Q&A: 'Chuck' Star Adam Baldwin & Co-Creator Chris Fedak Say Finale Is 'Epic And Special'
January 27th, 2012 11:00am EST
Tonight, NBC's Chuck signs off after five seasons - but not before I got some parting words from star Adam Baldwin and co-creator Chris Fedak.
Chris, what can we expect from tonight's finale?
Chris Fedak: We have essentially an epic finale for you guys. It’s going to be different than anything we’ve ever done before on Chuck. We knew that we were building toward our final episode, and we really wanted to put together something special.
It’s going to be a two-hour finale. The first part of it is called "Chuck Versus Sarah" and the second part’s called "Chuck Versus the Goodbye." Everything is at stake. All of our characters are at a crossroads, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it all falls out. But it’s definitely the biggest thing we’ve ever done.
With the show's fate usually uncertain, you've written a lot of season finales that had the potential to be series finales. Did any of that experience help you writing the real series finale?
Chris Fedak: Well, hopefully I’ve gotten good at it. All the finales that we’ve built, we were hoping to come back. And so we built them in such a way that they implied a big new season coming next year or in a few weeks.
This time we knew that this was going to be our final episode. When NBC picked this up, they were very clear that this was going to be a 13- episode run and that this would be our final season.
So when we started working on the finale, it was much more like "This will be the final chapter. This will be the final moment of this show and we need to resolve these stories that we’ve been working on for five seasons now." And that the finale isn’t so much a finale just for season five, it’s a finale to five seasons of the show. So it’s definitely different.
Now, in regard to the writing of it, that was a panic attack on a daily basis because with the size and the scope of five seasons of the show, there were many days where it was hard to even look at the board in the writers room and then to consider the page. When we finally cracked the story, it was a big moment and there was a lot of emotion involved in a process that’s usually pretty solitary.
Josh [Schwartz] and I had a couple of big moments that we wanted to get to in the show. We knew we wanted to do the end of season two. We knew we wanted to bring Morgan into the spy world. We knew that we wanted to explore Casey’s backstory and his family. And so we had these big moments that we kind of knew that we wanted to be part of the show each season.
In regard to the very final moment of this season, it was something that we came up with at the end of last season and it was a part of our pitch to NBC for bringing us back. And so this year, we knew we were heading toward this final moment of the show. That was a year in the making.
Adam, we certainly saw Casey evolve so much over the run, particularly in the last season or so. Are we going to see more of that in the finale?
Adam Baldwin: There’s some resolution there with his relationships that come into play, which I found very heartwarming and dangerous at the same time. That was the thing about Casey. The biggest challenge for Chris and the writers [was] to keep him dangerous while at the same time being loveable, and I think they walked that fine line.
I kept asking "How do I play this guy down the line, yet still [be] maintaining him] within the realm of this romantic comedy?" Basically, it was this dangerous romantic comedy that Casey had to walk this line. It was nice to get the personal aspects of his life really highlighted in the last couple of seasons. I really appreciated it.
Chris Fedak: That was a real revelation for us, to watch not only what Adam did with Josh Gomez, but also what he did with Mekenna Melvin. The more we saw of what our actors were going to do between each other, the building up [and] family part of the story was something that we really kind of wanted to follow and to see.
There’s a moment in the finale [where] Casey is holding a sniper rifle, but Adam’s so fantastic that it’s also a heartbreaking moment. Very few people can look through a sniper rifle and also deliver something really heartbreaking. It’s really a testament to what Adam has brought to the character of not [just] a stone cold sniper for the government but also a heartwarming dad.
Adam Baldwin: When Mekenna Melvin came on to play Alex, I think is when it really sparked with me. I kept bugging Chris: "Is Casey ever going to meet his mom? what’s his backstory?" But there was a certain spark with her that really, it rekindled my love for the character himself, because I was looking forward to sitting down with her. She’s just very inspirational to me. She’s a smart young woman. I have a daughter who’s not much younger than she is, and it just was a joy to play that.
Plus my evolving relationship with Morgan was just a pleasure as well. They’re all so fun, but when you see the height discrepancy between me and them on camera, it’s just hilarious.
Did you two get to do everything that you wanted to do with this show?
Chris Fedak: I think that we've really gotten to do a lot of it. 91 episodes really gave me the opportunity to kind of write a bunch of different types of things. There was always a chance that we could have had more money and more time. But I think that the most important thing for me was that we were able to do a lot of the character stuff that we had planned to do [like] the Chuck/Sarah relationship.
Adam Baldwin: Had we gotten a back nine and gone on to 100 episodes, would Alex and Morgan have had a kid and would that have then made Grandpa Casey? Because if that’s the case, I would prefer that you just kill me.
What's something in the run of the series that you're particularly proud of?
Adam Baldwin: That’s really hard to pinpoint. I’m proud of being able to keep a straight face as much as I can when Zac [Levi] is working because he’s so damn funny.
Proud of surviving scenes being eaten alive by Carrie-Ann Moss. I think that was pretty great. I was really honored to work with another sci-fi icon and she’s a lot like I am in the sense that she’s got a family and she’s grounded and is completely professional. I’d say I take a lot of pride in holding my own with Carrie-Ann Moss.
Chris Fedak: Just 91 episodes of this crazy television show called Chuck. There have been so many moments where we’ve just kind of sat back and looked at the show. It’s been a pleasure to do it and it’s been an honor to work with our cast and our crew and that’s what I guess I’m most proud of.
And now thinking back, if I could have done one thing over again I think we would definitely have had to have gotten Casey into a Speedo.
Adam Baldwin: I'm proud of the fact that I didn't do that. I'm proud of the fact that didn't happen.
With everything said and done, what do you two take away from this series personally?
Adam Baldwin: First of all, a five-year run on any show these days is a true blessing and [then] to have been able to go through it with people who are nice and creative and funny and hardworking and just lovable. I mean, we’re gypsies really in this business, and we travel from family to family on different projects. So to land on one for five years has been a joy and it’s sad to see it go. But at least we have those five years together and we appreciated it while it was happening. So I just feel blessed and honored to have been a part of it.
Chris Fedak: That’s a great point. And I think the other thing [is that] this show was a lot of fun to make, but it was also an incredible challenge. It must be one of the most difficult shows to do especially in the amount of time we have. And to do something that challenging to work with such a great team is really fantastic. To have worked with a great team like this is really one you’re going to measure the rest of your career against.
My thanks to Adam and Chris for this interview, and congratulations to them on 91 episodes of Chuck. Don't miss the series finale at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC - and stay tuned afterward for my review.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
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