Interview: Yvonne Strahovski on going from TV to ‘I, Frankenstein’

Yvonne Strahovski plays a well-meaning scientist in "I, Frankenstein." Credit: Getty Images
Yvonne Strahovski plays a well-meaning scientist in “I, Frankenstein.”
Credit: Getty Images

Between television turns on “Chuck,” “Dexter” and this summer’s “24: Live Another Day,” Australian actress Yvonne Strahovski squeezed in some time opposite Aaron Eckhart as scientist with good intentions but evil bosses in “I, Frankenstein.” It’s all part of her plan of keeping her work as diverse as possible — and learning the importance of saying no.

This role is a bit of a departure for you, genre-wise. What were your thoughts on the project and character when you first signed on?

It definitely feels like one of the bigger things that I’ve been a part of. I really liked the script — it had that real story of the monster finding its humanity within this action movie. And also I really loved that it’s something really different than what I had been up to prior to that. I’d just wrapped up “Chuck,” the series, and this was something different. A different character with a different accent and a different occupation, with a whole new world around her. She’s got a big heart but she’s also a really strong woman. She isn’t a damsel in distress, she can stand up for herself, and she certainly does in the movie even though she’s not a trained fighter or anything.

Do you find yourself seeking out roles like that?

I mean, I try and change it up, and I feel like so far I’ve been lucky enough to do so, whether it’s playing Dr. Tera Wade, the electro-physiologist in the “I, Frankenstein” movie or playing a serial killer [on "Dexter"] or a 1930s New York gal on Broadway. You know, so far so good. I hope to keep changing it up in the future.

We’re not sure how much you’re allowed to say about the new “24″ series.

I’m not allowed to say too much, but I’m definitely in the throes of moving to London for the next half a year to shoot “24.” I’ll be playing a gal named Kate Morgan, who is hunting Jack Bauer when we meet her.

That’s tantalizing.

Yeah, to say the least. [Laughs] It’s been what, four years, right? Since season eight finished? So many people are really excited about it. I didn’t realize how many people were really big on following the show.

How do you think that compares to the fan community around “Chuck”?

You know, pretty similar. People who are enthusiastic about shows tend to be equally enthusiastic, I think. And “Chuck” was special for me. It was my first thing, you know? So we had a special bond with the fans, especially because we felt like they helped us survive the five years that we were on the air. They kept fighting for us to stay on the air. It’s been really great to have that support.

How do you find, going forward, striking a balance between movies and TV?

You read a lot of scripts, you hear about a lot of projects and you try and target certain things that you would like to do. It’s hard. Like with any profession, you start off at the very beginning saying yes to a lot of different things because you just want to get on your feet and get your foot in the door. And as you create your body of work and get well-known and the years pass by, I think saying no is a really important thing to learn as well. It’s as important as saying yes because you really craft your career in a certain way.


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