From show creators Terri Edda Miller and Andrew W. Marlowe (creators/EPs of Castle), ABC’s Take Two, a light-hearted and fun take on the detective series, follows Sam Swift (Rachel Bilson), an actress who used to star on a hit cop series until epic breakdown sent her to rehab. Now out and looking to restart her career and get her life back on track, she finds herself shadowing private investigator Eddie Valetik (Eddie Cibrian) as research for a potential comeback role, only to discover that the skills she learned as an actor playing a cop actually prove to be surprisingly valuable in real life.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Rachel Bilson talked about why she wanted to do a fun and funny detective series, trusting her showrunners and their proven track record, how she related to Sam Swift, wanting to play characters that set a good example, having to learn how to hold a gun, her chemistry with Eddie Cibrian, the team dynamic, getting to wear fun disguises, collaborating with different directors, and how she’s game for anything on this show.
Collider: This show is so fun, and this character just seems so perfectly suited to you!
RACHEL BILSON: Thank you! Hopefully not in every way, but yeah. It’s so much fun to play. The main thing that we want is for it to be fun. I am happy that you think it is!
This show can technically be classified as a procedural, but it’s not the straight-man, serious, Law & Order type of procedural. Was that something that was important to you? If you were going to do a show where you would be solving crimes, did you want to make sure that it was at least not the tone that we’re use to with this kind of show?
BILSON: Well, I do love those shows that are about solving things. But for me, I really like to be funny, or try to be funny, and comedy is my first love, so being able to combine the two genres was a no-brainer. I just thought it would be so fun to do it that way. Someone can like sit and relax and be super into the solving the case aspect, but also just be entertained.
You also have the team that was behind Castle working on this, and they clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to pairing up a male and female lead, who are very imperfect characters that also have great chemistry together. So, what was it about the show creators that reassured you that you were in good hands, and the right hands for something like this?
BILSON: Just knowing what they did so successfully with Castle and, I thought they were very smart and very funny, and they’re great writers. I knew that I could trust them, and it’s been such a great ride, thus far. I have loved everything they have written for my character, Sam. It was easy jumping into something, having seem the proven product, so to speak.
Unlike with a movie, when you sign on for a TV show, it’s something you could be doing for a few years. Do you have a moment of panic, before signing on to play a character that you could be playing for awhile?
BILSON: The character is so great, and I really do love playing her. The only hesitation, for me, was my daughter. That’s where the hesitation came in. But the character itself is so fun. If I’m lucky enough to get to play her for more than one season, I would be really happy.
Is this a character that you immediately got and understood, right away?
BILSON: Yeah. I think so, aside from the falling out of limos without underwear. That’s something I really tried to avoid, in my younger years. Other than that, I felt like I could relate to her. I like that she’s really strong and really smart, which I also think is important with female characters, especially now, and the fact that I have a daughter. I really admired that part of it.
And Sam Swift seems like someone who genuinely wants to get herself together.
BILSON: Yes, she really does. She’s committed to it, and I really admire that ‘cause it’s not easy. I’ve had friends and people that I’m close to go through it. I’m fortunate enough to have not gone down that path, but I know how hard it is. So, I really respect her commitment to it.
Can you understand and identify with her wish and desire to reinvent herself and her career, especially as you get older and the type of roles change?
BILSON: To a certain degree. I feel very fortunate to have had the career that I’ve had, and I feel good about all the choices that I’ve made. As I get older, picking characters that can set a good example, in one way or another, is super important. If I just keep making those decisions, from here on out, because I have a daughter, would be my path.
This character seems like someone who has no filter and even less boundaries. Does that get her in trouble, or does that just make her fun?
BILSON: Yeah, I think it works both ways. It definitely gets her into trouble, but it also works, too. When you’re solving a case, sometimes it can be really helpful and sometimes not. I think it’s pretty funny and it adds a certain charm to her. She has a lot of heart and I think that comes across, so even though she can be very outspoken and annoying, she does have a lot of heart, and that shows.
Sam Swift is not necessarily the most qualified or trained to be in some of the positions that she finds herself in, and you get to do some stuff that I would imagined you probably haven’t gotten to do in a role before, just because of the kind of show this is. What are the biggest challenges of that? Are there things you’ve had to learn, to be a part of this show?