Ten bucks says you never thought you’d see that headline in your lifetime.
Well, it’s true… and amazing. FOX’s new comedy “Breaking In” premieres Wednesday, Apr. 6, at 9:30 pm ET after “American Idol” and if you’re pressed for time, here’s our one-word review of the pilot episode: Hilarious.
The series centers on Contra Security, a company that specializes in breaking in (get it?!) to their clients’ security systems in order to test them. Contra’s team consists of five members: Newbie Cameron (Brett Harrison), a hacker blackmailed into joining Contra; Cash (Alphonso McAuley), a fanboy whose specialty seems to be pranking his co-workers; Melanie (Odette Annable), the bad girl who can pick any lock; Josh (Trevor Moore), a competitive master of disguise, and their boss, the mysterious and SkyMall-obsessed Oz (Christian Slater). “Smallville’s” Michael Rosenbaum also pops up as Melanie’s amusingly douchey boyfriend Dutch (think Uggs and two watched on one wrist).
Zap2it recently paid a visit to the Contra offices where we sat down with Slater to talk about Oz, stepping away from dramatic roles and, oh yeah, Captain Kirk’s chair from the original “Star Trek” that happens to be sitting on Oz’s office. No big deal.
What attracted you to “Breaking In” and the character of Oz?
Well, I sat down with Doug Robinson, Adam Goldberg and Seth Gordon and they told me about it and initially the character of Oz didn’t seem very fleshed out. There wasn’t a great deal of stuff on the page so I was a little concerned about that. Doug had mentioned that he’d seen me do some comedy things, but he had noticed that I’d always play myself. I did “The Office” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and I was being me or a version of me. So he was saying here’s an opportunity to take a character and put some of yourself into it. I felt game and it seemed like a good idea and I threw out some ideas to them of some things that I might like to have in the show or do in the show. They put them all in the script.
Like Captain Kirk’s chair from “Star Trek.” How did that come about?
In order to represent who this Oz character was, I did see him sitting in the Captain Kirk chair. I just felt that was a good way to set this guy up. There was a moment there where we were in the middle of filming and they weren’t getting the clearance to use that particular chair. It looked great in the script but the idea of actually getting it was another story all together. So they were in the process of building a replica and putting all that stuff together and I was going, “No, no! I don’t want it to be a replica! It’s gotta be the real thing. People will know!” We want this to be an authentic show, it’s got to be the real thing.
So what I came to discover, having been in this business for 34 years, is that I have more friend than I ever knew that I had before and was able to call a couple of people and ask for help in this particular “Star Trek” chair moment. A few days went by and fortunately the kind answer came through. That was just a good win, like yes, we got one in there!
We know Cash is a huge fanboy, but do you think Oz is one as well?
I think Oz certainly respects fans and the fanboy element. I know I do. I
think Oz certainly has a strong connection to people who are obsessed
with sci-fi, adventure and mystery.
Oz seems like a pretty mysterious guy and we don’t learn much about him in the first episode. How much do you actually know about him?
I know a little bit. Certainly Adam Goldberg has given me some insights into this particular character, but I also feel like the more mysterious, the better in a lot of respects. That’s probably the best way to go. More will get revealed over time. One of the things I really like about Adam’s whole concept with this particular show is that it’s very much like “Star Trek.” They had a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds; Oz has a five-year plan and he’s hired all of these people for very specific reasons, so that will all be revealed in year five.
In the pilot, we see Oz manipulate Cameron on numerous occasions. Do you think that’s just how he is as a boss?
I think he enjoys having fun at work. Look, he’s tough, he’s strict, he’s also dealing with ex-cons. In a lot of respects, he has to be as many steps ahead of them as possible. This is a smart group. These are world-class hackers and safe-crackers, so Oz has certainly got to have a lot of stuff going on in his own brain in order to stay eight moves ahead of these guys.
Oz seems to have an obsession with SkyMall, so can we expect to see a lot of their products throughout the series?
SkyMall is riddled with so many interesting devices and face-massagers and all kinds of things that will inevitably be incorporated into the show. Not only SkyMall, but the Internet. We got the Charles Barkley Personal Fryer coming up, as seen on the Internet. We may have invented that, but it’s a good device and it makes wonderful popcorn shrimp. Oz was cooking that up the other day in the office.
Your more recent TV roles — “The Forgotten” and “My Own Worst Enemy” — were all drama, all the time. Are you excited for people to see you in a comedic role?
I mean drama is certainly very heavy and very dark. I tend to have a good time at work and I enjoy it whether I’m working on a drama or comedy, but certainly this experience, I can only describe it as bliss. It’s wonderful the fact that it’s specifically what it is, it’s a character-driven comedy piece. It’s not trying to be anything else. It’s a wild situation and a lot of eccentric, quirky, interesting characters and a lot of mysteries will be revealed as time goes on. With dramas it’s a heavier atmosphere and it weighs you down. It’s hard to really get excited when every episode ends at a funeral.