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There are precious few actresses with the acting-and-action chops to stand up to big boys Robert De Niro and Jason Statham. Yvonne Strahovski is one of them. Playing a farm girl who gets caught up in a web of violence in the who’s-the-bad-guy thriller Killer Elite, the Chuck star is adding some much-needed heat to the fall movie season. Yvonne, who left her native Australia to play the dorky spy next door’s CIA contact, has more than just looks and talent. Just check out her three-in-one parody of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Ke$ha on College Humor to witness this down-to-earth beauty’s (literally) sick sense of humor.

They say you’ve only truly made it in Hollywood if you call Robert De Niro “Bob.” Did you?
I’ve called him Bob, so I guess I’ll tick that one off the bucket list.

Video: Risque Business with Yvonne Strahovski

How was meeting him?
I just knocked on his trailer door and there he was! I felt like a kid in a candy store; I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

Is Jason Statham a total badass?
No, he’s not Mr. Tough Guy or anything. He’s not ready to punch someone at all times.

As far as love interests go, you could do worse than him.
Yes, you certainly could! But we sort of had a brother-sister thing going on, which is gross, because we play lovers in Killer Elite.

Video: Risque Business with Yvonne Strahovski

Your character works on a farm. Is that how you grew up in Australia?
Yes and no. I grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, but I spent lots of time in the bush, hiking and rock climbing and running around. So those scenes were very much in my comfort zone.

You know, when you talk about enjoying “time in the bush” here in America, folks might think you need a Brazilian.
Or an anti-Brazilian.

Exactly! Moving on, what’s the biggest stereotype you’ve encountered about Australians?
People think there are kangaroos hopping around in the city, which isn’t the case. They do, but only in…the bush. There’s that word again! I’m really not trying to carry on the joke, but I miss the bush the most.

Video: Risque Business with Yvonne Strahovski

You’d better be careful, ’cause that’s gonna be the quote that ends up right next to your picture.
Oh, no! OK, I miss the “Australian forest.” How’s that?

Much better. What else do you miss about your homeland?
I love Australian chocolates, but I can’t have them, because I’m not eating sugar these days. So I sniff them to get my fix. Wow, this interview is sounding worse and worse. All I’m talking about is sniffing and bush.

You kick butt on Chuck. Do you have a martial arts background?
Not really, but I was a dancer from five till about 18, and it helps you remember the choreography. I did have to strengthen my moves a bit so they weren’t so balletic.

It looks like fun to play Sarah Walker on the show.
Yeah, Chuck is a comedy-action-drama-romance, and I feel like I get to play one of the best female characters on TV.

Any gossip about the new season?
Now that Chuck and Sarah are married, there’s a whole new dynamic between them. Also, Mark Hamill and Carrie-Anne Moss are joining us, so it’s pretty exciting to have them on board.

Video: Risque Business with Yvonne Strahovski

And this is the last season?
I can’t believe we made it this far. We’ve been on the bubble ever since we started, but our fans have really pushed for us to stay on-air. It’s nice to know that we’re working toward a real ending that isn’t like, “Uh, maybe we’re coming back?”

Speaking of fans, you must have some obsessive ones. Have you gotten any strange gifts?
I’ve received some pretty interesting poetry. Like, pages and pages and pages of typed rhyming poetry…

Creepy! So your character on Chuck fell for a geek. Is that what you like, or more manly guys?
I’m into a mix of both. I like a suave dude with some geek.

You did a great drunk throw-up when you were playing Ke$ha in that College Humor video. Was that from experience?
No, I’m not really big on the throwing-up thing. I have a trick before it gets to that level, and that is to eat bread. If I’m feeling a little woozy, it makes everything better.

STATUS UPDATE

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Birthday: July 30, 1982

Party spot: Las Vegas. “I get bored gambling, but I love dancing. Last time I went I pulled an all-nighter.”

Signature drink: “Tequila on the rocks with a splash of fresh pineapple juice and fresh lime.”

Time waster: Angry Birds. “I’m obsessed. I have all my watermelons and three stars in all the seasons, which I think is impressive.”

Guilty pleasure: Toddlers & Tiaras. “It’s pretty educational. That’s my way of justifying it.”

Last meal: “Sugar cookies, Krispy Kreme donuts, and a jar of Nutella. Just a mass hit of sugar.”

by Patrick Carone

Yvonne Strahovski