Scott Foley teases 'progression' for Will and Frankie dynamic on Whiskey Cavalier
On Whiskey Cavalier, Will (Scott Foley) and Frankie (Lauren Cohan) have kissed and pretended to be married for a mission — but they’ve yet to make any real moves on the romantic front just yet.
Wednesday’s episode will test Frankie in new ways when Will’s cover is blown and he’s captured. She’ll have to lead the team on a mission to rescue him, but also confront her feelings about him given that his life hangs in the balance.
The man behind the emotionally intelligent super-spy Will Chase, star Scott Foley, tells EW we can definitely expect Will’s life being in jeopardy to provoke strong feelings in Frankie. “Not just personally, but professionally, this is a chance for Frankie to lead the team in Will’s absence, but also trying to find him and get him back safely,” he explains. “That’s something her character struggles with. She’s always been a lone wolf; she’s worked alone. She doesn’t talk about her feelings; she’s the complete opposite of Will. She struggles with leading the team, but she is one of the team leaders and this is a big step for her to develop in that direction.”
The episode brings its fair share of challenges for Will as well. Foley teases the episode, saying, “Some pretty heavy things happen to him, but he manages to keep a stiff upper lip and still find some humor.”
It’s this blend of comedy and high stakes action that makes Whiskey Cavalier’s tone unique — and that’s what attracted Foley to the project in the first place. “Television for the past dozen years or so has become like the politics in this country,” he muses. “You’re either a drama or you’re a comedy; you’re Republican or Democrat. There’s nothing in between. This show is something that falls in the middle — like life, where nothing is serious all the time and nothing’s funny all the time.”
In advance of an episode which puts Will’s life on the line in unprecedented ways, EW called up Foley to talk playing an emotionally in-touch hero, what new relationships Will might forge, and what to expect the rest of the season, including whether or not Will and Frankie will take any definitive steps toward something more than a working relationship.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This week Will is in a pretty tight spot. Can we expect him to have his same sense of humor or more be dourer under the circumstances?
SCOTT FOLEY: The circumstances will always change, but Will is who he is…There’s a great storyline between Will and Jai (Vir Das). Will is always trying to get to know people and have people open up and be more like himself, and he tries to get Jai to come around to his side, even while he’s being held captive and tortured.
We’ve seen Will pair off with a lot of people, obviously with Frankie most often, but not really with Jai. Is this a chance for that relationship and dynamic to develop in a way we haven’t seen yet this season?
Yeah, it is. There’s a great outcome to their relationship in this episode. That’s one of the challenges, but also one of the beautiful things about a show like this is we’ve got six or seven regular cast members, each with a different personality, each with a different specific knowledge when it comes to their chosen profession. Getting them to bond and work together as a team is part of what we wanted to do this first season. Not just introduce the characters and say, “Hey this guy’s a computer guy” or “He’s the gadget guy” or “She’s the tough one and he’s the sensitive one,” but to really break down those stereotypes and have them interact with each other in ways we haven’t necessarily seen before and have the team grow and have our audience get to know them.
Speaking of those stereotypes, Jai feels like Will and Frankie’s Q from James Bond — do you agree with that? Or would Jai take objection to that?
That’s exactly the role that he has been put in. When we were thinking of that character, that is definitely who we had in mind — James Bond’s Q. When you do a television series like this, there’s a starting point, which is Q, and then there’s a gradual development of character and professional abilities that we see in him that separates him from the pack. I think maybe that’s the character that, as of yet, people haven’t quite connected with as much, but after this episode, that’s going to change.
Will’s emotional availability is annoying to Frankie. Will it be similarly annoying to his captors?
[Laughs] If we had longer, they would definitely get tired of it. Because he would break them down. They’d talk about love and family, and they’d realize they’re all very similar — we’re all humans existing on this planet — and they’d let him go. But we didn’t explore that part of it. This was more a Will’s in trouble — how’s he going to help himself? And then how’s the team going to figure out how to follow Frankie and help Will?
Will has such a unique balance between action star and intense emotionality. Do you find that difficult or how do you tap into it on a weekly basis?
That for me is the beauty of this character. He is not what you would expect when you hear FBI team leader, international spy. You think of Jason Bourne or you think of James Bond — the old staunch, devoid of emotion, very serious, don’t like to laugh a lot. For me, that trope seemed a little dated. In this day and age, at least, [it’s] not very relatable. It’s actually easier for me to play Will the way he’s written. Jake Ballard, my character on Scandal, was much more what you’d expect Will to be. He’s very serious. Not a big sense of humor. The standard trope of what you would think an action hero would be. But to be able to play Will Chase and give him a sense of humor and give him a love of family and give him an openness you don’t usually see in these characters is exactly what I wanted after playing Jake Ballard for so long.
In the pilot, you had “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on repeat and all of the rom-coms in Will’s apartment. Will we see more of that this season?
Yes. I hope so. I know that we shot a bunch of stuff that really leaned into that side of Will. That’s what I love about him. The more we can open him up that way, the more it not just helps his character and helps people relate to him, but it helps define Frankie’s character as the opposite. That’s really the foundation of the show.
Production is based in Prague, and you’ve gone to other locations around Europe. Can you tease any more really exciting places to come this season?
You mentioned James Bond earlier. There’s a great ski chase in the Alps where he skis off the edge of a cliff and is firing a bunch of guns and hops into a parachute — it’s amazing. We actually got to go to Austria and shoot this incredible action ski sequence in the Alps. It was phenomenal. So that’s going to be the very final episode.
We’ve seen Will and Frankie kiss for the purpose of a mission and there’s an obvious “will they, won’t they?” element here – will there be any decisive steps forward this season?
Are you asking me will they-won’t they? I think that’s what you’re asking me. [Laughs]
Just ‘will they?’ even a little bit?
We’ve seen “will they, won’t they?” before, whether it’s Friends or Castle or Moonlighting. There’s a tension that’s necessary when playing these kind of roles on these kind of shows. We don’t necessarily want to be a “will they, won’t they?” — although that’s built into the DNA of a show like this. I like “on again, off again” maybe depending on where they go toward the end of this season or next. But the dynamic between these two characters is something we hit on every episode.
In one episode, Will is kind of enamored with her and maybe leans in for a kiss but doesn’t get it. In another, she believes Will’s the one for her and then he does something that screws it up. We’re going to play with those character tropes, those interpersonal dynamics quite a bit, but as they get to the end of the season, there will definitely be a progression one way or another. How’s that?
Whiskey Cavalier airs 10 p.m. on Wednesdays on ABC.