Raymond Lee on Quantum Leap, Easter Eggs, and Leaping

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Quantum Leap is coming back to NBC with a whole new lead and team as they continue the work of Dr. Sam Beckett, played by Scott Bakula. It’s been around 30 years since we last heard from Sam. Dr. Ben Song, played by Raymond Lee, has restarted the Quantum Leap project where he is able to leap into a body from the past during his lifetime. And like Sam, he is stuck and can only leap to another timeline and body if he helps the current person he leaped into.

We had the chance to chat with Raymond Lee about the new series, and he talks about what viewers can expect.

Nerd Reactor: With Quantum Leap based on the beloved classic sci-fi show, is there any pressure on you when you joined the project?

Raymond Lee: Of course, there’s pressure. I think there’s pressure with every project. I think this one was a very specific kind of pressure because it was so beloved. Scott Bakula. He’s a household name. So, of course, there’s pressure to live up to it. But also at the same time, we fully recognize we’re creating a whole new show. So that sort of takes the pressure off. And yeah, we’re fully embracing this new show.

Joining in, what were your expectations on leaping and all the different aspects that go along with it? Like the different settings and times, and all that?

I mean, it’s an actor’s dream. The scenery never is the same, and it’s just very exciting to have that kind of turnover, right? After 7-10 days of work, you have a brand new wardrobe, you’re in a brand new time period. Yeah, the cars that you’re seeing, props – everything changes. For me, it’s never the same, so it’s very exciting. Historically, it jumps in so many different times, and so it’s important for us to keep track of those things too. What was relevant during what time period, how people spoke, how people talk, what was important to people at that time, and who was the president at that time? These are all important things to keep track of. All of that is just very stimulating and exciting.

You’re going from different styles. Do you have time to just relax and just read the notes and prepare yourself mentally?

I don’t have time for anything. [laughs] Go, go, go! Once I finished memorizing a scene, I have to memorize choreography for something. There’s a lot going on. I think the writers and the creators have made it a point to make it a very accelerated version of the show. There’s not a moment that you’re going to be able to really relax into the story because things keep happening. And there is always action driving it forward. And I think what audiences will be surprised by is the amount of action that it’s actually going to have.

Fans are going to be looking forward to this, like if there are going to be any Easter eggs or certain characters returning, for example, Ernie Hudson’s character of Magic. What can fans expect?

Yeah, there’s going to be a ton of Easter eggs. And there’s going to be character callbacks. And there’s also going to be, as you mentioned, Magic. Magic is actually a very integral part of the story at large. And the reimagining of Ziggy, I think, is going to be really exciting for all fans to watch and see how Ziggy’s transformed in the past 30 years and the technology that’s available to us that allows Ziggy to be better.

With this one, you do have a team that’s going to be out there figuring things out. Are you around them on set, or since you’re off doing your own adventures, it kind of helps you with just being separated?

Yeah, I mean, that’s exactly what it is. So far, I’ve had one day where I got to be with the entire cast. And it was so nice because up until that point, I was just always kind of on my own with my leaps. And it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole cast and one side really supports the other. So while Ben is out there during his leaps trying not to die, there’s an entire life at the headquarters that is supplementing the story and one informs the other. If I do something here that affects HQ, if HQ tells Ziggy or Ziggy tells HQ to run a different path and the algorithm switches, then I have to go a different way because Ziggy’s percentages are different. So I think it’s really exciting to not only see the leaps but to see the drama that’s happening inside of headquarters. Because there’s a whole world of characters and storylines happening there as well.

With the different stories and different adventures, is there one that just really captured your attention?

I mean, just the whole pilot script really gripped me. I understood the character really well because he’s a fish out of water. I feel like I’m oftentimes a fish out of water trying to learn new things. And at the very end of it, there are teases at the fact that our character might go into space. Wow, for just a multitude of reasons that sounds so exciting visually, storytelling-wise. There’s going to be a spacewalk. Anytime anything takes place in space, everything is of the highest possible level of tension. And for you myself personally to don a spacesuit and pretend like I’m in zero gravity – like amazing stuff.

About Quantum Leap

It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song (Raymond Lee), has been assembled to restart the project in hope of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.

Everything changes, however, when Ben makes an unauthorized leap into the past, leaving the team behind to solve the mystery of why he did it. At Ben’s side throughout his leaps is Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who appears in the form of a hologram only Ben can see and hear. She’s a decorated Army veteran who brings level-headed precision to her job.

At the helm of the highly confidential operation is Herbert “Magic” Williams (Ernie Hudson), a no-nonsense career military man who has to answer to his bosses who won’t be happy once they learn about the breach of protocol. The rest of the team at headquarters includes Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park), who runs the Artificial Intelligence unit “Ziggy,” and Jenn Chou (Nanrisa Lee), who heads up digital security for the project.

As Ben leaps from life to life, putting right what once went wrong, it becomes clear that he and the team are on a thrilling journey. However, Addison, Magic, Ian and Jenn know that if they are going to solve the mystery of Ben’s leap and bring him home, they must act fast or lose him forever.

Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt will write and executive produce. Don Bellisario, Deborah Pratt, Ryan Lindenberg, Robert Hull and Martin Gero executive produce.

Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, will produce in association with I Have an Idea! Entertainment, Belisarius Productions and Quinn’s House Productions.

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