A 'Life' interrupted

Damianlewis_sarahshahi_life_240 The cast and crew of NBC's drama Life got some great news last week: The show was picked up for a full season.

The only problem with that is that no one involved with the series knows when they'll be going back to work. The show has filmed 11 episodes, the last of which -- the conclusion of a two-parter that began Monday -- airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

While the show's writers are out, stars Damian Lewis and Sarah Shahi have been using the downtime to recharge. The two are in nearly every scene, which has meant a lot of long hours.

"I've been very thankful for the break. But I'm very glad that the strike seems to be resolving itself," Lewis said last week -- though since then some of that optimism has cooled. "Those are the rumors anyways, that there are [ideas] that have been proposed and the, you know, the sounds are encouraging. So hopefully we'll be back at work in the middle of January."

Adds Shahi, "It's nice to know that I have a job during the strike. And at the same time, because the hours have been so grueling ... it does feel nice" to get a break.

Shahi and Lewis also spoke about their characters and the conspiracy Crews is trying to uncover.

On Crews and Reese's lack of attraction:

Shahi: "I think any time you get your two lead characters together, there's really no room to go from there. So hopefully it's something that, if it happens, will be drawn out for an incredibly long time and be maybe tantalizing. I don't know."

On the nature of the conspiracy:

Lewis: "It's a spooky thing. You know, a lot of the conspiracy story is explored in the [this week's] episodes. And I think what's becoming apparent about the conspiracy is that it's a multi-layered onion, and we will need to keep peeling away that onion in order to get to the powerhouse -- the people driving the conspiracy at the center of the story. By the end of episode 11, we make a big, big discovery and it's very exciting. But it will only take us on to a new level, I think, after that."

How much they know:

Lewis: "I don't. I don't think Sarah does. She's terrible at keeping a secret, so she definitely would have told me. You know, the writers themselves don't know too far in advance. I mean, I think they have general outlines. But, you know, they're putting in the detail weekly and so we're not too far behind the writers. ... I don't want to know everything up front. I'm enjoying discovering it. It's like reading a novel."

Shahi: "Yeah, it's more fun to play like that and then it also feels more -- I mean, for me also it's just not my technique to try to know everything and then play the discovery once I'm there. It's like I really do not want to know."

How long can it play out?

Lewis: "I think that's the cleverness of the concept is that I think you can ink it out as long as you choose to. How high up do you want the corruption to go? Does it just stop at the LAPD? Already we've had an intimation from one of the episodes that there are four or five high-ranking officials involved, you know. That could just -- you could just go to one of them in the first season. You could go to the next one -- each one of them in the following four seasons.

"You could go to the White House. You could take it on to the moon. You know, how high up does the corruption go? And how multi-stranded is the web of corruption, because I think you can take it laterally as well? And it really can go anywhere in the same way that 24 was a brilliantly conceived concept. They can do pretty much whatever they want with that, too."

Life will live on after the strike. Looking forward to it coming back?