2011: Complex Magazine


If you’re late to the Yvonne Strahovski bandwagon, you’ll have to fight the Nerd Herd for a seat. Those are the fans who know Strahovski as Sarah Walker, the bombshell secret agent who falls for a dork-turned-spy on Chuck. With the show’s final season premiering October 21 on NBC, many men are wondering where they can get their next fix of the 29 year-old Australian beauty. The answer: in Gary McKendry’s feature film Killer Elite, opposite Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro. Strahovski took some time to talk to us about her experience playing the girl-next-door, Chuck’s loyal fanbase, her new movie and what’s in store for her once the series ends.

Complex: Killer Elite’s Anne is a country girl who isn’t as involved in the action as your character Sarah is on Chuck. What drew you to her?
Yvonne Strahovski: I like the fact that I got to change it up, that I wasn’t doing all the action stuff that I usually do. It was nice playing that normal girl. I could relate a lot to her tomboyishness. I’m a bit of a tomboy myself. I was very much in my element. We shot in the Australian countryside, which is one of the things I miss most about Australia. I was slightly jealous that I didn’t get to be a part of the action stuff, but I like that I got to change it up.

Well, you did get to shoot a rifle.
That rifle was as action-y as I got. [Laughs.]

What was it like working with Robert DeNiro on this film?
I was very, very excited when I found out he was joining the cast. His first day of work was with me when we shot that scene. I knew I was going to be super excited about it, so I wanted to meet him the day before, which I ended up doing. It was nice because I got over the initial nerves. On the day, I couldn’t wipe the grin off. It was so amazing to be with somebody so legendary and watch him work.

You did a bit of improv with Jason Statham during your scenes with him in Killer Elite. Is that something you prefer doing?
I think a lot of actors do that in scenes to keep it fresh. If you’re feeling something in the moment, then you go ahead and do it in the scene. It kind of adds an element of spontaneity to the scene. It all depends on how much leeway you have. Some writers will not like you to veer away from the script, but on Killer Elite we got to play around with the scene, which is always nice. I love being able to improvise.

How do you feel about being embraced by the nerd community?
I feel very fortunate. It seems like they are the most loyal people out there. We’ve been really, really lucky to have such a loyal following on Chuck and I feel comfortable knowing I have that fan base still who I know will be loyal and follow me to the next project. All of us on Chuck, those fans will follow us wherever we go. It feels like the show has survived because of them rallying for us. We hit the jackpot with a fanbase that’s so passionate for our show and for us as actors.

Have you gotten any strange declarations of love from any of your fans?
There’s been a couple. [Laughs.] There’s been some poetry. There’s been little gifts here and there, Teddy Bears and stuff.

What do you do with all of them?
Some of them I like to box. [Laughs.]

You’ve also voiced and added your likeness to a lot of characters in video games, such as Mass Effect. Do you ever play any of the games you star in?
No, I’ve not played Mass Effect. I don’t have an Xbox or anything like that. The main thing that I’m addicted to is Angry Birds. It’s an obsession. [Laughs.]

I think they’re making an Angry Birds movie, so if you want to put your voice to that. . .
That would be amazing if I got to do that. [Laughs.]

Since you’ve had so many action scenes on Chuck, have you ever done one that made you fear for your life?
It’s a pretty safe environment because everything’s set up for us on wires and things like that. I mean, we did jump from a church tower once. I think it was season three, and we climbed down to the ground. It’s always scary taking that leap. You get a bit of a jump when you leap off the edge of a building. [Laughs.] So, those ones get the adrenaline going.

Do you ever keep any of the costumes you use as a secret agent?
I haven’t kept any of those outfits, though they are still there at Warner Bros. in the wardrobe department. If I ever needed one for Halloween, I’m sure they’d let me borrow it.

Which one would you say is your favorite thus far?
I did love the belly dancing outfit, I have to say. I was excited to do that one.

Since this is Chuck’s last season, ideally how would you want it to end?
I think it has to be some sort of a happy ending where Chuck and Sarah find the peace in their life. Right now, they’re trying to marry the two lives together: married life and spy life. I wouldn’t mind if Sarah gets pregnant, or who knows. I would definitely like to meet Sarah’s mother in this season. I think that’s going to tie it up for me and for my character.

Do you see yourself staying in television or moving toward features?
I want to explore features a little bit since I haven’t been doing it full-time since I’ve been with Chuck for the past four and a half years. But it all depends on the character. There could very well be a television series that comes my way with a really great character that I would love to play.

You wrapped another film coming out next year with Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen, My Mother’s Curse.
I did that right before I started season five of Chuck a little over two months ago now. I fell in love with the script. They play a mother-son combination, which I think is really hysterical. They have great energy together. Again, It was really nice to change the pace up a little and a be part of a straight comedy, working with people who were awesome.

What do you anticipate from Killer Elite’s worldwide debut?
I’m just excited. I’m excited to have my family and friends see it. I have family in Poland, so it’s nice that it’s going to be released there and my grandma’s going to get to watch something I did. [Laughs.]

Complex magazine, 2011.