Hopefully American Idol will do that kingmaking thing it does this Wednesday and set up Fox’s Breaking In with a boffo audience come 9:30/8:30c. The caper comedy stars film vet Christian Slater as Oz, the head of a company that gives top-shelf security systems a firm kick in the tires. Oz recruits slacker hacker Cameron (Reaper’s Bret Harrison) to join his team, working alongside Odette Yustman (Brothers & Sisters), Alphonso McAuley (Chocolate News) and Trevor Moore (The Whitest Kids U’Know, channeling Dwight Schrute).
Harrison gave TVLine a look at what to expect from Breaking In, its requisite “Will they/Wont they?” workplace romance, and one atypical Christian Slater moment.
TVLINE | I suppose I could thank you, as a representative of Breaking In, for the cake that reporters were sent this week.
I heard about that! And it’s my birthday [on premiere day], so….
TVLINE | Oh, that’s what’s it’s really about. So fill in the blank for people: “If you like ___, you’ll like Breaking In.”
If you like The A-Team, you’ll like Breaking In. If you like The Office, you’ll like Breaking In. [Laughs] And if you like Breaking In, you will like Breaking In!
TVLINE | From what I detect on screen, you all seem to be having a good time doing this show.
It’s just so much fun because the showrunners, writers and directors for the most part have been so collaborative — more so than with anything I’ve worked on before. There are times where we’ll come up with something really funny from a particular scene and if we can shoot a “pop” [cutaway], like they do on 30 Rock, and it’s easy, we’ll do it.
TVLINE | Since you play an elite hacker working for a security firm, I am required to ask: How are your own computer skills? And have you ever stolen anything?
Well, for my initial character research I bought a computer. And I learned how to type. [Laughs] Now I can find my way around the Internet! And I stole a Snickers bar when I was kid. My parents got really mad.
TVLINE | Do you think Cameron has a shot at Melanie (played by Yustman)? What’s it going to take?
I think it’s going to take… a couple seasons! Cameron needs to explore his options a bit more, see what’s out there.
TVLINE | Which he does in the second episode, with no less than guest star Alyssa Milano (Charmed).
And he gets burned, so…. He definitely needs to meet more ladies.
TVLINE | Let’s size up his rival for Melanie’s affections: What exactly is “mega-douche” Dutch’s strength as a boyfriend?
Why is Melanie with Dutch (played by Smallville vet Michael Rosenbaum)? I think that underneath all that douchiness he’s actually got a big heart. We find that he does things for Melanie that make her want to stay with him. He’s a really douchey guy, but he is in love with her.
TVLINE | I have to say, I crack up every time I watch the scene where Dutch bellows, “Face!” at Cameron.
That’s the sort of scene where if we cut it all together, you’d have, like, a 10-minute short. I’m hoping that they’ll throw [outtakes] online, because we have a lot of these scenes where if they take off we’ll improv a lot.
TVLINE | Jennifer Irwin’s character is listed everywhere as “Creepy Carol” – but is Carol ever called that to her face?
Not that I recall. It’s definitely that kind of thing where everybody has a Creepy Carol in their office — and you call them that behind their back — but….
TVLINE | In the second episode, Oz comes off as rather all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful…. Will we ever pick up on a weakness?
Actually, in the episode we’re shooting now, he thinks we should do a team exercise. Cameron thinks it’ll be trust falls and whatever, but Oz locks us in the office for the weekend, and we have to break out. Cameron gets stuck in a heating duct, and Oz kind of freaks out because he needs Cameron’s hacking ability to get himself out of his own situation. It’s fun to see Christian Slater play the opposite of [the cool cucumber] he typically plays.
TVLINE | What’s your favorite Christian Slater movie? I’m gonna go with Broken Arrow.
You’d go Broken Arrow? Hmm…. Gleaming the Cube? [Laughs] I’ll say Gleaming the Cube, Heathers, and obviously True Romance.
TVLINE | Breaking In premieres not long after V wrapped its season. Is there a scenario where your science guy returns for Season 3?
If Breaking In gets picked up, I don’t see how that would be possible. A lot of things would have to happen for that to work out. I was surprised to not die in that finale! I was totally thinking, “This is my kill-off!”
Will you check out Breaking In tonight after Idol?