Exclusive 'Chuck' Interview: Vik Sahay Talks About the 'Chuck' Finale and (Of Course) Jeffster
Exclusive 'Chuck' Interview: Vik Sahay Talks About the 'Chuck' Finale and (Of Course) Jeffster
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
With the Chuck series finale upon us, it's good to get a sense of how the show's cast feels about the end. I recently had a chance to talk to Vik Sahay -- Lester on Chuck -- about the show, his character and all those crazy Jeffster! performances.

What is Vik Sahay's favorite Chuck episode? His favorite Jeffster! song? And what does he call a "beautiful heartbreak?" Keep reading to find out!

BuddyTV: Thank you for talking to me, and also thank you so much for signing all the stuff for us!

Vik Sahay: I'm very, very happy to do that. Anything to help you guys out, to give back to the fans, I'm always up for.

BTV: Well we've got lots of people trying to win the stuff now.

VS: That's amazing.

Do you want a chance to win Chuck prizes -- some of them signed by Vik Sahay? Enter the Chuck vs. the Fans Giveaway and you might!

BTV: Is there anything coming up in the Chuck series finale that you can mention or share without fear of reprisal?

VS: Well, I feel reprisal relentlessly. But I think I'm allowed to tell, officially, that indeed there is a Jeffster! performance. And that's all I can say about it.

BTV: It's good to have that confirmed after the rumors...

VS: OK, good. I can confirm it.

BTV: In the last few episodes, Lester actually managed to get in on some of the main spy plots -- repeatedly. What was it like for you to have your character in on the secrets for the first time?

VS: You know, it was never important for me for Lester to be in on the secret. I think that, in terms of the show in general, it was fantastic and it was time. But what I really loved about these last few episodes was the dynamic between Lester and Jeff. And the dialog between them.

I think that what's happened in the last few episodes -- with Jeff's head being cleared and Lester's head not being cleared -- it's allowed for them to be a lot more proactive, and I think that was exciting. And whether that would have happened in-on-the-secret or in-and-of-itself, I would have been very happy. Because I think the writing really was particularly spectacular for that.

So it was great. I've really, really loved shooting these last, you know, X-amount of episodes.

BTV: How have you seen the evolution of Lester over the course of Chuck -- if there's been any evolution at all?

VS: Well, you know, evolution in terms of true humanity, in people, it doesn't happen as fast in reality as it does on television.

I think that Lester's depths of the... Let me put it this way. The poisonous gas is on Lester's insides. Unlike the poisonous gas that was poisoning Jeff, for Lester, it's from his inside. And I think that that is a much longer, much slower development. So I think that he's trapped, in and of himself, he's trapped inside his own prison of horror. And I think that there's many, many, many, many, many more years for him to be released from that.

BTV: If Lester did have his many, many years of evolution, where do you think he would go with it? What could Lester become?

VS: Obviously, he's got some kind of inner rock star in him. And I believe him to be highly intelligent and highly intuitive, and I think he could have become anything he wanted. He's a clearly a beautiful looking man...

BTV: Clearly.

VS: Why is there silence? I think that it's almost impossible to know where he would go or what he would do. He's intelligent, he's intuitive, and he's got some swagger. And if all that was channeled in the right direction, I mean, you tell me. What do you think he could achieve?

BTV: My thoughts have always been along the lines of "evil computer mastermind." But I suppose he doesn't have to be evil.

VS: Why does it have to be evil?

BTV: I just think he'd be really good at it.

VS: Exactly. I think, in his current state, he could become an evil computer mastermind, but if he was freed of his evil and his sadness, maybe... maybe not evil, Laurel. Maybe not evil!

BTV: We'll think these positive thoughts for Lester then. So, in what ways -- if any -- do you think that you as a person identify with your character?

VS: I've been told that I can be fairly intense. Outside of that, you know, it's been...

I'll put it this way. I went hiking this weekend. And it was so quiet. And I was like, "Wait a minute! I'm so quiet." I felt smooth and relaxed. And I thought, "Oh wow. Lester is gone from me." He's been evaporating out of me for the last month, and he's gone. So even though, through the five years, I was like, "Wow, I get this guy so much!" The truth is that the inner workings are so different from who I actually am that it's tough now to even... I see him as this separate entity. And obviously he's channeling through me in the intensity and the rhythm -- certain other choices that I was making were my own -- but I don't know. I think that other than a kind of focused intensity, we share very little.

BTV: Were you ever to get back into the mode of being Lester and something like a Lester-and-Jeff Chuck spinoff were to occur, what would you want to see in that show?

VS: That's a tough question.

BTV: Sorry.

VS: Tough but brilliant questions... I don't know. I always imagined you could really have a lot of fun and a lot of madness if you were watching them tour very small, very backwoods towns across the nation. And each week would be a different kind of adventure in a different little mall or backyard concert and the people they'd get involved with and how Lester would probably hook up with the wrong person's daughter. That kind of a world. I think that's where the gold of these two would come from, watching them navigate through trying to be rock stars in a five person concert. You know, that kind of stuff.

BTV: I think I'd actually watch that.

VS: OK, it's done! You and I are doing this right now. We're writing it!

BTV: Sounds good, but back to the questions. Do you have a favorite musical performance that you've done with Jeffster!?

VS: It's all been amazing. It's been very, very new and difficult for me. I've really begun to relish and cherish the challenge of the pieces. They were really, really difficult songs to sing. All of them were. Some were kind of more successful than others, some fit my voice better.

When I sang "Send Me on My Way" or "Leaving on a Jet Plane," they were kind of more naturally where I sing, I think. When I had to rise up to sing a song like "Love Hurts..." "Love Hurts" is a very tough song to sing! And I had to kind of find my own way and I don't know how successful that was.

But when we did "Fat-Bottomed Girls" at Comic-Con, it was the first moment that I got to feel the kind of effect that, I guess, Jeffster! was having. And it was also a brutally hard song to sing. There was an eye-opening kind of spectacularness to it that I think ranks right up there. I mean, when we did stuff like "Push It," that was just almost, the insanity and the obscene-ity of that... I don't think "obscene-ity" is a word, but we'll keep moving forward.

It was all amazing to do. It was all scary and nerve-wracking, but each one had its own kind of beauty to me.

BTV: Is there anything that you would have like to have performed, but you never got the chance?

VS: I don't know if I had a particular song in mind, but if we had gotten to Comic-Con one more time, I would have wanted to sing live again. I think I wanted to do some other kind of big, old-school, from the '70s or '80s rock epic, like "Baba O'Riley" by The Who. "Teenage Wasteland..." I wanted to sing the words "teenage wasteland" out to the Comic-Con crowd -- just an anthem, something that becomes an anthem. Something big and wide like that.

BTV: Going back to Chuck itself...

VS: Oh yeah! The show! I remember it.

BTV: That's good. Do you have a favorite episode or favorite moment that -- hopefully -- you remember?

VS: That hopefully I remember... [laughing] Yes, I've forgotten everything... Now which show are we talking about?

BTV: That would be Chuck.

VS: Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes...

I will say that the last few episodes that we've done are amongst my favorite of the series. This last episode ["Chuck vs. the Bullet Train"], little things like the phone conversation with Casey -- not the phone but the kind of ear-bud conversation -- where he was trying to get me to go get the weapons to save his daughter. I thought that exchange was just beautifully written, like the stuff between Scott [Krinsky] and I in these past few episodes.

I think that the first episode where we see Jeffster!, I think it's called "Chuck vs. the Best Friend," and you get a glimpse into the friendship of Lester and Jeff. It was one of the sweet, sweet episodes that I carry around with me. Beautiful, you know? I think the episode where Lester nearly got married -- or wanted to get married -- and blew it, of course, is also up there in my tops.

BTV: When you finale got to the series finale, what was that like during filming?

VS: It was tough to stay in character, I'll say that. I've always been a guy who likes to go to set in character, stay in character, or at least as close to the character as possible, not allow too many distractions... But the emotions that kept running through it, kind of pushed me out. I would look around and realize that I don't know when I'll see these people together again for a long, long time, if ever.

It's that beautiful heartbreak. I've been acting since I was really young, and one of the things about being an actor, you're a nomad. You're a vagabond. You travel from group to group, and there's just something that you... Oh, I'm getting emotional even talking about it... That you accept about the life. You get so close to these people, and then you've got to let go and move on.

As we were shooting that last episode, I was very aware of that, very acutely aware that that was going on -- for me and the people around me. It was tough. It was very tough to get through certain scenes, very tough to get through certain days as you leave each set. Each set would close, and you're like, "The Buy More is done now." It was very emotional.

Yeah, I mean... Chuck. You've got me talking now. When I first got cast in Chuck, I didn't even get a place in L.A. I was living in a hotel, episode by episode, looking through the scripts to see if I had any lines. So it was a very precarious existence, and what opened up, in Lester becoming a bigger part of the show, was a real place of security for me -- on the lot and with the cast. And now, we're all going our separate ways, and I do have a place in L.A. and I do have a life in L.A. that I've built, but I'll always kind of look back on the show as this sort of life raft that brought me to shore.

It's that beautiful heartbreak, you know?

BTV: I could imagine that. On hopefully a more positive topic...

VS: It's not that it wasn't that positive. It's beautiful. It is beautiful. It's just... it's what we do.

BTV: What are you planning to do next?

VS: A couple of things. I'm pretty excited about the spring release of American Reunion, the American Pie movie that I did. It's the movie that brings back all of the original cast members, and I shot it last year in Atlanta. I've heard, from people that have seen it, that the movie really rocks. It's a real return to the kind of charisma and appeal of the first one that created the whole phenomenon, and I have a good feeling about it.

So I shot that. And, crazily, as I was wrapping the last episode of Chuck, I flew to the cold, frigid landscape of Winnipeg, Canada, and I shot an indie romantic comedy that a very good friend of mine wrote and starred in, Jonas Chernick. They're editing that now, and that movie's going to come out sometime in the future.

BTV: They do romantic comedies in Winnipeg?

VS: They do. That one is called My Awkward Sexual Adventure, so let's wait and see.

BTV: Do you have any sort of dream role as an actor?

VS: The first movie that I rented and saw that changed -- or rather affirmed -- what I believe acting can be is a movie called My Left Foot. Daniel Day Lewis. When you ask me about roles, I think the dream role is something that takes that much of me to do, that much sacrifice, that much give, that much immersion and diving deep into a world and into a character. Something thickly, deeply, wildly written that I've got to jump deep into. That would be the dream, to be doing roles like that.


The Chuck series finale -- "Chuck vs. Sarah," followed by "Chuck vs. the Goodbye," will air on Friday, January 27, starting at 8pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)


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