Recently, Josh Gomez (Morgan Grimes) and Co-Creator/Executive Producer Chris Fedak spoke to press about the upcoming season of Chuck, which premieres tomorrow, Monday, Sept 20 at 8/7c. I’ve read and listened to several interviews with Josh, and he’s always funny. He and Chris had a great back and forth several times, so rather than break that up, I’m going to post all the questions and answers. Enjoy!
Josh, the last time we saw you at the end of Season 3, you had blown up the Buy More so…
Josh Gomez: It was an accident!
For more of the great interview, jump with us!
Yeah, no, I know, but your buddies and you were like giving a thumbs up at the same time while you were doing it because – to lead our thoughts – I hope your hands are better at the start of this season. Are you still part of the spy team after that and what can we look forward to in the new season on Morgan?
Josh Gomez: Yeah, I mean, definitely part of Team Bartowski. I don’t know how much the CIA loves me but Team Bartowski, I suppose, yeah, and I guess the Buy More actually becomes – it’s rebuilt and taken over by the CIA – and Morgan basically kind of becomes the sort of the through there.
He kind of is in charge of keeping the Buy More’s CIA cover so he’s there to kind of make it feel and look and run like a real Buy More. Meanwhile, it’s now I guess owned and operated by the CIA, is that right, Chris?
Chris Fedak: That’s absolutely correct.
Josh Gomez: So yes, yeah, the answer is yes although I’m like, you know, I’m not jumping out of any planes yet or anything like that.
Chris Fedak: But we also, I mean, the other thing we did…
Josh Gomez: There’s, you know, there’s room to grow.
Chris Fedak: One of the things we realized last year is that Josh Gomez is just wonderful in the spy world so we do look forward to bringing him back on missions at some point.
[There are] a whole bunch of guest stars in the season premiere which isn’t something that the show is really known for and you know, there’s an expectance to be even more, you know, guest stars this season. So was that something from like, you know, we’ve got a Season 4, we’re going to get Linda Hamilton, we’re going to get, you know, all these Gretas and like are you just taking advantage of the show’s, you know, new lease on life?
Chris Fedak: Absolutely. I mean, I think that when we got Season 4 like, you know, it’s just essentially not only do we get to tell a big exciting new story this season but we get to use this show as a great way to kind of meet and bring people into the world of Chuck and there’s nothing cooler than meeting and bringing into the show Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton.
And it’s great because, you know, it’s – they fit so perfectly into our world – and yeah, no, we’re super jazzed to kind of cast in a way that kind of people are going to get excited about and yeah, it makes our set a really exciting place to visit, too.
Josh Gomez: Yeah, it is pretty cool. I mean, it’s basically like or with things like it’s Josh and Chris are sort of if they’re Chuck and Morgan, it’s sort of like it really is Chuck and Morgan. The guest stars we have are Chuck and Morgan’s sort of hit list anyway. It’s kind of fun in that way.
Chris Fedak: Am I the Morgan in that relationship?
Josh Gomez: I didn’t want to…
Chris Fedak: I think it’s implied, I’m the Morgan in that relationship. That’s fine. That’s cool.
Josh Gomez: Right, it’s not that bad. Believe me, you get used to it. It’s like how, I mean, not many people get to go to work and go I get to play with James Bond today so it’s pretty cool.
So obviously the Chuck fans are very excited you have another season but I was also thinking maybe people who haven’t watched Chuck before will say, you know, this Chuck thing has stuck around. Maybe I should check it out. What are new viewers going to get out of the fourth season if this is the first time they see it?
Chris Fedak: They’re going to get a big, exciting action comedy television show. I think we still design the show even though we have a mythology and we have a big story going on is that you can sit down and watch the show on Monday night and really kind of get like, you know, you’re going to know where you are.
You’re going to know, you know, the stakes and the story and we kind of remind you and get you back into, you know, where we left off last season and then we’re off to the races.
We’re off to like, you know, the comedy world of the Buy More and then the kind of big excitement that we bring, you know, in the spy land and I think that, you know, that’s part of the fun of bringing in someone like Dolph Lundgren or Olivia Munn in our season opener or Harry Dean Stanton is that, you know, it’s a fun way back into the world.
And so I think new viewers if they decide to just start watching on Monday night, I think they’re going to get a really fun, big story that anybody can kind of jump right into; however, I would also I’m recommending, you know, going back and buying our DVDs but it’s not necessary.
Josh Gomez: We’ll recommend it.
Are there any cool new action scenes you can preview to get people excited?
Chris Fedak: Cool new action scenes. Well, we have, you know, I’ll just talk about our first couple of episodes but in our first episode Chuck Versus the Anniversary, we have some really kind of great action stuff.
We wanted to go into the kind of the classic spy world of Russian bad guys so we have Chuck and another fellow by the name of Morgan Grimes getting into some trouble inside a Russian bad guy base and it’s really fantastic.
And it’s not only just great action but you have Zach and Josh just being so funny together. One of the things that we really love is their kind of great repartee. I want to do an old reference to Hope and Crosby. It’s like they’re just so much fun to watch together. Sorry, went deep into the majors on that reference.
That was for TCM crowd but that’s a great episode and then our second episode for those requiring some Sarah Walker action, we have a fantastic site, a wonderful site that takes place in Milan during fashion week between (Carolina Dracova) and Yvonne Strahovski. It’s one of our best fights yet.
Josh Gomez: Yeah, yeah.
That sounds hot.
Chris Fedak: I can’t say.
Josh Gomez: It’s awesome.
Josh Gomez: Let’s get to Yvonne and the supermodels, please.
Chris Fedak: Quickly and efficiently.
Josh Gomez: As yet.
Chris Fedak: Now we’re just talking to each other, Gomez.
Jose Gomez: Right, no, I realized everybody’s just Googling who now Yvonne’s fighting right now.
Josh, what keeps challenging you about playing this role of Morgan?
Josh Gomez: You know, the wonderful thing about playing him is that every season he’s sort of has had these sort of (done) evolutions and done more greater I guess than in Season 3 when I finally get to learn about Chuck so it’s a blast.
It’s the challenge I guess is trying to find ways to have a character evolve and mature and yet keep him the same, you know, the same from when you first started, you know, the same sort of likeability or, you know, whatever it was that originally was, you know, likeable about that character, keep that, keep the core the same and then but find ways to just, you know, find little differences, little changes, little, you know, so that’s been – I wouldn’t know if it’s a challenge – but it’s definitely been a blast.
I mean, I just have so much fun because every season it’s sort of been – it hasn’t felt – stale, you know, I don’t have to play the same – it’s almost like not playing the same dude because he has changed to much so I don’t know. That’s been really cool.
Why do you think people keep tuning in to watch Chuck?
Josh Gomez: I mean, I think it’s just because it’s such a fun show. I just at the end of the day, you know, you come home and it’s, you know, there’s plenty of good television but most of it I feel like is always kind of a bit of a downer and I think that Chuck is not. I think it’s the opposite.
I think, you know, at the end of a Chuck episode you kind of – you feel good – and it’s fun and you laugh and you go for a fun car chase and, you know, it’s just – and you hang out with people you like.
I think that’s also the big deal too is that, you know, we got a group of characters that are just, you know, these guys Chris and Josh and the rest of our writers and, you know, they created these characters that are just fun to hang out with, that you just kind of want to, you know, see again week after week so I think, you know, that’s a big part of it.
Chris Fedak: And I think – I mean just to go off that point – I think that, you know, the R cast is just one of the most fun casts on television and like Josh said, you just want to be with them each week. You want to be with Ryan McPartlin and Sarah Lancaster and Zach Levi and the gang at the Buy More.
It’s just, you know, they’re such a warm, caring, you know, kind of family and I think all good, I mean, great TV shows are about families and this is – we have – just a splendid, splendid family on our show.
Is there any just for a Jeffster performance this season?
Chris Fedak: There’s certainly a chance but I don’t want to give anything away.
Josh Gomez: Right, right.
Talk a little bit about what’s going on with Morgan in terms of love life. We saw at the end of last season some fun stuff going on maybe with Alex and just the fun to see Josh Gomez and Adam Baldwin is just hilarious to watch so is there any more of that we could see coming forward?
Chris Fedak: Absolutely. I think that, you know, at the heart of the Morgan story this year is that dare I say a forbidden romance.
And when he says forbidden, he’s meaning lethal.
Chris Fedak: Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, just going back to like, you know, our cast and the Adam Baldwin and Morgan, you know, Josh Gomez dynamic is also just like such great comedy material for us that we want to make that the most dramatic dynamic confrontational relationship with a lot of like extra little gut punches thrown in.
So yeah, you should definitely expect stuff. I mean Josh, do you want to speak to that?
Josh Gomez: Yeah, yeah, easy for you to say. You write the gut punches but I – actually Adam really throws them – you know, it’s…
Chris Fedak: I know, he does. They look really painful.
Josh Gomez: Yeah, he just, it’s not pleasant but no, it’s yeah, it’s so much fun. We have so much fun and I hope we definitely are going to give the fans and you guys a lot more of that I think dynamic.
And Alex definitely plays a role in that and that just opens up a whole – it’s fun, you know, and Chris I don’t know if you feel this way – but it’s to me I find Morgan now in these situations that are very Chuck-like to let’s say the first and early second season kind of stuff.
You know, it’ll be like having a conversation with Alex or something and then, you know, Morgan’ll notice a bad guy or something now and have to sort of bluff his way out of that.
You know, I mean, it’s these Chuck situations that are like now he’s got to be the one, you know, doing this little like, you know, I can’t talk now and I got to do this and he has to have sort of, you know, help somebody, you know, like keep somebody while he knows there are bad guys around.
And so he’s finally like in a very similar situation as Chuck and it’s – that part’s – a blast and do you feel that way? Do you feel like there’s a similarity in that?
Chris Fedak: No, not at all. I don’t feel that way at all. Actually, I completely do. One of the things that when we were working on it, you know, we were working on last season is that we realized that, you know, Chuck was obviously was getting better as a spy, you know?
It’s like he’s got, you know, he’s got these, you know, amazing raw materials. He’s got the Intersect in his head so with after so many missions, you know, he’s kind of learning a little bit about how to be a spy. He’s still Chuck, you know, he’s not James Bond or Jack Bauer.
He’s not a ruthless killer; however, you know, he is getting a little better but I think when it comes to say what was great for us last season is we realized we could do that fish-out-of-water story, that kind of classic like welcome to the spy world and how scary it is and you know nothing about how it works by funneling stories through Josh and Morgan.
And that’s a great kind of way for us to kind of still keep that wish fulfillment side of the show.
Josh Gomez: Yeah, yeah.
One thing that was touched on early was a little bit with not with Timothy Dalton who hasn’t been on American TV in god now, how long. Chris, how did that whole thing come about and what did you guys do to convince him to come on board?
Chris Fedak: We convinced – we tried to be as charming as possible – luckily I was with Josh Worth at the time who’s just fantastic and, you know, Timothy watched the show and he really dug it and so we sat down and started talking about like what he wanted to do.
And the kind of part that we kind of when we starting breaking this season, we were kind of looking at this specific part and we were thinking how fantastic it would be if we could get someone like Timothy Dalton.
And so we started the kind of process and we, you know, we sent the show to him and he watched it and really dug it and we started having a couple of conversations and he was really digging it and as we’re about to start filming his first episode and there is just nothing more exciting than Timothy Dalton just kind of digging in and, you know, kind of savoring the character.
It’s a lot of fun and it just speaks to like the fun of casting this season. We’ve just – it’s been our casting director Patrick Rush who’s just done a fantastic job and kind of, you know, filling out the ranks of this show and just making it, you know, each part is colorful and is exciting and dynamic and “T-Dal” if you will is going to be amazing. I think you guys are going to really love him.
A lot of the casting this season are people that Morgan would like to see so Josh, you’re in Morgan’s head. Is there anybody else out there that he would just want to spend time with?
Josh Gomez: Yeah, Morgan, probably Optimus Prime or something but that ain’t going to happen. I don’t know, man. I know I always thought like for myself, I don’t know, I just I like I’ve always fantasized about having like Vince Vaughn working at the Buy More head. That would be like a just that would be – can we have Vince Vaughn at Greta – is that possible?
Chris Fedak: I love that.
Josh Gomez: He’ll do it, right? He’s got free – he’s got some spare time.
Chris Fedak: Absolutely. Greta is a very quick, you know, it’s not a lot of days of work. We could…
Josh Gomez: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Greta’s only there for half a day. He’ll do it but no, I don’t know. Morgan, I mean, gee whiz, as far as like actual – we’ve had some really cool stuff – I mean I, to be honest, I mean, having Sarah Connor is just like – that’s pretty ultimate for me too because I was such a huge Terminator fan and still am – so I’m really pumped about that. Still geeked out about that.
I’m sorry (unintelligible) you want him to make a trailer and Sarah Connor’s in there, you’ like get out of here. This is too cool.
I was wondering if Chuck is no longer officially with the CIA, can you talk a little bit about the plans for Sarah and Casey?
Chris Fedak: Well, Sarah and Casey are still with the CIA so they’re – we opened Season 4 – they’re traveling the world working on missions, still like the best spy, NSA/CIA spy team in the world.
And I’ll say that the person they’re focusing on is a man by the name of (Alexei Volkov) who’s our big bad this season.
Josh, how far do you think Morgan would follow Chuck into his rogue endeavors?
Josh Gomez: As far as he wanted me to go. As far as he would want. Yeah, I think Morgan still, you know, beyond being just completely loyal to his friend and just being that kind of a guy, I think he’s just a good-natured loyal dude, to him this is as we saw in Chuck Versus the Beard it’s just the coolest thing in the world.
I mean, this is we’re living out our every video game we’ve ever played, every movie we’ve ever watched and I don’t know if, you know, I think there’s a part of Morgan that doesn’t quite – although I think he’s starting to get it – doesn’t quite know the full, you know, the ramifications of the whole thing.
I think it’s still fun time in a weird way even though there’s, you know, occasionally some bullets whizzing around or, you know, gynormous men grabbing me (unintelligible) me around.
It’s, you know, it’s fantasy time. I mean, he wants to, of course, you know, we have to go be rogue and do whatever, you know, I’m in. You got me, you know, it’s like let’s do this, you know, America’s last line of defense, you know, he’s at it, it’s like whoa, calm down, dude.
You know, it’s there, you know, so I think he’s just, you know, and he’s just a leap first kind of guy so it’s he’ll go as far as Jeff wants him to I think.
Chris Fedak: And beyond.
Josh Gomez: And beyond, yeah, further, right, whoa, whoa, yeah.
Chuck has an incredibly loyal base of fans and of course they’ve been concerned for some time with the series getting renewed. If by some twist of fate the ratings don’t hold up this season or you guys prepared to end it as the end of the 13 episodes or will there be closure for the fans if that happens?
Chris Fedak: Right now, well you know, we’re right now in the midst of working on the final – not the final – but the 13th episode, the 11th, 12th and 13th episode and the way we’ve always broken the show in the past is that we try to tell the most dynamic story we possibly can.
So, you know, 13 will be an epic episode no matter what, even if there is a back nine or more episodes ordered but I don’t want to give anything away and like, you know, kind of, you know, imply the end of the show especially with us having even aired so I’m, you know, right now at 13 will be a big exciting and I’ve always been a fan of, you know, prologues, not epilogues.
So I think that my favorite version of an ending is the one that implies the great adventure ahead, you know, so I do think that if, you know, 13 will be a very exciting and very satisfactory and usually and hopefully with the back nine will be a strangely-placed epic episode right in the middle of the season.
Now that Morgan’s brought into the fold in the CIA, I wanted to know are his combat skills upgraded at all because I just keep thinking back to the Season 1 pilot where he had to fight that ninja in Chuck’s house.
Josh Gomez: Yeah, I mean, he went for that golf club pretty quick. I was pretty…
Chris Fedak: Go get them, Chuck.
Josh Gomez: He, no, I would say, no, I don’t think there’s so much an evolution as there is a, I don’t know. Yeah, combat skills is probably not they’re – either Chuck or Morgan’s – forte although Chuck, yes, now he does but, you know, he’s got to cheat, you know.
But yeah, no, Morgan is definitely not, it’s still Morgan and although I think he wants to learn, I think he wants to get better and I think that there’s that, you know, and I think, you know, he’s got a sort of mentor and the best mentor in John Casey so I think it’s everything, you know, we’ve been doing this thing where Morgan just I just feel like it’s funny.
I find these little things so I just sort of me and Adam play with this thing where every time we’re in a scene together, I’m just usually trying to stare at him and mimic him and do anything John Casey, Morgan does, you know, stand like him, you know, starting to grunt like him, whatever he can do so, you know, I’m hoping that eventually he can teach him a few, you know, fisticuffs but nothing as of yet. It’s still Morgan from Season 1.
In the synopsis for the episode, it says Morgan and Chuck go a rogue globe-spanning mission to find Chuck’s mom. Can you mention some of the places those guys hit?
Chris Fedak: It is world-spanning. I think that like I said before, it’s like we do have a monster sequence set in Moscow so but yeah, they go all over the place and we will get glimpses of some of those adventures.
Josh, Adam Baldwin versus Dolph Lundgren. Who’s your money on?
Josh Gomez: Adam, Adam because I have to work with him every day, you know, if Dolph, you know, finds this out, like I’m a little safer actually. Yeah, no, yeah, I’ll go with Adam. I mean, I go with John Casey for sure over what was Dolph’s character’s name?
Marco, he’s Marco.
Josh Gomez: Marco, yeah, that’s right. I’m Casey over Marco any day that’s for sure but you know what’s funny, man? I love that Dolph was again it’s this funny thing with these gynormous dudes who play these gynormous intimidating dudes are always the sweetest.
I mean, everybody, I mean, Dolph was such a nice guy and just really sweet. Adam’s a sweetheart and we had – who was the most recent one – oh, oh, oh, (Keesta), who was like the most gynormous man I’ve ever seen on the planet and was the most quiet, most soft-spoken human being and was just like dude, this is so weird, man, you are like you are Godzilla.
I mean, it was insane but yeah, so yeah, that’s funny man and it’s like me, you know, and you know, (Viksa High) and those guys were like sort of like really aggressive Chihuahuas. It’s amazing.
One quick question about Papa Bartowski. He was last seen lying not far from a regeneration machine and we never saw him buried so any chance Scott Bakula may be back?
Chris Fedak: Well, we’d love to have Scott Bakula back on the show. Scott’s fantastic and also just like a fantastic guy to work with; however, I do think, you know, I have to say that, you know, that, you know, that Stephen J. Bartowski is no more and…
Josh Gomez: Oh, on record. You’re going on record.
Chris Fedak: I’m going on record but, you know, then again I’m not the most trustworthy person in the world so…
Josh Gomez: My record’s not so – yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it.
Chris Fedak: If you look at, you know, but yeah, no, it’s especially considering just the epic dramatic scope of that season finale we had last year with Subway and Ring Part Two. He definitely certainly died in the arms of his son.
Josh Gomez: You’re right, but Scott, by the way, Scott was – he is – the man. He was so awesome and I’m sure we all wish you could have been on our, you know, been on the show for a good…
Chris Fedak: We all wish him well. It’s like yeah, no, it’s…
Josh Gomez: Yeah, in all his future endeavors.
Now that you’re, I mean, Chuck started at – do you sort of feel like having been on this long and having the audience go with you, you’re now having sort of the best of both worlds and that you can now tell more actual spy stories and still have the novice not really equipped to be a spy story that you started out as. Does Morgan let you have your cake and eat it too here?
Chris Fedak: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, I think that that was kind of the great thing, you know, great thing we discovered last season is that, you know, we could do still the fish out of water stories with Morgan.
And Morgan be that wide-eyed new visitor in this spy world and then have Chuck, you know, kind of slowly but surely getting to becoming a better spy and then kind of struggling with what that means to be a better spy and then also and then kind of meet exciting people and build the mythology up in the spy world.
And Season 4 is certainly kind of, you know, jumping off from that point and having fun with both characters. I mean, I guess that if we could get a Season 5 they both would be seasoned spies by that point but no, that’s some – we’re certainly – we’ve always, you know, kind of, you know, written the show that we want to see and we’ve kind of pushed story to get to that point.
But it’s exciting. It’s really exciting to have both Josh and Zach in the spy world and it’s funny because like, you know, when we were working on Season 2, it’s like Josh and I sat down for dinner and he kind of like, you know, he always had this great pitch that, you know, Chuck would need an Alfred, you know, and that, you know, that was, you know, why he needed to come into the spy world.
And so at that point it was just kind of like, you know, a light kind of went off and it was just like that’s a great idea and we kind of just started to design Season 3 to kind of head to that point and episode in Chuck Versus the Beard where, you know, Morgan finds out and instead of being like, you know, pissed off that his friend was lying to him all this time, it’s the most exciting thing in the world. My buddy, my best buddy is a spy.
Josh Gomez: Yeah. Where do I sign up, yeah.
And for Mr. Gomez, is it – because Morgan started out as very Morgan in that you – there were certain things – there were a lot of things he wasn’t very good at. Is it difficult now suggesting that Morgan does have a certain level of competence while still maintaining his original Morganism?
Josh Gomez: Yeah, no, first of all I think that, you know, I always kind of viewed Morgan as not so much, I mean, there was things, yeah, there was clearly things that he was not good at but I think more than that, there was things that he just didn’t want to be good at.
I think that he was more of a – and not a traditional – I don’t think that slacker is the right word. I just don’t think he – I think he was happy kind of where he was, you know? He had his, you know, his best buddy, they played the new games. They had, you know, pizza nights and whatever it was and they worked at the same job.
They commuted together or rode their bikes, whatever he was doing and, you know, and so I think he was just happy and just kind of that dude. I don’t think he ever kind of maybe he just didn’t have any real ambition I think was probably his biggest fault.
So I think he got to this place and I think it happens – it was that episode I think – when I’m trying to get – Morgan trying to get – Casey on the plane to help Chuck, you know, and it was this cool speech about how, you know, Chuck and Casey and Sarah all showed Morgan that he could be more, that there is something out there.
And I think that’s all – I think it was – once he has the motivation, once he saw this whole, you know, this exciting world, you know, it was sort of like oh, there’s something, you know, there’s – this is cool – there’s just something to strive for and I think he does have a skillset although it is a bizarre skillset.
Or one that’s not normally suited I’m sure to spy work but it comes in handy, you know, a vast kung fu movie knowledge comes in handy apparently so yeah, no, it’s again it’s a blast. It’s a blast and it’s cool.
It’s cool to pay that fish out of water. So much fun. It’s so much fun to be able to play this character who’s just, you know, at every turn it’s just like whoa, you know, everything is just so new and exciting and so (below bones).
I was wondering what you guys thought of the new spy show coming to NBC. You’ve got Undercover’s coming up and now there’s word that True Lies, James Cameron might turn True Lies in to a TV series. What do you think of this new influx of spy shows that are coming to TV in your wake?
Chris Fedak: I think it’s awesome. I mean, you know, we’re all huge fans of J.J. Abrams and huge fans of James Cameron so it’s always exciting to see what other people are going to do inside the world.
It’s like, you know, I think the people really enjoy the, you know, the spy stories of the spy-if if you will and it’s neat to see what other people are going to do.
We have, you know, it’s like being our fourth season, we’ve kind of, you know, we know the Chuck show and the action comedy of it all and there’s plenty of iterations and incarnations that, you know, people can have fun with and it’s an exciting time to be in this – the TV – spy game.
Josh Gomez: Did you say – there’s a True Lies TV show?
Yeah. James Cameron is shopping it around, I believe.
Josh Gomez: Oh, oh, okay. I didn’t know if it was made or premiering…
You have a lot of great comedy bits on this show but has there ever been like a comedic idea you guys have had where you’ve said okay, that’s just a little too far over the top or, you know, we can’t fit it into this episode?
Chris Fedak: Oh, absolutely. I mean, it’s not so much that it’s too far. It’s usually a matter of time. Our episodes are kind of ambitious and there’s, you know, usually every season we have a couple of different bits that unfortunately don’t make it into the cut and it’s not usually about being too broad.
I’m trying to think of a too broad example but I don’t have one but it’s usually about time and we had a great I’m thinking episode in Season 2 where Vick and Josh, Morgan and Lester are trapped in the Buy More at night and they’re both convinced that Michael Strahan’s going to kill them in the morning.
And so they discuss how they wanted – they didn’t think it was going to happen this way – and they both discuss how they thought they were going to perish and it’s this great kind of like hilarious, you know, a monologue between the two of them discussing, you know, how they thought they would go and unfortunately just for the time, we had to lose…
Josh Gomez: Unless we want to go in like Speedos and packed by dolphins or something weird. What was he – I forget his rant – but I do remember that.
Chris Fedak: There’s porpoises and you had I think you had something to do with – there’s very – what is it, you were going to drive a motorcycle, you know, it would be a stunt of, you know, trying to jump over the Grand Canyon or something.
Josh Gomez: Very Arthur Fonzarelli kind of.
Chris Fedak: It was very Fonzarelli. Yeah, I mean, I’m certain there’s other things that, you know, it’s like each episode, usually there’s kind of like if only we had five more minutes per episode.
If only NBC would do that, we would be able to kind of get it all in and you’d see the kind of the, but sometimes, you know, it’s unfortunately, you know, trying to boil it down to 42 minutes we have to lose stuff so maybe once an episode, there’s something that we know we’re going to probably have to lose.
Now, as an Adam Baldwin fan myself, I’ve enjoyed the shout-outs to Firefly and Serenity and some of those other roles. Was that you guys or did he start doing that or how did that come to be?
Chris Fedak: You know, we’re of course huge fans of Adam and Firefly and Full Metal Jacket and so usually we try to start peppering that stuff in pretty early in the script.
And then sometimes like when the guys are on set when you have Gomez on set and Adam, it’s like you already have like, you know, essentially you have the writers’ version of the story and then you have like the actors will find chances and opportunities for other things to embellish and add in and we also do a bit of improve from time to time.
And our guys are great at that so sometimes there’s something that slips in very late in the process and sometimes we even flip something in during ADR which as, you know, after we’ve already cut and, you know, we’ve cut the show and we’re dropping in, you know, something that somebody says.
We’ll even see like a opportunity for, you know, something to do there so it’s throughout the process we’re always looking for, you know, inside jokes and things that we can add in.
Josh Gomez: Yeah.
We started out the first season with Chuck have to protect his, you know, CIA status from everybody and now here we are at the beginning of Season 4 and pretty much everybody in the main cast knows that he’s a spy. Do you every worry about, you know, too many people in on the secret or too much, you know, out in the open?
Chris Fedak: Absolutely. I mean, absolutely we’re always concerned about the core dynamics of the show which is, you know, kind of based on a kind of classic TV structure of like Chuck does a job that nobody can know about.
But, you know, through three seasons of the show and now a fourth season of the show is that that dynamic has changed and that the show isn’t solely about, you know, Chuck keeping that secret from his family.
However there is, you know, there is deception, you know, still happening inside the show. You have a giant Buy More filled with spies that nobody can know about and we also have a – Chuck told his sister at the end of last season – that he had quit the spy life per her request, that she didn’t want him in harm’s way.
But now Chuck has been given this mission from his father to find mom and so like Chuck has to – that conflict – is something Chuck will be dealing with this season.
With the Buy More now playing even a bigger role possibly because it’s owned by the government, are there any challenges Chris and you and Josh Schwartz find in trying to include all the characters already there in addition to the wealth of guest stars that you have with the Gretas and everything?
Chris Fedak: Actually, the Buy More’s helped us a lot. The Buy More being owned by the CIA and being a part of the spy world has allowed us to do more spy stories that kind of fold back through the Buy More.
And so that was something that we kind of, you know, figured out at the end of last season is that there’s always a tendency in a spy show is that as you kind of get into the spy show and you’re kind of following these spy missions is that you lose the home life, that you lose the, you know, the friends back home.
But as you know, watching our show, it’s like this wouldn’t be the Chuck show unless you had Ellie Bartowski be a part of it and Captain Awesome and those people because those things make the show about a regular guy who also is maybe not the most regular spy in the world.
So the Buy More being a part of the spy world has actually made it a little bit easier for us to kind of organically keep Lester and Jeff and Big Mike and the Buy More as a part of the show and just like the Chuck living in the same apartment complex with Ellie, keeps Ellie and Captain Awesome part of the show and that’s important to us. It’s critical that it be the spy show that doesn’t lose the home life.
Josh, for Morgan’s character last season I thought when he discovered Chuck’s secret that was probably one of the greatest emotional moments the show has had and I thought you played it perfectly. I was wondering where would you like to see Morgan progress in an emotional way maybe, like we’ve seen so much of Chuck’s family. Are we going to see more of the Grimes maybe…
Josh Gomez: Well, thank you. I’m not sure. We met mama and we know how that turned out. That’s – Big Mike took care of that – so I don’t know, Chris, if we’re going to meet any more Grimes but as far where I’d like to see him go emotionally, you know, I think on a probably, you know, Chuck and Morgan obviously or oddly enough are fairly similar in that way.
They’re just both really decent guys and who really just want the simple things. You know, I think, you know, Chuck it was, you know, to have love like, you know, to find this love and to have that in his life and his family and his friends and his, you know, very simple core, you know, things that a person might want and I think Morgan is a very similar wants, you know.
So but you know, so I feel like this is, yeah, I mean, I think he wants – and honestly he cares so much. I think Morgan’s view – the one that audience follows – is through Morgan’s view of Chuck.
I think there’s things that he wants for his friend and I think in some respects he’s one of those friends who would actually take a back seat on his own happiness if you will probably to see his, you know, to have his friend achieve it first or whatever.
So I think right now, all eyes are on Chuck and it’s just sort of kind of get, you know, we just all love Chuck so much that’s priority number 1 and then after that I think it’s just to be, yeah, you know, probably the same thing, you know, it’d be find love and become John Casey I think was at this point now is a goal.
Do you have any sense of a timeline for little Baby Awesome when the little newborn will make an appearance?
Chris Fedak: We do have a timeline for that but I don’t want to spoil. We are planning on doing a baby episode this season but I don’t want to give it away. It will not be in the early episodes of this season but I’ve had a lot of meetings about baby bumps and how they look on TV so it is definitely going to happen and it’s going to happen but not at the beginning of the season.
Josh Gomez: The gynormous twist that Chris doesn’t want to talk about is that the baby actually does come out with a beard so…
Chris Fedak: It’s a really – there’s a…
Josh Gomez: You know, I mean, like that baby five o’clock shadow. I had that.
Not asking for a musical episode of Chuck, but will we see Zack do any singing this year given, you know, his recent single that came out and things like that?
Chris Fedak: You know, it’s tricky for us. There’s always like, you know, we’re always kind of putting it up on the board in the writers’ room of, you know, Chuck has a flash and he sings but it’s like, you know, he’s – Zach is so wonderful.
Where our concern is is that, you know, does that feel like it might be too much? Is that the spy skill that doesn’t make sense to have any (unintelligible) but of course he does have flamenco guitar.
Josh Gomez: He does make the big time.
Chris Fedak: He does, yeah, so you know, it’s something we think about but we haven’t figured out how to do it yet.
What have you guys been able to do with the fourth season that you never had before?
Chris Fedak: What have we been able to do that we’ve never been able to do before? Well, I think two big things. I mean, I think that we actually at the halfway through last season when we had Chuck and Sarah together as a couple, what it allowed for us to do there and here in the fourth season is to make the show a relationship show, to kind of like not make it only just the world they want but to expand it out and to make it about this Chuck-Sarah relationship.
And also with Episode 9 last season to bring Morgan into the spy world. These are things that we wanted to do and that we were really excited to do.
Now being Season 4, it’s exciting to kind of take that to the next level and so you’ll see early on in Episode 1 as we’ve kind of described in our synopsis of that episode is Chuck and Morgan on a mission together, on their own kind of rogue mission which is great because it’s not only a spy mission but it’s these two guys, you know, these two good friends kind of doing something together and that’s exciting for us. We love to see that.
We’ve also – I mean, the new Buy More – is another exciting thing this season that’s allowed us to kind of bring the spy world back into the Buy More so that, you know, everything’s a little bit closer and more tense and that there’s always the chance of trouble kind of popping up more organically into the show so that’s been a great thing for us.
And the other thing about Season 4 is, you know, we’ve been able to kind of bring back guest stars from previous seasons so in our third episode and fourth episode, you know, we’re bringing back – third episode – we’re bringing back Stone Cold and Nicole Richie.
And then our fourth episode, you know, the Generalissimo Armand Assante returns so it’s just great so see those characters, yeah.
Josh Gomez: Yeah.
What does having mother issues in this season do for Chuck?
Chris Fedak: I think well, you know, mother issues like all mother issues, there’s always a lot of story and a lot of mythology to kind of get into and figure out and so for us we really kind of as the writers of the show and then, you know, as we’ve kind of, you know, broken out this season, it’s a lot of great of material.
But also like in most mother issues, there’s also great comic material for us to have fun with so you know, that’s the mythology of this season is the search for mom and what it means and what her story means to Chuck and the mythology of the show.
So in the past, you know, we’ve had organizations like Fulcrum and the Ring which were, you know, which is, you know, you’re Specter (smersh-esque) bad guy, you know, organization. This year it’s, you know, the search for mom is going to be a very interesting kind of very emotional, you know, mythology for the show.
Obviously General Beckman’s been a big part of the show from day 1. What made you decide to make Bonita Friedericy a regular for this year and why didn’t you do it sooner?
Chris Fedak: Well, you know, what happened was is that Bonita is of course as you realize how important General Beckman is to the show is that over the three seasons, what originally began as, you know, kind of the Charlie voice on a box giving the mission became very much an important kind of character to the show.
So as we worked on Season 3 and realized just how much fun, you know, how much more work we wanted to do with General Beckman and how we wanted to have fun with that character and so you started to notice that at the end of last season that every time you saw General Beckman, something strange is happening.
A reminder that, you know, we wanted to have more fun with that and Bonita was so fantastic that we knew going into Season 4 that we were going to require a little bit more Bonita time so we made her a series regular and she’s been wonderful. The new Buy More is exciting. It’s exciting to have her, you know, up and about and a part of the show.
Some of the funniest stuff last season was the interactions between Morgan and General Beckman. Does Morgan have a different view of General Beckman than he does of say Casey?
Chris Fedak: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m sorry. Gomez, I’ll let you take that one.
Josh Gomez: No. Yeah, I think that yeah, I think he does. I think, you know, Morgan somewhere in his brain fancies himself a ladies man so I think there’s always a – I don’t know why he thinks he can get away with it but there’s a healthy sort of, I don’t know, not flirtation but, you know, he thinks he’s charming and I don’t think he plays that game with Casey so much but with General Beckman, it’s always kind of fun to do that with Bonita because she’s just – she plays that so great.
She has such a fantastic sense of humor. She’s such a funny lady and she has to play this stern, you know, it’s this character that’s just, you know, she’s a general and it’s just this stern, monotony kind of character and so it’s great to go to like just like it’s so fun just to be able to throw stuff at her and try to keep her straight-faced, you know, see how long she can do it.
Yeah, I think that Morgan and Beckman have the funny – there’s a great – we have a great little a risk then – was that Episode 3? I guess it was at 2.
Chris Fedak: Which one, with the…
Josh Gomez: The two.
Chris Fedak: I don’t know what he’s talking about.
Josh Gomez: Oh, oh, sorry about that. Oh, okay. Anyway, this is Chuck having a scene of Morgan and kind of, you know, showing Beckman a little bit into his world and what, you know, how the, you know, fun scene with Bonita and I. It was a blast to do.
Before Chris you mentioned the big bad of the season. I assume it’s for the full 13 episodes he’s the main figure as the enemy?
Chris Fedak: Yes, that’s the person we’re, you know, that’s the organization, our bad guy organization.
Do you have an option for another nine episodes still or is that still in contention?
Chris Fedak: That could happen, yes.
So does that present a problem knowing you had a plan for a 13-episode arc and then having to add to that story? Do you try to incorporate what you were doing or make it a full story like…
Chris Fedak: What was it, you know, it all depends on when we find out about the back nine, if that’s going to happen. The earlier we find out, the more we can kind of like adjust and change things.
Last year we had already broken the 13th episode so when we got the back nine order so the 13th episode is kind of big and epic and that was just because we couldn’t change it, you know, it was too late in the process which isn’t the worst thing in the world.
It’s kind of fun to kind of do a mid-season after, you know, the first half of the season so, you know, we’ll probably be in the same situation this year but then again, if we find out earlier it’ll just allow us to kind of adjust and, you know, the story accordingly.