Exclusive: On the Set of CHUCK with Zachary Levi - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Exclusive: On the Set of CHUCK with Zachary Levi

April 8, 2009 by  

In honor of CHUCK Week here on GMMR, I thought I’d share with you again some of the highlights on my most recent visit to the set of CHUCK.

“We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine.” A catchy Beatles tune, yes, but also the song that was stuck in my head for days after visiting the set of CHUCK..  Why?  Because it’s one of the many songs that CHUCK star Zachary Levi would break out into during each and every cut.  His singing was infectious, and on this particular Beatles tune he was joined by co-stars Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin and more than a few of the crew working to set up the scene. That’s the type of vibe you get walking on to the set of CHUCK. It’s a fun place to be.  And I had a blast while I was there.

Our CHUCK adventure, which took place a few months ago, started just a few minutes after my friend Steph (who tagged along for the trip) and I arrived on the Warner Bros set.  As we waited to meet up with the fabulous Jamie to show us around, Ms. Yvonne Strahovski herself walked right by us and on to the stage.  She looked stunning, as usual, in her signature Orange Orange uniform. Seriously, it’s a sin to look that good.

As soon as we walked on to the set we were immediately greeted by a gaggle of nice people who went out of their way to get us set up with chairs, sides (the script they are shooting for the day), and headphones to listen in on the dialogue as the scene was shot. They were kind enough to let us get settled in right next to director Patrick Norris so we could watch along on the monitors.

As the scene set was being set up we could hear the booming voice of Mr. Levi. The aforementioned singing along with his general wackiness had everyone cracking up. And though I wasn’t intentionally eavesdropping I did overhear one of the women on the crew say that he was like this everyday.  “He really sets the tone for everyone. He’s always like this.  It’s a lot of fun. He makes sure of it.”

During our time on set,  we watched as Zac Levi (Chuck Bartowski), Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah Walker), Adam Baldwin (John Casey) and Bonita Friedericy (General Beckman) shot a scene in The Castle – the secret base of operations hidden beneath the Orange Orange. In this particular scene, which you’ll see in tonight’s “Chuck vs. The Beefcake”, General Beckman briefed the team on the status of Cole Baker (played by Jonathan Cake), a Fulcrum agent who is not only a ladies man but a dangerous operative in possession of important information.  Sarah is instructed to retrieve the intelligence by “whatever means necessary” – an order that Chuck tries his hardest to appear unphased by. But when Chuck flashes on Baker and realizes that the intelligence is hidden in a very, um, sensitive place on his person, Mr. Bartowski can only do so much to hide his displeasure. He’s not thrilled at the idea of having his faux (ex – yes, I said EX) girlfriend cozying up to the deadly but gorgeous Fulcrum agent.

Watching Zachary, Yvonne and Adam play off each other in the scene was fantastic.  They did a lot of takes but no two were the same.  The first few times the lines were straight from the script, but with each take the actors took some liberty to play with the lines and really make them their own.  And to be there in person as Chuck Bartowski “flashed” was pretty special.  Sitting as home we experience Chuck’s “flash” with the accompaniment of music and visual images letting us know what he sees.  In person watching them film, its really all about Zac Levi’s eyes rolling around in his head as he tries to looks dazed and confused. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t something a little sexual about it. What? You know you’ve thought it!

Some pictures from day on the set of CHUCK

As they were setting up the cameras for a reshoot, Zac walked back behind the set to where we were sitting.  It was surreal to see him in his Buy More get up. Chuck Bartwoski – right there! After about a minute he caught my eye and walked right over to us. As I said I’ve met Zac a few times, but to be honest I would never expect that he would remember me.  He meets so many people in the course of a day, month, year that I wouldn’t think that he would recall this blogger chick he met a few times.  But he did, and I was touched.

Since Zac had a few minutes between scenes we took a walk outside so we could chat for a few. He is so easy to talk with that 15 minutes had gone by before I had even asked him a question. We talked a lot about the crowded Monday night schedule, and I had the distinct pleasure (?) of being the first to inform Zac that CHUCK and HOUSE would be going head to head on Monday nights. After the shock wore off, Zac took in stride: “Bring it on, Hugh Laurie.  Bring it.  You and your fake American accent. We’ve got fake accents on this show too. Don’t think you’re special.

The always joking Zac got serious when he talked about how proud he was to be on the show and how lucky he felt that NBC was giving them a real chance to find an audience.

The day I was on set happened to be the last day of filming for PUSHING DAISIES, which shot right next to CHUCK. The reality of that show’s cancellation resonated with Levi:

You never know what people are going to respond to.  Look at PUSHING DAISIES. They got how many Emmy nominations in their first year? Those guys are my friends, my neighbors. We grew up together. We were in this together and now they are over.  Just goes to show that you have to enjoy it while it’s here.  I’m trying to have fun everyday. I have the best job in the world, and I know it sounds like a cliche but it’s true.  I work with awesome people and look where I go to work everyday? It never gets old. It’s the greatest blessing in the world to have a job like this. I get paid everyday to live in a world of make believe. It’s incredible.

We hung outside and talked for about a half hour and during that time at least twenty crew members walked by, and Zac greeted every single one of the by name.  “I spend more time with these people than I do my family and friends.  We go through so much together.  There’s marriages, births – all these major life changes happen all while we are working on this little show – and it’s amazing to think that there will come a time, hopefully years and year and years from now, that I won’t see these people everyday.  I try not to think about it too much because I want to enjoy the moment.

When a cart full of tourists on the WB set tour drives by, Zac greets them all with a big hello and wave.  I saw the excitement on the faces of a few of the CHUCK fans on board and I was excited for them. “The fans are everything to me, to us.” said Levi. “There’s so much to watch on Monday nights and to think people skip all those other shows and watch CHUCK, it’s crazy.” Zac talked about how much he truly enjoys meeting the fans, and how he learned early on, at the premiere screening at Comic Con who the fans were, the real audience for the show, and he was psyched to know they were just like him.  “I’m one of these fans. I don’t just mean for my own show, but I’m just like the fans of CHUCK.  For me it’s LOST. But I get it.  I get the excitement.  We had Dominic Monaghan on the show and I was following him around on set trying to get info.  Of course I was acting all cool about it. We would be in between scenes and I’d casually look over and say, ‘Hey Dom.  So, um, about the smoke monster.  What can you tell me?’  Of course there was nothing he could spill, but I was so excited just to have him there.  So I get it.  I get the excitement of the fans and I really get how important they are to the show, and frankly to me.  So thank you fans for giving me a job.  Please keep watching so I can pay my rent.

As Zac was called back to set, we headed over to the Buy More.  Sadly it was all locked up as they weren’t filming there for the day, but it didn’t mean we didn’t have a little fun playing around on the other sets.  With the cast and crew at lunch, Steph and I explored The Castle and geeked out taking pictures in Sarah and Casey’s “office”.  Steph did her best impression of Sarah when she snuck into the Orange Orange. And I practiced giving the debrief from the desk of General Beckman. I won’t apologize.  I’m a geek and a fan – of course I was going to play while everyone was away.

Soon it was time to leave. I had a spectacular day and I felt honored to be there representing all the CHUCK fans here at GMMR. Here’s to hoping NBC gives the pick up soon so I can head back to Chuck Bartowski’s world again soon!

A special thanks to Josh Schwartz, Jamie French (whom I adore beyond words…swak!), Warner Bros and NBC for giving me the opportunity to visit the set.  Thanks to Zac Levi, Yvonne Strahovski and Adam Baldwin for letting us hang out while you worked. And thank you to everyone at CHUCK for making us feel so welcome! Stay tuned to GMMR as I’ll have more from my interview with Zachary Levi soon!

Tune in to CHUCK on Mondays at 8pm.  And do us all a favor and tell your friends to tune it.

In case you couldn’t see the video above, here are the pics from the CHUCK set visit.


24 Responses to “Exclusive: On the Set of CHUCK with Zachary Levi”

  1. SB on March 2nd, 2009 12:59 pm

    Yay! I’m so glad we got to hear about your fun day!

  2. JacksonPollocksPainting on March 2nd, 2009 1:08 pm

    No time with my girl Sarah? Yvonne is the hottest woman in TV.

    Sounds like you had a good time. Thanks for sharing. Can I come with you next time?

    Zach sounds like a cool dude. I’m not sure many actors would take a half hour out of their day to hang with a reporter.

  3. Just Jody on March 2nd, 2009 1:10 pm

    Fantastic interview! Sounds like a truly amazing day. Thanks for sharing your experience and all those great pics with us. I think I heart CHUCK even more now if that’s possible!

  4. Reina on March 2nd, 2009 1:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I loved the video you made of all your pictures. How did you do that?

    I hate to sound like such a fan girl but Zachary Levi is so pretty. I liked what he had to say about keeping things in perspective. It sounds like he knows that all this fame is really fleeting.

  5. Link Time | ZACHARY-LEVI.COM on March 2nd, 2009 2:03 pm

    […] Exclusive! GMMR visited the set of Chuck and Zachary Levi Contains some minor spoilers for tonight’s episode. […]

  6. Erik on March 2nd, 2009 2:16 pm

    Persistence is tragically underrated in show business. The sheer force of will that powered Zachary Levi from his acting debut in the 2001 “Untitled Sisqo Project” to his role on Sara Rue’s “Less Than Perfect,” all the while filling in his resume on whatever TV/film project came his way, has been the best possible preparation for his first starring vehicle.

    Zach’s appreciation for the Chuck experience reminds me of Steve Carell, who was thrust into the entertainment stratosphere after twenty years of diligent (and brilliant) comedic work. They appear to be the guys next door because, for a very long time, they actually were.

    At last year’s NBC Launch Party in Hollywood, Zach and Yvonne Strahovski did a radio interview with Adam Carolla. During the course of the interview, both Carolla and Levi took playful jabs at Yvonne, because she booked her first job in L.A. within 48 hours of arriving from her native Australia. After struggling to climb the ladder in their respective corners of show business, the boys were not begrudging Yvonne’s success. Instead, they were making the point that the struggle to succeed in your chosen profession, no matter what the trade, can make the payoff infinitely sweeter if/when you achieve your dreams.

    If one were to choose an engine to drive a television show, I think we would all hop aboard the Zachary Levi train. (That’s what she said)

  7. lemoñadé on March 2nd, 2009 2:17 pm

    What a fun day for you! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Lisa (aka lmr) on March 2nd, 2009 2:30 pm

    Ah…so nice, thank you. It makes me that much more nervous that the show won’t get picked up – do we know when we will hear?

  9. Mel on March 2nd, 2009 3:28 pm

    It’s about time, GMMR! You teased us about this months ago, ya big meanie. 😉 Great write up, you caught the spirit of the set so nicely. Zac is a true leader, isn’t it? He may claim to be a nerd, but he has charisma to burn and seems to be a genuinely nice guy on top of it.

  10. Becca on March 2nd, 2009 3:51 pm

    Such a great interview! I’m really jealous. ;D Zac is such a nice guy you just want him to be your best friend!

    Oh, and that quote about Hugh Laurie? Made of WIN.

  11. Kimber on March 2nd, 2009 7:21 pm

    What a lovely way to celebrate Chuck Day … with your fabulous photos and stories! Man, what I wouldn’t give to meet Zachary Levi. He sounds like such a down to earth guy! I love the quote about Hugh Laurie and the fake American accents … too funny! Also – I gotta say that your friend Steph kind of resembles the lovely Yvonne! The photos where she’s looking through the Orange Orange windows, I honestly thought it was Yvonne!

    Thanks for this, Kath! I’ll definitely be tuning in tonight, and coming back to GMMR tomorrow to read SB’s awesome recap!

  12. OldDarth on March 2nd, 2009 7:36 pm

    Most awesome! Very jealous. Looks like an amazing set to visit.

    Steeling up for Agent Double Uhoh in about 30 minutes. Sarah – be strong!

  13. Emily on March 3rd, 2009 11:35 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this. What an awesome day on set! I just adore Zach Levi…what a great guy. I hope Chuck is around for many years to come too!

  14. Laiq on March 3rd, 2009 12:10 pm

    Thanks for the great write up on the set visit! I loved hearing about it.

    Also loved the chat you had with Zac – makes me all the more excited that I’ll (hopefully) be meeting him in April when he comes over to the UK for a convention.

  15. kari on March 3rd, 2009 2:40 pm

    Oh Kath, I’m so jealous! What a cutie that Z. Levi is! And what a fun set. Thanks for sharing.

  16. tom on March 3rd, 2009 6:34 pm

    Awesome article. Thanks. Chuck is such an awesome show!!

  17. Phyllis Vance on April 9th, 2009 1:35 am

    Oh, Zac Levi sounds so adorable! He just sounds like a good person in general, so that’s another reason I want a third season!

  18. PamelaJaye on April 9th, 2009 12:10 pm

    wasn’t here last time so thanks for the rerun! (video’s gone 🙁 )

  19. Give Me My Remote on April 9th, 2009 12:21 pm

    You don’t see the video? It’s embedded within the story. It’s also in the upper right corner of the page.

  20. ZacharyLeviNet on April 9th, 2009 8:34 pm

    I just love how he was asking Dominic Monaghan for information on Lost! That is hilarious! I just love how he gets the whole excited thing. He really is just a regular guy.

  21. melissa on April 20th, 2009 11:26 am

    zachary levi just seems like the funnest guy ever what i wouldent give to meet him xxxxxxxxxxxxxx he is such a hottie xxxxxxx

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