The Phil Klemmer Interview

Episode Report Card
"Mr. And Mrs. Smith Meets The Office"

PK: Yeah, you do, because it can really give you a pretty bad black eye.

CB: So did you get any other offers?

PK: Actually, I got a job offer from Supernatural as well, and that was another complication. But that show is also Warner Brothers, and Wonderland was the key company that produced both shows. Originally, they came at me and were like, "Okay, we need to know in fifteen minutes whether you're going to take a job on our show." And then other people stepped in. But you know, the showrunner, Eric Kripke, was great, we had a great meeting and he's a super-cool guy, and it seemed like it was going to be a fun show to work on. But honestly, a big part of me was looking forward to doing a major network. I hadn't met Josh Schwartz before Chuck, but I'd met Chris Fedak ["the co-executive producer" -- CB] and really got along with him, but it was sort of weird, taking a job where you didn't know the showrunner yet. But I loved the script and loved the idea of being on NBC and getting to do something that was sort of goofy and cool, and thank God it worked out. I took a job with a cool guy.

CB: So what's your typical day on Chuck been like so far?

PK: It's…you know, we're centered around a room. We have more writers than Veronica Mars, and most days you're obliged to go in and sort of break whatever story is being broken in the room. We're just sort of…for the first couple months, you're just in the honeymoon phase, where production isn't really up and you haven't aired anything, and so it's just this weird sort of bubble of theoretics where you figure out your big-season stuff, and that's really fun, and obviously working on Veronica Mars really helped with that because we broke season-long mysteries, and then gradually the production behemoth sort of catches up to you, and suddenly you're required to be turning in outlines, scripts, and then you're shooting and you're getting cuts, and then all of a sudden you've got six episodes in six different stages of production. You know, you've hopefully got enough of a lead that you'll make it to Episode 21 ["most shows count the pilot as Episode Zero" -- CB] and get through your first season. But you know, getting a new show started takes a lot of time in the room, like figuring out the Lilly Kane murder mystery, it's really an exciting time, and in a weird way the couple weeks we did that stand out so much more clearly than months and months of sort of workaday stuff. And the same is true of Chuck -- getting to know people is very much like your first days at school, where you're trying to make friends and just figure out where you fit in.

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