In a media room at Comic Con, nothing short of a three ring circus happens. The press tables often become forums for speed dating, and actors often get shifted from one table to another faster than the bungee boss in Dilbert. That happened to me during the “Chuck” press room this year with Vik Sahay (Lester). He and Scott Krinsky (Jeff) came to our table, started joking around with us a bit and then it was over. We had fun, but didn’t get much info out of it.
Luckily, Vik took a few moments out of his busy shooting schedule for this final season of “Chuck” to talk to me on the phone about the upcoming season premiere this Friday at 8 pm and answer some of those questions I didn’t get to ask at Comic Con. Just like the rest of the cast though at Comic Con, he wasn’t about to give away any spoilers. He did however paint a picture of what the feelings are like on the set now that “Chuck” is shooting it’s final episodes and what’s up for him in the future.
Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with me today. It was quite a crazy time at Comic Con this year.
This past comic con it was our last trip to San Diego as cast mates. We’re dealing with all that as well as our last chance to meet fans in that tremendous setting. It’s a such bittersweet celebration and a farewell to all these people who have been instrumental to the survival of the series. They put huge amounts of energy in it on their own to get us our dues. You’re trying to say thank yous for the last time and you’re basking in the very particular over affection that the fans have showed us. It’s so remarkable but it’s very difficult to settle and have a more extensive conversation in that setting. It’s just the nature of a beast. It’s a massive theme park in a way.
(Laughs) Theme park. I like that. I’m going back to Comic Con next year and it’s going to be so sad that you guys won’t be back there next year.
It’s going to be sad for sure.
Is shooting going well?
It’s all very spectacular. The funny thing about being in our last season, you may or may not have noticed last time we chatted, I like to stay a little bit in character while shooting. And the emotion and the sweet sadness of this last season has really stripped away my natural process and brought to the forefront the looking around and realizing that I’m saying goodbye.
That’s really sad. How is everyone else on the set handling it?
We kind of put our heads down and go to work. The scenes require a certain amount concentration, a certain amount of focus. That’s obviously the prevalent surface mood. I think as we get closer and closer to finishing the season, more and more are people starting to feel that beautiful heartbreak that is upcoming.
What episode are you shooting right now?
We’re on nine I think.
Ooh, so you’re close (to the final 13th episode).
Yeah, we’re getting there.
Wow. Obviously we (fans) haven’t seen any of it so it’s still far away for us.
Yeah, obviously there will be a sort of pseudo second journey in terms of putting the show to sleep. When it does start airing, it’ll air long after we finish shooting. So we’ll get to go on (with) that as well.
Is there still hope that if the fans rally and come together you might get another chance?
I don’t know, I really don’t know. I suppose in the past I’ve said the chance seems slim and it’s happened and maybe there was a glimmer of something that I thought more possible than I do this season. I’m not sure. I think we’re all certainly operating like it’s our last few episodes. If something miraculous happens then something miraculous happens. I suppose with the show and the show’s history there’s always that possibility but right now I gotta go (with) we’re closing shop soon.
You gotta do what they tell you.
How many episodes are you in this season?
I’m in almost all of them. Not every single one, but almost all of them.
Anything you can share, without giving away too much, about Lester this season?
I’d rather not to be honest. There is stuff that happens. At Comic Con I think there was mention of an alteration in the relationship between Jeff and Lester. A fissure, a problem. I’ll just reiterate that and let the season unfold.
I’m all for that. Can you say if there will be at least one more Jeffster performance?
I’m gonna plead the fifth.
Okay, fair enough (laughs). That will have to be a surprise too.
Other than winding down, had you had to give some thought to putting out resumes, feelers, that sort of thing, for other projects?
I’ve been very fortunate in a sense. I’ve been doing other projects. In fact around mid November I’m going to go into an insane schedule where I’m shooting “Chuck” and flying to Canada to shoot another film. What’s happening after “Chuck” I’m not one hundred percent sure but I shot a movie this past hiatus called American Reunion which will get released in April and another Canadian film I’ve done the previous hiatus which just got released in Canada called Afghan Luke plus I’m shooting something soon. Other work is beginning to show up and has been showing up so I feel very lucky in that way. If for no other reason than it’s a nice distraction from the immense crying I’m going to do when the show ends.
You and everyone else! You’re from Canada, aren’t you?
It’s nice you’ve been fortunate to go back and do some work there again.
I’ve used the opportunity on “Chuck” to go back and work on smaller, more independent Canadian films just to stretch my acting chops and bite into some work. This past hiatus I did what I assume will be a big American comedy. I’m in a fortunate scenario where I can service two different countries and work in very different ways if I want to.
Are you limiting yourself to comedy?
No, no, no. I’ve done in my life mostly dramatic work. “Chuck” is the most high profile comedy thing I’ve ever done. The film I did in Canada this past hiatus called Afghan Luke was about war journalists going to Afghanistan. That wasn’t a comedy. Before than I shot a movie in India that certainly was a very, very dark drama. I’m bouncing back and forth.
Then “Chuck” has got a be a fun role compared to those.
Yeah, that’s a really special role.
I’ve met you guys at three Comic Cons now and it’s so wonderful to see how tight knit you all are. I don’t see that with a lot of casts.
I hope it’s not a once a lifetime thing. I’ve worked on a lot of projects and not felt this kind of “tight-knittedness” as you say. It’s a really rare thing. It’s one of the things that’s going to be very tough saying goodbye and not seeing these people on a regular basis. Even last night after shooting we shot for a long time and then Scott and I looked at each other and said ‘You want to grab a drink?’ It’s ending, we don’t want to say goodbye, and yeah, it’s really rare.
I’ve heard of various cast members on other shows keeping in touch through the years.
I’ve done a couple of series in Canada and I still stay in touch with the people of those shows to a certain degree. It’s a very nomadic lifestyle. You set up camp and you hopefully become a family, in this case a very tight knit family. At some point, you go “It’s time to continue on the voyage.” You all go your separate ways.
The “Chuck” premiere got put back a week (from it’s original announced return date). Can you at least say if the premiere is a good episode?
I refuse to say that. I refuse to say it’s any good (laughs). Season five is going to open with an incredible episode. This is a really special, particularly well written and well crafted season. I think it’s riveting quite honestly from reading the scripts. It’s gonna be great.
When I was at the “Chuck” panel at C2E2 in March, my kids were in the audience. They were two of the kids that got to ask questions. We’ve been watching “Chuck” since day one so this is going to be a very very sad event at the Jester household. My son is nine, so this has been five years of his life.
That’s incredible. It’s giving me goosebumps just hearing you say that. It’s very moving. It’s the end of the chapter.
I certainly hope “Chuck’s” final season, and I say that with quoting fingers that you can’t see (yes I’m one of those delusional fans), I hope it goes well. My family and I will be watching and we’re excited to see what’s coming up.
Thank you very much.