'Chuck': Isaiah Mustafa brings some Old Spice to the Buy More
Yeah, Munn's a woman, and Mustafa is not.
Don't be worried, though, as gender-swap antics are likely not in store for the manly Mustafa, a former pro football player, but he does get to show off his marksmanship skills -- with a price-labeler gun, that is.
Mustafa plays Hunter, one of the attractive, fiercely competent CIA agents that have taken over the Burbank, Calif., Buy More electronics store. It's also still the home base of Chuck Bartowski ( Zachary Levi), who went from Nerd Herd computer repairman to super-spy in the show's pilot, when an advanced computer was downloaded into his brain.
Following the destruction of the Buy More in the season-three finale last spring, the CIA rebuilt it and turned it into into an agency substation, disguising its employees in Buy More uniforms, which are either a bright-green polo shirt (for sales staff), or a white shirt and tie (for Nerd Herders).
At least on this day at Warner Bros Studios, also in Burbank, Calif., Hunter gets a polo shirt, and, for reasons that are probably classified, a name tag that says "Greta," identical to the one worn by Munn in the fourth-season premiere last week.
"Hunter is just a very efficient CIA agent," says Mustafa, relaxing in a theater chair on the Buy More set. "He gets things done. He's no-nonsense. He'd much rather be in the field, but it just so happens he's at the Buy More.
"I've worked with guys like this before, where they take their job so seriously that you just want to go, 'Come on, man, just relax, please.'"
Fans of Mustafa's Old Spice ads are familiar with the voice he uses in them, a deeper, more self-important version of his own voice. That's not exactly how he sounds as Hunter.
"It's not as pompous [as the Old Spice voice]," Mustafa says, "but it's more authoritative. If I really give it the Old Spice thing, you'll go, 'Oh,' but if I just touch it, 'Oh, that's it.'"
Mustafa was a hit on the set and not just for handing out T-shirts that said, "I'm on a horse" (a tag line from one of the Old Spice ads).
"He is awesome," says Levi of Mustafa, taking a break between shots in his custom-made Nerd Herd golf cart. "It's such a cliche word to use on this set, but it's so true. The guy is smart, talented, funny. He's super-nice, and he's grounded, humble.
"All this has come at a time in his life when he's lived a lot of life. He's very appreciative of it and understands. When he got the Old Spice campaign, he didn't know -- nobody knew it was going to turn into what it did.
"For him to get the success he's gotten out of it, I'm stoked for him and can't wait to see what he does with it."
Asked if Mustafa is returning to "Chuck," Levi says, "I hope he is. I don't know. Unfortunately, he's playing a character where the whole gimmick is that it's going to be played by a different actor every episode."
While it's true that Mustafa is wearing the Greta name tag, his character has his own name, Hunter, so one never knows -- unless one is Adam Baldwin, who plays Chuck's spy cohort John Casey.
Pausing in the Buy More home-theater set on his way out for the day, he says, "Oh, he'll be back."
While the decision ultimately rests with various agents, writers and producers, Mustafa is glad to hear of Baldwin's confidence.
"I hope so," Mustafa says. "That'd be awesome."
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