The Phil Klemmer Interview

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"Mr. And Mrs. Smith Meets The Office"

CB: So because the show didn't exist at that point, was he able legally to take your script, or did he sort of bend the rules for you? ["Basically, these days, because of past lawsuits involving intellectual property, almost no one will take material that wasn't submitted through an agent or entertainment attorney." -- CB]

PK: It was a total gentleman's agreement. It's kind of an argument for why it's so lame that you have to play the game of getting an agent before you can submit a script. I mean, so many people have these sort of sideways entrances into Hollywood. And that's what happened to me, and I'm certainly grateful for it. I certainly had hustled to get other people to read my stuff, and no one had found it that interesting. And of course, when Rob Thomas finds you interesting, then all of a sudden…

CB:everyone finds you interesting.

PK: [laughs] Yeah. Exactly.

CB: So how did you get the job on Chuck?

PK: Well, we didn't know about Veronica Mars -- I suppose we still don't technically know. Maybe we're still alive in some alternate universe, but we never actually heard that we were canceled.

CB: Well, with Kristen Bell on Heroes, it may be tough to revive.

PK: [both laugh] Yeah, and I have two Gossip Girl editors, one on either side of me. I hear her voice, like, every day. I'm like, "Oh my God, it's still going! ...Oh, right." But yeah, I was sort of obliged to do the mad dash of meetings, as everybody on a bubble show does, and in previous years I was foolish and ballsy enough to just be like, "Aaah, we're comin' back!" But this year, we all had sort of bad feelings, so you spend all of hiatus first meeting executives. We did get a bit of hopeful news about a week before the upfronts when, I think, we heard that Gilmore Girls wasn't coming back -- it was like, the thing that we were afraid to hope for might happen. But I'd been a good client, read all my pilots, and Chuck was right at the top of the pile -- one that really made me laugh, and it really felt like I could take my tools from Veronica Mars and travel with them -- a lot of shows are kind of heavy, and turgid -- like, professionals doing bang-up jobs in law and medicine and crap like that. I really liked Chuck from early on and kept my eye on it, and then I got the job offer without having heard about Veronica Mars getting canceled yet, so I was terrified that I was going to be stuck in this position. But they're both Warner Brothers shows, so some really nice people were like, you're safe to take it, and if a miracle happens, you'll be able to go back to your office in North Hollywood and your twice-a-week tennis with John Enbom ["another VM writer "-- CB] and those other things I'd come to rely on over three years. So I was able to take the job without feeling too conflicted.

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