Yvonne Strahovski has been sleeping a lot.
Sarah Walker, her character on “Chuck,” is certainly a woman of action — when not busting up spy rings, she’s often busting the heads of villains with her wicked fighting skills.
But since the third season of the NBC spy show wrapped production three weeks ago, Strahovski has been taking a break. Being Sarah is hard work.
“After eight months of ‘Chuck,’ it really takes it out of me,” the actress said in a Monday phone conversation.
She doesn’t have any firm post-season plans — there is one potential project in the works, but she couldn’t say what it was. But she will be heading to to her native Australia soon for the premiere of a film she appears in, “I Love You Too” (to answer your next question, she thinks the film will get released in North America but she wasn’t sure).
In the Q&A below, the actress answered some burning questions I had (and a few that fans had) after Monday’s pivotal episode of the show, which returns with six new episodes April 26. Questions are in bold type, answers are in regular type.
What did you think of how Chuck and Sarah finally got together? Was it a relief? Was it a big deal in terms of your character?
Yeah, I think it’s a huge relief for everyone. It’s like the natural progression of what should happen. I think there’s only so many times we could drag it out where they didn’t [get together]. There are only so many obstacles Chuck and Sarah can face. I think it’s really great and I think the fans are going to love it.
I think there was a pent-up demand among the fans for this to happen. There was a big to-do when Sarah and Shaw got together. Is that something you followed at all, or is the online chatter something you try to stay away from?
No, I hear about it. I don’t really go online a lot, I didn’t read about it but I’d heard that [some people] were very unhappy about the love interests that both Chuck and Sarah had, both Shaw and Hannah. People were unhappy.
It’s just hard for us as viewers sometimes, I think, because Chuck and Sarah have such chemistry — it’s harder for us to invest in the new character.
There’s a lot that we’ve invested in those characters, and so when somebody else comes along, there’s got to be a pretty good reason to start to invest in somebody else. I can understand how it could be hard for the viewers to watch it.
Was it fun to do these next episodes where they’re together? Was it the same or was there a different feel?
It’s a different feel. I think for my character, she’s always sort of been abnormal — she’s always been a spy and she doesn’t really know how to live a non-spy life. I think Chuck has taught her over the seasons how to sort of be more normal. I think she relaxes somewhat and she doesn’t hold her feelings in so much. It’s definitely an interesting journey for my character and it’s definitely a lot of fun to play that, when they’re together. It’s kind of a release.
Yeah, and I’m hoping it’s going to be fun to see them adjust to them being a couple and see everyone around them adjust to that. Do you think it adds more comedy or more drama to the show?
I don’t know, I would say maybe more dramatic I guess, in a way, because some problems occur later on. I guess [the relationship adds] a bit of both.
There was a lot for Sarah to deal with in Season 3 — opening up to Chuck, then him choosing not to run off with her, her watching him change and contending with her own feelings and all that. Was this the most challenging season for you as an actress or was it on par with the previous seasons?
I loved this season. I feel like it just gets better every season. The more complicated it gets, the more fun I have as an actress doing it. There were so many layers. The journey this season was kind of more complicated. She wanted to [run off] and Chuck rejected that idea, and I don’t think she was expecting that at all. That was a big, giant slap in the face. I think she wanted to open up but that kind of stopped her and she went back to square one.
After [Monday’s “Chuck” episode], I think it’s such a relief for her. She tried to find something else with Shaw but it’s just not the same. They both realized that whatever they were trying to look for in other people, they’re never going to find it, because it’s right there in front of them.
You know, it wasn’t your performance at all, and I was upfront with Chris Fedak about this — I didn’t quite understand why Sarah was with Shaw. And his take was that he was the kind of guy she’d been with in the past, so that was somehow comforting to her. Is that your take on it also?
Yeah, I agree, it kind of goes back to what I was saying before — she doesn’t know how to be a normal person and normal people I guess don’t appeal to her because she’s not really around them. To me as an actor, what I sort of rode on was the fact that they both lost people who were really important to them in the spy world. He had lost his wife and I had lost Bryce. They had an emotional understanding about each other. But yeah, it goes back to what you were saying before, it’s so hard to invest in something new when there’s so much already invested in Chuck and Sarah.
Now that Chuck knows Sarah’s real name, will he start calling her Sam?
No, I think it’s just Sarah. That’s how Chuck knows her. They’ll stay with that, I think.
Will we see any more of Sarah’s family or parents in the last part of the season?
No, I think that’ll have to wait for a possible fourth season.
Are you going to participate in the fan efforts to get the show another season? Do you yourself have anything in the works in that arena?
You know, I haven’t started to think about that yet, but I’ll jump on the bandwagon of whatever happens.
So, before I let you go, I thought I’d ask some questions from fan. One wanted to know if you’re similar to Sarah Walker.
The athletic part of it [is similar]. I love doing all sorts of sporty things.
Have you ever had an idea for an episode? What would you like to do if you could write an episode?
I’ve always had this idea, I’ve pitched it to Chris Fedak — to go to Fashion Week or Paris or Milan. I think it’d be a really great setup, to mix the catwalk and the models and have to wear different wigs and things.
Another fan question: Are you into gaming or anything nerdy?
No, not really gaming at all. But I was in [the videogame] “Mass Effect 2.” It is really weird to watch myself in a game, that’s really cool.
So what would you say to get fans excited about the next set of episodes?
Gosh, it gets pretty dramatic. The line between Chuck’s spy life and family life and who knows and who doesn’t know — it’s all going to come dangerously close.