Conference Call with Leverage’s Timothy Hutton

It’s summer TV time, and that means that TNT’s thoroughly enjoyable, modern-day Robin Hood series Leverage is coming back, June 26 at 9 pm. Here at Raked, we’ve already had the chance to see one episode, which features the team enjoying a bit of mountain climbing in some very dangerous and icy conditions.

We also had a chance to listen in on a conference call with Timothy Hutton. Check it out below to get some insight on some of his favorite cons, and some hints on the new season’s big bad.

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Hey, um, Tim, can you talk about some of the unexpected sides of Nate that you’re looking forward to exploring this season? – The Deadbolt

Well, every season that we started it’s been interesting and challenging to approach Nate and see where we left him off, you know, when we last saw him.  And this year, it’s especially kind of rich with various possibilities because of how we left him and Sophie at the end of third season.  So a lot of what’s happening this season has to do with Nate and Sophie trying to figure out their place in each other’s lives and then of course there’s the further exploration of Nate, his drinking and how he functions.  And there’s actually less of that.  The fourth season is much more about Nate on a mission to be clear minded and try not to let his team down and become dangerous and put his team in jeopardy.  So there’s a lot of that and the nice thing about the character is there aren’t a lot of boundaries.  He started off in such dire straits that it’s been a lot of fun to play because there are so many possibilities.  He’s quite an unpredictable person with a lot of flaws.

Well, I know you can’t give a lot of way, but can you talk about how Leon Rippy’s character factors in throughout the season? 

One of the interesting things that’s happening in the fourth season that we’re all having with and the writers especially, is the Leverage team is being followed by a group of people.  And Leon’s character kind of factors into that a little bit.  And we’re not sure who he is exactly but we know that he has quite a keen interest in the Leverage team and what we’re up to and has kind of eyes and ears everywhere.  And so the fourth season you will see the Leverage team being pursued, hunted in a way by people who want them to stop what they’re doing or want them to continue what they’re doing if it benefits them in some way.  You know, sort of bottom feeders group of people that are kind of wanting to ride the coat tails of the Leverage team without the Leverage team knowing it.  So it’s kind of a nice thing to happen in the fourth season that we’re filming now evolves, you see how the Leverage team handles the idea of being pursued and people knowing their every move.  They kind of have to go underground and they have to – they never want to be together at the same time in the same place.  So, along with them doing their typical cases that they take on, they’re having to watch their backs all the time.

[Read more after the jump]

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Now, can you talk about filming the season premiere ‘cause that was kind of a radically different setting than most Leverage episodes. – Digital Airwaves

Yes, it was great.  You know, everybody showed up in Portland, Oregon from different places.  Christian Kane came in from Nashville and Gina Bellman from London.  I came there from Paris through New York.  And Dean Devlin and Beth and Aldis and the writers from LA, and we all got to Portland, and Dean Devlin announced that we we’re all go up to film the first episode on Mount Hood.  And so we were all quite excited.  We knew that there was a possibility of a blizzard coming and knowing Dean, we thought, “Well that’s not going to stop him.”  And we all had a blast in between the major snowball fights we managed to get some filming in.

Awesome.  Now do you have a favorite episode yet over all the four seasons?

Ah, favorite episode I don’t know, I really like the finales that we did.  You know, the first year there was the – by the way, just to go back to your previous question.  Where we filmed that was on Mount Hood which is about an hour from Portland and it was pretty amazing to be up there during a blizzard.  Anyway, the shows that I really like are the season openers, I mean I like all of them.  It’s hard to pick.  But I like the season finale in the first year I think it was called “The First Day on the Job and the Second Day on the Job”.  And then the second year I liked the last episode the one on the freight ship where Nate declared, he says, “My name’s Nate Ford and I’m a thief.”  And then last year’s we had some fun ones.  I like any of the episodes where Nate gets to play a role in the con.  Playing different characters like sort of the obnoxious lawyer (Johnny Popudoculous) and stuff like that.  And we got some great ones that we’re filming right now.  I mean the scripts this year I think are better than ever.  They’re just, they’re incredible.

***

We have some really big Leverage fans here.  You said that you’re in season four it’s not going to deal so much with your drinking problem and you’re going to be concentrating on the team.  But he won’t have to deal with the drinking problem so he can concentrate on the team?  I’m just curious if that will be, you know, the answer of how he’s dealing with it will be dealt with. – Diva Gals Daily

Yes, yeah of course.  He doesn’t just suddenly not have a problem with his drinking.  He definitely has to deal with it.  But unlike the previous time when perhaps he was a little bit in denial about his drinking and not realizing it was problem and it was putting the team in danger perhaps because of his drinking.  I think this year you’ll see that he’s starting to realize how it’s affected his life.  So he’s definitely dealing with it and having to come to terms with how it affects him on a daily moment to moment basis.  What I meant was you’re not going to see a drunk Nate stumbling around all morose about the bad things that have happened in his life.  So he’s a more positive forward thinking Nate which I think is you know, part of his recovery.

Wonderful.  Um, so there’s been so many unbelievable cons that the team pull out.  Which one do you think is the most – you read it and said, “Oh my goodness, this could never happen.”  And is there one that you thought actually could be pulled off?

Well, actually I think all of them could be pulled off and at the same time I read them and think, “Well this is just”, you know.  I would say that the question you need to ask is kind of what the experience is like reading the scripts.  You start off reading the script and as soon as you start to understand what the writers are doing with the con, you think, “Well there’s no way this could happen.”  And then as you get to the end of it, you realize, “You know what, it could’ve happened.”  The writers certainly convinced me every time I read the scripts.  But I, you know, I’ve liked so many of them.  I think the season finale of last year where they attract and change the outcome of an election, and (Tom Lorenzo) was a pretty great con.  And, ah, but yet I start thinking about one and then another one pops in my head.  And the ones we’re doing this year are great and we’ve had great guest stars.  The first one has Eric Stoltz and then soon after that in one of the early episodes in the season we have Danny Glover.  And he – that episode is quite an amazing one about a lost van Gogh painting that he, and only he, knows where it might be.  And he tells us this story – we need to get him to tell us a story about – he doesn’t trust anybody and we get him to tell us a story about his time in World War II and a woman he fell in love with and had to leave behind when he left and went off to war.  And how he came across this van Gogh painting.  And when he tells the story it’s done in flashback and the Leverage characters – Nate, Sophie, Ardis, and Elliot, Parker – all become the characters he’s discussing.

Love it. 

And then it sort of leads us to this ah – clues to where about where this painting might be that we’re trying to recover for some – for somebody.  And along the way of course, a con happens.  So that’s – that’s one.  And there’s another one we did that centers on a potato.  A very special potato.  And it has components in it that will change the world.  So the Leverage team has to con their way into a very high tech agricultural company and find this very specific potato.  They also have to assume roles inside this massive high security building.  And in the hunt for a very particular potato.  So that – so that was a good con.

Oh my goodness, that was crazy.  And I’ve just one last question.  Does playing a bad good guy ever make you feel like a real life Robin Hood? 

Well, not – not a real life Robin Hood, no, but there certainly is – is satisfaction.  You know when someone – someone will come up and say how much they liked the show and how it really made them feel great about something like the Leverage team and what they do, is it possible to take down people that kick mud at others and you know, there’s some satisfaction to that.  You know, the people enjoy the show, but feeling like a real – in reality.  No, certainly not.

***

I was just wondering is, uh – you talked about your characters this season.  Is there one particular character you enjoyed playing with this upcoming season?…[Anything] that we should look forward to that you really enjoyed doing? – Wireless & Digital Journal

Yes, well, let’s see. There’s – there’s – I was just talking a second ago about an episode we do – centering on a – that we did centering on a potato.

One of the things that Nate does to get into the building is he noticed there’s a group of school children pulling up and they’re going to be given a tour.  This – this giant building and everything that goes on in it and all those different levels.  And so he quickly gets it in his head that if he can somehow be the tour guide to this group of school children, that will get him into the building.  So has to figure out who the teacher is on this field trip with these kids, who in the company is there to meet them and sort of move them out of the way so that he can – so that he and Parker can be the guide to all these kids.  And that’s ultimately how they get in.  And it’s (Teacher Mike) and (Teacher Jen) and those are the characters that Nate and Parker play and we – Beth Riesgraf and I had a lot of fun doing that.

It sounds like you’re having a great time doing that show, period.

Yes, it is.  It’s a blast to do.  We all like each other and like going to work every morning.  And the atmosphere on the set is very, very light-hearted and you know, it’s – yeah we’re just having a great time.

***

Hey, uh, I’m actually in Vancouver right now and can you talk about what you had to film up here and how that factors into the season? The Deadbolt

You’re in Vancouver, Washington?

No, Vancouver downtown – or Vancouver, BC

Oh, yeah, we didn’t film there.

Oh, okay.  Okay.  So how…

Yes.

…so can you talk about how it was Vancouver, Washington?

Ah, yeah, different than Vancouver, BC.  Ah, but, ah, yeah we filmed in Vancouver, Washington quite a bit.  It was a very short drive from where we were all staying in Portland.  And there’s some great locations.  They have an interesting downtown and they have a nice rural area just outside Vancouver, Washington.  And there’s some office complexes that are not occupied at the moment that we can go in and create an environment, that looks like, you know, that works for the show, um, if we’re wanting it to be a certain company.  So, uh, yeah, we go there quite a bit and ah, other places in and around Portland.

And just one last thing.  What do you like about how things play out with Moreau this season? 

Oh.  Well, you know the – the – the, you mean the Damien Moreau character?

Right.

Yes, the Damien Moreau character is – has not made an appearance, uh, yet. So I don’t know what the writers have in mind.  There’s a more dangerous character than even Monreau that emerges this season that we’re filming now.  And basically what he’s trying to do is stop the Leverage team from doing what they’re doing.  Or to get them shifted away certain cases onto other cases so he can manipulate certain stock prices and things like that by following the Leverage team and seeing what companies are going to go down as a result of the Leverage team, you know, trying to seek justice for people who’ve been victimized.  So, they – they – the Leverage team is being followed, their every move is being watched.  And they have to, you know, they realize that they’re in a lot of danger and so the Moreau character you saw last year is kind of set aside for the time being.  I’m sure that he’s going to want his revenge.  But ah, there’s more sharks in the water that the Leverage team has to be aware of.

***

Um, is there any chance that the team could go back and revisit some of the people they’ve helped to see what has happened to them or um, how they’re using their payoff and things like that in this season or, uh, future seasons to come? Diva Gals Daily

Yes, there’s talk about revisiting some of the people – some of the victims, but there’s much more talk about revisiting some of the bad guys.  And having some plot lines where some of the bad guys have decided to get together and form their own kind of super team to go up against the Leverage team because they feel like they were, you know, really wronged by the Leverage guys, by Nate Ford.  And so you know there’s been talk about bringing back some of the really bad guys like Victor Dubenich was in the pilot played by Saul Rubinek, and Richard Kind played a character, a corrupt mayor, Griffin Dunne played a grifter, Wil Wheaton.  And – and so there’s talk about having a sort of, you know, best of the bad guys episode where they – they (devised) an elaborate scheme to – to uh, mess up the Leverage team’s workings.

And I don’t know if our fans could handle that.  They might go crazy watching that episode. 

Yes, I know.

One last question, who does Nate consider the most stable of his team?

The most stable?  Probably Parker.

Okay.  Why do you think so?

I think that Nate has been observing and one of the things that happens in the season right now is Nate is quietly watching all the team members and giving them specific assignments. And from episode to episode he mixes it up and if he wonders if Ardis can handle a certain skill challenge without letting them know exactly why he’s giving them things he would ordinarily he would give a different team member.  And the reason he’s doing that is he wants to see – to kind of go along with your question – he wants to find out who’s the most stable.  Who could do – who’s closest to being able to do what he does and who’s closest to do what Eliot does in the event that Eliot can’t do what he does and on and on.  So, he wants to see what the various – what tools everybody has in their box.  But I would say that when it comes down to it, in watching Parker, he feels that she’s learned the most maybe, she’s – you know – he’s – at this particular stage and by the way, he might be completely wrong, he thinks that if you look at all the particular requirements of what the Leverage team has to do, almost all of them.  At this particular stage he might feel that Parker would be the most stable.  Which, you know, of course she’s – she’s you know, one of the most unstable people, you know, ever.  But they all are.

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Don’t forget to check out the season premiere of Leverage on Sunday, June 26, on TNT. And bring a coat. The first episode might give you a little taste of frost bite.

*images courtesy of TNT

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