Let's face it, some of us never got over Linda Hamilton. Those biceps, those pull-ups, the first James Cameron heroine ... then she left us and stopped doing kick-ass parts. Now Hamilton is back, she's on Chuck, and she's playing Chuck's mom! And series creator Josh Schwartz promises she'll be right in the center of the action.
"Oh yeah, right in the first episode," Schwartz told a group of reporters on July 29 in Beverly Hills, Calif. where he was promoting his other series Gossip Girl at the Television Critics Association fall press tour.
The original Sarah Connor is a big "get" for Chuck. It turns out, Hamilton came after them.
"She had heard about the show and that they were looking for Chuck's mom," Schwartz said. "She had heard about the fact that we were looking for Chuck's mom and that a lot of people wanted her to be that part. That was a great idea, somebody we were excited about and didn't know if we could get. We sat down with her and she's like, 'So, I hear I'm Chuck's mom.'"
Executive producer McG threw his weight around a little, too. He'd gotten her to record some new Sarah Connor lines for Terminator Salvation, and apparently they go way back.
"I know her a little bit from Terminator," McG said in a separate interview when he was promoting Nikita. "I talked to her 10 years ago on the first Charlie's Angels. She's just a good spirit and a good soul, and I think she responds like anybody would to good material. I think Chuck's the kind of thing you don't need to bullsh-t around. You can just go, 'Here it is.' You respond to it or you don't respond to it. You feel empowered in that respect when you can present talent with the material and go, 'There it is. That's exactly what we intend to do,' and you'll take the response that you get."
Great, so can you just put her in a tank top cocking a shotgun with one hand? Or is that too much to ask?
"I think the iconic power of Linda and Sarah Connor doesn't need extra commentary," Schwartz said. "We might throw a joke in there somewhere. We tend to do that from time to time. Chevy Chase was quoting lines from Fletch when he was on the show, so I wouldn't rule it out, but I don't know if we'll go that extreme."
Actually, they've already got some juicy stuff planned for mom. It's just extra cool because mom happens to be Linda Hamilton now.
"Mom/son dynamics are incredible fodder to play with in a dramatic capacity," McG said. "I think it's going to be the most refreshing season yet of the show and the most original season, largely because of just the firepower of Linda."
Just when Chuck thought he was out, mom pulls him back in. He'd just promised Sarah and Ellie he'd leave the CIA. Now he could really use some government tech to find his mom.
"It's a very different season this year in the sense that he's retired from the CIA and he can't tell Ellie he's a spy, but he also has to find his mom," Schwartz said. "So he has to do it without using the CIA resources, so he finds himself in the season premiere not being able to tell Sarah what he's up to and not being able to tell Ellie what he's up to. All he has in the world now is Morgan, which is a terrible, terrible fate for anyone trying to accomplish something in life."
And then everything goes back to normal. "It's kind of a little bit of a reset, in a way, but very quickly [it becomes] Operation Bartowski," Schwartz said. "We don't want audiences to think we're abandoning the formula, the dynamic of the team, in any way."
Chuck returns Sept. 20 on NBC.