December 09, 2011 12:11pm PT by Jethro Nededog
'Chuck' Behind the Scenes: Nudity, Fight Scenes, and Zachary Levi's 'Little Dress'
Friday’s episode of Chuck, “Chuck Versus the Hack Off,” is not only going to make the show’s fans very happy, but throw in the fans of Lost, Community, The Matrix Trilogy, and Tron: Legacy. The Hollywood Reporter was on the scene for a day of shooting on the episode at the Warner Bros. Studio lot’s jungle set (Fun fact: True Blood’s restaurant and bar, Merlotte’s, sits at the opening of the "jungle").
Directed by star Zachary Levi, the episode’s guest stars include the return of Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), as well as Eric Lange (Lost), Danny Pudi (Community), and Beau Garrett (Tron: Legacy).
On the episode, the team has to track down a super computer virus and it leads them to the leader of a nudist colony (Lange). While Chuck (Levi) returns to his hacking roots, the team discovers they’ll need to team up with their competitor, Gertrude Verbanski (Moss).
When THR and a small group of reporters ventured into the “jungle,” we were greeted by the sight of Levi dressed in a very short white tunic.
“It's very hippy-dippy on the set of Chuck, everyone's free flowing,” Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Sarah, says in her Australian accent. “Zach's little dress is particularly short... We hope that he's wearing underwear underneath that.”
Outfitted with headphones in order to hear the dialogue, we watched as Levi ran back and forth between rehearsing a scene with Strahovski and Garrett and checking the video monitor. This would be his third and final time directing on the series.
“It’s a big multi-tasking effort,” Strahovski says of Levi’s balancing act. “I mean it’s a lot you have to consider, being an actor alone, let alone direct at the same time. I mean, it’s a lot of preparation involved. It's not just this week, it’s a couple of weeks leading up to shooting now, where we are. And he has to prep and go to locations and check it out and make sure that he's ready for this week.”
“He’s great. He does it effortlessly,” Moss tells us later about Levi’s dual role on set. “He’s been doing it for a long time, so that character is just in him. He’s done a great job. I’m really impressed.”
As Levi continues to work out the scene at hand, we’re suddenly surrounded with guest stars checking into the set. Moss enters in full camouflage, Pudi walks up (Community shoots on the same lot) in a Buy More uniform, and Lange, dressed in a similar tunic to Levi, takes a seat in one of the directors’ chairs next to our group of reporters while we failed at acting unimpressed.
“Yeah, I am in camouflage. I’m not getting naked. I don’t do nudity, but she does,” Moss jokes about her own character. “She’s crazy about it. I’m just kidding. If I had her body, I’d be naked all the time too. Let’s be truthful.”
After Strahovski finishes her scene, she and Garrett begin rehearsing a fight scene a bit off to the side from the set. They perform the movements in slow motion to make sure they have the choreography down and it looks much like a dance.
Speaking of fight scenes, Moss confesses she felt a bit nervous about the fight scenes on Chuck. Surprising, because she starred in The Matrix Trilogy, which in large part revolutionized fighting scenes in American movies. But, she tells us that she’s a bit rusty after taking some years off to have kids and she had months to perfect the moves for Matrix as opposed to days on Chuck. She also admits that it took her a minute to wrap her head around carrying on a conversation while fighting as the show likes to do.
“I could’ve cried, because I want to be good,” Moss says. “And I don’t want people to go ‘Oh my gosh, she’s crappy. She’s a crappy fighter.’ And that would be just disrespectful to my past. I did okay. I had to finally just go, 'You know, if the stunt double does part of it, I’m the actor.' ”
Over the episodes Moss has appeared in, Strahovski says she has come to look forward to their time together.
“She's so much fun,” Strahovski tells us. “I feel like her and I just sit and like talk all day long in between scenes and don't really pay attention to what we're doing. I love her.” Moss tells us later that the feeling is mutual.
Chuck airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Watch a preview from Friday’s episode below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro