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Zachary Levi Talks Chuck

Published September 22, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of NBC.
Chuck Chuck

Meet Chuck. He's your average slacker nerd, a video game junkie who works at an electronics store. He just happens to come into some classified material so a hot secret agent protects him from the bad guy on explosive missions. You know. Star Zachary Levi will be in all those dangerous situations week after week.

Zachary Levi is Chuck

"One of my, not fears, but maybe concerns is that with the pilot, you get to do so many cool things," said Levi. "We had so many great explosions and fights and whatnot, and are we going to be able to continue that through the season? Are we going to have the budget? Are we going to have the time? And I find that the next episode, as you'll all watch when we air in the Fall, that you'll see that there's maybe even more action, I found to be, in the next episode."

You might recognize Levi from Less Than Perfect. Or you might not, because he looks like such a nerd now. "I got a little older, probably a little heavier. I eat a lot of pizza and don't work out as much as I should. I do play a lot of video games. Josh Gomez and I couldn't find ourselves in a better situation playing the characters that we do. [Producer and director] McG had a lunch, and we all sat down and had lunch, and we all got cast. McG thought it would be a great idea that we all get to know each other, which was a great idea. And maybe five minutes into sitting down, I think I looked at Josh or he looked at me, and it was very kind of like, 'Are you a video gamer?' And I think I said, 'Oh, yeah, buddy. Oh, yeah, I game.' And then it was on from there. We've been playing, like, Xbox LIVE and I probably shouldn't tell you any of these things."

Indeed this is much closer to the real Zachary Levi than the sitcom. "For anybody who watched Less Than Perfect, probably five, 10 of you, it was such a great experience. It was such a great show. I loved it so much but I found myself playing a character that was much more confident and always in the very tightly cropped hair and nice clothes. Not that you [Chuck] doesn't put me in nice clothes. I do appreciate the clothing. But everyone is throwing around 'geek' and 'nerd' and all this. I would say the 'cool-challenged' maybe, if we can coin that phrase. Or the 'jock-challenged,' whatever, one of those two. But I find myself very much being able to be myself. I find myself being myself, I guess, playing video games and being a nerd, which I really, really am in so many ways."

Chuck is no dummy either. He may have that over the real Levi. "I always have the excuse that I would have gone to college if I applied myself. I don't know, I think I'm an intelligent guy. I'm nowhere near as intelligent as Chuck is. He went to Stanford and is this crazy brain of a guy and can figure out algorithms. I can't even spell algorithm. So no, I'm not as smart as Chuck, but I think I'm decent. Maybe. I hope. Decently intelligent."

Levi is an athlete, preferring snowboarding, but the show's insurance has disallowed that. They limit his stunt work too, because they can't afford an injury. "Everyone was very concerned about the idea that I was going to go snowboarding before we started production, and those are valid concerns. So I wasn't able to go, but next year, I'm turning the screws, buddy. We're so nerdy. We play these video games so that we can go on these missions in our head basically. So now that we get a TV, we get like, 'Oh, please let me shoot a gun. Please let me be in a car accident. I want to do it. Throw me out of the helicopter, please.'"

Chuck premieres September 24th on NBC.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of NBC.

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