We had a nice five minute chat with Mark Christopher Lawrence (Big Mike) at Comic Con in the Chuck press room. He was in a really good mood and hopeful that the fans would come through and take Chuck beyond this so called "final season." What he didn't tell us, but I discovered from walking down 4th street in San Diego, was that he was headlining a stand up show at a local club that weekend. It was a pretty impressive poster on the front of that building. I do need to check out one of his stand up routines.
As we were getting started, I complemented him on his hat, which was pretty fine looking in my opinion. He had a small hat story to go with it! “I didn’t have a lot of hats before, baseball caps mainly, I bought this hat, wore it on stage for stand up one night, and all of a sudden people started sending me a hats so I’m got a lot of hats.”
For you, for the members of the cast, when doing events like this that are important to the fan base, what is this like now that its the final season?
I think that events like this are very important for a show like ours. We started off with a show that probably shouldn’t have made it past the first 13 episodes. Because of the fans, we’re still here going into our 5th season. I think Zach said during the panel because Comic Con brought a fan base, with 2000 people there, and all of a sudden that fan base started growing. To be able to interact with the fans on this level takes a show like ours to another place. I mean, five years later, who would of believed that? We started out with ‘It’s a cute little show‘ and it just got better and better and the fans really got behind it. Events like this are really important.
Can you speak more to the culture of the con. Have you ever been to a Comic Con before this? How has it changed?
“Years ago it was all about Comic books. When it first started it was a comic book convention and it was tiny. It was in the other convention center in Fashion Valley by Hotel Circle. And now it’s become this media outlet as if the comic books have been pushed into a corner of the con. Because there’s all these fantastic artists out there. You’ve got Tim Bradstreet out there that are amazing artists that do great comic work. But it’s become so big with the mega conglomerations that fuel the television and film industries that it’s a whole different thing now. I think there should be effort spotlighting the artists that this thing started out to be.”
Isn’t there irony in the fact that your show is helped to survive, supported by a comic book a convention that is no longer about comic books.
It’s a bittersweet irony. For us it’s great thing, for the comic artists it’s kind of a tragedy.
What can be expect to see in the upcoming season?
Back to the basics. The show started in the Buy More with Chuck being in the Buy More and he owns it now. We’re back to the basics. There’s not going to be a lot of running around the world fighting spies, gonna fight them on our home turf.
They seem to be good great at opening up what’s going on. Are you going to be part of that?
Big Mike does not need to know (laughs). The only other black character in the show that knew about the spy world, blown to smithereens. Plausible deniability is great for him.
What do you think about the changes coming for Chuck in the show?
I think it’s great. Now that Chuck doesn’t have the intersect in his head, it puts him back into the realm of the every man. The thing that made this show appealing for masses is that in the beginning Chuck was this regular guy. It could be you or you or you or you, or anybody. All of a sudden he has this thing in his head he’s a spy unwittingly. Now that he doesn’t have it anymore you get this down home, he’s that lovable guy that could be anybody. I think that’s what really appeals to people, maybe I can be this guy too. I think that’s the glue for this show.
Is it bittersweet that its ending this year?
You never know what happens. We’re moving to Friday nights now. If we come out here and our numbers jump to 7 or 11 million and all of a sudden who’s going to say ‘You guys need to go.‘ Hopefully our fans will get behind it and launch a “Jump on the Bandwagon” campaign.
Are you and the show moving in that direction, that it is the final season?
Every season you write if its the end. That’s the way you write a show. Okay we’re going to go from here to here and this is the arc if it gets picked up you’ve gotta find another arc. Clearly the writers have to write it as if it’s the final season. If it gets picked up you’ve got to start writing again if this is the final season. It’s gonna be what its gonna be.