August 26, 2008

Levi is Ready for Action in ‘Chuck’


The days of keeping a low profile at industry events are all but over for Zachary Levi, star of the NBC action-comedy "Chuck."

But, like just about everything else, the 27-year-old actor has a good sense of humor about it.

"When I was on 'Less Than Perfect,' I had the luxury of being able to sort of skim through the red carpet, take a couple of pics, do a few interviews then I'd be on the dance floor all night long," he said recently. "But now I've got 10 red lights in my face which, by the way, I'm all about."

That's because on "Perfect," which ran for four years on ABC, he was part of an ensemble cast that also included Sara Rue, Sherri Shepherd and Andy Dick. On "Chuck," he's the title character and there's nowhere to hide.

It's safe to say there is no other show on television like "Chuck," which returns for its second season Sept. 29, Zach's birthday. He plays Chuck Bartowski, a computer whiz whose life suddenly gets far more interesting -- and complicated -- when a college friend who is now a rogue CIA agent sends him an encoded e- mail with all of the world's big spy secrets. It's the only remaining copy and it gets imbedded into Chuck's brain!

While he keeps his cover job at a computer store, Chuck is now a spy and the actor said we should expect to see him getting a little better at a role he was never trained for.

"He evolves a little bit," he said. "I think he starts to find a little more confidence and a little more footing in this new world of being a spy. But he can't get there too quick, otherwise there's no way to go."

And the job at the store (he's part of the Nerd Herd at his local Buy More store -- a parody of Best Buy's Geek Squad) is as important to the character as using his newfound knowledge to help the government thwart assassins and international terrorists.

"It really is the perfect cover job," Zach said. "It really allows for so much of the comedy on the show, the other odd employees and the boss. Last season they were all sort of episode- to-episode and it's nice when you get to have these guys who you spend so much time with, to be shown a little love. They're in the opening credits now.

"It's a really beautiful thing."

But it's not just Nerd Herd members who will be getting some screen time in the new season.

"There's lots of great guest stars: Michael Clarke Duncan, John Larroquette, Ben Savage, Nicole Richie. Tony Hale is doing a multi- episode arc, Jordana Brewster's coming on for an arc. It's very cool," Zach said. "As an actor, it means the world to me that other actors that I respect look at the show and go, 'Yeah, that'd be fun to do.' I guess we're doing something right."

Zach is hoping for a nice, long run on the show and wouldn't mind squeezing in a movie during the summer hiatus.

"One of the things that I love about this show is the action and I hope that if I do it long enough, film producers will think, 'Hey! Maybe he can do an action movie?'" he said.

"I want to do everything. I want to do action movies, I want to do comedies, I want to do romantic comedies, I want to do drama. I just think the world that I get to work in is such an amazing place. I hope I get to do it for the rest of my life."

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