TNT’s LEVERAGE Press Day

Leverage Cast - Christian Kane, Gina Bellman, Timothy Hutton, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge

Once again TNT brings you an incredible new series, LEVERAGE, which airs on Tuesdays at 10pm.

A few weeks ago, we got a chance to speak with the cast and executive producer about this incredible show (don’t forget to read our review of the first two episode of Leverage).

First we spoke to John Rogers (Executive Producer), Chris Downey (Executive Producer), Gina Bellman (Sophie Devereaux), Christian Kane (Eliot Spencer)

They described Leverage as a mix of the A-Team and Mission Impossible.

Leverage is like trying to make a mini movie every week.

The format of the show is that the gang will do a heist and con every episode. Sometimes it’s a big action con, sometimes small. They do everything from stealing a miracle to save a small church to landing a plane on the freeway [I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see that one].

In order to come up with a con, the writers need to define who the “bad guy” of the week is, because the con always depends on their weakness.

For example, one of the upcoming episodes entitled “The Stork Job,” will deal with a woman behind a foreign adoption scam in Serbia, in which she took money from families looking to adopt, and then left people devastated. Her backstory is that she is a former Russian Model/Actress. At this point you pretty much have an idea that her weakness will be vanity. And as so, the con will involve the gang stealing a movie.

In addition, the settings depend on which hat everybody is going to wear. So if we take “The Stork Job” example again, it’s pretty clear that Sophie will be associated with it because she is an actress, and turns out it’s the only time that she is good as an actress, because it’s part of the con.

As far as getting more information about the background of each character, the writers will be dropping hints here and there, but they would rather come up with new stuff as they go rather than paint themselves into a corner.

As you will see, Gina Bellman has to do a lot of accents in the show (at least one per episode). Her first instinct is to say “no I can’t do that,” and then when the producers tell her that she doesn’t have to, she always ends up pulling it off. Apparently, it’s almost like a ritual for them now.

Christian Kane who plays Eliot, does all his fight scenes. He actually feels like he has been preparing his whole life for this part, it’s comedy, drama and it’s action, and he loves that.

One last thing, and this is for Angel fans, when asked about the differences between Eliot and Lindsey, Christian Kane very spontaneously answered: “I think Eliot can kick the crap out of Lindsey.”
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The next people we got to talk to were Dean Devlin (Executive Producer), Timothy Hutton (Nate Ford), Beth Riesgraf (Parker), Aldis Hodge (Alec Hardison)

There is a lot of improv in the show, and in fact some of the best lines come from improv. There are lots of things that happened on the set that have been kept in the show.

Timothy Hutton decided that he would do the show when he read the stage direction that John Rogers wrote on page 3 of the script, “We’re having fun people, this is fun.” He then put script down and said “this is great.”

Beth Riesgraf created the character of Parker by herself. The funny story is that when she auditioned in front of the network, the head of the network turned to Dean Devlin and said “Is she crazy?” and Dean Devlin said “I don’t know, but I love what she’s doing.”

In the pilot where you see Parker hanging upside down a building, well Beth Riesgraf was in fact hanging upside down a 44 stories building at 4am in Chicago. Now that’s commitment!

Nate Ford becomes the head of a dysfunctional family, and what the show is really about, can they stay together when their nature is to not trust?

Don’t forget to watch Leverage on Tuesdays at 10pm on TNT.