Category Archives: Chuck

Zachary Levi Talks to Theater Mania About ‘She Loves Me’

The complete article:
Zachary Levi, Tony Awards
Zachary Levi’s Tony-nominated run in the Broadway revival of She Loves Me is going out with a bang. Not only did the show, which closes on July 10, win a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical and a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical at last month’s ceremonies, it also made history last week as the first-ever Broadway show to be streamed live online.

Featuring a score by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock and a book by Joe Masteroff, She Loves Me is a romantic comedy following at-work rivals and unsuspecting amorous pen pals Amalia (Tony winner Laura Benanti) and Georg (Levi). Inspired by Miklós László’s play Parfumerie, which also served as source material for the 1940 Ernst Lubitsch film The Shop Around the Corner and, later, the 1998 Nora Ephron film You’ve Got Mail, the musical is brimming with clever songs and unwitting romantic encounters.

As Levi prepares to take his leave from Broadway for the second time (he made his debut in 2013’s First Date), the charmer of stage and screen looked back on a run that featured celebrity visits, “gnarly” tattoos, and impromptu acrobatics.

Theater Mania: What is your favorite line that you get to say or sing?
Zachary Levi: I’ll have to go with “I’m freezing, that’s because it’s cold out” in She Loves Me. When I was first learning the song, it just struck me funny every single time. George is rambling and saying he’s “tingling, such delicious tingles,” he’s “trembling, what the hell does that mean?” he’s “freezing,” and then he’s just kind of, well, “that’s because it’s cold out.” And it’s just so genius to me.

Theater Mania: Everyone loves inside jokes. What is the best one from your show?
Zachary Levi: Not that it’s an inside joke, but [ensemble member] Cameron Adams and I always have this moment where we pass each other backstage and give each other a hitch kick, like a “Yah!” You know, a little like a “Git ’em girl” kind of thing.

Theater Mania: Every show experiences technical difficulties. What was the worst technical difficulty experienced during your show and how was it handled?
Zachary Levi: We really only had one major technical difficulty. We had never had any problems with our set or our automation and then one day, it just wasn’t opening. We all got into the store and then it’s supposed to open up like it has every other time and it started opening and then it just stopped. So me and Gavin [Creel] are looking at each other, going, “What do we do?” And I was like, “I think we’ve gotta stop.”

Then they took about 10 minutes to test it. It was working, so we all just took our places onstage, everybody clapped, and the audience was totally cool with it, because they kind of like that shit. It’s all part of live theater.

Theater Mania: What was the most “interesting” present someone gave you at the stage door?
Zachary Levi: A couple girls had me write — I don’t remember what the two phrases were. “Know your worth” was one of them. They’re things that I’ve said before in the past doing panels or speaking engagements and they just really meant a lot to these girls. And then they came back with them tattooed on their bodies. It was pretty gnarly, but very kind of, honoring.

Theater Mania: Who is the coolest person that came to see your show? (You can’t say your family!)
Zachary Levi: Meg Ryan came. She came during a Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraising time, and she stopped by one of the buckets and dropped money in and told one of our ensemble members how much she enjoyed the show, which was awesome because she was a part of You’ve Got Mail.

And John Lithgow came. We were doing a show one day and my phone rings in my dressing room and the guy at the stage door’s like, hey, Mr. Lithgow’s here to see you. And I said, John Lithgow? And he said, “Yeah he’d like to see you.” And I’m like, “Uh yeah send him up.” I was like, “Oh my god, you’re John Lithgow.” Like, that guy is so unreal talented. So that was really awesome.

Theater Mania: How was the awards season experience and being a Tony nominee different from what you expected?
Zachary Levi: You know, if I do TV or a show or a film and it gets nominated, it’s already done. But on Broadway, I still had to show up and do my job every night. So you can’t really get lost in thinking about that stuff. The whole nomination thing was like, hey, rock ‘n’ roll, that’s really cool, but it doesn’t make you a unicorn all of sudden. You’re just a human being.

But as a kid who always wanted to do what I’m doing, it feels very good and validating to feel like people think you’re doing it at that high of a level. So I think more than anything what I took away was, I finally felt like I was kind of accepted a little bit in this community, and that was cool.

Theater Mania: What show do you wish was livestreamed when you were a kid?
Zachary Levi: What’s weird is that growing up as a kid I did a bunch of theater, but I wasn’t really aware of a lot of theater. I grew up on the West Coast and so we didn’t get to Broadway. I was splitting my time between doing theater and playing video games. But in hindsight, maybe Big River. I did Big River when I was 16, I played Huck, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. And I think it would have been really cool to see it on Broadway.

Theater Mania: If you could be pen pals with anyone, whom would you choose?
Zachary Levi: To me, the most fascinating people are the people who have shaped the world or who have really deep curiosity. So you know like, a C.S. Lewis or a Tolkien or Einstein or Newton even or Lincoln or Gandhi would have been really interesting I think. I think Genghis Khan would have been fascinating, I mean a mad man, but like, “Genghis, ‘sup, it’s Z, and what’s happenin’?”

Theater Mania: Were the hat trick and cartwheel in the song “She Loves Me” skills that were already in your wheelhouse?
Zachary Levi: We had the whole thing choreographed and then Warren Carlyle and Scott Ellis came in and they were like, “We really want one more thing that really kind of shows this childlike exuberant enthusiasm.” And I said, “Well, I don’t know, you want me to do a cartwheel?” And they both looked at me like I had a third eye and I was like, “What? I can do a cartwheel. I’ve been doing cartwheels since I was a kid. Who doesn’t do cartwheels?” But apparently many people don’t, especially men who are six-four.

And then it kind of worked out that my hat would fall off my head as I did a cartwheel so then I would run over and kick it up and grab it and sing the rest of the song.

Theater Mania: If you could steal one thing from the set, what would it be?
Zachary Levi: Well I’d be tempted to steal the cash register because that’s probably the most expensive item and also, like, the coolest. But that’s more Jane’s prop. It’s not really fair that Georg would walk away with the cash register. I don’t know, maybe just like one of those bottles, just to have as a little keepsake and be like, “Oh, that’s my little bottle.”

Zachary Levi Talks to Hypable About Nerd HQ

Zachary Levi Talks to TV Insider About Nerd HQ

Zachary Levi Talks to Collider About Nerd HQ

Zachary Levi Talks About ‘She Loves Me’ With The Hollywood Reporter’

Zachary Levi Talks to Broadway World

Zachary Levi Talks to Inside the Box

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Zachary Levi Talks to Hypable About Nerd HQ

Zachary LeviEvery year Zachary Levi and Dave Coleman team up to bring Nerd HQ to the fans at San Diego Comic-Con. Their event brings fans and creators together for one common purpose: To have fun and support charity.

When fans descend upon San Diego this weekend for Comic-Con they’ll find Nerd HQ serving up a fun, unique experience just blocks away from from the main convention center. Held at the New Children’s Museum for the second year in a row, Nerd HQ holds several exclusive panels with stars like Nathan Fillion, Stephen Amell and the cast of several shows — if their schedules allow it.

If you want to learn more about how this started check out out this article from last year that explains the entire process, and more importantly explains the charity, Operation Smile, that benefits from Nerd HQ.

A lot has changed with Nerd HQ in the past year, and we sat down with Levi and Coleman to discuss those changes and more.

Hypable: Nerd HQ has been so successful, it’s really awesome. How has this year changed from the previous few, other than venue?

Zachary Levi: For us it’s not a matter of making it physically bigger but it’s a matter of making it more [momentous] of an experience for the public, for the talent, for the people from the network. We want this weekend to be the most memorable, awesome experience that anyone coming in and out of these doors can have. What’s different? Just trying to twist all those screws and make it a little tighter, make the flow better. Continue reading

Zachary Levi Talks to TV Insider About Nerd HQ

The complete article:
Zachary Levi
Beware of nerds who have a machine. They make the most astounding things happen! Former Chuck star Zachary Levi, his business partner David Coleman and their multimedia company The Nerd Machine are about to kick off the sixth annual Nerd HQ fan event, an unforgettable — and surprisingly intimate — experience for gamers and sci fi-fantasy lovers. The dates: July 21-24. The locale: The New Children’s Museum in San Diego, California.

Yep, Nerd HQ is once again happening mere steps from San Diego Comic-Con so you never know who’ll pop up. Past guests have included Guillermo Del Toro, Tatiana Maslany, Jeff Bridges, Eva Green, Joe Manganiello, Vin Diesel, Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln and Zachary Quinto. And this year’s event, a fundraiser for Operation Smile sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, Hallmark, Oculus and Kellogg’s Krave, is sure to be just as star-studded.

Panels include Sherlock, Orphan Black, Colony, Drunk History, Con Man, Teen Wolf, Dead Rising, Supernatural and more. (For a full list of panels, gaming opportunities and fan parties during Nerd HQ week, go to thenerdmachine.com). We spoke with Levi, fresh from his Broadway success in She Loves Me, to get the scoop on Nerd HQ No. 6. Warning: If you are planning to attend the event this year, bring plenty of tissues. Not for you. For Levi!

TV Insider: Each Nerd HQ has been increasingly terrific. How do you top yourself?
Zachary Levi: We don’t. We’re bringing the same, and that’s kind of the point of Nerd HQ. I’m a big fan of keeping things simple and not fixing stuff that ain’t broken. Part of what we want to keep special is that we’re not competing with SDCC. We offer complimentary programming in a smaller, more interactive and personal setting. We don’t try to pack more or different into each year. We keep everything intimate for the fans and the talent. All the money goes to charity. We have awesome sponsors returning. It’s pretty much business as usual. That said, we listen to the people after each event and try to improve every part of the experience. Continue reading

Zachary Levi Talks to Collider About Nerd HQ

The complete article:
Zachary Levi, Joss Whedon, Nerd HQ
Actor Zachary Levi is bringing Nerd HQ back to San Diego, with a really cool assortment of celebrity panels, parties and fun activities that will be held at the New Children’s Museum during Comic-Con, from July 21 – 24. And if you can’t make the trek to be there in person, you will be able to stream all of the “Conversations for a Cause” in a variety of different ways, so that you can keep up with everything that happens, all with a 360-degree view.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Zachary Levi talked about what he most enjoys about getting to do Nerd HQ, every year, what they’ll be offering to fans this year, what he’d still like to be able to do, some of his favorite memories, what he geeked out on growing up, and what he geeks out on now. He also talked about how things are coming along with the Tangled animated series (premiering on the Disney Channel in 2017), his experience on Broadway with She Loves Me (for which he got nominated for a Tony Award), and how he’d like to try his hand at directing again.

Collider: What do you most enjoy about getting to do Nerd HQ, every year?

ZACHARY LEVI: There’s so much to enjoy. It’s a massive undertaking and there’s a tremendous amount of stress that comes along with the events. We’re still a pretty small team at The Nerd Machine. We have a few partners that we work with, producing the event, but overall, it’s us. It’s our blood, sweat and tears, and energy and love. The reason why we keep doing it is because of the happiness, the joy and the memories that we get to bring so many people, whether it’s the dance parties or the intimate panels or the photos or the exclusive video games, or whatever. I set out to make something special. I wanted to make something that was different and that I felt like didn’t quite exist yet. After the first year, we realized, “Hey, I think we did that!” Continue reading

Chuck Rewatch Recap – Season 4 – Episode 15 – Chuck Versus the Masquerade

Zachary Levi, Chuck Bartowski, Lauren Cohan, Vivian VolkoffChuck – Season 4 – Episode 15

Chuck Versus the Masquerade

Notable Plot Moments:
Yvonne Strahovski, Sarah Walker, Chuck
As the team mingles at the party trying to find Vivian, Chuck realizes he just did, but she has already walked away. They follow her to the stables where the Russians start shooting at Vivian. They say they want Vivian’s key, but she says she doesn’t know what they’re talking about and reveals that Alexei is her father. She thinks that he’s an oil executive.

Yvonne Strahovski, Sarah Walker, Chuck
Chuck and Sarah escape with Vivian with Chuck driving while Sarah shoots at the bad guys out of the roof. Continue reading

Yvonne Strahovski Talks to Metro

Yvonne Strahovski, Operation SmileThe complete article:

As a Los Angelino by way of Australia, Yvonne Strahovski is pretty impressed with New Yorkers.

“They’re hardcore,” the actress tells us, referring to the wildly different seasons and life in a concrete jungle. “I always look at the older people walking around New York, and how they have a more manual lifestyle than people in Los Angeles. There’s no cars, you have to walk down the street to do anything, you have to carry everything around. I’m always fascinated by people who’ve lived there for years and years and years.”

Strahovski spent a month in the city — during December, no less — filming Manhattan Night, a noir-y throwback about Porter Wren (Adrien Brody), an old school journalist who gets involved in a case of unsolved murder. A famous but cantankerous filmmaker (Campbell Scott, seen mostly in video footage) was found dead in an abandoned factory, and his widow Caroline (Strahovski) offers to help him investigate. But soon her motives start to seem more and more suspect.

If this were a noir from the ’40s Caroline would be a femme fatale. Since this is 2016, she’s more complicated.

“She’s sexually manipulative but lonely at the same time,” Strahovski offers. “She has real feelings even though she’s manipulative. She knows what she wants from Porter, and that directly conflicts with her human side.” She has two extremes to her personality, but Strahovski’s performance makes sure they don’t seem contradictory. “We all struggle as humans with some kind of duality.”

Strahovski is no stranger to playing good and bad. She spent multiple seasons on the former side on Chuck, playing agent Sarah Walker. She chased that as a serial killer on Dexter. Going to the dark side appeals to her.

“There’s a sense of freedom in scenes that require those kinds of heightened emotions,” Strahovski says. “In our society it’s not socially acceptable to act like that. It’s always interesting to go there. It’s always interesting to think about what you would do if you found yourself in those situations.

“Daily life is always a negotiation. We’re always negotiating with ourselves and with the outside world — with our environment, our jobs, our life,” she adds. “That’s what I find fascinating about what I get to do for a living: exploring the negotiations we all endure in life.”

Strahovski has been able to mix things up, going from Dexter to the Broadway production of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy, which she did to acclaim in 2012. Still, even for her those jobs don’t come up every day.

“It’s a little hard to find those roles,” she explains. “There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s bland, then you find these little gems, roles you can sink your teeth into and explore something interesting. I always enjoy when I get to do something different.”

Speaking of which, in Manhattan Night she shares a couple scenes with one of the screen’s most terrifying baddies: Steven Berkoff, the intense villain of Beverly Hills Cop and Rambo: First Blood Part II.

“I was terrified,” Strahovski says, laughing. They wound up sharing one particularly challenging scene. “That would have been rough with anyone involved. But he was a gentleman. He’s not that terrifying.”

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Zachary Levi Talks About ‘She Loves Me’ With the Hollywood Reporter

Zachary Levi, Laura Benanti, She Loves MeThe complete interview:

“I say a prayer and try to get into a headspace where I’m thankful that this is my job and my life,” the Tony nominee tells THR. Afterward, “it’s whiskey and pizza and fries. I’ll just be gorging at a nearby pub.”
Zachary Levi received his first Tony nomination for playing the headstrong yet heartwarming Georg in Scott Ellis’ revival of the beloved musical comedy She Loves Me, about quarreling 1930s perfume-counter clerks unaware that they are each other’s anonymous romantic pen pals. THR’s review says the Chuck and Tangled star “projects throwback charm with winning confidence” opposite fellow nominees Laura Benanti and Jane Krakowski, and “his Georg seems suave and handsome at times, disarmingly nebbishy at others, and the actor uses his considerable height to great comedic advantage in songs like ‘Tonight at Eight.’”

Levi, 35, goes Off Script to talk playing a good-hearted guy on Broadway, “gorging” after the show and receiving a very special pair of Mickey Mouse ears.

Hollywood Reporter: What do you love about playing Georg?

Zachary Levi: I love his heart. There’s a goofiness and an aww-shucks quality to him, and he works hard at his job. For whatever reason, I find roles or roles find me of these good-hearted people; they want the best and they’re optimistic.

HR: What’s your toughest scene?

ZL: From the beginning of the bedroom scene [with Benanti] through my song, “She Loves Me.” That’s a demanding song for me and I’m moving around a ton, but also, there are precious moments you gotta do right, and comedic beats you have to hit right. Continue reading

Zachary Levi Talks to Playbill

The complete article:
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
At the press day for Broadway’s She Loves Me, prior to the show’s first preview in February, Zachary Levi seemed in awe of joining the company full of musical theatre champions. “I’m learning so much,” he said at the time. “I hope that those will be my people one day, [that I will do this] at the level that they all do what they do.”

Now, Levi is a Tony nominee.

Levi, who made his Broadway debut in the short-lived new musical First Date, plays Georg Nowak, the parfumerie clerk unwittingly sending love letters to his co-worker Amalia, played by Tony winner (and nominee this year) Laura Benanti. Levi received a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical and learned of the nomination from his agent. “I think he probably called before they even said my last name,” Levi said the morning the nominations were announced. “He wanted to call me, and I woke up and heard the phone ringing, and he said, ‘Good morning, Tony-nominated Zachary Levi.’

“[I’m] completely beside myself,” he continued. “Based on everything, all the warm things we’d been hearing, nominations and stuff, I thought maybe [it was] a possibility. But I was in bed last night and just prayed and wanted to be okay if I woke up in the morning and it didn’t happen — to just be at peace knowing I had a job to do and do the best I can. So, to wake up to that kind of news was really… it’s humbling, and I feel gobsmacked.”

The nod is just the reassurance Levi needed. Throughout the run, Levi has learned a lot about himself, including the revelation he’s “way more insecure than I thought I was.”

“The whole journey’s been super crazy,” he explains now. “I’ve gone through points in this where I felt really confident, and I’ve gone through some really heavy moments where I thought, ‘I’m crap in this show.’ Then for this to happen, it really smacks you in the face and says, ‘Listen to your people that love you and that are telling you you’re doing good work.”

Levi’s had cheerleaders — and guidance — along the way. “My parents were instilling things in me … aunts and uncles, friends, parents of friends. Doing community theatre for so long, you work with so many random people and whether they’re directors or actors or crew, [they all impact] you,” he says. “All the patrons that came through theatres … would encourage me and would pull me aside and say, ‘This is what you do. Don’t stop doing this.’”

And, what is the biggest challenge of playing Georg in the Roundabout Theatre Company production at Studio 54?

“Honestly, the biggest challenge is just my own brain,” Levi answers. “You know, when I stepped into this job, I stepped into an all-star team. And, it’s heady, the collective experience and the collective awards-ship — I don’t even know the word — so many Tonys and Tony nominations between everybody in this cast and crew. I mean, literally, [co-star] Nick Barasch is 17, and he has one more Broadway show than I do. So, it’s heady, you know, and I just didn’t want to come in and be the Hollywood guy making a turn onstage. I wanted people to believe that this is where I belong, on that stage, and that’s tough to get out of your own head and think people might not think that, especially when your leading lady is Laura Benanti!

“And right behind her is Jane Krakowski and Gavin Creel and Peter Bartlett and Michael McGrath and Byron Jennings and the list goes on and on,” Levi says. “And having a director like Scott Ellis and a choreographer like Warren Carlyle and [musical director] Paul Gemignani. It’s so heady, and so I just really hoped and wanted people to come to the show and like it and appreciate it.”

The stage and screen star, best known (at least for now) for his work on TV in Chuck and Heroes Reborn as well as in the 2010 hit film Tangled, now revels in his place in the theatre community. “My whole life, all I’ve ever wanted to do was be an actor and an entertainer and make people happy and also feel like I belonged,” he says. “I feel like [the Tony nomination] definitely helps me believe that a little bit more.”

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Zachary Levi Talks to Broadway World

Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski, She Loves MeThe complete article:

It’s not unusual to pass a Broadway theater after a show breaks to find dozens of people crowded behind barricades waiting for cast members as they leave the stage door. It’s very unusual to find a boom box set up by one of those actors to entertain the crowd as he signs autographs and poses for pictures with them. Yet that is exactly what Zachary Levi does after every performance of She Loves Me, the Bock and Harnick musical which is the Roundabout Theater’s current offering at the fabled Studio 54 Theater. He’s even been known to pick someone from the crowd to dance with.

“I really believe in the symbiotic relationship between the actor or entertainer and his audience,” the actor says in a phone interview. “I’m not selling widgets on stage; I’m selling an experience and with physical art like paintings or sculptures, you can take them home with you but with theater it’s different and Broadway isn’t cheap. Maybe because I’m a Libra, but I have a really hard time with fairness and justice. As a result, I don’t know how to walk out a stage door and sign only 20 autographs when there are 100 people out there waiting in the cold. I just can’t do that. I keep thinking about those other 80 people who have been standing there for quite a while. The ‘fairness police’ or ‘justice squad’ in me override these things.” Continue reading