NBC’s new dramedy, Taxi Brooklyn comes flying out of the garage tonight and behind the wheel is some impressive talent. Starring Grey’s Anatomy alumna Chyler Leigh as Detective Cat Sullivan and international film star Jacky Ido as taxi driver Leo Romba, Taxi Brooklyn tells the story of a cop who loses her wheels after some reckless driving and is forced to partner up with a local cab driver. The two quickly start to work crimes together. Based on the film Taxi, written by French filmmaker Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), the show’s characters are multifaceted, charming, and ready to do what it takes to catch the bad guys.
OHSOGRAY talked recently with Chyler Leigh and Jacky Ito about what drew them to the roles of Cat and Leo.
How would you describe Cat?
Chyler Leigh: When we meet her, Cat is in a very hard place in her life. We come to understand she is a very tough talking, but conflicted person who, at this point, is very reckless due to what she’s been through with her family. She’s very determined. She’s hardworking. She takes what she does very seriously, but has become a bit impassioned to find out what happened in her past. At this point, she has pretty much pushed everyone away in her life and is a bit disgruntled. But you can see throughout the season that she does have a vulnerable side to her. She builds a wall up, but you see that she can kick some serious ass.
What is the relationship like between Cat and Leo in the beginning and how does it evolve?
Jacky Ido: The relationship is kind of tense in the beginning. […] There’s a little tension between them, but there’s a relationship that you can see developing there. Also, they need each other because together they complete each other. They kind of become the Super Cop to solve all those cases. So the relationship in the beginning is quite tense and then quite quickly it evolves to being something …sometimes you can say ‘cats and dogs’ or ‘sister and brother’ kind of relationship. Maybe even like ‘will they won’t they’ kind of relationship. It’s interesting to see how it evolves between them.
Chyler, you have done both serious drama and comedy. Do you have a preference?
Chyler Leigh: You know, I think it’s just project-by-project basis. You get down to the sitcom world which is, I think, a dream job just because of the scheduling factor. You kind of weigh it out from a character standpoint – what you love most – and then obviously what makes the most sense from a schedule. So I’m being very broad in the way I’m answering this, because I’m on a comedy/drama right now. But, I think it’s whatever strikes me as the most interesting from a character standpoint.
Jacky, you’ve had a successful international film career, what inspired you to make the change now to do an American television comedy?
Jacky Ido: My answer would be very simple: Leo Romba. The character was just so amazing. When I first got the script and started reading about him, I couldn’t take my eyes off the page. In so many aspects, he’s like me. I loved his sense of humor, his sense of … he’s a life loving guy. He has a second chance in New York […] To be able to portray someone who loves life to this extent and also someone who, like me, has experienced being a viewer in Europe – growing up in Europe watching television, American cop shows that were dubbed in French and then being projected in that kind of universe with the stereotypical characters, the archetypes you find in the cop shows. That’s the dream for a French viewer – being in the midst of that and taking part in solving those cases. So it was something I couldn’t just pass on. It was something I really wanted to do.
Taxi Brooklyn premieres tonight and airs Wednesday at 10/9c on NBC.