March 22nd, 2012
04:55 PM ET
Wilmer Valderrama and Steve Harris are two sides of the same coin.
Valderrama and Harris are turning heads in their latest series, "Awake," as the two detectives partnered up with Jason Isaacs' Michael Britten, a man who lives in two realities. (One's a dream and one's real, but which is which?)
Valderrama is still remembered for his role as Fez on "That '70s Show," and this gritty procedural/psychological thriller is about as far from that sitcom as you can get.
"It's day and night for sure," he told reporters last week. "I miss doing comedy for sure, but I'm so fulfilled and it's so rewarding to be doing this drama. It's been in amazing locations all over Los Angeles, so it's just a very different experience, completely different experience. But the clowning around and the joking around in between takes is completely still the same."
Valderrama admitted that he was worried about retuning to television, after doing movies, such as "Larry Crowne." (He recently guest-starred on "Suburgatory" and "Are You There Chelsea?".)
"I really didn't want to come television with something that was predictable, that I've done before," he said. "I was very blessed to have received the script and to eventually join forces with everyone on this, because for me in my mind, it couldn't have gotten more of a solid team and more of perfect format to just return with something so different."
When Valderrama was asked if he would like to go back and re-do something in his career (not unlike the different choices Britten makes in his separate realities), he recalled his "That '70s Show" days.
"There's a few photo shoots I really didn't want to do," he said. "I'll take back some of those photo shoots, some of the really silly-ass photo shoots I did on "70s.' Some of those trampoline shots, you know, some of those between the glass shots. I think I could take some of those back, I think it would be amazing."
In the present day, however, Valderrama plays Detective Vega, a rookie who is not one to question Britten's unusual behavior, as opposed to his longtime partner in the other world, Steve Harris' Detective "Bird."
"He's been my partner for many years," Harris said about his character. "So when you have that sort of relationship, we're more like brothers than anything else. And so I will stick with him because he's basically my brother."
Harris said that the show's premise doesn't exactly strike him as "high concept" in today's television world.
"It's basically a show about a man dealing with a turmoil in his life where his realities are sort of construed in that one may be real and one not, and he's living it as if both are real."
Unlike some shows that caused Valderrama to say, 'There goes six years of my life' when they ended, "Awake" is really building toward something big.
"One day we're going to awake and it's going to be all a dream," he said. "Everything you see on this show from every episode to the arcs and all that will be some kind of clue. A hint that eventually create an equation that will give us a resolution we are going to be fulfilled about."
Among the clues to look for, Valderrama said, is a penguin (yes, a penguin) popping up in future episodes. Eat your heart out, "Lost" polar bears.
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