The popular duo who play Jeff and Lester ("Jeffster") discuss the new Halloween episode entitled Chuck Versus The Aisle of Terror guest starring Robert Englund
Halloween is just around the corner and NBC will start unveiling its Halloween episodes tonight with a new episode of Chuck entitled Episode 4.06: Chuck Versus the Aisle of Terror, which will air at 8 PM ET. Two of the stars of this popular series, Scott Krinsky and Vik Sahay, who play Jeff and Lester on the show, recently held a conference call to discuss this very special Halloween episode. Here's what they had to say:
A lot of times, you know, we don't really know what it's like making these shows, and I was curious about what you're shooting schedule is, the time it takes for you guys on an episode where you have kind of a lot to do like you did in this past Monday's.
Scott Krinsky: Well we usually, you know, the episodes are scheduled at about 7-1/2 days per episode. So we usually work about on average about two days of an episode.
Vik Sahay: Two to three days. And it depends also on because, you know, even if we have a heavy episode like the one you're mentioning, because a lot of our stuff happens sometimes on one location like the (Bine) war, we'll shoot, you know, five, six scenes in one day. A lot of the way the show gets divided is by location. So yes two, three days exactly.
So we thought you guys had a significant storyline in this past episode in episode five where you actually helped out with the spy plot without realizing it. And there's something similar in next week's episode. Are Jeff and Lester one or both going to be in the know at any point this season?
Vik Sahay: You know, you ask these plot point questions that you know we...
It's simple, yes or no.
Vik Sahay: That is - that's not - that's your tricking me by making it a yes or no question. You're trying to trick us.
Vik Sahay: Look let's just say I don't even know what to say. I mean Scott you answer. Your - you usually give things away.
Scott Krinsky: You know, you want the answer okay. No. You know what? I don't know. We don't know. We don't know. We only now generally what's coming up maybe in the next episode and, you know, we find out that maybe a week before we're shooting it so.
Vik Sahay: And I refuse to read scripts. So I don't even know what's happening on an episode I've already shot. So that's how we...
Scott Krinsky: Personally I think it's kind of fun still for us or for me to sort of be involved with the spy plot without realizing that we're involved - without knowing that we're involved in it. I don't know what would happen if everybody on the show all of a sudden knew what Chuck was up to. I think it's fun still for some people not to know.
Vik Sahay: I think for Lester again I'll speak for me. I think that if it's going to happen that he gets involved in the spy world I would want or I would feel that he would emerge on the other side. That's just my brainstorm feeling that he wouldn't just become part of the good guys very easily. I think that Lester in particular would potentially yes, grow to be... no I don't want to say too much because it's just my own little thought process far, far in the future that he would emerge on the other side suffice it to say.
The episode deals a lot with fear and scaring - people being scared and all that. And we saw at least a glimpse or we will see at least a glimpse of what scares Jeff and Lester. So I was wondering what actually scares you?
Vik Sahay: Silence is obviously terrifying.
Scott Krinsky: I'm scared right now of that question.
Vik Sahay: Me too, very frightening.
Scott Krinsky: I get scared easily like just like darkness, you know, if the lights go out and it's pitch black, you know. And like been hiking and sometimes and, you know, it - I've hiked a lot. And sometimes if it's getting close to dark and, you know, you're not - you're somewhere there's not a lot of light or stuff or it's a cloudy night, you know...
Vik Sahay: You're scared of the dark...
Scott Krinsky: ...that scares me. I don't know what it is about the dark. Like heights don't bother me. I'm not too afraid of heights but the darkness.
Vik Sahay: I have no fears whatsoever. I'm impenetrable and powerful. No other then well I think that, you know, lately in my world kind of in the periphery of my world I've been having, you know, there's some friends of mine whose parents are having health issues. And I think health and people, you know, that that's on my mind a little bit of late and the fear of losing loved ones and that kind of illnesses I think make me kind of shudder in pain. To be a little bit more, you know, global about it, outside of that sharks, so illnesses and sharks.
You guys can't probably tell us exactly what's going to happen in Aisle of Terror but I was wondering when we might hear Jeffster again...
Scott Krinsky: Ah.
Scott Krinsky: I don't know.
Vik Sahay: Once again it's these are plot questions that A, we're not really allowed to venture down and B, much of this is unknown to us.
How about this. How about what songs would you like to hear Jeffster sing?
Scott Krinsky: I mean we haven't done - I think some Journey would be great. You know, we haven't done Journey or maybe some Aerosmith. It'd be fun to let the fans vote or see if what they came up with and maybe we could sort of rally our producers to go with the fan choice.
Vik Sahay: I think that I would like to tackle Susan Boyle's version of I Dreamed a Dream. That's the first thing. No, in all seriousness as much as I profess -- and it's not untrue fear of singing -- and it's certainly not my background as everybody knows and nor am I a trained singer, I really do - there's a part of me that deep down really loves the challenge of singing a brutally tough song. Like it would be interesting and I think right in terms of the spirit of how Lester sings to take on some kind of crazy rock opera song like Tommy or from like a beautiful heartbreaking musical like Next Normal or Hedwig and the Angry Inch, something that's like storytelling at its most raw grand operatic. So that's kind of the world I want to go into. You know, that being said the huge prideful cringing ego in me has, you know, desperately wanted to take singing lessons this whole time. And every time a hiatus comes up or a break in our shooting schedule comes up I go take singing lessons. But there is a larger, stronger kind of inclination and instinct on my part that kind of says Lester isn't taking singing lessons. And it's kind of betrayal to the character to perfect the songs. He's not singing to sound beautiful. He's singing to exercise his rage and passion. So, you know, taking on those songs would require some kind of lessons. But, you know...
But they'd be so much better without.
Vik Sahay: Yes exactly. You're right. You're finally right about something.
Chuck has had a ton of really good guest stars including next week with Robert Englund. And just curious A, what it was like having him around on set and working with him? And if there have been particular favorites of yours either to work with or just because they're somebody you've sort of admired or like their work and got the chance to work with them?
Scott Krinsky: We didn't really get to work with Robert Englund, but we did get to meet him briefly. It's really exciting to have people like him. I grew up watching those Nightmare on Elm Street movies. So it's really exciting and great to just have people like that who want to come be on our show. Sometimes we don't always get to work with all these wonderful guest stars.
Vik Sahay: Sometimes.
Scott Krinsky: Because they're part of the spy plot.
Vik Sahay: We rarely intersect with those guest stars.
Scott Krinsky: Yes.
Vik Sahay: But yes meeting these people is very thrilling. Robert Englund obviously Freddy Krueger it's amazing to see such a gentle being who portrayed that kind of a character. When you have Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton, and going back to I don't know like the John Larroquette's and stuff like that, it's that's where, you know, my heartbeat quickens because they're - they've done some great work as actors. And that's where the thrill is really.
What has it been like for you guys taking that journey with these characters? Because I mean obviously at least when they said you were going to be a band you must have been a little surprised?
Vik Sahay: Oh well, you know, it's obviously it's been an absolute thrill ride. I mean and it's been an interesting exploration of these two characters for me personally. Because, you know, we're - we've kind of emerged through this band and as this twosome as like the odd couple. You know, and I guess, you know, the word odd can be applied in many different ways to us. But we seemed - you know, in my mind we're kind of following a long line of mismatched duo's in entertainment, right, from 's Odd Couple to Cheech and Chong to Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Scott likes to say Lenny and Squiggy though I'm not very versed in that. But yes Mork and Mindy, Batman and Robin, Beauty and the Beast. But for me and, you know, forgive my perhaps romanticized theatrical background heart -- and I've not even said this ever to Scott -- I see us really as Vladimir and Estragon from Waiting for Godot. Because I feel that yes we become a bigger part of the show but we kind of exist in our own void, in our own world, our own show if you will. And we're just it feels like we're occupying time. We're waiting for something to save us to - for some kind of divine intervention. And to pass the time out of that kind of existential void I feel like we attach to the minutia of our lives with life and death passion and panache. Like and to build a bridge to the Halloween episode -- and I'm not sure really how much I should say here -- but suffice it to say that we're asked to take care of a certain aspect of the Halloween for the store. And we put everything we have into it. And the actor in me kind of always asks, you know, like why? Why do we care? Why - what - why are we doing this? What's our motivation? And, you know, are we afraid of being fired? Not really. Do we care about the store? Not really? Are we trying to impress somebody? Maybe, you know, maybe Lester certainly has that end of him in him. But the real answer seems to always be just because it takes up our day. You know, in the same way, Vladimir and Estergon play word games and hat games while waiting for Godot so too does it feel like we're occupying our time. And I think of that that involvement in the show it's almost like we've created a bubble around ourselves. You know, the previous we we're asked about guest stars and said we don't interact much. We have our own circle of a world with our own, you know, tree that's maybe growing leaves like in Godot. And so it's been kind of a - an amazing journey in terms of creating this separate world for Lester and Jeff for me anyway. I've silenced everybody into tears. I apologize for that diatribe. But that's how I see us is we're kind of Vladimir and Estergon waiting for something.
One of the things I noticed from Monday night's episode which seemed a little interesting to me, we always - we've always known Jeff to have a colorful past but I wasn't aware that Lester sort of followed along with him into drug usage. We have seen a bit of Jeff's past in Chuck versus Tom Sawyer. What are your thoughts on the character of Lester outside of the Buy More, outside of Lester, maybe his family life, his history?
Vik Sahay: Well I have a huge notebook filled with his history and his family life much of which I don't love to talk about. But I think he comes from... I'm avoiding telling you exactly what it is right now so that's hence the suffering through this response. I think he comes from a very well to do family but a family they were jetsetters and traveled the world. And his - the influence on him was one of neglect and trying to win love and trying to prove himself. I really see him as a guy who's got his insides broken and there's a pursuit of trying to prove himself to his mother. And hence he goes about things in an overly heavy handed way. He tries too hard. He pushes too hard. If only he would kind of just gentle down you could maybe see that he's actually got a very delicate soft inside, a very soft heart, a breakable, a very breakable heart. And that's kind of where I lead from that his kind of snarkiness, his jackassidness, his nastiness, his anger, comes out of like it's a shell that's covering a place in him that's very, very wounded. And that's kind of where I push from off of him. It's I actually find it kind of exhausting to play him in a true sense because he's got this engine of rage that I have to before I come into work I have to kind of turn on and build up and then keep going for the, you know, however long we're shooting. and sometimes its days in a row and an anger that I myself don't actually have so, you know, because I don't let it down many in the cast would assume I do. So that's where I think he's coming from. You know, without getting into too many of the specifics in my notebook he - I think that he's got an incident or a few incidents in his past where there was - where there's a void, there's a missed something in his upbringing. And he's kind of trying to scream at the world and say look at me, look at me. You know, he's almost raging now at a world that he sees as hating him.
Now to go back into what was being said earlier, Chuck does have such a rich history of guest stars. I was wondering if you two had any personal heroes that you would love to work with?
Vik Sahay: I always thought that - these are necessarily personal heroes. Personal heroes is kind of a different thing. But I always felt like to - like in terms of if we ever saw Lester's mother who would it be? And I always imagined it would be like the - like a Bette Midler, you know, somebody brassy and loud and crazy and overbearing -- not that she is but she plays these characters. And I imagine his father as maybe somebody, you know, like Jeff Goldblum, you know, kind of (quokian) really kind of dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And I also feel like those two characters, those actors could fit very well into the world of Chuck.
What can you tell us about Episode 4.06: Chuck Versus the Aisle of Terror? Is there any little tidbits you can give us on what we're going to see on Monday?
Scott Krinsky: Well we've been given the task of decorating the Buy More for Halloween. You know, and Jeff and Lester another, you know, another little mission for them. And so we'll sort of have to wait and see what they've come up with. You know, we can't give too much away obviously.
So what are your hopes for your characters then now that you have many more episodes to go?
Vik Sahay: Right, great question. You know, It's just about exploration and depth. I sort of alluded earlier to what I hope if there is an emergence into the spy world, you know, it'll be nice for Lester if it wasn't just him being, you know, the eighth person that finds out and then kind of joins the team in the same capacity. It'd be interesting I think there's more interest for me in if there's perhaps an emergence in a different, I guess the word is side, a different, you know, for him there in terms of where we go in terms of the spy world. But I think that what one of the things that Scott and I talk about one so while is the exploration of the development of the band and to see more of kind of the backstage shenanigans where that might go. That might be an interesting element. But that just might be a separate show. I'm not sure. Scott?
Scott Krinsky: Yes, 11 more episodes have been added. So it's going to be real interesting to see where they take our characters. I love when Jeff gets to sort of be involved in the spy storyline, you know, without obviously knowing that he's part of that world, you know, with the couch trip in the last episode. So I find it fun to be in those kinds of storylines. I don't know like if finding out would... that could be really funny and great for Lester. For Jeff to just, you know, to his aloofness still at that whole world would continue to be a great place to mine some comedy. It's fun exploring a little bit of our personal life outside of the Buy More. And certainly more Jeffster is great. And I think that there's a lot of great stories to be mined with Lester and Jeff as we continue on. And hopefully there's a little bit more Jeffster down the road for everyone.