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Interview with Wilmer Valderrama and Steve Harris of "Awake" on
Moderator: Tracy St. Pierre
March 19, 2012
1:00 pm CT
Operator: Ladies and Gentlemen thank you for standing by and welcome to
the Awake conference call with Wilmer Valderrama and Steve Harris.
During the presentation all participants will be in a listen only mode.
We will be conducting a question and answer session. So at that time if
you have a question please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your
telephone. And if at any time during the conference you need to reach an
operator, please press star 0.
As a reminder this conference is being recorded Friday, March 16, 2012.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Miss Tracy St. Pierre.
Please go ahead.
Tracy St. Pierre: Hi everyone. Thanks for joining the call today. if you
have any questions following this call you can reach me at 818-777-2940.
And I'm going to turn it over to the first question.
Operator: Excellent. Thank you. Again, Ladies and Gentlemen as a
reminder, to register for any questions or comments please press the 1
followed by the 4. One moment please for our first question.
And our first question comes from the line of Jamie Steinberg with
Starry Constellation Magazine. Please go ahead.
Jamie Steinberg: Hi, it's such a pleasure to speak with you both.
Wilmer Valderrama: Thank you so much.
Steve Harris: Thank you.
Jamie Steinberg: Wilmer, we're good friends with (Stephen Bishop) so
Wilmer Valderrama: Oh cool, (Stephen) is a homie.
Jamie Steinberg: That's right, he sends his best.
Wilmer Valderrama: That's great.
Jamie Steinberg: I wanted to ask the two of you, "What is it about
Michael Britten that makes you follow his orders with-somewhat-out
questioning what he's asking you to do?"
Wilmer Valderrama: Well I mean...
Steve Harris: You want to go first?
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, I mean I guess - yes I guess I'll just from my
perspective I guess. I play this young rookie detective, newly promoted
to be his partner. And I think that, you know, there's a certain
protocol that comes with being someone's partner where it's not so much
about questioning but it's just kind of going along to see how it all
And for me, as the season goes along you will see that I grow a little
bit more and more frustrated about the fact of the matter that, which is
you know, some of his reasoning seems illogical in my world, you know?
And eventually that will play in as well.
But I think that, you know, there's - it's - there's some kind of
unspoken, you know, feeling to the fact that you are someone's partner
and somehow you - there is a very fine line whether - how much you
question and how much you go along with.
Steve Harris: And for me, on the other end, I've been in - I've been his
partner for many years, and so there's a trust factor that goes along
with that I feel. But I also feel I do question him because it's a
different approach that we're taking towards the cases now.
So what - his way of working now is all panning out. It is all making
sense. So even though my question, "Well why would we do this, why would
we do that," comes into play, he's still my partner.
He's been my partner for many years. So when you have that sort of
relationship, we're more like brother than anything else. And so I will
stick with him because he's basically my brother.
Jamie Steinberg: And what is it like getting to work with Jason Isaacs?
He says that he's, "Very in the moment with his lines."
Steve Harris: Well the truth of it is - this is such a dangerous area my
Wilmer Valderrama: That's a great question.
Steve Harris: I had scripted to say so many things. But the fact of it
is, you know, I actually like working with Jason. You know, Jason's - I
love his energy. I love what he brings to the table. Clearly you could
see that he's talented.
He's very collaborative type actor which is a precious commodity to
have, especially when you know, the show really evolves around you and
the whole nine yards. So he's very collaborative, he's a good guy. And
I'm actually having a good time working with him.
That's what they paid me to say though, here's the truth. No, no really,
really, it really is - it really has been funny. And really underneath
all of that kind of stuff, he really is a nice guy.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes.
Steve Harris: Straight up.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes. No, and to follow-up with what, you know what
Steve's saying, you know, to be honest I - you know, he's
single-handedly one of the big reasons why I signed on to do the show I
think. You know, I love him in everything that he has ever done. You
know, and I can honestly say that, you know, with a straight face.
You know, I mean the guy is just a really, really solid and great actor.
And you know, he really fights for authenticity. He really fights for
our consistency, but most importantly for just, you know, the genesis
and the journey of his character, that eventually you know, influences
all of us as part of his initial chapter and journey.
So to see him be so invested into the show, it's really great. It's
really, really great because it's contagious, you know, we love the
show. We have so much fun working together.
And I have a blast with him too man, like we were very silly him and I.
And I mean all of us, the three of us, the three boys you know, are -
have a really good, you know, a really good thing going man. And it's
very special and very rare when you can come to work and really love
your crew and really respect and admire them.
And for me specifically look up to people like Steve and Jason, you
know, who are just arguably some of the best actors of our generation.
And for me working with Jason has been very eye opening and seeing how
invested he's been with every word and every - and like he says, "Very
collaborative," you know he makes sure that every scene and every moment
really works. And I think you'll see that shine throughout the series
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of (Kiko Martinez) with
(Extra Chicago). Please go ahead.
Kiko Martinez: Hey guys, thanks a lot for taking the time.
Wilmer Valderrama: Thank you.
Steve Harris: Thank you man.
Kiko Martinez: Hey, so Jason Isaacs told us a couple of weeks ago that
he didn't think Awake was really a high concept idea and that people
would be able to get onboard. Do you agree that, you know, regular
mainstream audiences are going to understand the show and how it's
Steve Harris: Of course. I really believe that. I don't think for some
way - some reason or another high concept has become a bad word in some
lights. And I really feel that the show isn't - I actually don't feel
it's high concept it's basically a show about a man dealing with a
turmoil in his life where his realities are sort of construed in that
one may be real and one not, and he's living it as if both are real.
Now to me with all of the stuff that's on television now, with all of
the things that people have available to watch, I don't view that as
high concept at all. And I think that people are showing that they want
to watch something that have them be invested every week.
And we want to give them that, and then in the same light give them
something that they want to talk about on Friday, the next day, that
they would like to talk about and have a conversation around the water
cooler. And we really hope that's what's going on.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, and to you know, to compliment what Steve is
saying, you know, I think that the writers have done an incredible job
of just finding a very unique way of narrating his journey. And the
thing that makes it fun and different, and most importantly just fresh,
you know, is just it's just very refreshing to see this the way that
we're telling the story, the way that we - that this procedural is told.
You know, it has so much more heart than any regular procedural. There
is so much more invested emotionally, not only in the cases, but in his
And I think that that's what's unique and original about the show is
that, you know, as awesome and as cool and as rad and as hardcore, you
know, some of our cases, and actually and thrill of the show would be,
you know, there's also this really great fundamental, you know, heart
and soul and spirit to the show that's very easy to relate to.
But I think what Jason is saying is right, I think the writers and the
producers have done an incredible job and I think consistent with a
formula and a format that is easy to follow. And I don't think, like
Steve says, I don't think high concept is a bad word, you know, because
high - I actually - the phrase described as high concept as you know,
something outside of the box, you know, something that is original, you
And that's one of the reasons why we signed to do this show man, because
we weren't going to be doing the same thing we've done for, you know,
the last decade and a half of television that Steve and I have been
working in .
Steve Harris: Yes.
Kiko Martinez: What kind of detectives do you think you both would be
in real life? Do you think you'd have the patience for it?
Wilmer Valderrama: Really good looking ones.
Steve Harris: Very well dressed.
Wilmer Valderrama: Really, really good looking detectives. I'll tell you
that much right now. That at the very least I can tell you.
Steve Harris: You know what, I don't want to take any person's job -
forsaking any person's job, you know that's a hard job to do. Nobody
want to - nobody wants a police officer. Nobody looks for a police
officer unless there is - unless there's trouble or trouble has happened
or some it coming.
Kiko Martinez: Yes.
Steve Harris: To answer your question, possibly, I believe possibly. But
I don't know if I could ever endure having that sort of vibe, that sort
of negative vibe, around me 95% of the time.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, it's - listen it's - you - it's a breed of human
being, you know. It's the same respect and the same love that we have
for our armed forces and the men and women of the armed forces. Then
they go to, you know, they go to Iraq and Afghanistan and they, you
know, it's just - it's a - it's just a soul. You know, it's a soul
journey that, you know, that is again, is a very powerful individual.
You know what I mean.
And we're all powerful in our own unique way I think, and I think we all
play to our strengths. But you know, to - as a detective I wouldn't know
what to do. You know, I mean to be honest I have so much love and
respect for the people that really truly do it and my hat is off to
them, you know, for how they look at life and the thankless jobs that
they take upon.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Pattye Grippo with
Pizzazz Entertainment Network, please go ahead.
Pattye Grippo: Hi guys, thanks for talking with us today.
Wilmer Valderrama: Thank you.
Steve Harris: Hey how you doing, thanks for having us.
Pattye Grippo: Hey, so let me ask you what is specifically about this
show that made the two of you decide to do a weekly series?
Steve Harris: Wow, I - you know, I'm going to say that - to think we got
a hit. When I read it I thought it was the best things I'd read. And the
one thing that I learned from the previous series, and I think both of
us learned from the previous series that we were on, was that if you
have the foundation of good writing, creative writing I might add, then
you want to jump aboard that ship.
Okay, so clearly this show is one of those shows. You tie into the fact
that you have somebody like Howard Gordon being attached as the
executive producer, and NBC willing to give this a legitimate shot,
looking at this to be part of their lineup strongly.
Then you tie in all of us, the actors that we got, Wilmer, Jason, you go
to Cherry and BD and Dylan and (Owen) and Laura, and I mean it goes on
and on. When you start adding that sort of pocket together with
everything else that they've put together, this is like a show you want
to be a part of.
This is the kind of show that not only would bring you back to
television if you were out of it for a such a while as I have, and I
believe Wilmer was for a while as well, it's also the kind of show that
you're proud to be a part of and you really want to be a part of.
Wilmer Valderrama: Right.
Steve Harris: ...that's my answer to that one.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, no, and I'm, you know, with Steve. And I think
that, you know, this is very rare, it's very rare you have an
opportunity to work with this incredible, you know, coalition of people
that are just so prolific and everything. You know, I mean it's, you
know, from, you know, from Howard Gordon, you know, which I'm obsessed
with the X-Files, I'm obsessed with 24, you know, I love Homeland.
You know, to come from that great pedigree and great vision and tone is
really, really ideal. And you know, Kyle Killen is really smart, and
Jeffery Reiner who's our show runner, who did Friday Night Lights and
the Event. You know, he's just - there's just people that really love,
you know, to conceptualize things.
And - but I tell you, you know, one of the biggest selling points was, I
mean I - it was a little scary for me to come back to television. You
know, and I didn't even want - I really didn't want to come television
with something, you know, that was predictable, that I've done before.
You know, I was very blessed to, you know, to have received the script
and to eventually join forces with everyone on this, because for me in
my mind, it just - it couldn't have gotten more of a solid team and more
of perfect format to just return with something so different.
You know, and I love working with these guys, man, and I'd go to work
with these guys any day. And it's just blessing to be around this much
talent. And how could say no to something this special.
Pattye Grippo: Sound like it. And let me ask you, you've both been
working for a while now, what if anything, would you do differently if
you could do back and redo it?
Steve Harris: Wow, that's a very good question.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes. It's - I mean I'd say that for me there's a few
photo shoots I really didn't want to do (unintelligible). I'll take back
some of those photo shoots, some of the really silly ass photo shoots I
did on 70's. Some of those trampoline shots, you know, some of those
between the glass shots. I think I could take some of those back, I
think it would be amazing.
Steve Harris: Yes, I did a photo shoot for People one time, and there's
a shot that I wish I could take back. But you know what I've had a
blissful soul. Changing it, you know, there are probably are things if I
really thought about it, but living it now I'm pretty happy the way
things are turning out.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes. It's hard to look back at your resume and say,
"You know, I wish I'd - I wish I had done this and that." But because
everything has been such a stepping stone for the next, so I mean I
don't regret anything I've ever done so far.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Henry Hanks with
CNN.com, please go ahead.
Steve Harris: CNN, all right.
Henry Hanks: Hello guys thanks for joining us today, love the show.
Wilmer Valderrama: Hi, what's up brother, how are you?
Steve Harris: Thank you man.
Henry Hanks: No problem. So you know, when you're dealing with sort of
this split world, and you know, you've kind of got the one reality and
the other reality, when you kind of read the script do you find still
trying to kind of follow it? And you know, you trying to figure out
what’s going on?
Steve Harris: It's actually pretty easy for us to follow.
Henry Hanks: Okay.
Steve Harris: Because we, you know, we're living it every day.
Henry Hanks: Right.
Steve Harris: You know, so for us it's very - and I think some of the
components that the writers and the creators have put in to make it
easier for viewership to follow the two worlds. I think people are
getting it and getting into it. So we're very happy with the way it's
turning out as such.
So it really wasn't that difficult to get into it because for us those
worlds and the way they designed them, those are what we live in every
Henry Hanks: Yes, right.
Steve Harris: So it's really not that - it wasn't that difficult for me
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, no, exactly. You know for us, you know, as
actors I mean look, some spectators, you know, you read it and you're
like, "Whoa I want to know what happens next." You know, you're really
always, you know, really excited to see well what's week's episode,
where we know how it is going to pan and how it's going to play out
throughout the series.
You know, it's all these some question, but when it comes for us as the
characters within it, you know, we have to, you know, we kind of just
tend to play immediately what's in front of us. We're living that moment
in time. So we make choices based on what's presented to us at that very
moment, and what we get from our partner Michael Britten.
So at the very moment we're going to go along with this journey, in this
self-discovery journey that he's on, and let that somehow influence our
thought and makes react to it a certain or create some kind of theory
behind it. But yes, I mean I think that it's pretty simple for us.
You know, we - it's very simple, it's - you're working in numbers, you
know there's two of everything, right? There's two partners, two
psychiatrists, two cases, you know, and two loved ones who are grieving
and trying to cope. You know, and you just see the evolution of how they
are intertwine together and eventually it just makes for great TV.
Henry Hanks: Yes absolutely. So Wilmer with all your years doing, you
know, pre-camera comedy in front of the audience, how is this a change
Wilmer Valderrama: The pace is - I mean it's day and night for sure. I
miss doing comedy for sure, but I'm so fulfilled and it's so rewarding
to be doing this drama. You know, I love - I've been doing film for a
while now, so it really does feel, and I think probably still Steve
feels the same way.
You know, this is - specifically this type of show, it really truly
feels like we're shooting a weekly movie. You know, we do a movie every
week. And every episode something, you know, beginning, middle and end,
there's something thrilling, we're on location and all of that.
And it's been in amazing locations all over Los Angeles, so it's just a
very different experience, completely different experience. But the
clowning around and the joking around in between takes is completely
still the same. You know, that's for sure.
None of that has changed, we're the craziest clowns in between takes,
you know. But when it comes to the game play and you come to work and
it's just a really, really different experience. And it's very fun for
me and I'm having a blast.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with
scifivision.com, please go ahead.
Jamie Ruby: Hi, thanks so much for doing the call today. So you just
mentioned about being silly in that - in between. Do you have any like,
funny stories you can tell us about that happened in between takes?
Steve Harris: Hey, don't you dare tell that one. Don't you dare.
Wilmer Valderrama: I know, I know, I know, I was trying to figure would
be newsworthy to be honest. Let's see there's a lot of stuff that
happens in between, you know, there's a lot of funny outtakes. There's a
lot of funny situations.
You know, I think the funniest things is I think - I'll tell you the
funniest stuff is basically Jason has a speaker. And in between takes
while they're setting up or turning the camera around, or something
that, he'll play music from his iPhone into this speaker. And you can
really tell a lot about a person when you listen to the selection of
And I'm just going to say one thing about Jason, Jason loves Broadway
musicals, okay. That's all I'm going to say. And I'm going to leave at
that because everything else doesn't matter, okay.
Steve Harris: That was so wrong, boss.
Wilmer Valderrama: I'm so wrong, oh my God he's going to kill me.
Steve Harris: No, he's going to (unintelligible).
Jamie Ruby: We did it, so I hope not. The other thing I was - sorry go
Wilmer Valderrama: No, I'm listening to you.
Jamie Ruby: Okay, the other thing I was going to ask is, do either of
you kind of know like what's going on with things? Have you been told
anything, and if not, do you want to be or would you rather be in the
Steve Harris: No, I mean we - I'm assuming you're talking about the
future episodes and that sort of thing, is that correct? Because what
happens is we get the next script, the next script, the next script, and
then we live in those scripts.
So I really don't know what the overall rainbow is for the arc of the
show in regards to that. And to be perfectly honest, I really don't want
Wilmer Valderrama: Right.
Steve Harris: I would prefer just play in the moment what we're doing
everything, and be excited by the next script, the next episode.
Wilmer Valderrama: Right.
Steve Harris: And what we're going to turn over next, what part of the
mind, what part of the field, how visceral we going to get into it next?
What kind of, you know, the whole process of doing this for me,
especially a show like this, is that discover motion, and then getting
your opportunity to perform it and to pull it off.
Wilmer Valderrama: Right.
Steve Harris: So I love that sort of fell to it. It keeps it really
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, no, I'm with him on that. It's really fun for us
to not know because we as the characters discovery as - discover
everything as we go, you know. And - but when it comes to the actual
show itself, we have a pretty good idea, you know, of how things are
being handled and sublimely, cerebral, you know, the process. You know,
and we have a really good understanding of the type of show we're on.
And I will tell you this, the one thing that I can promise you from all
of us on Awake is that no pun intended, that one day we're going to
awake and it's going to be all a dream. You know what I mean. Like we're
definitely going to - you know, everything you see on this show from
every episode to the arcs and all that will be some kind of clue. Will
be some kind of, you know, hint that eventually create an equation that
will give us a resolution we are going to be fulfilled about.
And I've had the ability to - the opportunity to actually to talk to the
creator and to Howard Gordon about where it's going, there's, you know,
from this season to the next. And there is definitely a plan and that's
a fact. There is definitely something that they're going to build
So, you know, this is not one of those things where like, nobody really
knows, and then you know, I've been - I've also been heart-broken by
many shows when you put your whole, you know, into them. And then when
it ends you're just like, "There goes six years of my life." You know
what I mean?
But when he's with this show, you know, we definitely took note of a lot
of those and we have building some kind of structure where we're going
to build to a sort of resolution. Where we're definitely going to be
very much fulfilled as an audience.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line Sheldon Wiebe with
EclipseMagazine.com, please go ahead.
Sheldon Wiebe: Good morning gentlemen, thanks so much for doing this.
Wilmer Valderrama: Good morning.
Steve Harris: Good morning.
Sheldon Wiebe: I'm just wondering because it seems like in each reality
there are radically different personality types around Britten, like the
psychologists, one is very confrontational, one is very supportive
And that seems to be the case also with his detective partners what with
Bird being supportive and collaborative and Vega being very in your
face. And I'm wondering how did - how do you develop these characters in
this way without seeming too over the top, or too under the radar?
Wilmer Valderrama: Well, you know, for me as Detective Vega, you know,
it comes from a number of places, right? You know, there's a little bit
of a question, I walk a very fine line. Was I really hired to just - as
a rookie, you know, was I promoted as a rookie detective to be Michael
Britten's new partner. Or was I promoted as a detective to, you know, to
pretty much report everything I see.
From our point of view as, you know, from the inside of Michael
Britten's mind. So, you know, there's a little bit of that fine line
that played there, even though there's an undertone of that my
frustration comes from being a rookie and wanting to really prove
myself. And wanting to, you know, to go along and be an actual partner.
Unfortunately I find myself being a partner to someone that is either
loosing grip, or has a really interesting theory of solving cases that I
just never thought I would ever encounter in my detective career.
You know, needless to say I'm really - some of the things that he's
going through whether this is a dream or not. Or whether he's dreaming
of these clues. You know, eventually we piece that together throughout
But for right now, for what you guys have seen up to now, you know, for
my character is the level of frustration that he's lacking communication
that he wants. You know, because he wants because he's eager, and he's
eager to be a partner. He's eager to be a detective.
So therefore he's just more confrontational about it and he's more
frustrated because he doesn't have the trust from Michael Britten. And
because Michael Britten doesn't trust him with things in general, it
makes his job even that much more complicated and just inconsistent.
Sheldon Wiebe: Cool, thanks. Steve?
Wilmer Valderrama: And for Steve.
Steve Harris: Yes, I think for me being with a partner I'm just the
opposite. But he's a rookie joining forces with a seasoned veteran.
Sheldon Wiebe: Right.
Steve Harris: Me and him, we've been seasoned veterans the - we've grown
up together basically.
Sheldon Wiebe: Right.
Steve Harris: We've been everything, we've been through our faults and
ours successes and our failures, we've been through it all. You know, so
sometimes - in speaking to actual police officers they will tell you
that their partners sometimes are closer to them than their actual
family or their wives. And I think we have that relationship.
So that - though I do feel that I question him, I wanted to give him a
little more rope based on our relationship. And then when I do question
him it's because it's something that's been violated by the - what we
sort of set up over the years.
So you're coming up with this, this doesn't fit the pattern and then I
may question what's going on. So I will give him more rope because we've
been together to long and I think that helps - I think because of me and
Michael being two people who are of the same age and actually have been
in the particular game of acting for the same amount of time...
Sheldon Wiebe: Right.
Steve Harris: ...and dealt with some of the same things, it makes it
quite easy to that. We all do it, we all do the same sort of things.
Sheldon Wiebe: Excellent. Also in the pilot right near the end we see
Vega as a uniformed officer in the Red reality. I'm just wondering if
Bird will ever bleed into the Green reality and if we'll see more of
these kinds of bleeds to the point where maybe it might affect Britten?
Steve Harris: You - this might not be too much, I don't know but, you
will see us go into each other's reality as it progresses.
Sheldon Wiebe: Yes.
Steve Harris: And that will be a definite - you know, we dropped a hint
in, just a hint, in the beginning where we pop into each other's
reality. And then down the line, you will see us popping in and out.
And of course it's going to have an effect on Michael and his character,
because, you know, it's - because then he has to deal with us in a whole
different world. And how's he going to - so you will gravitate towards
And I think because the audience will have established with us being in
each - in our separate worlds, and that we can cross over, is much
easier down the line.
Wilmer Valderrama: Right and for sure you're definitely going to -
excuse me, you're definitely going to see it break through and it's
going to play some kind of factor as well. As Michael Britten's
condition gets more and more evident you will see some of these things
intertwine with one another that eventually would make it just a little
bit more colorful, let's just say, for Michael to experience.
And for my character, I mean I have fun because I'm an LAPD officer in
one reality and I'm a detective in the other. So I get to play two
different relationships to Michael. You know, one that - his partner,
and the other one he barely knows him.
You know, so it's really fun to play those dynamics too. But for sure
you're going to see the intertwine of a lot of the stories, you know,
that are going to be for one another, specifically in his detective
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Christine Montgomery
with GlobalTV.com, please go ahead.
Christine Montgomery: Hi Steve, Hi Wilmer.
Steve Harris: Hey how are you?
Wilmer Valderrama: Hey.
Christine Montgomery: Hey, good. I was wondering if you could talk
about, without giving too much away, maybe some episodes or scenes
you're really looking forward to in this season?
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, I mean, Steve?
Steve Harris: Well, I look forward to the whole show, thank you very
Christine Montgomery: Right.
Steve Harris: So I mean I think it's hard for a show like this answer
that and not give away too much. Because it's like as you see as it
progresses, we keep peeling and peeling and peeling things away. And
there are a couple of episodes here that I think are really going to
drive people to question which one of these worlds is real, and which
I think it's also going to drive people to choose which one they're
going to choose to be real. Because they're going to - because you get
so invested. And it becomes - you keep dropping these tasty little
morsels week after week after week, and pretty soon, you know, you kind
of full. You know, you ought to be in this and I think that's what we
Not to be too nebulous but I feel like with us keep peeling away that it
really is the kind of show that if you watch every week you want to get
a different taste of something good.
Christine Montgomery: Right, and...
Wilmer Valderrama: There's a bunch of episodes that, I mean, I'm not
going to lie, are just - are going to blow your mind. I mean the show is
going to a place where you know, you're - it's - they're going to be
unpredictable. They're going to be fun, they're going to be a little bit
of a puzzle.
But also they're going to be so thrilling and emotional, and I mean
we're going to play a lot of emotions and it's going to be great. I mean
I'm with Steve on this, it's just the show just gets more and more
fascinating and unpredictably mysterious.
Christine Montgomery: Okay, great. And I was also wondering about your
character acts throughout the season. It seemed like last episode Vega
was not maybe warming up a bit to Britten, but maybe pushing back a
little less on him when he has these ideas and he wants to go pursue
this case and he's not sure why. Do we see more of that later in the
Wilmer Valderrama: I'm sorry, one more time. I'm sorry, I couldn't hear
the last word.
Christine Montgomery: Do we see more of maybe Vega warming up a bit more
to Britten later in the season? Do we get to see him in a different
light? And how do your characters evolve throughout the season?
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, for sure. I mean I think that at the beginning
is a little bit of that frustration for a new partnership, new
relationship, you know, building trust with one another.
And he's obviously at a place where he's really trusting a lot of people
considering that, you know, he's, you know, he's - he doesn't trust, you
know, Bird plants the seed in his head that I might be not someone that
he wants to trust considering that, you know, he's being transferred and
they probably don't want anybody to report that he's not fit for the job
somehow, Michael Britten that is.
And throughout the series you see my character really fighting for that
loyalty and fighting for that respect that wants from Michael. Most
importantly that trust.
And throughout the series, you know, you see them, you know, work the
case and eventually, you know, that relationship evolves into something,
you know, into something that eventually will play out more through, you
know, the - of the series where you'll see the true dynamics and how it
all going to affect, you know, Vega and Michael.
You know, there's a big - there's something big that's going to happen
between them, and there's going to be a lot more than meets the eye to
this entire undertone conspiracy. You know, and how it all plays
together. And all of us somehow have some kind of role within that
entire big picture.
And you'll see it play out, but you'll for sure, you'll see that
emotion, you know, evolving manifestation throughout the series for the
characters for sure.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Lena Lamoray with
lenalamoray.com, please go ahead.
Lena Lamoray: Hi guys, I love the show.
Wilmer Valderrama: Thank you.
Steve Harris: Great. Thank you.
Lena Lamoray: Now can you both talk about what Vega and Freeman go
through being Michael's partner and how that develops as the series
Steve Harris: Well I mean I think we - I think my character goes through
a process of being with a partner where everything sort of made sense.
Now since this accident things aren't making nearly as much sense.
I sort of compare to being married and you've been married with somebody
for so many years, and then all of the sudden, you know, year 15 they
want to try something new in bedroom, and you go, "Wait, wait, wait,
where did that come from?" You know, for me.
And I think that our relationship has that going on, but you have so
much trust in each other. You have so much belief in each other that
you've developed over the years, that I think as the show progresses you
will see that bond get even closer. You'll see that bond, and you know
it will be questioned.
They will be taken to certain extremes, you will see how - I believe you
will see why these guys have been together for so long and have worked
together so well for so long as the show progresses.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, and you know, for, you know, for my character
for sure, I mean you're going to see him being more and more, you know,
invested into what, you know, into what, you know, Michael's emotional
journey is going to be.
You know, but most importantly he wants to be the best detective he can
be, so he'll stay very consistent to, you know, to where, you know,
where he wants to climb to. You know, and that is to be a detective
respected by the force as well.
I think it's a fascinating journey for all the characters you know, and
for me it's just building toward that trust and foundation, you know,
that he wants to be as a partner. But also he finds himself in this
really - walking this really fine line between the Captain and Michael
Britten. What does he actually report back to the Captain? Why does he
actually confine into Michael Britten?
And I think it's that inner struggle thing. You know, I'm a rookie I
want to do the right thing, you know, I want to follow orders, but
emotionally I'm getting invested in the sense that I really - I'm now
caring for my partner and I'm not sure what to do yet. And I think that
is going to play out also throughout the arc of the character.
Lena Lamoray: I see. Now what are some of the cases that we have to look
Wilmer Valderrama: We - I mean we have a lot of cases. I mean we have -
by the way, we double up, we have pretty much two cases in every
episode, so you can double that for sure. I mean we have a lot of great
episodes. I don't know Steve, do you have some that stick in your mind
that you want to maybe share?
Steve Harris: Actually share, no.
Wilmer Valderrama: Don't want to give up too much because all the queues
are so unpredictable.
Steve Harris: Yes, I believe - I mean that's the issue. You know what
he's dealing with and you know as it starts unfold, you know, that
there's an aspect of a conspiracy in play. There's an aspect of him
still trying to do the job. The value system of whether or not he
believes in himself as it progresses.
Wilmer Valderrama: Right.
Steve Harris: It's because the thing about BD and Cherry and what they
provide is at some point when you're dealing with this, you have to
start question which world is really real if you have to deal with them.
And I think that has a bearing on how his mind functions and how his
mind works in future episodes, because you start to question that
regardless of whether you want to stay exactly where you are, and you
have two people that keep battering you with that, then you know at some
point you have to sort of vibe and deal with it.
And I think that trying to do all of things while working your jobs,
both of our cases at the same time, I think it bodes well for a lot of
quite creative and inventive cases further down the line.
Wilmer Valderrama: Right. That's right. And I mean if I - if you must
hear a little nugget, you know, I will tell you as you know that we're
going to find out more than meets the eye to that car accident and the
conspiracy behind it, and why it was done. And also we're going to find
out, you know, a little - we're going to get closer and closer why does
Michael doesn't really remember anything from that night.
And then I'm going to tell you something else that's going to sound
super crazy, but we are going to have a penguin in one of the episodes.
Do what you will with that piece of information, but I'm going say is
that if a penguin is a hint of things to come, I think the show is going
to give you the ability to live in a number of aspects.
And one things that we're definitely going to do is we're going to have
fun with the ability that we have to go through, you know, from one
dream to the other. And that will play out in every episode starting,
you know, next week.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Earl Dittman with
Wireless Magazine (driven), please go ahead.
Earl Dittman: Hey guys, how are you all this afternoon?
Wilmer Valderrama: Very good how are you?
Steve Harris: Good man.
Earl Dittman: Doing great. I guess questions for both of you. Steve,
first off it's great to see you back on television again. I noticed that
you've been doing it - you've been doing a lot of movies, but it seems
like you were really at home with television. Do you feel that way?
Steve Harris: I don't - to me it's either way. What I really feel is
that when you get on television you get an opportunity to create a
character, develop a character and carry it through.
If you're fortunate to stay on television for a period of time, you get
to carry that character through for a period of time, and then people
come and get sort of attached to you. I will say that on television I've
been given more opportunities to do a larger brand of work, you know
what I mean? So I...
Earl Dittman: Yes, exactly.
Steve Harris: ...I figure that also fulfills - that fulfills a sort of
thing, as you as an actor, you love when a show or a case or something
is on your shoulders and you actually get to play in the thing that
you've studied for so long and you worked so hard to achieve. So I think
that though I've had many opportunities on film, and even a few of them
where I've been sort of a guy that that's sort of banked on.
In a show like this, even though clearly it's about Michael and his two
worlds, since all of us are so collaborative and we have such an
important part in that, it gives me an opportunity to play a little bit
and have a larger say in what's going on, and I think that you know...
Earl Dittman: Does a lot better.
Steve Harris: ...if you like my work you're going to like that.
Earl Dittman: Well that's great that (unintelligible) great work is just
what it sounds like.
Steve Harris: Yes, thank you man. Thank you.
Earl Dittman: And Wilmer just, you know, most of America was used to
seeing you on 70s Show, but this show we get to see - we've seen you in
other things of course, but this show really gets to show the range of
an actor that you are. because I mean although That 70s Show was, you
know, you were obviously acting, this gets to show that, "Hey, this guy
can really act," you know.
Wilmer Valderrama: Thank you.
Earl Dittman: Do you like doing the part? Was this (unintelligible) part
you were looking for?
Wilmer Valderrama: Well thank you.
Wilmer Valderrama: First I want to thank you very much for such...
Wilmer Valderrama: ...such great words. You know, I think for me man,
I've been - had the opportunity to do some interesting characters on my
independent film work and some of the feature films that I've released
in the last years. But to come back to television with a character like
this with a - on a TV series like this, you know, was really a different
and exciting new chapter for me.
Because I've got to tell you, you know, to come back to television after
10 - you know, 8 years, 200 episodes, I mean pretty much a decade of
comedy, you know, you often - it's a little nerve-racking, I'm not going
to lie. It's a little - it gets a little scary because you don't want to
You don't want to feel like you have to recreate that experience or that
legacy you left behind with your last series. You want to just make sure
you embrace a new opportunity. And hopefully I and you honor a new color
change, you know, returning back.
And you know, I couldn't have dreamed it better, I couldn't have - no
pun intended I guess. But I couldn't have dreamed, you know, the show
that actually brought me back to television to be more ideal than Awake.
And to join forces with a cast like Steve Harris, you know, and Jason
Isaacs who - the three of us are, you know, the Three Musketeers, you
know we're - we love you know, what we do and we love acting.
And we care. It's a very, very great environment to learn from. And to
learn from Steve and Jason has been amazing and to, you know, and also
to have a cast like Cherry Jones, you know, BD Wong, Laura Allen, Dylan
Minnette, you know I mean, you're looking at a cast that is just so
solid about everything they are and they're about.
And they're in it for the same common goal so it becomes this great
team, you know, this great Navy Seal team that comes back to television
to tell a story that's compelling like this. You know and, you know how
could you say no to something like this?
And it's very fulfilling man, it's very fulfilling. And I'm excited to
be able to show, you know, my old school fans, my new fans, you know,
and just people in general, you know, a different side of me, but also
you know, a different character.
You know, and for me that's important. it's important that people know
that acting is what I do and it's what I love. And I took a long break;
I took a six year break from television and returning was ideal, only
because of this television platform called Awake.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of (Allison Epner) with
popculturemadness.com. Please go ahead.
Allison Epner: Hi guys, thanks for talking with us today.
Wilmer Valderrama: Hey my pleasure.
Allison Epner: ...a few questions with Bird and Vega appearing in both
realities, but it also seems as though there are two casts on the show,
the red and the green. And since you guys are pretty much counterparts
to one another, I know you have fun with Jason onset, but do the two of
you ever get to catch up and compare notes and see each other on set.
Steve Harris: Yes we do. And let's be clear about this, sometimes we've
been known to show up on the set when the other person is working just
to rib them. Yes just depending on what that show - what take that show
has on it.
So yes, you know, sometimes - honestly sometimes you do go a long time
without really seeing each other or passing each other in the trailer
because we are in the two different worlds. But oftentimes because of
how this thing is setup, you know, we still end up sharing the same
And it's a joy. You know, I want to be point blank about this, it is a
joy to work on that show. We have a ball. I know it's a serious show, I
know it's labeled a drama, I understand what I'm getting paid to do, but
the joy that we bring around doing our work I think infuses the process
Wilmer Valderrama: I agree. I agree.
Steve Harris: Because we all try to put our hard hats on, you know?
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes.
Steve Harris: But we enjoy being around each other and I think that, you
know, that's really been a pleasure to be a part of this show for that
factor - for many factors, but definitely for that factor, it's one of
the top ones.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes, 100%. I mean 100% I'm with Steve on this. You
know specific, when they - when you shoot a show as dramatic and as
emotional, you know, as Awake is, and as mysterious and as unpredictable
as the show is, it's so important and it's also considered such a gift
to be able to come to work and really actually be, you know, there for
You know and I, you know, when I'm on set and I'm not shooting, I'm just
waiting around or whatever, I'll just go and (unintelligible) some of
Steve's scenes, you know, from behind the monitors or we'll see some of
Jason's other scenes and stuff like that and it's fun. We're truly
intrigued by the show's journey, we're truly intrigued by the premise of
And I love everything these guys do man. When I see Jason and Steve go
to work man, it's like watching, you know, the best acting class you
could be in, you know, I mean it's just great. So for me, I really enjoy
them, you know, I'm their - you know, I'm some of their biggest fans.
You know I mean, and it's just really, really like he said, "It's just
so refreshing to be able to work with a group of people that are in it
on the same level and that are working as hard as you are too." And it's
just a gift.
Steve Harris: Yes.
Allison Epner: Great. And I really do think Awake is upping the ante
for TV, from everything to the heart involved and the fact that each
episode really does feel like a mini movie. So what would you say is
that, you know, you guys have learned and taken away from your time with
the show so far?
Steve Harris: I mean there's so much. But the simplest thing, we pointed
out, the relationship we have behind the scenes. We're proud of the
reputation of what we're putting on screen. The process has been great,
from both NBC and 20th Century in dealing and relating to us as a show.
I think when you tie all of that together, especially the aspect of the
- I'm proud to say that I'm on the show, the respect that I have for the
people on this show, that you can do a show like this and you can
present it to people in America and so far they've given us a favorable
view that they're actually watching the show and want to be invested.
And I think that that's a - I don't know how to put it, but it really I
sort of an honor to come back to television and to represent a show that
I can hold my head up high again as I've done before. So I'm really -
I'm - it's really is - it really is an honor to be back on TV with a
show - connected with this type of show.
Wilmer Valderrama: And you know, just to complement what Steve is
saying, you know, I - I mean I'm - I feel the same way. You know, it's -
to be able to do the work that we do, you know, and to be part of a team
like this is just amazing. But you're right, it's like a weekly movie,
you know what I mean? It's something that television has never seen.
And I think all of us, you know, thankfully and you know, and feeling
really blessed, you know, that we've been part of some iconic, you know,
legacies you know, from Steve's you know, previous work to some of my
work and Jason's work and Cherry's work and BD's work, you know I mean,
you look at this cast and everyone has some really serious experience,
you know and we feel the same - just you know, we show this specific
show is just as special as everything we've done before, then otherwise
we wouldn't be in it, you know what I mean?
And thankfully, and in the most humble terms, you know, we have some
choices. You know, we had choices and this was just the, you know, was
just the ideal and just perfect way to unite.
Operator: Ladies and Gentlemen as a reminder, to register for a
question, please press the 1 followed by the 4.
Wilmer Valderrama: Okay I'll keep that in mind.
Operator: And our final question is a follow-up question from the line
of Jamie Ruby with scifivision.com. Please go ahead.
Jamie Ruby: Hi again. So did either of you do any research before the
show, like maybe hanging out with some real detectives or anything like
Wilmer Valderrama: I mean yes, I mean I - for this show I definitely try
to sleep as much as possible, making sure that I stay consistent with
what dream is about.
But I think that aside from liking to sleep in, we definitely did a lot
of stuff when it comes to the detective part of it all. I mean I know I
did a lot of my ride-alongs I talked to a number of detectives, you
know, and making sure that, you know I had that swag, as we say, you
And we have this amazing guy named (Jessie Escorta) who is a awesome
detective, you know, a consultant that's on set with us, you know,
pretty much every day, making sure that we are authentic and that the
cases feel authentic and that the procedural stuff with the - all the
actual cases, you know, feel you know, as accurate as possible.
And so we - accuracy and authenticity is something that we take really,
really, really serious on the show. And we do our best to come so close
to detectives that the goal is that when a detective watches the show
that they go, "Yes, I hold the pad on my left hand," you know, "Yes, I
don't button my jacket." You know what I mean?
Like there's all these little things that a detective, you know, has to
keep in mind, you know, as he makes things easier for him. And we try,
we're really trying to be as real as possible.
Jamie Ruby: Okay. What about you Steve?
Steve Harris: He's mentioned (Jessie) who's our detective consultant on
the show, and you know, he has a - you know, he knows what he's doing.
And I think that we tend to follow that.
I didn't do the ride-alongs and the things of that nature, the going on
a - either fortunately or unfortunately depending on who you listen to.
I may have been on the, you know, different sides of the police here and
there. So but...
Wilmer Valderrama: I just got that like a second later.
Steve Harris: Somebody please throw the rope.
Wilmer Valderrama: Man, can I - boy can I relate to that.
Steve Harris: So I really can't - I really - so I like the consultants,
I like the guys that we use. A lot of the guys that we also use in the
show as the detectives or police officers are former detectives and
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes.
Steve Harris: So it has a way of keeping that reality in place. And you
know, I want - part of my thing is sometimes I may keep (Jessie) on his
toes by sort of maybe playing around and violating some of that, and he
always comes and he's right on point, he comes and gets me. I'm messing
with him most of the time. So it really is a lot of fun.
Wilmer Valderrama: Yes I know for sure. And he's a really nice guy too
so it's - it makes it really fun man. We're having a really good time
with them. But you know, it's really cool.
But you know, when you have as much of a presence and as much swag as
Mr. Steve Harris, you know what I mean, to be completely honest, no
matter what comes out of his mouth, you know, you either - it's either
authority or he's narrating The Lion King, I mean so one of the two.
The man cannot do anything wrong. Steve Harris, he sits there, he'll
shoot somebody and he'll have this face that looks so cool that you go,
"Detectives wish they have Steve Harris' face when they shoot somebody."
I mean, Steve Harris' voice is so prolific, I mean to be honest, the guy
doesn't need any research.
Steve Harris: You know, I'm not going to get you on this radio shot -
show, but I'm going to get you. That was (unintelligible).
Wilmer Valderrama: I love Steve, you know what man? I mean I love this
man to death man. We have a really good time.
Steve Harris: Yes.
Jamie Ruby: All right, well thank you very much both of you. I really do
love the show.
Wilmer Valderrama: Thank you so very much. I really appreciate it.
Steve Harris: Oh thank you, thank you.
Operator: And there are no further questions at this time. I'll now turn
the call back over to you Miss St. Pierre.
Tracy St. Pierre: Thank you everyone for participating today. Again,
Awake airs on NBC on Thursday's at 10:00 pm.
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