Yvonne Strahovski is performing an incredible fight scene in a hotel room wearing little more than underwear with a rigging system that would confuse a sailor. The camera movements aren’t vulgar but the guy behind the lens knows how to bump the rating a few points here and there… And this scene is definitely going to bring the viewers in.
Not that the show needs more – Yvonne was cast for the show four years ago during pilot season when she was auditioning for numerous shows, trying for a foot in the door to Hollywood. She had flown to the U.S. with her bags packed for about three weeks and she has never moved home.
Little did she know that the show she got cast in would become an Emmy Award winning series that was so popular, when NBC were threatening to stop the show after two seasons, a Facebook and Twitter campaign gained such traction it was re-signed within weeks. And a quick search on Google will show you that the popularity is in no small part due to Ms. Strahovski. She has multiple fan sites which Yvonne admits to visiting occasionally. I ask her about her feelings on these sites, which she considers a little before saying that all the ones she’s seen are really nice.
This get’s me thinking about the paparazzi in LA and the change in her lifestyle from growing up in Sydney. “I like it now but it took a while to get used to,” she explains that her family moved with her to support her while she was starting out but that they have now returned to Australia. On the paparazzi, she doesn’t generally have issues but “there have been moments… one occasion I was followed in my car, which was kinda scary.”
‘Scared’ is not something I’d associate with the character played by Strahovski – Sarah Walker would be in her underwear and fighting away the paps while doing 100mph down the freeway, all without breaking a sweat. I ask about how she feels playing a character where the traditional traits of action roles for males and females have been reversed, with her taking more of the action sequences and her co-star Zach Levi taking more of the emotional weight. “I’m not sure I agree with your assessment” she starts, explaining that she feels Sarah Walker carries as much of the emotion as Zach does and that roundness to the role is one of the great things about this job, “What’s your dream role?” I ask. “I’d love to do a romance, something like the Notebook. An action movie too but I feel like I get to fill that side of my job through Chuck. Especially with last night episode – bad ass Sarah Walker episode.”
Yvonne’s parent migrated to Sydney from Poland, her actual name is Strzechowski. Strahovski is sort of a phonetic version to make life a little easier. She wasn’t any kind of rebellious in her teens – the closest she got was a tiny jeweled nose stud which caused her Mum to give her the silent treatment for three days. For someone who comes across as being very family oriented, I can imagine this was a disincentive for any further outbursts. Her acting career within Australia took in a few known programs like Sea Patrol before that she starred in the Australian drama, Headland. But she pretty quickly mad a break for the States.
This interview took a few tries to get. Yvonne has got a lot of demands on her tight now – we’re family talking as she is filming fot the current season of Chuck but we were delayed because she has been voicing a video game and has several films in the works. Next year sees a big one drop – she is starring alongside Robert De Niro, Jason Statham and Clive Owen in The Killer Elite. I ask her what De Niro is like to which she says “Really sweet… really nice.” Not what I wanted to hear about the guy who played Vito Corleone, Al Capone and Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein but that’s okay. ‘What about Jason Statham?’ I ask. A ‘top bloke’ she says with a laugh. The Killer Elite actually filmed in Melbourne, something she’s very proud of and talks about it in terms of a ‘coming of age’ for Australian film.
So, back to the fight scene I was talking about at the beginning. I ask her how she feels about the get ups – whether she gets involved in styling. She laughs. “I just nod and say yes to the outfits. I do what they tell me. I can get why they want to put me in skimpy outfits, I understand. But most of the time the outfits feels right and not gratuitous.” My mind wanders off to the possibilities of the more gratuitous for a moment before I snap back to the conversation… We’re now talking music; she likes MGMT, M83 and some female vocalists. I’m feeling hot and struggling to concentrate, it’s time to wrap this up. Be sure to catch Chuck whenever you can – you won’t’ regret it.
Pop Magazine, 2011.