Robin Givens’ stint on Chuck has been shrouded in a bit of secrecy because although she premieres in a couple of episodes that do stand-alone, she is also a part of a big mythological foil for Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) that will not air for another month. But we got to sit down with her on the Chuck set a few weeks ago in between takes of that big episode to get a better idea of who the character is and exactly why she is trying to go through Casey (Adam Baldwin) if it’s Chuck she wants.
LA TV Insider Examiner: You join Chuck in the sixteenth episode of the fourth season, in a role that is brand new but holds a key to the Volkoff mythology. Were you a fan of the show prior to taking the role? Did you know what you were getting yourself into?
Robin Givens: You know, it’s so funny. I knew of it, but I hadn’t really tuned in, and it’s sort of amazing because I’m sort of coming back to this whole world. So on a Monday night I was in bed with my eleven year old who was sick with a cold, and he was like ‘Let’s watch Chuck!’ And we loved it, and it was something I’m really happy to be a part of.
NBC is keeping your character details quite vague! In the episode summary they sent me, they called her “mysterious” and a “higher-up” at the agency. Who is she to you?
R.G.: I would go with mysterious; I would go with higher-up; I do agree with that! It’s sort of interesting when you come into a world that’s already been going on in many respects, so in a way I’m almost playing catch-up. [The writers] definitely have a sense of who she is and the little shifts that she’s making and the shake ups with the team. But yes, mysterious and higher-up!
Do you think she’s an adversary for General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy) then?
R.G.: I think so. I think so in some respects. What I find interesting in playing it– because that’s the thing with acting: you’re reading it and then the next thing you know, you’re in the scene– and just even with Chuck, that sense of really pushing him to a place of I’m not even really sure of where it’s going, but there’s a sense of something and I really like [that]. I’m really sort of interested in that part of it.
But when she is introduced she comes in specifically with an offer for Casey; is her offer just a way of using him to get to Chuck or the team as a whole?
R.G.: You know what, I like the way you think! [Laughs] I definitely think that she is using Casey in some respects, and I think once again specifically to get to Chuck and to really push his buttons. So I think even more than General Beckman and these women going at it, she’s touching Chuck in places that are closer to home.
Editor’s Note: Maybe you should think literal home here, you guys. Like family, home.
General Beckman has a very familiar, even at times friendly, relationship with her team since they’ve been together so long. Is your relationship to the Gretas similar?
R.G.: I think that she’s sort of recruited them and then tries to get them to be the best that they can be, but I don’t think she has very much of a relationship with them. It’s really just to use them for whatever she wants to use them for.
But they at least work well together, right? She respects them and trusts them to carry out her tasks?
R.G,: I think they have a good working relationship. I think that she thinks that they’re very good at what they do or else she wouldn’t have them around. I wonder who she really would be, kind of, close to in a way. I would love to see that part. I sort of get the sense that she has something in mind, and she’s going to use whoever to make that happen.
Have you gotten to do any stunts or gun work yet?
R.G.: No, and my son keeps asking me that! He’s like ‘Have you shot anything yet?’
Well, you will be coming back in future episodes, so maybe in the next one. Would that be something you’d look forward to do?
R.G.: I love it; I love it! Even just for my kids now, I’m like ‘Guns!’ I’ve done things before…but those characters were, it wasn’t even an issue with the guns, and I’m so the opposite of that. But, you know, I have boys and they love it.
Is there anyone in the cast that you haven’t had a chance to work with yet that you’re dying to?
R.G.: Well when I saw John [Larroquette guest star], I was like ‘John!!!’ It was like my life was coming full-circle. I adore John Larroquette; I would love to work with him. I loved working with Adam, but Zachary Levi– I kind of keep coming back to that because he has something really– I just think she’s a character that can touch him on a certain level.
I think it would be a blast to see John’s Roan Montgomery come back and create a new love triangle with you and Beckman! But about Chuck, what level would that be?
R.G.: I think she knows things and she can force him to deal with certain things, so that would be fun.
So perhaps she knows some more than has so far been revealed about Volkoff (Timothy Dalton) and Mary (Linda Hamilton)’s relationship? After all, Givens’ character, Jane Bentley, will be introduced in “Chuck vs the Masquerade,” an episode that also introduces the mysterious Lauren Cohan as a woman who may hold some Volkoff secrets of her own. Are the two women secretly working together?
Or perhaps Jane may even have some insight into Mr. Bartowski (Scott Bakula) himself. We’re not going to spoil all the dirty details; you’ll just have to tune in to know for sure!
Givens premieres on Chuck tonight, February 21st at 8pm on NBC. She will then return in mid-March for a couple of very special episodes that also feature the returns of Stacy Keibler and Isaiah Mustafa. If you want to hear from them directly, be sure to subscribe to this page as on-the-set interviews are forthcoming!