The new Fox comedy BREAKING IN, premiering tonight at 9:30 PM, concerns a team of professional security experts. Led by Christian Slater’s somewhat mysterious Oz, the gang work as independent contractors, discovering and revealing the security flaws at various firms by, well, breaking in.
Alphonso McAuley (of the newly-released feature CAT RUN and the comedy series CHOCOLATE NEWS) plays Calvin “Cash” Sparks, who is the group’s authority on pop culture, especially science-fiction films and television.
ASSIGNMENT X: You’ve said you have a few real-life personality traits in common with your character Cash …
ALPHONSO McAULEY: Yeah, sort of. I’m sort of a fan boy, and I’m a geek as Cash [laughs].
AX: Are you as fannish as your character, or do you amp that up a bit for the show?
McAULEY: I amp it up just a little bit, but it tends to work for me, because Cash is that type of guy.
AX: So you don’t really have woolly Chewbacca underwear?
McAULEY: No, I have Chewbacca ascots [laughs].
AX: We see at least one of the other characters doing the Tom Cruise-style ceiling descent on a wire. Will Cash get to do that?
McAULEY: Well, I don’t know – that may be a possibility for Cash in the upcoming episodes. We’ll see. They may write something really crazy like that. We’ll see. It should be cool.
AX: What is Cash’s area of expertise within the team?
McAULEY: He’s great at hacking and he’s a computer-type guy. And also, he takes a lot of pride in his pranks. So he has prideful pranks.
AX: Now are your pranks primarily directed at Bret Harrison’s character Cameron?
McAULEY: Yeah, for right now, but he makes sure that he pranks me. Whoever the new people that are coming in, the newbies, basically [get pranked]. So pretty much, [Cash] hazes the new guy or new gal.
AX: Does Cash ever haze Christian Slater’s character Oz, or that would be too dangerous?
McAULEY: Well, that’s a secret. [teasing] It might be a surprise in an upcoming episode, uh-oh.
AX: Did you do any sort of research or preparation for this role?
McAULEY: Just make sure that I’m on my Ps and Qs about different historical facts, things like that – certain STAR WARS characters and comic book characters and things like that, so somebody may be like, “Hey, what’s the Punisher’s real name?” And I’ve got to be like, “Frank Castle, dude.”
AX: So you actually do some improv in the show?
McAULEY: Well, sometimes we get a little improvised moment and you’ve got to knock that out. It depends.
AX: So if somebody throws you a straight line of geek trivia, you need to be prepared for the comeback?
McAULEY: Sort of. If I can’t get it, I’ll be like, “Hey, let me Wikipedia that,” and I’ll get back.
AX: And have you had to bone up on your typing skills to portray Cash’s computer hacking properly?
McAULEY: Well, under the Mavis Beacon curriculum, I actually typed eighty-one words a minute.
AX: So you actually have fast typing skills.
McAULEY: Yeah. I can asdfjkl; – uh-oh, what, who knows that [typing] alphabet? I’m not as fast as Mavis Beacon or Cortez Peters, but I get the job done.
AX: The BREAKING IN set looks like it has some intriguing props …
McAULEY: Well, [in other interviews], they talked about Christian Slater’s Captain Kirk chair. There’s actually a wild armadillo statue in Christian Slater’s office [as Oz]. There’s an armadillo sitting right on his desk. That’s pretty hilarious.
AX: Are you having a good time on BREAKING IN?
McAULEY: I’m having an awesome time. It’s the ride of my life. I strap in the jacket and I just go away. That’s it [laughs].
CLICK HERE to read AX’s review of the BREAKING IN pilot episode
CLICK HERE to read Odette Annable’s thoughts on starring in BREAKING IN
CLICK HERE to read what BREAKING IN producer Doug Robinson has to say about the new Fox series
CLICK HERE to read about GOONIES 2: LEGEND OF SLOTH – the fake sequel to appear on BREAKING IN