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.

[Read more after the jump!]

And so I’m finally going to get into the music, you know what I mean, that I’ve–that I’ve been working on for a long time. And it’s a great song, and I really do believe in it. So, on the 22nd, you’ll be able to get my first single. And hopefully it’ll–you know it’s going to radio–it’s going to be everywhere else. And I’m so very, very excited about that.

[Wednesday] is huge–a huge–a huge day and a huge night for me because it’s–you know–Marc Roskin directed the episode that I’m in with Matt Lintan, UFC veteran. And Ed Herman’s in it, who’s fighting UFC 101, and I get to–I get to fight these guys and it’s going to be a big night for me. And then plus, at the same time, I get to release my single that day, so it’s a…it’s a big week for me.

So one last question: With your music, your show, your lingerie line, and you are doing a voice for the video game “24,” how do you have time to do anything else?

You don’t, but the same time, you know, I still remember that kid in Oklahoma that was praying this was going to happen to him, and so you just kind-of, you know–you don’t think about it. You just–you just really, really–you’re grateful for what the Lord has given you, to be honest with you. And I don’t have time, but you know, I’m one of those guys that has to be moving 90 miles an hour with his hands on fire. If not, then I start losing my mind, and that’s not–that’s not a good place for me. So, it’s a gift. It really is a gift, and so I’m very, very fortunate and blessed to do what I do.

Well, thank you very much, and we all enjoy watching you do what you do!

Thank you so much, sweetheart, and I will see you soon.


image courtesy of TNT

image courtesy of TNT

Want more? Of course, you do. Here’s a quick rundown of some other things discussed on the conference call with Christian Kane.

On being a part of Leverage–and the writing:

You know, the reason I’m a part of this show is because you get two names like Dean Devlin and John Rogers, and you know, as a little kid growing up in Oklahoma and getting on your hands and knees, and praying that you could be an actor, those are the guys you want to do stuff, because you know John Rogers is an unbelievable writer, and Dean Devlin blows shit up.  So…for a kid growing up, it’s just…it’s a dream to be working with these two cats to be honest with you.

On Eliot’s past:

Eliot’s so violent because I think he didn’t have a family, you know, and now that he’s got this family, it going to be fun to watch him have to go through all these changes and stuff.  And you know Nate–he grew up without a heart, and I think Nate’s instilled a heart in him now, so it’s going to be–it’s going to be a different season, but he’s still going to whoop a lot of ass.

On the writing and development of his character:

Well, you know, John Rogers writes my dialog, and he’s the head writer, and we’ve got some great writers on this show.  And I’m one of those actors that if it’s there on the page, why change it, you know?  We’ve got–we’ve got good writers, and so I trust them.  We do a little adlibbing and stuff like that, but I–as development on the character, it’s really not my place to take that, you know.  Like, Tim [Hutton’s] developing his character, the rest of the actors are developing their character, but you know until they give me something that’s really going to twist this guy, I mean…I’m just going to keep hitting people until they tell me to stop.

On doing his own stunts:

Well, I just got 17 stitches taken out of my forehead, so that wasn’t a fun deal, so the stuff that’s gone wrong.  You know I do–I do all my own stunts and stuff, and the morning after that, I came in with 17 stitches and I put on a baseball cap and did a fight scene that morning first up.  And I thought that that was a real testament to John Rogers and also Dean Devlin for letting me continue to do my own stunts even after something like that happened where you know one of their lead actors has got a fucked up face.  So, there you go.

On his fans–and Angel fame:

…the fact of the matter is that Angel is always going to be Angel.  And you know, I actually talked to Laurie Ennis about this–one of my best friends, my best friend–the other day.  And you know…it’s just like David [Boreanaz].  I mean, how do you go from being Angel to going to Bones?  Do you know what I mean?  You’re always going to be this vampire. But he’s done it so well, he’s transitioned so well, and I think that that’s such a huge, huge compliment, not only to him, but more importantly to the Angel fans.  And so they’re so diehard and they’re so crazy and they’re so psychotic, and I love them to death.  They will–that they can–they can–in their mind, they can see us playing other characters and there’s not a lot of people that can do that.  I mean you know James Van Der Beek is fucked.  He’s always going to be Dawson.

But we got Angel fans, and so Angel’s going to go and…he’s going to be on Bones, he’s going to be Booth…  And I’m just so happy more than anything that they’ve–that they’ve switched channels and come over and followed me as well.  You know, I’ve got the–I’ll say it again–I’ve got the greatest fans in the world, you know, and a lot of them–and most of it has to do with Angel to be honest with you.

On his developing lingerie line, Maverix:

I’m a lingerie fan…I’ve always been.  I think it’s a tough gig to do, but I’m going to do it.  I think that I love women in lingerie.  I really do.  And I used to shop at Victoria’s Secrets, but it’s the–Victoria’s Secrets to me has really become Frederick’s of Hollywood.  There’s no fantasy.  I mean its all fantasy now.  There’s no–there’s no sophistication anymore.  And so I know it sounds weird for an actor to be in this business, but the fact of the matter is is that I did it because I really wanted to bring class and sophistication back into the bedroom.  You know I don’t need to see everything.  I’m going to get there anyway… I really wanted to bring a–like I said–a sophistication back into the bedroom and bring class back into the lingerie line.

…the designer and my–and my business partner, Heather Robinson’s, one of the–one of the best stylists in Nashville.  And as of right now, we’re taking the–we’re taking the role.  We’re giving it to, only to celebrities as of right now to kick the line off.  So, it’s coming. It’s coming very, very soon, but we’re still in the process of developing the business…

And it’s going to be–it’s going to be very, very soon where we launch this.

On food and charities:

I’m a huge Paul Newman fan.  He’s been a–he’s been a fan of mine–I’ve been a fan of his for years, and it’s–I love everything he does.  And God bless him. You know, we lost a great person.  And so since he’s done that, I’ve seen what he does and all my charity stuff usually either goes…to the Susan G. Komen Foundation or, mostly, it goes to the Hole in the Wall Gang.  And so, as long as Paul Newman’s company is doing well, I’m going to keep supporting them and I’m going to let Paul Newman do the food.  And if they ever drop the ball, then I might do something [have his own line].  But me right now you know I just, I buy all Paul Newman’s stuff because it goes back to the kids.

On his training in the martial arts (and Filipino Kali):

I didn’t get into the martial arts because I was wrestler growing up in Oklahoma, and used to be if you were a wrestler, you won the fight.  There was no jiu jitsu, there was no Kali, there was no–you know, there was no–there was no anything else.  I mean people took karate, but I’m a wrestler.  I’m going to take the leg anyway.  If you want to hand it to me, that’s your fault.  So, I didn’t really get into it.  I’m a wrestler.

And so you know my whole thing is on the ground.  And just recently, you know, well in the last 10 years, all this stuff has been coming out.  So, I’ve had to learn some new stuff.  The fact of the matter with Eliot with the Kali is that I wanted to keep the things–I wanted to keep the fights close and hardcore, and I didn’t want to back up, I didn’t want any kick-boxing.  And jiu jitsu is just not that much fun.  I mean jiu jitsu and wrestling is going–you’re going to be on the ground.  That’s wasted television time, you know what I mean?  Because you–to actually do jiu jitsu moves, unless you do it quick, it’s five minutes of television, and they don’t have that much time on the show.

So, I wanted quick, short, fast blows, and Kali just was the way to go with that.  So, I worked with Charlie Brewer, who is the stunt coordinator, the first season, and it was quick.  It’s elbows and it’s knees and it’s also, you know, instead of…blocking a punch and then throwing a punch, Kali is usually blocking and throwing at the same time.  And I thought that was more offensive than playing defense.

And you know I’m a big Jason Bourne fan and this character you know is kind of–kind of written like Jason Bourne and those fights that they use.  That’s why we use 45 shutter on the fight scenes.  It’s got to be quick, it’s got to be precise, and it’s got to be done quick.  And so that what–that what we do.

…I just was a guy that threw a lot of elbows and when Charlie Brewer saw that, he was, like, “You know this is a great idea.”  He was, like, “You know punch, punch, punch,” and I’m, like, “You know if I’m right here, I’m going to throw an elbow or I’m going to throw a knee and I’m just going to take the guy out.”  And he said, “That’s Kali.”  And I was, like, “Well, let’s just use that.”  And so we kind of came up with that whole, with that whole plan, you know.

On mottos and diversity of interests:

I think that I have a good mom and dad, man…my daddy worked hard and we never wanted, but we always you know we strived to get–to get better.  And I think that that’s the whole thing, and I just live. I live my life on two quotes, man you know which is “Ninety percent of life is showing up.”  That’s Woody Allen.  And the other one is “You learn to fight by fighting,” and that’s Bruce Lee.

And it’s –and it’s, you know, it’s not–it doesn’t just have to do with fighting.  You learn to cook by cooking, you learn to sing by singing, you learn to do all this other stuff.  I just–I don’t know.  I’ve been very fortunate in my whole life.  I think it was Ferris Bueller that said it best.  He said, “If you don’t stop and look around every once in awhile, you could miss it.”  And I realize that, you know, this is–this right now where I’m at is the best time in my life, and two weeks ago when I was there, that was the best time in my life.  And people just don’t realize that sometimes and I’ve–and I’ve come to deal with it.  And I just, you know, I love art.

On “The Tap-Out Job” and behind the scenes:

They should–they should get the behind-the-scenes stuff that’s never in because the stuff we do is just, like, unbelievable.  We’re always cracking up.  And it was really hard to shoot that scene [where Eliot uses Hardison and Parker to teach Sophie about fighting].  I think it actually put us behind on the day because we were laughing so hard and because, you know, Aldis [Hodge] kept doing these…you know, Muhammad Ali moves and stuff like that.  And I was–and I had to wait to tell Parker to hit him because I was, like, I had to wait for him to settle down because you know I choreographed this whole thing with Beth [Riesgraf].

And I choreograph a lot of the fights, and so this was–this was one that I was in on.  And I was, like–I was, like, “Beth you know you can’t hit him, so you’ve got to hit him, you know, by the face because obviously we’re not really punching people.”  But he kept moving so much that I was, like, “You’ve got to wait, you’ve got to wait,” and so then, I’m, like, “Now, now punch him.”  And it was…just really, really funny.  And Tim pretends not to watch, but Tim was watching the whole time, and we were–we were cracking up.  It’s a really funny scene.

On his favorite scene from “The Tap-Out Job”:

image courtesy of TNT

image courtesy of TNT

At the very end when I’m talking to Gina [Bellman], and Gina, you know, being from England and, you know, she’s a tough girl. But she doesn’t understand the mentality of a fighter. And when she walks up to the ring and she’s talking to me, she doesn’t understand why I’m doing this, and it’s really not for personal gratification.  It’s just because you know that Eliot has to fight.  And there’s a really, really close, close moment there with me and Gina, which you’ve never seen before because we don’t have that much stuff together that I absolutely love.  And it’s probably when I’m in the ring and she comes in towards the end and says, “You know you don’t need to do this,” it’s may be–it’s probably my favorite scene of the whole–this far of the entire show.

There you go! Don’t forget to watch Christian Kane on Leverage Wednesdays on TNT. And catch “The Tap-Out Job” tonight!

Update: Listen Christian Kane’s new single “Let Me Go”! Released today!


11 thoughts on “Christian Kane on ‘Leverage’

  1. OK…you wind up with the coolest side-jobs. If you ever interview David Boreanaz, I might just have to fly up there a whoop some butt! Hahah! Love him!

  2. That would be awesome. Get him on TNT and I might have a chance! I was hoping that Christian would reveal that DB was going to direct an episode this season (there were rumors at the end of season one that he would like that), but no dice.

  3. Well…he is on TNT, just too bad it’s not a TNT produced show! Bones is running in syndication on TNT…if you ever get to interview DB, I will be beyond jealous! I have several of his movies on DVD…the really BAD ones, too…I’m such a nerd!

  4. Haha, yeah, I watch Bones almost every day after work. Plus, I think they still air Angel in the morning. Maybe there’s a wee glimmer. Alas, alack. 😉

    Do you even have the horror movie he was in way back when?

  5. I know he was in “Valentine”…I have it. I also have “Mr. Fix It,” “These Girls,” “The Hard Easy,” “I’m With Lucy,” and “Ghost Writer.” Supposedly he was an extra in “Aspen Extreme,” which I have, but I’ve yet to be able to see him in it. And, of course, I have the collector set of “Angel” and the first three seasons of “Buffy.” There are only five or six things I don’t have. My nerdiness comes out!

  6. Wow. I’m impressed. 🙂 Now you should go back and watch the episode of Angel when Lindsey gets the evil hand. Because they’re just funny together in that episode.

  7. I do…I also have the first, I believe, two seasons of “Bones” on DVD…I haven’t gotten around to ordering season 3 yet…

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