'Chuck': Carrie-Anne Moss discusses her 'rough around the edges' character and relationship with Casey
"I've got three small children who don't watch television, so my TV is honestly never on," the star of the "Matrix" movies says. To prepare for the role, though, she watched a bunch of episodes on DVD.
"I fell in love with it. I watched like every one. I'd be on the treadmill watching, and my kids would go, 'What are you doing in there?'" Moss says with a laugh. "I really fell in love with the show."
Moss makes her first appearance on "Chuck" Friday (Nov. 4) as Gertrude Verbanski, the head of a rival security firm who makes things tough for Chuck ( Zachary Levi) and Co. -- and also has a past with one John Casey ( Adam Baldwin). She fits into the "Chuck" world very well: Handling the show's action elements wasn't really in question, but she's also pretty adept in the lighter moments.
When Zap2it and a handful of other sites visited the "Chuck" set in September, Moss talked about playing the various elements in the show, Verbanski's connection to Casey and once again doing action scenes.
How are you liking the "Chuck" experience so far?
It's been really fun. I love this show for their ability to do this kind of wacky, action-y, character-driven [material], with heart at the same time. ... When I was watching the episodes before I came to do it, I was like, wow -- they're doing something really unique. I'm a pretty outgoing person, so jumping into something that's already been going on is relatively easy -- which is not to say I wasn't nervous at first. But everyone has been so warm and really kind and opened their arms to me.
What can you tell us about your character?
I'm playing a character named Gertrude Verbanski -- I did not name her. [laughs] ... I like "Verbanski." That's more her. She's a very, very strong, capable woman. She runs a private security company ... she's a rival with these guys, and there's a lot of energy between myself and John Casey that's complicated and based on some past experiences. He and I have this torrid kind of energy together -- he's so gruff and tough, and so is she, but they bring out something in each other.
How do you play that attraction?
It's fun. He's tall! Everyone is very tall on this show. I'm usually the tallest person on jobs, or one of them, and I'm very tiny on this show. He's funny, and Gertrude and John Casey are definitely funny to look at together, just in their domination. They're both so dominant. She definitely brings out another side of him.
Did catching up on the show help you get a feel for her relationship with Casey?
Definitely. I could have played her like him. I could have said, OK, I'm going to play her as him, but a girl. I didn't, but I brought pieces of that. They're cut from the same cloth. You walk into her office and it's like Casey could have lived there. ... Some of the dialogue that's coming out of her mouth is very Casey-esque.
What do you like about Gertrude?
I love that she's strong. I love to play women that are strong and kind of unapologizing and rough around the edges, that really don't care what anyone thinks about them. ... One of the things I didn't think I'd like so much is I'm kind of coming from this iconic place in the character I created and the Wachowskis created in "The Matrix," and ... I've respected it in such a way that I've never really done any movies [since then] that compared to it. ...
And to come into this show and kind of bring that -- I think people of course when they first see it will think that, you know what I mean? Maybe not everybody, but some people might, and especially as it progresses and she becomes more spy-like, it starts to resemble that character a little more. But I think within a few minutes you'll forget [about "The Matrix"]. I hope. At first I was like, "Oh no. I can't do that." But now I'm kind of having fun with it.
Was it easy for you to pick up the fight scenes?
[Sighs] Nooo. I think inside, I was swearing and going, "What am I doing?" People who meet me who don't know me, they hand me a gun and just think I know how to use it. ... Everyone's like, "Well, she knows how to use a gun." But actually, no, I hate guns. I hate shooting them, I hate holding them -- even in "The Matrix" I hated it. I'm not a gun girl. And the fights in "The Matrix," we trained for months. Here it's like, "OK, Carrie-Anne, you're gonna do this to this person, and this to this person -- while you're speaking." You're kidding me. I could've cried. Because I want to be good and I don't want people to think, Oh my god, she's a crappy fighter. That would just be disrespectful to my past. I did OK. I finally had to just go, if the stunt double does part of it -- I'm an actor.
Moss' first episode of "Chuck" airs at 8 p.m. ET Friday on NBC.