While Zachary Levi's unlikely spy tries to make the best of an impossible situation – none to easy when your CIA handler is as smokin' as Sarah! – it's up to Adam Baldwin's Casey to keep everyone in line and on target. The Firefly alum gave TVGuide.com a sneak peek at what's ahead on NBC's buzzworthy Chuck (airing Mondays at 8 pm/ET). Plus, what is Zachary Levi really like when the cameras stop rolling?
TVGuide.com: It's nice to see Chuck ticking back up in the ratings.
Yeah, yeah, I mean we have really tough competition on Monday nights. The sports guys [watching Monday Night Football], hopefully they'll be finding us [when the NFL season is over]. So we're all full of high hopes. And then… there's the writers strike.
TVGuide.com: And then there's the writers strike. How many episodes did you get done?
We will complete the initial order of 13. They banged out Episode 112 just before the midnight deadline, and we're now three or four days into [production on] Episode 111.
TVGuide.com: Will Chuck happen to leave us with any kind of a cliffhanger?
Er, that's above my pay grade to comment on. [Laughs] But yeah, I think so. There's something.
TVGuide.com: Is Casey developing a kinder gentler attitude toward Chuck?
Yeah, he's finding a way into Chuck's humor somewhat, and he's becoming a little more sympathetic. He's kind of an intolerant guy. They do delve into a bit of his back story in the episode we're currently shooting, so that explains why he's so screwed up. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Casey's support of the military is becoming a bit conspicuous. Is that part of his tough-guy image, or is some sort of statement being made here?
There's nothing wrong with supporting the U.S. military as far as I'm concerned.
TVGuide.com: Of course, Firefly fans are excited to see you in another Jayne-like role. How much did that character inform your take on Casey?
That's a good question. You carry around that gruff attitude as much as possible. My background in films and acting really begins with my dad taking me to tough-guy, shoot-'em-up movies, and I guess that sensibility was sort of ingrained in me at an early stage, with guys like Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach…. Those are the guys I watched growing up. And character-y actors like William Holden, The Wild Bunch….
TVGuide.com: What's been your favorite episode of Chuck thus far?
I really liked the Halloween one, "Chuck Vs. the Sandworm" – that's a personal favorite of mine. I love the one we're doing now, "Chuck Vs. the Undercover Lover." I just love watching Zach Levi perform. I don't know about you, but to me he seems like a modern-day Dick Van Dyke. You don't get to see him sing and dance on the show, but he'll do that when the cameras aren't rolling. This guy is a song-and-dance man, a crooner and a comic genius. It's wonderful to follow along in his wake. He carries us on his shoulders.
TVGuide.com: Maybe an upcoming mission will fully tap into his propensity for zaniness.
Well, during the upfronts they had an impromptu competition of Singing Bee, and he won by far. Hands down.
TVGuide.com: How many of your own stunts are you doing on Chuck?
Um, most of the fight scenes. I try to stay away from the high falls, and any explosion work I'll stand clear. [Laughs] I don't really like fire and impact.
TVGuide.com: I know that Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah) has enjoyed doing as much on her own as she can – even in the "Swiss Miss" outfit.
[Laughs] Exactly! What kind of underwear is she wearing for those high kicks?
TVGuide.com: She says that outfit makes it all very comfortable.
Oh, she's so hot.
TVGuide.com: She's one of the most searched-on terms on our website.
She's hotter than Hansel right now.
TVGuide.com: Were you glad that ABC gave Day Break as much of a chance as it did, letting it wrap up its run online and thus give fans closure?
Yeah, yeah…. It was a really cool show and it was hard for us to see it go down. Bottom line, we didn't catch an audience. It might have been too dark, a bit too complicated.
TVGuide.com: It may have been too much of a good thing. At the time, a lot of serialized stuff was on….
Right. It's so hard to predict what's going to catch an audience or not. I'm looking for the DVD set. I need one of those for my archives!
TVGuide.com: Was your character going to fit into subsequent seasons/"days"?
I think so. He had turned to the dark side, so….
TVGuide.com: What else do you have coming up?
I did a little movie called Gospel Hill, which Giancarlo Esposito directed.
TVGuide.com: Will that be playing the festivals?
I think that's what he's targeting. It's about a small Southern town where local businessmen re trying to develop this old civil rights-era community into a golf course.
TVGuide.com: Are you an evil developer, or one of the small townsfolk fighting it?
I'm actually sort of caught in the middle. I'm the local lawyer who uncovers some underhanded dealings.
TVGuide.com: Any undying rumblings on the Firefly/Serenity front?
Everyone asks me that. I know that Alan Tudyk got into a bit of hot water speculating on that, so I'm reluctant to go there. It's always up to Joss [Whedon] and whether he can raise whatever it would take to shoot a [sequel]. But it's getting kind of past it. I don't want to be a 60-year-old Jayne Cobb!
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