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Getting Inside ‘Chuck’s’ Head

March 19, 2008 4:31 PM

Chuck

The cast and creative team of “Chuck” dropped in for day four of the Paley Festival on Tuesday at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. Almost the entire gang was there, including Zachary Levi, who plays title character Chuck Bartowski, Adam Baldwin (John Casey), Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah Walker) and co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak, among others.

Sarah Lancaster, who plays Chuck’s sister, called in sick.

A high-spirited panel moderated by “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof covered topics that ran the gamut from whether “Chuck” was an analogy for World War II to what executive producer McG’s favorite swear word is (it’s the F-word), and who would win in a battle between Voltron and Godzilla.

Joshua Gomez, who plays Morgan Grimes on the show, answered “Godzilla,” a viewpoint Mr. Levi strongly refuted.

“You are so wrong! Voltron! Godzilla can’t split up into five different things! Voltron can come at him from all different angles!” Mr. Levi said.

The brainchild of Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Fedak, “Chuck” added the dimensions of a 20-something figuring out his life plus the energy of ninja attacks.

“It’s actually really great if you have an idea for a television show to have a friend who has a hit television show already,” Mr. Fedak said, referring to Mr. Schwartz’s “The O.C.”

At one point called “Scenario Five,” “Chuck” went through a few changes during the development process, including calling the main character “Charlie,” and a subplot with a neighbor of Chuck’s that got the ax because Chuck’s love interests became too confusing.

The panel spun the questions back on Mr. Lindelof, asking what’s up with the four-toed statue that has generated questions ever since it appeared on “Lost.”

“Basically, we got a note back from the network, which was ‘This is too weird.’ … And essentially they said, ‘Could it be a six-toed statue?’”

A big concern for the freshman “Chuck” is the eight-month hiatus the writers strike caused, as the show won’t return until next season. Mr. Schwartz said the second season will have to reintroduce characters and own up to the fact that it hasn’t been on the air for so long. But the show will return ramped up with new characters and new villains.

“My dream, can I tell you my dream … For the season premiere, two words: Van Damme,” Mr. Schwartz said.

Not too many other season-two tidbits were wormed out of the session, as the “Chuck” writing crew had just started that day on penning new scripts for the fall season.

— Andrew Krukowski

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