Will the fact that Chuck Bartowski knows kung fu impair his ability to woo? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, as revealed when NBC’s ‘Chuck’ returns for a third season starting Sunday, January 10 (before settling into its usual Mondays-at-8 slot). Aussie beauty Yvonne Strahovski gave us a look at the romantic speed bumps to come, talked about that swimsuit scene, and shared some of her guilty pleasures.
It would seem that Chuck’s new skills would make him an even better fit with Sarah, yet from everything I’m hearing they instead hit a rough patch. Is that right?
Yes, they do actually hit a bit of a rough patch. With this new Intersect in his brain, [Sarah and Casey] have to train him to use it properly, so he’s all the more in danger and we still have to protect him. Plus other obstacles are in the works because we have [Kristin Kreuk ('Smallville') and Brandon Routh ('Superman Returns')] coming on to play new love interests for Chuck and Sarah.
What can you reveal about Brandon Routh’s character, who emerges as the new leader of “Operation Bartowski”? How would you compare Sarah’s attraction to Shaw versus, say, Bryce?
One of the things that’s similar is they’re on the same page at the professional level, as far as being spies, whereas Chuck is not as capable of protecting himself. Also, sometimes Sarah feels more comfortable talking to Shaw. Things come about as Season 3 goes along where you actually see some other similarities… but I’m not going to reveal too much.
Will the introduction of Shaw and Hannah (played by Kreuk) present a respite from Chuck and Sarah’s “Will They/Won’t They?” angst, or only make it worse?
I think it will make it even more torturous! [Laughs] There’s always that “Will They/Won’t They?” thing, and when you add third parties into it… it’s a pain to watch somebody hook up with somebody else. So yes, we continue that. There’s always the bubbling romance underneath.
Does the fact that Chuck’s brother-in-law now knows his secret make for added tension?
A little. Obviously they’re always going to be wary that somebody from outside of the spy world knows, and that goes hand-in-hand with protecting Chuck and his family. The more people that know, the more people that are at risk.
I understand we’ll get some more blanks filled in regarding Sarah’s past. Or should I say “Jenny Burton’s” past?
Yeah, you’ll find out some pretty full-on stuff, actually. I don’t know how much I can reveal… but you kind of learn about her beginning phases – how she came to be the spy she is today, how she got into that world.
Are there any new stunts or toys you get to play with in Season 3?
We’re doing a lot of cool wire work, which shows up in some of the promos actually.
And you’re OK with heights?
Oh, I love it – I used to rock climb all the time. Yet it is still scary to jump off the edge of a building!
The Season 3 promos include a slow-mo shot of Sarah emerging from the water in a bikini. I presume there is valid context for that scene?
[Laughs] Yes, all those bikini moments have “valid context” – and you’ll have to wait and see what that one is all about.
Do you get any agita the day before shooting a scene like that?
Oh yeah, always. The whole nation gets to see me in a bikini, so I have to “tone up” for this one little scene!
You have a few completed movies in the pipeline. Any you’d care to talk up?
There is this romantic comedy called ‘I Love You Too.’ I’ve seen a rough cut of it, and it’s a great movie. Australia hasn’t produced something like that for a long time, so I think people will really respond to it. I play an English girl who’s been backpacking for a while when she comes to Australia and meets a guy (played by Brendan Cowell of Australian TV’s ‘Love My Way’). I wind up staying in Australia for the guy, but there’s also a “bromance” storyline that involves Peter Dinklage (‘The Station Agent’). It’s fabulous.
Lastly, what kind of TV do you like? Does Yvonne Strahovski have any guilty pleasures?
My guilty pleasure is ‘America’s Next Top Model.’ [Laughs] And ‘Project Runway.’ I guess it’s because I’m just fascinated by the modeling world; it seems like a whole other deal!