the episodes going to remain? Will there be a more serialized element introduced? And along that, will we see Matthew Bomer [who played Bryce in the pilot] return now that Traveler is dead?

Zachary Levi: Josh, would you like to...

Josh Schwartz: I’ll start and jump in, please. Yeah, I think some episodes will be self-contained. I think sort of the personal lives of these characters will have some kind of a serialized component and there’s also, you know, the villain of the week, for lack of a better phrase, part of the show, as well.

There are some overarching series mythology questions that we will touch upon in series and, you know, why did Bryce send Chuck this email. Who was Bryce working for, you know? What was in the intersect, and that kind of thing.

And it’s interesting you should ask the Bryce question because we’re just getting ready to shoot an episode where Chuck goes back to Stanford and sort of like the Chuck origin story and it’s an opportunity for him to understand more about his relationship in college with Bryce and through, you know, the use of flashbacks and Matthew Bomer will be returning.

Q: Excellent.

Schwartz: Zack, anything you want to...

Levi: I was convinced. That convinced me.

Schwartz: Wow, thanks.

Q: Also, in terms of the action sequences, obviously the pilot featured a lot of, you know, bigger budget, high-octane sort of sequences. Will that level be kept up for the series?

Schwartz: Well if you can tell by, you know, how exhausted everyone is if you came by the Chuck set, we are trying our best. You know, in the first episode, I think there’s two car explosions, a serious hand-to-hand combat battle inside of the [Wienerlicious] where Sarah now works, and a helicopter chase.

So yeah, we’re definitely doing our best, you know, to deliver the action as well.

Q: Zack, you’ve been very outspoken in talking about how you’re a huge videogame obsessive, but I’m wondering for both of you what sort of TV influences you have, other than The OC, of course? But what other TV shows have influenced you in your careers?

Levi: Oh, wow... Well as of lately, the television shows that I’ve been watching are Heroes and Lost. I’m just--I’m a sucker for a good--well, at least like the good serial shows that we have now and that kind of vein and,there’s the great qualities, the sci-fi or mystery qualities about those shows, and they’re just done so well.

You know, I think that they’re good representations of, you know, what television is becoming and has become which is really raising the bar. Television is much more ambitious now and I think that can be said for our show. Audiences want [and] they’re expecting blockbusters every week so it’s tough to not want to give them that.

And so Heroes and Lost as of late. And then, stuff in the past, oh gosh, I mean I probably watched too much television, but I brought up Three’s Company just because I love John Ritter. You know, he’s kind of a personal icon of mine, but I don’t know. Wonder Years is fantastic stuff. Alf, also, who knows the gold that could mined from there and Different Strokes. You know, I don’t know. I’m going off on tangents now. Josh, what television really influenced you?

Schwartz: Well I’d say, you know, recently anything from either the Judd Apatow or J.J. Abrams camp. And...

Levi: That sounds like such a more intelligent answer than mine.

Schwartz: I was preparing. And certainly Seinfeld, anything with Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Larry Sanders Show. A lot of comedies, definitely.

Levi: Zack concurs with those answers.

Chuck premieres Monday, September 24th, at 8 pm ET/PT.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Yay! I'm so glad that Matthew Bomer will be in more episodes. Very cool. And cool to hear that there will be more action sequences. The ones in the first episode were great.
I've haven't seen Zachary Levi in anything before but he's great as Chuck. And, from the interview, he seems like a funny guy! It will be cool to see him and Rachel Bilson face off in a few episodes.
Anonymous said…
Hey, Jace... nice job with the interview. I think I might have gone all Chris-Farley fanboy on them: "Remember the panel at Comic-Con when you mounted Zach on that table, Josh, and it was so funny? That was awesome."

By the way, I just (boldy?) published a post on the Best 30 Geek TV Shows of our Generation. Would love to get your thoughts...
Anonymous said…
I didn't watch Traveler but I can't wait for Matthew Bomer to come back to Chuck. I thought the opening sequence with him stealing the Intersect was amazing.
Anonymous said…
Thank you soo much for this interview. Those two are just adorable :)

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