Interview with Christian Slater from Breaking In

Christian Slater is back on TV in a new comedy on FOX. Breaking In also stars Bret Harrison (Reaper), Odette Yustman (Brothers & Sisters, October Road), Alphonso McAuley, and Trevor Moore, and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor on Smallville), who guest stars. Contra Security, a high-tech security firm that takes extreme – and often questionable – measures to sell its protection services is corporate America’s answer to “The A-Team,” giving clients a sense of security by first ripping it away.

In the opener, Contra’s man of mystery owner, Oz, blackmails his newest recruit, computer hacker Cameron, to join his team. Cameron quickly learns that cracking into state-of-the-art security systems is a lot easier than dealing with his co-workers, including the alluring Melanie, prank-pulling Cash and competitive Josh.

Recently, Christian Slater spoke with the press about the show. He was great to talk to, and made me all giddy, because I’ve loved him since I was 16. Check out a few of the questions below.

On how much of the show is written and how much is improv

Yes, there’s definitely been a little bit of improv going on, certainly. When I first got the script, the character of Oz hadn’t been really clearly identified. So when I sat down with Doug Robinson and Seth Gordon and Adam Goldberg, we just started talking and came up with ideas, and I figured, you know what? I’ve got nothing to lose here, so why don’t I just throw out some options and some things that I would like to particularly do in a show and see what these guys think? They ended up popping everything I kind of suggested into the script, and I read it and I was like, “Oh boy, okay, well this is pretty exciting. If we can actually pull off getting the Captain Kirk chair in the show, that would be wondrous!”

Jump with us to read more from Christian.

More on the Captain Kirk chair

Yes, well a buddy of mine had gotten me the chair for a birthday present about a year ago, so it was really just sitting in my house, and I really liked it, and I just thought this chair, I think, would represent, in a way, who this Oz character is. He is definitely the captain of this particular ship. It does have a throne-like quality, and it also has a little bit of a throwback-type quality, as well. I’m a fairly eccentric character myself, and the fact that these guys were so open to hiring people and including a lot of their own personal eccentricities into the characters was thrilling.


On what makes his character, Oz, tick, and what drew him to the character

Well, I do like the fact that he is an eight-moves ahead kind of guy. You know, he pretty much knows what the outcomes are going to be right from the get-go, which I really appreciated and I like. I think it’s nice to have characters like that on TV. It makes people feel safe and comfortable. Even though it’s a made up character, it still, I think, makes people feel safe that there’s somebody out there like that, potentially. I like that he’s in charge. I like that he likes to have fun, that he doesn’t really take things all that seriously and he’s just kind of a guy—a very mysterious guy, and there’s definitely a lot more going on beneath the surface than he’s revealing.


On what type of person Oz is

I think he is definitely a guy who, at times, has to rule with a bit of an iron fist because he is dealing with a large group of misfits that he’s assembled, but my personal feeling is that he’s definitely got a heart of gold. I think he loves everyone that he’s chosen to surround himself with.


On what draws him to play morally ambiguous characters, like Oz

I love characters with edge. I love characters that are a little bit more dangerous, a little bit unpredictable. I think they’re just fun to play. They’re definitely more interesting than just your standard, run-of-the-mill action-y type hero. I love just being these guys that are a little offbeat and a little twisted, and just a little dangerous.


On choosing a comedy over drama (my question!)

Well, Doug Robinson told me that he’d seen me do a few comedy things. I did a bit on Curb Your Enthusiasm and I did something on The Office, and I was pretty much playing myself in—well I was, I was playing a version of myself in those particular shows. This was an opportunity to create a character from the ground up and really make somebody come to life in a comedy-esque type fashion. It was something new, it was something different. It was something that certainly feels more geared towards my strengths and things that I really do enjoy doing.

I definitely prefer doing comedy. I think comedy is vital in our world. I think it’s very, very important and we need as many excuses to laugh and be jolly at this particular time.


On being on FOX and following American Idol

We are all very thrilled and certainly happy with the support from FOX. I’ve been thinking about it a little bit, I kind of feel a little bit like Goldilocks. I mean I tried out the one bed, it didn’t fit. I tried out the other bed, it didn’t fit. This bed here at FOX feels just right.


On number of episodes and character development

There will be a total of seven. We’ve done the pilot and four episodes [so far].

[We will] certainly [get] a lot more insight into each one of these people and a deeper understanding. One of the things I really like about Adam’s concept with this particular show, it’s very much like Star Trek. They had a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds. Oz has a five-year plan, and he’s hired each of these people for very specific reasons.


On relating to the high-tech security elements of the show and being a tech-type of guy

I do love the tech stuff. I enjoy the iPad. I’ve got the iPhone. I’ve got a Mini Mac hooked up to my TV. I’ve got the Xbox. I’ve got the PlayStation. I’ve got the Wii. I mean, I’m insanely techie, and I love to play all that stuff with my kids.


On what viewers might not know about Christian Slater, the man

I’ve pretty much gone from a “bad boy” to a “dad boy.” Somebody came up with that one yesterday, and I really liked it. “Dad boy” is definitely more a fitting moniker for me. I mean I’m going to LEGOLAND on Thursday to check out the new Star Wars exhibit they have there. I’m not going just myself, of course. I’m taking my son.


On continuing to work on television

I like the consistency of it. I like the pace of it. With the first two experiences I had, I really did respond well to the schedule. It’s a very, very fast moving train. I don’t like sitting around. I really like to get in there and do the job and get it done and feel good about it at the end of the day, and that pretty much seems to be the vibe on all the sets that I’ve gotten to be a part of.


On the roles he gets now compared to previous

Well, it’s funny. I mean I’m now the boss, which is very interesting. For me, to kind of—have been around long enough to get the opportunity to be the guy who can actually appropriately sit in the captain’s chair is quite shocking, but I guess that’s just what happens when you keep breathing.

Thanks to Christian for the great interview! I have seen the first two episodes, and it is HIGHLY enjoyable. Bret Harrison, who I really miss from Reaper, is fantastic. Christian Slater is equally brilliant. The rest of the cast is great, too.

The show is full of laughs and fun to watch. Don’t miss the premiere this Wednesday, on FOX at 9:30/8:30c.

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