Ever since wrapping her five-season run on Chuck, Yvonne Strahovski has been living another day and then some, with a variety of roles on screens (small and big) and stage. But now, she faces one of her greatest challenges — earning the trust of one Jack Bauer, on Fox’s 24: Live Another Day (Mondays at 8/7c).
With Hour 5 of the 12-episode series approaching, TVLine reconnected with the Aussie beauty to survey her busy past two years, reveal the surprising way a spy comedy prepared her for 24‘s break-neck pace and ponder a revisiting of Mr. and Mrs. Bartowski.
TVLINE | I must imagine that for an actor it can be a little scary transitioning from a long-term gig like Chuck into the great unknown. Have these past couple of years been more fulfilling than you could have expected?
I have to say I feel really blessed to have continued to have a pretty jam-packed schedule.
TVLINE | And there’s been such variety — Dexter, Broadway, you popped up on Louie and now this. You’re running the gamut.
You never know what to expect after finishing a long-term series. I was lucky that I got to do films in between seasons of Chuck. Coming out of it, one year I did a movie [I, Frankenstein], I did my Broadway debut [in the Tony-nominated Golden Boy] and then I joined Dexter. So I feel like I had my fingers in all three pies. That is the industry — theater, film and television — so it’s been really cool. Now to be part of 24, which has been so well-received…. When you bring back a show that was on for eight years and has been off the air for four, you don’t really know what to expect. It’s a vulnerable position to be in, and I think that all the producers felt the same way. But everyone’s overwhelmed by the response.
TVLINE | But not even playing a serial killer’s serial-killing girlfriend could have prepared you for the adrenaline-pumping nature of the beast that is 24.
Funnily enough, Chuck prepared me for 24. We shot relatively fast on Chuck — we had such a low budget, we couldn’t afford to spend a lot of time on scenes back then. So in a similar situation now, 24 runs very fast. It’s something that I’m used to, in a way.
TVLINE | I imagine some of the skills you picked up on Chuck — the running and jumping, the gunplay — came in handy as well.
Definitely. I mean, I didn’t feel like I needed to go into any kind of “boot camp” training or gun training with 24 because I do already have that up my sleeve. Even though guns still make me nervous. No matter how much experience I’ll have with guns on set, things can still happen and you’ve got to be very careful.
TVLINE | Have you found yourself in awe of how easily Kiefer Sutherland just slips into it all?
He powers through it all, and is really is such a pro. It’s been really awesome observing him work. He’s knows the show inside out, back to front. He knows the character. He moves at a really fast pace. Being one of the producers on the show as well, he makes changes to the script, and always admire his additions, what he puts into this show outside of just the acting. He contributes in such a smart way to this show that it’s been a nice learning curve for me to watch.
TVLINE | Was it a draw for you that CIA Agent Kate Morgan is smart, that she’s falling on the right side of things, making the right decisions?
I think what’s more the draw is the complications of her past and the relationship stuff. I’m always more interested in what’s going on between the people, what’s going on between the lines and why people do the things that they do. I liked that she kind of was left with nothing at the beginning of the season. She was basically packing up after being demoted. She’d lost her husband [who was indicted for selling state secrets] and her professional life. I liked that it gave her a starting point, somewhere to go. And in this last episode, we’re seeing this potential alliance happening between Jack Bauer and Kate Morgan, so it definitely has been a really strong journey that I liked.
TVLINE | The scandal involving her husband is touched on again this Monday by Navarro (Benjamin Bratt). How much do you think that is fueling her resolve on this particular day?
It’s definitely fueling her. That, and her naturally being good at what she does. She’s got nothing to lose, and she’s also having to prove herself to herself and to the people that she works with.
TVLINE | Having saved Jack from the Marines after he took hostages at the Embassy, would you say that Kate has fully earned his trust moving forward, if needed?
No. I don’t. I think given the nature of what their occupation is, it’s going to take more than that. I mean, Jack didn’t really have anything else to do. She said he didn’t have another play, which is true. So, he’s gambling as much as Kate is. She’s taking a leap of faith with Jack and Jack’s taking a leap of faith with Kate. It is kind of like a trial period. Whatever happens next, can they trust each other?
TVLINE | We’re coming up on the halfway point soon. Will the show afford a moment here or there in the second half of the season to learn a bit more about Kate?
Definitely. All that juicy backstory stuff is continuously in play. That’s what I love about the show is that you watch it and there’s a lot of intricate sort of family things going on, or moral dilemmas…. Things like that.
TVLINE | What can you tease about the scenes you’re shooting right now in London?
Oh, man…. What can I tease….
TVLINE | Is it your perhaps most “action hero” material thus far in the series?
Yeah, I would say…. As an actor, I like when I get to do things that I’ve not done before, and there’s definitely stuff like that coming up. The suspense keeps rising and becomes more thrilling.
TVLINE | Do you have anything new lined up yet for after 24?
Officially-officially, nothing I can talk about. I know that it’s already sort of out in the press that [the murder mystery] Manhattan Nocturne is a project that I’m attached to, alongside Adrien Brody and Campbell Scott. But as for an official start date, we don’t have that yet.
TVLINE | And then of course there’s the hope that you and Zach will one day revisit Sarah and Chuck. What are the odds of that happening by, say, the year 2020?
[Laughs] Oh, man. I don’t know. I’d say by the year 2020 that maybe the odds are good — it might take that long to get it together!
TVLINE | Y’all just need to steal away for a few weeks and bang out a one-off movie or something.
Yeah, maybe. We’ll see. You never know what Zachary Levi has up his sleeve.
TVLINE | Do you think Kate and Sarah would hold each other in high regard?
Yeah, except I think Sarah would get [angry] with Kate, because Kate is a bit “naughty” and does things not by the rules. I think Sarah plays a bit more by the rules — unless she’s in Thailand looking for Chuck!