Chemistry sounds a lot like science, but it’s really magic. And, ABC’s Take Two crackles with the stuff! The scintillating cast compliments each other in so many engaging ways, creating the most enjoyable series to air on network TV this summer.
The show is from Terri Edda Miller and Andrew W. Marlowe, the creator and executive producers of ABC’s Castle, a highly popular detective series with an impressive eight-season run. In Take Two, Rachel Bilson (Hart of Dixie, The O.C.) plays Sam Swift, a former star of a hit cop show who winds up shadowing PI extraordinaire, Eddie Valetik, played by Eddie Cibrian (CSI: Miami, Rosewood), for an upcoming role. Due to a parole violation that happened as a result of working a case, Eddie reluctantly agrees to take on Sam as a partner and the will they/won’t they adventure begins.
Paralleling Sam and Eddie’s situation is the relationship between Monica, played by Alice Lee (2 Broke Girls, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser), a vibrant biohacker who is working towards her PhD in Psychology, and Roberto “Berto” Vasquez, played by Xavier de Guzman (Designated Survivor, Warehouse 13). Berto is Eddie’s tech assistant who grew up in a bad neighborhood and is trying to make a difference.
“Monica definitely has the upper hand in the relationship,” Alice told Entertaining Options. “She knows that Berto is into her, but she’s not sure about him. She kind of enjoys that control, but Berto might be growing on her.”
Playing Monica was appealing because she is different than the characters Alice usually portrays. Monica is very smart, complex, quirky, and has a dry sense of humor. However, she doesn’t really get people, which is what inspired her to study psychology. She deflects attention that might be placed on her by being aggressively observant and inquisitive of other people.
“Monica is a super curious girl who is smart and very into psychology,” Alice affirmed. “She’s also a grinder [performs repetitive computer/gaming tasks needed to achieve a goal/level up] and she has implants in her hands. I didn’t even know people did that before I started playing this character.”
“I love Monica’s style, her hair, her fashion, and her makeup. She’s definitely loud in her appearance, even if she’s subtle in her dialogue,” Alice continued. “There’s a great team behind Monica’s look and we all work together to figure it out. In terms of clothes, for instance, I’ll go in for a fitting and try on a bunch of outfits and they’ll ask, ‘How do you feel about this? Do you like it? Is it comfortable?’ Then, we just kind of narrow it down from there.”
Before her success in TV and film, Alice was a Broadway star. She began her professional career in the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, followed by Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. She also played Heather Duke in the cult-classic Off-Broadway musical Heathers.
“It’s funny, I went to NYU and I studied music business, but I never studied musical theater,” Alice noted. “I went to an open call in my freshman year, it was for a Broadway show called Spring Awakening, and I happened to get it. Through that, I got an agent.”
“I did a lot of musical theater, but I wanted to try Hollywood. There was this moment when I said to myself, ‘I think it’s time.’ It wasn’t that I was over musical theater, I just needed to try Hollywood.”
In Hollywood, Alice began with guest credits in shows such as 2 Broke Girls, The Mindy Project, and Switched at Birth. She also landed roles on Amazon’s Electric Dreams and Hulu’s Gap Year. Her feature credits include the horror film Wish Upon and Netflix’s Sierra Burgess is a Loser.
Back in 2014, Alice had an impressive run on ABC’s singing competition show called Rising Star. A couple of years later, when she was working on Gap Year in Southeast Asia, Alice wrote little songs about each country she visited during filming. It was because of those songs and her remarkable voice that the producers of Take Two approached Alice and asked her to do some special promotions.
“They asked if I could write some little jingles and create some songs for the show. I said, ‘Yes! Absolutely! Anything I can do that mixes music and acting sounds great!’ It’s the best of both worlds for me.”
Additionally, Alice did a couple of fun, “Two” themed music videos that were more produced. In those videos, she was accompanied by show composer Robert Duncan and his friend guitarist George Doering.
With the popularity of Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, as well as John Cho’s incredible performance in Searching, last month was dubbed “Asian August” by the media. Besides Alice being of Korean descent, her partner on Take Two, Xavier, is of Filipino descent.
“It’s been a hot couple of months for Asian films,” Alice agreed. “It’s not about stereotypes anymore. I don’t have to play the quiet nerd. In Sierra Burgess is a Loser, I played a mean girl – I’ve never played a cool, mean girl before! It’s really exciting. I can see the support on social media. I hope it continues and inspires other Asian kids to follow their dreams, if those dreams involve the entertainment business.”
In closing, Entertaining Options asked, “If you had to pick either Monica or Berto, which character most closely resembles your approach to dating?”
“I don’t know,” she laughed. “In real life, I think I’m a little more open and a little more loving, so I guess if I had to pick one, it would probably be Berto because he’s more honest and he’s more open.”
Tune-In Alert: This Thursday, September 13, at 10/9c, it’s the season finale of ABC’s Take Two. The episode is called “One to the Heart” and it has an explosive conclusion that could change everything.