BACKSTROM: Rainn Wilson on Sarah Chalke's Character Arc and Why His Character Doesn't Have a Beard - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BACKSTROM: Rainn Wilson on Sarah Chalke’s Character Arc and Why His Character Doesn’t Have a Beard

February 5, 2015 by  


Hey, BACKSTROM fans! Rainn Wilson (Backstrom) recently sat down with the press to answer questions about some upcoming episodes featuring a blast from Backstrom’s past, ex-fiancee Amy Gazanian (played by Sarah Chalke). Give Me My Remote was there to ask a few questions; read on to find out whether he thinks there is hope between Backstrom and Amy and why his character doesn’t have a beard…

GMMR: It’s interesting to see how affectionate Amy (Sarah Chalke) feels toward Backstrom. Is he surprised by that, or did they end things amicably?
Rainn Wilson: I think that there is a tension there, an energy between the two of them, and a lot of love. They almost got married. They are still very attracted to one another, even though Backstrom is a grotesque lump of a man at this point in his life. I think that was something we wanted to play with, to learn more about Backstrom’s past, and she is a door into his past, from 10 years ago. But also — to show what he had lost, back in those days. He had blown this potentially great relationship that had actually brought him some modicum of happiness. And we wanted to play with the tension of the possibility of the more between him and Amy.

GMMR: I agree. Do you think her ability to see through him is what ultimately makes their relationship work or is what made it fail…or both?
RW: I think she sees “the him” inside of him. She sees the real Backstrom. She knows the goodhearted , warm, funny, smart, kind Backstrom that is underneath all the scar tissue that everyone else sees as Backstrom — the hateful, cynical, guarded, offensive Backstrom.

GMMR: It’s been nice to see the Portland Police department support the show (on Twitter, etc.). Has that been nice or intimidating, and have you worked with the department or any other Special Crimes Unit experts?
RW: The only interaction I’ve had so far…I wanted the character to have a beard, and so I wrote the Portland Police Department early on, and said, “Do any of your detectives have beards?” and they said no. [Laughs] So…I had to just have my regular stubble.
It’s been great. We follow their Twitter feed and news feed and Google alerts, and we’ve been learning a lot about the world of Portland through them, the Portland Police Department. It’s been interesting reading about real-life cases in Portland, and we’ve learned a ton that way. I’m hoping that if we get a second season and have a little more time to prepare — I finished THE OFFICE and then rushed off to do the [BACKSTROM] pilot — to do some visits with the police department, visit the detectives and maybe do a little ride along and get the lay of the land and learn some things procedurally about the inner workings of the departments.

GMMR: Very cool. Back to the episode and Backstrom’s relationship with Amy. Which does Backstrom fear most: being loved and unable to successfully reciprocate or being unloved?
RW: They do a dance. She’s in four or five episodes this season. It’s a strange dance that they do, kind of back and forth. There is definitely interest between the two of them. There is an on-again, off-again feel. I can’t really tell you more than that. Romance is definitely rekindled. And some very interesting stuff goes down. Sorry to be so secretive. [Laughs]

Other fun facts from questions asked on the call:

  • If Wilson could choose one other character to play on the show, it would be Niedermeyer because of his philosophical view on life, death, and the world.
  • There are no plans at this time to form any romantic relationships between Backstrom and Gravely. While the show understands the appeal of a push/pull relationship with UST, ultimately, those two characters were created specifically not to be paired romantically; in fact, in future episodes, we will see Gravely date other people.
  • Wilson thinks that Backstrom would beat his THE OFFICE character, Dwight Schrute, in a battle of wits; though Dwight has a lot of determination, Backstrom is the true genius and would definitely win!
  • An upcoming episode features a case surrounding an indie rock band.

And GMMR was on the show’s Vancouver set late last year, and Wilson spoke with reporters about Chalke’s guest spot then, too:


Are you still tuning in to BACKSTROM? The show airs Thursdays at 9 PM on Fox.

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