Category: Interviews

Yvonne Talks “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Yvonne Strahovski Felt Horrible Filming That Handmaid’s Tale Car Scene

Spoilers ahead for season one of The Handmaid’s Tale.

By the end of The Handmaid’s Tale’s first season, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is taken away by the Eye without the consent of her masters, the Waterfords. But that doesn’t mean one of TV’s scariest villains, Serena Joy, is out of the picture. The Commander and his wife, played by Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski, will return for the second season, which means Strahovski, who recently played a serial killer’s accomplice on Dexter, a CIA agent on 24: Live Another Day, and a feminist on The Astronaut Wives Club, will be around to terrorize the show’s protagonist and its viewers for a while longer. Strahovski, who admits she has trouble with Serena Joy’s general awfulness, spoke to Vulture about the challenges she faced finding her character’s humanity (yes, she does have some), what it was like to film the Ceremony, and how horrible she personally felt filming the disturbing car scene in the finale.
Continue reading Yvonne Talks “The Handmaid’s Tale”

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Hollywood Today Live: Interview

You know her from Chuck, you know her from Dexter and now Yvonne Strahovski is starring in a new film with Adrien Brody: Manhattan Night. Plus she loves the beach, but hated the water? How did Yvonne Strahovski lose that fear?

In My Time: An Interview with Yvonne

If I had to sum up Yvonne Strahovski in one sentence, I’d say she’s the über-cool action hero, minus the corny acting. In her breakout role as the ass-kicking CIA agent Sarah Walker in Chuck, she gave hope to every computer geek in America that they too might meet and fall in love with a hot blonde who knows kung fu. She also made death by poison seem like a favorable way to go as the lethal Hannah McKay in Dexter. Next she’ll play a scientist alongside Aaron Eckhart in I, Frankenstein, out Jan. 24. Malibu Magazine recently caught up with the Australian gem to get the low down on Comic-Con, Broadway and how to make a perfect cup of coffee.

I just read that there’s some speculation that Dexter may not be gone forever. If the show returned, what do you think we’d find your character doing?
Well, she has Harrison now, so that’s a big responsibility, and if she hasn’t poisoned him already, she would be looking after him and really trying to be a good mom, because I think she really loved Harrison. The other alternative is she has poisoned Harrison and is doing bad things, and she’s gone dark.

There seems to be a running theme of good and bad, and the gray area between the two in a lot of your work.
I think that’s just a product of circumstance. I choose my roles based on various things but mainly the character, and if it’s something new or something I haven’t done, or something I can make into something interesting and different for me.

Can you talk a bit about Stuart Beattie’s interpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? How has he reimagined the classic tale?
It’s sort of launching off the end of Mary Shelley’s novel. We fast-forward 200 years from the end of Mary Shelley’s book. It’s a tale about the creature, Frankenstein, having still survived into the present day because he’s immortal and how he has come to be this way and his search for answers. And within that you meet my character, Dr. Terra Wade, who is an electro-physiologist. She’s a scientist, and she’s the modern-day Victor Frankenstein researching how to bring things back to life for medical purposes. She doesn’t believe in the myth of the creature Frankenstein, and she doesn’t believe in gargoyles and demons, but yet these things are all alive in her world, and she sort of discovers them throughout the movie.

Did you ever read comic books growing up?
I was never really a comic book fan. I’ve sort of been recently, and by recently I mean through the Chuck years. I’ve been thrown into that sort of comic world, and you know now I’m a Comic-Con regular because of it. But I do remember when I was younger I loved — I don’t know if this was just an Australian thing or not — but I used to watch the cartoon He-Man with She-Ra. I never really did the comic book, but I loved the cartoon.

Speaking of Comic-Con, you’ve gone several times, are there any alter egos you are secretly wishing you could dress up as?
Ones that exist in real life? I have a couple in my head that I wouldn’t mind playing. But I would probably just throw on a Wookie costume from Star Wars and head in.

How would you describe your personal style on a day-to-day basis?
My personal style is very carefree and without a lot of effort because I can’t be bothered really. I’m sort of the shorts-and-T-shirt girl or the jeans-and-T-shirt girl. I’m happiest when I’m in comfortable clothing that I can run around in and do cartwheels in and then, you know, go straight for a bathing suit and a wetsuit and go surfing.

Theater was your first introduction to acting. And I know you just performed in Golden Boy. Are you interested in doing another Broadway play?
Yeah. That was an extraordinary experience. I had my own theater company in Sydney for a long time, but I hadn’t done theater in about seven years before my Broadway debut. I didn’t ever think that I would go back to theater, but doing that made me rediscover the power and the beauty and the creative energy of it. It’s really something else. It’s probably one of the rare and only times that an actor is fully in control, for an extended period of time, of what he or she is doing. On camera, you stop and start, and there are different shots for different pieces of different scenes. Live theater is one take, and that’s it. So, there’s something very extraordinary and difficult and challenging and terrifying about it all, but it makes it all very rewarding in the end.

You’ve had so much success in TV, film and even Broadway. Is there anything about the business that still makes you nervous?
Well, yeah. I feel like, as actors, it’s kind of the equivalent of having a job interview all the time and starting a new job all the time. I think that [everyone], to some degree, has some kind of nervousness surrounding that. It’s like the first day of school, when everyone gets a little nervous. What are the people going to be like? Is everyone going to be nice? You know, are people going to be on the same page as me creatively? There are all those natural, normal nervous things that happen. Are people going to make fun of my lunch box? All that stuff.

What’s your favorite vacation destination?
Oh, well I like to change it up a lot. I mean I don’t ever really go to the same place twice because I like to explore different places. The last town that I was in was Exmouth in western Australia. I had never explored the coast of western Australia, and I went there with a girlfriend, and it was extraordinary. We rented a car and drove from Exmouth down to Perth, and it was just beautiful: so much amazing, amazing wildlife everywhere — from kangaroos, snakes and emus and sharks and dolphins. And we just had a great big marine adventure, and we swam with whale sharks and all sorts of things.

What’s this I hear about Australian coffee putting even the best American brew to shame? Is that really true?
You know, it’s not about the brew so much as it is about the way that the milk and everything is made. Because there’s a whole technique. We like to fluff the milk, make it very creamy, and pour it a certain way, but a latte has the perfect amount of froth on it. We don’t call it foam because foam implies that it’s airy and uneven and bubbly, which is often what you get here unfortunately. But in Australia it is … you know, we take pride in that frothing process to make it even and creamy. And we also have things called flat whites, which America doesn’t have.

What is that?
So, a latte should have a little head of froth on it where a cappuccino should have a big one. And then a flat white is super flat so it doesn’t have a layer of froth on the top.

Have you found a place in L.A. or anywhere in the states that’s a runner up?
I was actually at some little cafeteria at the Dana Point Marina, if I’m remembering correctly. There’s a little cafeteria there, and I was shocked! They creamed, they frothed the milk just perfectly, and it was exactly how an Australian coffee would’ve been served.

Where’s your favorite spot to catch some waves?
My favorite place at the moment is in San Onofre. The San Onofre State Beach. It’s kind of more for long boarding, but it’s awesome on a great day. Ah, I love it, and I’m craving a trip actually. I think I’m going to go next week.

Source: Malibu Magazine

Gallery Links:
x004 | Studio Photoshoots > 2014: Session 001

From ‘Chuck’ to ‘Dexter’ to Broadway

NEW YORK (AP) — Yvonne Strahovski is making her Broadway debut this fall, which is pretty cool, especially since she’s never actually caught a Broadway show before.

“I don’t know if I should be ashamed to say I’ve never seen one or if I should be kind of proud of it,” says the bombshell Australian over coffee. “Probably a bit of both.”

Strahovski, who played a CIA agent in NBC’s action comedy show “Chuck” and then crossed over to the dark side as a serial killer in “Dexter,” plays Lorna Moon in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Clifford Odets’ “Golden Boy.”

The play, which opens next week at the Belasco Theater, is about a young man torn between his true calling as a violinist and the lure of fast money as a boxer. Strahovski, 30, plays his manager’s mistress and is in 10 of the play’s 12 scenes.

The play represents something of a return to Strahovski’s roots. A University of Western Sydney graduate, she emerged intent on a career onstage and even co-founded her own theater company.

On a whim, she decided to audition for TV shows in America, flew to Los Angeles and landed “Chuck” in three days. “I remember calling my parents and telling them I’m not coming home,” she says. “And I never used my return ticket home.”

After five seasons in slinky outfits delivering vicious kicks to enemies, Strahovski next found herself in something of a love triangle with Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall in season 7 of “Dexter.”

Next month she appears opposite Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in “The Guilt Trip,” and next year she’ll be in “I, Frankenstein” with Bill Nighy and Aaron Eckhart.

It was while filming “I, Frankenstein” in Australia that Strahovski went to a comedy festival and was reminded how much she adored performing live. Right about then, Broadway was calling — and she leapt. “There’s something completely raw and unique about live theater and it puts you on your toes,” she says.

Strahovski says the play is still revealing itself to her and she’s stretching her acting muscles alongside a cast of 19 that includes Danny Burstein and Tony Shalhoub.

She recently sat down with The Associated Press to evade questions about whether she survived season 7 of “Dexter,” to boast about her unusual gun skills and to complain about her cable company.

AP: How different is this experience?
Strahovski: Honestly, I do feel a little bit like a fish out of water. A, I’ve never done a Broadway play. B, I’ve never seen a Broadway play. C, I’m Australian. And I’m an Australian coming in to do a classic American play that is set in the ’30s. It’s been challenging on all fronts.

AP: What can you tell us about “Dexter”? Do you survive?
Strahovski: I can’t reveal much. It’s so hard to talk about. And I haven’t even caught up with the last two episodes. My cable didn’t turn on last night and I was on hold for 40 minutes with Time Warner. You should print that! I was on hold for 40 minutes and nobody answered the phone.

AP: Were you a fan of “Dexter” before you landed a job on it?
Strahovski: I had seen bits and pieces but I had never watched episode after episode. So I actually sat down and watched all six seasons back-to-back for three weeks before I started shooting.

AP: What kind of mood were you in after that?
Strahovski: I was mixed. I was having some weird dreams and when I finally got to the set, everyone was their character. I had a really hard time calling Jennifer ‘Jennifer’ and not Debra, and Michael ‘Michael’ and not Dexter. I was so in that world.

AP: Your accents are always pretty good. How do you do it?
Strahovski: My first language was Polish — my whole family is Polish. I’m the only Australian. So I think because of that, I have maybe an ear for different types of sounds and my mouth is used to using different muscles.

AP: What strange skills have you learned in your career?
Strahovski: I know how to punch properly. I know how to kick really well. I now know how to use a gun, especially a 9 mmm Smith and Wesson. I like to think I can defend myself if I ever got mugged, but who knows? In the moment I might shrivel up.

AP: When you have any downtime, where can we find you?
Strahovski: If I got a small amount of time, I would usually probably veg out on the couch to some sort of brainless television. But my cable hasn’t been working so I’ve been spending a lot of time on Skype with my friends. I switch off with my friends and my parents. I seem to live on Skype because my dearest are so far away.

Source: Associated Press

Yvonne Strahovski: The “Hot Complex” Interview

Yvonne is featured in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Complex Magazine talking about Chuck, Dexter and The Guilt Trip, her ideal guy, and shady dates.

Yvonne Strahovski’s days of operating in the shadows are over. After kicking ass for five years as sexy spy Sarah Walker on the cult favorite action-comedy series Chuck, the 30-year-old Australian bombshell is currently expanding her audience playing Hannah McKay in the seventh season of Showtime’s Dexter. In December, she mines laughs with two of the biggest comedic actors alive, Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, in The Guilt Trip. The truth is coming to light.

You wore a variety of crazy outfits while playing a spy on Chuck. Which was your favorite?
It was always fun to try on costumes and partake in weird activities. I particularly liked the belly-dancing outfit. I’d never belly danced before, but I learned, and now that’s a skill I can add to my résumé. [Laughs.]

Chuck spent most of its years on the bubble, so every season finale acted as a series finale in case the show wasn’t renewed. Did you have one where you thought, if the show ends here I’m satisfied?
That’s hard to say. I don’t know that if I’ve ever thought about that. What I can say is I was always prepared for it to end. We were always on the bubble after every season, so we never knew what was going on. The writers had a very difficult task of writing kind of like Choose Your Own Adventure books. They had to write an ending that would be satisfactory as a real ending, but also be open to continuation if we got renewed. It was great to know that season five was the end, and they wrote with that in mind, knowing that that was it and they could write with a big finale in mind, and not have to play that game of “will we or won’t we?” anymore.

Over the seasons there were a number of Sarah-centric episodes. Which is your favorite?
Hands down, the Thailand episode [“Chuck Versus Phase Three”]. That has my favorite fight scene and it was a side of Sarah Walker that we hadn’t yet seen, a more evil side. She didn’t care about anything except finding Chuck and she stopped at nothing. I had fun playing that.

In The Guilt Trip, Seth Rogen plays an inventor and your love interest. What non-existent invention do you need in your life?
A robot that makes decisions for me so I can have an extra set of hands accomplishing the things I have zero time for, in the way that I want them done!

How would you describe your ideal guy?
He has to be smart, honest, understanding with a good conscience, funny, and…athletic. [Laughs.]

Do you prefer Australian guys or American guys?
There are good ones and bad ones in both countries. For now, I’ll be patriotic to the country I’m currently living in and say American.

How tough are your parents on guys you date?
They’ve always been supportive. They are welcoming and tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Then, later on, they give me their two cents!

How did marathon viewing Dexter to prepare for your role as Hannah McKay affect you?
It gave me horrible nightmares! I watched the full six seasons in three weeks and had Dexter on the brain day and night.

How do you punish people who do you wrong?
I drug them and take them out to a forest, where I wrap them in plastic and—oh, wait, that’s Dexter.

What’s the shadiest thing you’ve discovered about someone you’ve dated?
On our first date, one guy farted loudly in front of me. I considered that shady for a split second, before I burst into laughter and thought, Wow, he’s a keeper.

What do fans ask you to say most often in your Australian accent?
Everyone loves to hear me say “no.” When an Aussie says “no,” you can hear all the vowel sounds in the alphabet. I often get made fun of for it.

Hearing you say “yes” must be even better.

Gallery Links:
x009 | Studio Photoshoots > 2012: Session 006
x078 | Screencaptures > Photoshoots: Behind the Scenes > Complex Magazine – Dec 2012