Q&A with Leverage’s Dean Devlin

Man, I love Leverage. And if you don’t, well, you’re not my friend anymore.

I had the great opportunity to be on a conference call with Leverage‘s Dean Devlin–the show’s executive producer, writer, and director (at least of tonight’s episode). Yes, we’re talking one of the masterminds behind the cons. He was really interesting and had some great things to say about the cast members, the plan of the show, and even what he was like growing up.

I can’t say that I’m entirely thrilled that tonight’s episode of Leverage is the season finale because that means there’s a good span of time with no episodes. But then again, I’m ecstatic to see a brand new episode, especially after last week’s cliffhanger. What do you expect to see tonight?

Well, keep guessing, and in the meantime, read Dean Devlin’s Q&A below!

So I wanted to ask you, the “Three Strikes Job” episode…it had a lot of twists and turns on its own and almost would have been a pretty satisfying ending on its own but then I see the preview for the second part and it looks like things get even more intense within the group.  So what can you tell me about what the team is going to face during the season finale? – All Headline News

Well you know the theme of the whole second season was really about identity, in other words you know before the season – before season 1 began, these were all loners who all worked by themselves, who didn’t really have a sense of family.  In season 1, they had come together but the question was could they hold themselves together?

And in season 2 really the question became well, if they’re not who they used to be before they got together, who are they now?  And so the real exploration in this next episode is the culmination of these stories and a discovery really of who they are in relationship to each other, in who they’re going to be going forward.

You know in this season Sophie had to leave the team to find out who she was.  Nate is trying to redefine himself and he’s – obviously he’s had struggles as he’s fallen off the wagon and trying to understand who he is.  So this will all culminate in [tonight's] episode.

*****

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A Q&A with Leverage’s Jeri Ryan

image courtesy of TNT

Leverage fans may have been surprised when Gina Bellman’s character, Sophie, took an undetermined leave of absence from the show. Taking up Bellman’s place in the cast, though, is the very talented Jeri Ryan, who will be appearing as a special guest for the six remaining episodes of Season 2. I was able to talk with Jeri on a conference call recently, about her addition to the cast. Take a look below, for the transcript from the entire call.

***

Hi. It’s a pleasure to speak with you. — Starry Constellation Magazine.

Hi. Thanks.

What made you want to be a part of the show?

You know what, the way they picked the character – the way it came about was I had gone in to meet with Michael Wright who is the head of TNT. And this was at the same time when, you know, they were realizing they had to find a way to work around Gina Bellman’s pregnancy.

So they were coming up with the idea of, you know, creating this additional character. And it was Michael’s idea. I guess he kind of put two and two together and thought it would be a good fit.

But the way they pitched this character to me I loved everything about her. She sounded like so much fun. The episodes that I had seen of the show were great. I love the tone of it. I love, you know, that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

And it’s a very different character than anything that I’ve really gotten to play before. So it was pretty exciting.

Did you find there was instant chemistry when you began working with the team or did it take a bit of time to develop?

You know what, they’re amazing. And I’m used to being the new kid because I’m – I joke that I’m the designated pinch hitter for TV series because Shark is the only show that I’ve ever been with from the very beginning, from the pilot.

My first series was Dark Sky that was added in the middle of that season. Boston Public I was added Season 2, Star Trek Season 4. So this was, you know, it’s nothing new for me to walk in, in the middle of a thing. But this is such a great group of people.

They’re so warm and funny and just a bunch of goof balls. And so it’s amazing that we actually got anything accomplished ever because all we did was sit around and laugh at each other.

Well did you have to do anything specific to prepare for the role?

You know what, there wasn’t any time to do anything specific to prepare for the role. It was sort of a pretty quick process from the time that TNT approached me with the idea of doing the character and offered me the role and the time that we started shooting.

It was all really fast. I mean they were still – I think it was maybe a week or two at most and there was, you know, they were still sort of developing the character. They were still writing her. They weren’t really sure who she was yet.

So I think it was, you know, a day or two before we actually started shooting that I got a really detailed character breakdown from John Rogers giving me the character’s back story and all of that. So there wasn’t a lot of time to prepare and get ready.

This was – it was kind of fly by the seat of your pants but it was amazing. It was really fun. And she’s – she’s a great skin to inhabit. I really enjoyed playing Tara.

Great. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

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Leverage: The Ice Man Cometh (and Go-eth)

LEVERAGE: 2.08 “The Ice Man Job”

I was really surprised when I was seeing ads for Leverage indicating that Sophie would not be part of a job and that she had left. Fortunately for us, Gina Bellman is still on the show, just in a more limited role because of her pregnancy.

And honestly, they did a fantastic job of keeping her in yet out of the picture. The fact that every single member of the team needed to call her for one reason or another was great, and it really proved that even though she’s no mastermind, she certainly has a part of the team that can’t be replaced.

What surprised me most, though, was that based on last episode’s ending, I don’t know whether people really realized she was leaving. As impactful as it was, I just figured that she’d just get over it and stay with the group. But moving to London? Well, that’s entirely different.

Sophie aside, it was a fun episode. I very much enjoyed Hardison as the grifter, even though everything he did was wrong. He played it too over-the-top. He was still believable–in fact, too believable. I adored when he called Sophie and she basically said it would be ok, as long as they weren’t Russians. Which, of course, they were. It was fantastic.

And the “fight” between Hardison and Eliot when they were breaking into the bank was hilarious. I love that Eliot had so much trouble trying to pretend to be beat up–and resisting it so much. It did surprise me, though, that the Russians didn’t recognize him as the Ice Man’s mute bodyguard, but maybe he went down too fast, so they didn’t notice.

Parker really entertained me, though. First, she looked amazing with her hair pulled back. Second, I loved watching her break into the vault. Even when she was dictating to Hardison and instructing Nate while he was in there, it was cool. This group can really do so much.

By the way, how cute was it when Parker was uncomfortable because the couch was lonely, so Nate was instructing Eliot to sit by her. It’s such a weird sibling relationship those two have. I’m thinking back to the previous episode when Eliot was icing his arm and Parker was poking it. And I’m just laughing.

Oh, and the Eliot/Harison hug. You know, I think Christian Kane was having a hard time keeping a straight face on that one. I love it when actors just almost break character. It’s hilarious.

Anyway, overall, it was a great episode. It clearly had an impact as a dreamt of diamonds stuck to the bottom of tables (methinks it was like sticking the cubic to the bottom of the soda can…but different), and I really can’t wait to see how everything develops, now that Sophie is temporarily out of the group. At least we assume it’s temporary.

Next week is the summer finale, so be sure to stay tuned. I hope we leave it on a very high, very anxiety-driven note. Where will the team go from here?

Christian Kane on ‘Leverage’

image courtesy of TNT

image courtesy of TNT

You know the drill: the hacker, the hitter, the grifter, the thief, and the mastermind. Together, they make up the fantastic team behind Leverage, TNT’s drama that recently started up its second season.

Tonight’s episode is especially a big one for the series, where the hitter, Eliot Spencer, is teamed up against Ed Herman (The Ultimate Fighter 3) and Matt Lindland (Ultimate Fighting Championship) as part of “The Tap-Out Job.” When the group tries to stop a corrupt mixed martial arts promoter, things get a little messy. And it’s up to Eliot to save the day.

Needless to say, it’s an episode that you’ll definitely want to check out, especially if you’re a Christian Kane fan.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to sit in on a conference call with Christian Kane himself. He’s a very interesting actor with a diverse set of interests, including acting, music, cooking (rattlesnake steak and purple pizza are his specialties), and more. Luckily enough, I got to ask him a few questions, which I’ve included for your enjoyment below.

Hi. How’re you doing?

I’m so good. How are you doing?

I’m good. So, I have to ask. Now that Mark-Paul Gosselaar has cut his hair in Raising the Bar, you seem to have won the award for Longest Hair on TNT on a guy. How’s it feel to be the last man standing?

No, let’s make–there’s really no mistake about it. I had that award wrapped up before. Mark’s hair was shitty compared to mine. We’re not going to get into that whole thing. Mark’s actually a friend of mine and it–and it’s [funny] because he really enjoyed the long hair, and he had to end up having it cut, and I didn’t. And when we showed up for the upfronts, Mark was like, “This guy gets to have long hair.” You know, he was talking to Michael Wright on TNT [executive vice president, head of programming, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM)], and Michael Wright didn’t really have anything to say about it.

But I was always going to win that award, sweetheart. Mark’s hair wasn’t as cool as mine.

So tell me a little bit about your music career. I hear you have a CD coming out.

I don’t have a CD coming out. I have a single coming out . We’re still…in the process of doing the CD. I was with Sony for a while and we did a CD, and then we parted ways with Sony. But Bob Ezrin is producing me, who did all the Kiss albums–you know, he did Kiss for years–Jane’s Addiction, and most importantly, he did Pink Floyd “The Wall.”

And I’m his first country project, man, so on the 22nd, the same day as “The Tap-Out Job,” which is [Wednesday], which is the big MMA fight that I’m in…the single’s going to be released to the public. And I’m just so fortunate that the fans have stuck around this long and waited, God bless them, for this–for this to come out.

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