Interview: Joe Lo Truglio teases Sunday’s ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ wedding

Wedding bells are going to chime on this Sunday's episode of FOX's “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” 

After a whirlwind courtship, Charles Boyle's dad (Stephen Root) and Gina Linetti's mom (Sandra Bernhard) are tying the knot, but actual police work is apparently going to cause chaos. 

Last week, I got on the phone with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Joe Lo Truglio to discuss the nuptials, as well as Boyle's gradual evolution from his larger-than-life beginnings. 

We also talked about Lo Truglio's own status as a foodie and what the “State” veteran got out of sharing recent scenes with sitcom legend Garry Marshall.

So check out an exclusive scene from Sunday's episode plus the full Joe Lo Truglio Q&A below. 

HitFix:    Setting up the wedding taking place in this week's episode, what is Boyle's actual role in the wedding other than getting nervous I guess for his father?

Joe Lo Truglio:    Well I think he is trying to manage his father's cold feet and his general nervousness throughout the day and has enlisted Rosa to help him achieve that end. So Boyle is kind of managing cold feet jitters on wedding day for his dad.

HitFix:    Boyle has been sort of very helpful to Rosa in her current relationship and they're all chummy now. Does it feel like Boyle and Diaz, that's been put on hold permanently or just temporarily do you reckon?

Joe Lo Truglio:    It's hard to say but I think that if Rosa and Charles were to have the possibility of a romantic future together this would have to be a necessary step, which is friendship and not, you know, unmitigated obsession on the part of Charles. I think hopefully it's just kind of a step in the right direction but both Stephanie and I have no idea where they might be leading.

HitFix:    Talk a bit about Stephen Root and working with him and sort of the two of you guys finding the Boyle men together.

Joe Lo Truglio:    I've been a fan of Stephen's since “Office Space.” I was, like the rest of the cast, absolutely thrilled when he and Sandra came on. Stephen's terrific to watch because he was a fan of the show and watched a lot of kind of Boyle's characteristics and mannerisms and such and really started to kind of incorporate them into his physical performance which was very fun for me to watch. And like any great actor, he's very good at playing with the other actors. And both he and I had a fun time. There's a scene in the wedding episode where we're watching Gina and her mom perform. And we get really into it and it was fun just kind of reacting with Stephen to that show. He's really good at expanding his character with the other characters.

HitFix:    Going back to sort of the things that he's integrated from your performance into his, what are a couple of those things you've noticed? I want to be able to go back and spot them for myself next time.

Joe Lo Truglio:    Yeah well I also want to be very careful, because I don't want it to seem that like he's based his entire performance on what I did because he's bringing so much stuff that I could never bring and he's a very original actor. The stuff I was talking about are some of the ways that I gesticulate, like a lot of hand movements. Boyle gets very excited when he talks and kind of animates himself a bit. And I've seen Stephen do that when his character Lynn gets upset. You know it wasn't like as definitive as like Fonzie kicking the jukebox, like it's like a specific accent that Boyle has or something that he repeated but it was kind of a general, the way he was standing a lot. He was kind of like hunched over like Boyle does sometimes. I don't know. Those are a couple of examples.

HitFix:    Going the other way has seeing Stephen work given you any different insight or inspiration into sort of what has led to produce Charles Boyle.

Joe Lo Truglio:    Oh, I see. Yeah. Well, you know, Stephen as an actor is a very focused passionate guy and I see that going into Lynn Boyle, which I could see going into Charles who also becomes very passionate and overly obsessed with things. So I've seen that element of Stephen bringing back to Lynn Boyle that I think to me it says, “Oh yeah, I could see where Charles is born of that cloth,” you know.

HitFix:    Going back to the pilot, I remember feeling like Boyle was a very funny character but not necessarily understanding how he could operate in the real world. He seemed sort of almost scarily obsessed with things and sometimes really disconnected. And I was sort of going, “Okay, funny but is he gonna feel like a real person.” And then he did. Fairly quickly. What were the conversations you had with Mike [Schur] and Dan [Goor] about making sure that this was a guy who was grounded and could actually exist in the real world?

Joe Lo Truglio:    That's a great question. I didn't have any direct conversations with both of them about that but what they helped me do through their writing is that it was always very clear to me that the characters that they created were very competent and were able to do their job well. And I feel like that's a terrific trait for them to show, because there seems to be this disconnect where if you're good at your job you also can't be a fool or can't be weird or can't be odd. And I like the fact that you can be both, because that's how people really are. There's people with very high profile jobs that are weird and yet still functional. And so I didn't so much make it a performance thing because I felt like the given that they were good at their job is the element that makes people say like, “Well, there has to be some real functioning part of their weird personality in order for them to pull this off.” 

So there is that aspect and the other is that I feel like there's genuine heart to Boyle. And I feel like once you are able to play that, people are going to buy into you because they're like, “Well he's earnest.” There's a part of him that's really earnest so that's a very human thing. And to be earnest among these absurd things is really the kind of anchor I think.

HitFix:    Have there ever been sort of times when you've had to ask or get clarification on a particular quirk or oddity just to make it work in an actual possible context for you?

Joe Lo Truglio:    None that are coming to mind. The parts that are the most challenging for me to ground are often the parts where Charles is oblivious to perhaps a rather serious moment. And so those have been the hardest for me to play. The jokes, the physical jokes are not, because I feel like Charles is just a physical person by nature, is a very animated and hyper person by nature. So those have been very easy to incorporate.

HitFix:    Do you have a favorite of Boyle's quirks or oddities?

Joe Lo Truglio:    I enjoy his zest to be part of a conversation even when he's not invited or supposed to be listening to it. So that's one of my favorite quirks of his, because hopefully he comes across as funny or amusing as opposed to just rude and annoying. He walks that line and it's a very thin one.

HitFix:    What is your own personal relationship with food? That has obviously been one of the most recurrent of Boyle's obsessions.

Joe Lo Truglio:    It's probably the aspect of Boyle that would be closest to me. It's a little obsessive with Boyle. I'm a foodie. I just love eating and going out to eat, going to new restaurants. When the cast went over to Paris, a few of us did anyway, with our significant others we ate a lot and it was great. Both Chelsea and I are big food fans and actually Chelsea had a great idea when Charles and Gina have their own kind of story going a few people asked her, “What is it that keeps them together? I mean like she's always slapping him and being sarcastic and emasculating him so many times.” And Chelsea was like, “well I think she just cooks great food for them both.” And I thought that was just a very accurate statement and I agree with it. But getting back to your question yeah, liking food is probably the closest I come to Boyle. Boyle's a lot more patient than I am.

HitFix:    A couple weeks back. you had some really great scenes with Garry Marshall. Were you able to, willing to, excited to pick his comedy brain at all when he was there?

Joe Lo Truglio:    Excited isn't the word. I was completely intoxicated by this guy. The whole set, there was an air of excitement knowing that we were going to be working with a comedy legend, a person that you can make the argument is the reason why we were doing not this sitcom specifically but sitcoms in general. So we were over the moon. One of the highlights of the season for me as an actor was being able to improv with Mr. Marshall, “Garry,” as I like to call him. And he's still at the top of his game. He's quick, he's sharp, he's funny, he's very warm to work with. I was excited about hearing terrific anecdotes from the incredible amount of people that he's worked with that I also admire and he was able to give us some stories along those lines as well. But it was a highlight, for me not just for the season but actually for for my career. And I'm not exaggerating. To work with a legend like that is just an honor.

HitFix:    As you say, he has so many spectacular credits from five decades of TV. What were you specifically or particularly interested in hearing about?

Joe Lo Truglio:    Well I was ready for anything. And so when you're working with someone that you want to be professional around and respect,  all of us didn't want to grill him on like, “What was this and what was that?” So I would have to be careful. I think I opened with, “You know, your scene in 'Lost in America' with Albert Brooks is one of the funniest inspirational scenes in the movie and that must have been incredible. I'm sure you get a lot of questions about this.” And this was like one of the first things I said. And he just kind of gave me this look of scorn and upset and like impatience like, “Oh God, please don't ask that.” And then of course I realized he was joking and started just opening up in the warmest way about other movies. I think he went on to talk about “A League of Their Own.” You know we talked about “Happy Days,” of course, and how amazing that experience was for him and how great the cast was. Yeah, the only specific thing I wanted to hear about was his “Lost in America” scene, but I was ready for anything that he would give in terms of that. It was really special personal and gracious for him to share it.

HitFix:    And just as a last question, obviously Boyle/Peralta and Boyle/Diaz have been sort of the core relationships for your character — I guess also with Chelsea as well this season. Are there other sort of precinct dynamics that you feel like we haven't gotten to see as much with Boyle, you know, people who you feel sort of a great comedic rapport with who maybe we haven't seen you with as much?

Joe Lo Truglio:    Well I've really been enjoying, for the first time this season, Boyle and Holt had a story where Boyle is showing Holt how to cook for his husband Kevin. And that was really nice for Andre and I to play around because we hadn't really had an opportunity to do that just with each other without a third member of the precinct. So that was really nice. And I think I have a story with Scully and Hitchcock and Dirk and Joel are just, they're kind of the unsung heroes. I mean these guys are journeymen. They've just been around for so long and are so good and do a lot of background work, but with great gags. And we have similar senses of humor, the three of us. which is kind of old school, kind of physical and a little slapstick. And so I'm excited to work with them as well. I think I have a story coming up with them. It all bleeds into one big episode after a few so those are a couple.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” airs on Sundays at 8:30 on FOX.