Wil Wheaton Talks LEVERAGE

Wil Wheaton in Leverage "Two Live Crew"

In case you didn’t know, Wil Wheaton is guest starring in this week’s episode of LEVERAGE, “The Two Live Crew Job,” which airs on tonight, August 26, at 9pm on TNT. You can take a first sneak peek at Wil Wheaton in the episode here.

He recently took some time to answer a few questions about his time on Leverage during a conference call with the press.

On the Star Trek reference at the beginning of the episode

Wil Wheaton: In the continuity of the show, Hardison is a huge Star Trek fan and makes Star Trek references all the time. In “The Fairy Godparents Job,” he tells Eliot you know if I mention, or sorry not that one, the one in the hospital, sorry I got the titles mixed up, he tells Eliot if I say Star Trek with an even number something’s bad, if I say Star Trek with an odd number it’s something good because I’m flipping around you know even and odd Star Trek movies, and Eliot’s like I don’t know what you’re talking about. And that’s part of the gag that Hardison makes these Star Trek jokes all the time and nobody gets them. It just happened to be a cool bit of additional meta-humor that you know I get to be the guy that they call Kobayashi Maru. Which, I got to tell you, it kind of made me feel cool for about 5 minutes.

On how he got involved with the show

Wil Wheaton: I have been friends with John Rogers, the co-creator and head writer for a number of years and I used to play hockey with Dean Devlin when we were much younger. I played on the same team as him from like, I don’t know maybe 1990 to 1991 or something like that. And they told me when the show was getting going, that if there was ever an opportunity for us to work together that I should be prepared to get that phone call. And I got really lucky that they had a character that I could play at a time when I could work on the show and I was able to go up and spend some time in Portland working on it.

Dean directed my show and Marc Roskin, who has directed some of my favorite episodes of the series, directed a lot of my second unit stuff and I think the only thing that could be better than all of that would be to get to come back at some point in the future and work in a show that Jonathan was directing.

On how Chaos compares to Hardison

Wil Wheaton: Well, if you ask Chaos he would tell you that Hardison dreams of one day being half as competent and skilled and accomplished as he is. If you asked Hardison he would tell you that he thinks it’s just adorable that Chaos holds this opinion of himself and that’s part of what makes their relationship so much fun to create. It was really important to me when I was putting this character together and Aldis and I were rehearsing our scenes, that the audience get the sense that these guys are both at the absolute top of their game.

And in fact, all of the players in this particular episode, in both crews, are convinced that they are the very best at what they do, and are really kind of happy and kind of excited to finally have somebody to go up against that they consider a worthy rival. So when I was working on my scenes and preparing my scenes with Aldis, we made sure that there was this sense of sparring as opposed to a sense of bare knuckle brawling.

And there’s a ton of stuff, a ton of really funny like Fark-style trash talking that he and I engaged in that we just improvised that didn’t make it into the final cut of the show but I really hope finds its way to a DVD or something like that, because it’s all really, really silly stuff.

On whether Chaos, his character, might be making a comeback in future episodes

Wil Wheaton: Well I can’t really speak directly to that because it would get into specifics about the episode and you know I wouldn’t want to ruin that for anybody, but if the opportunity were to arise, the amount of time that it would take for me to say yes would be directly related to how long it took me to open up my e-mail and type three letters.

On which character of the “Leverage” team he would like to be

Wil Wheaton: In real life I’d like to be a guy like Eliot because like you know he’s unstoppable. But the things is I’ve been a skinny nerd my whole life and I would love to finally be the guy that nobody can push around. As an actor, I would love to play a character like Nate Ford because he is so complex and so layered and so haunted and you know there are not a lot of actors who could do what Tim Hutton does with that character, and so I guess it’s sort of a two-part answer.

On his overall feeling of the episode

Wil Wheaton: I am really proud of this episode. I had very high expectations going into it because I knew the script was great and I knew the cast was flawless. And you know I was there when we were putting it all together and I saw how things were working and how things were working on the set and stuff, and I thought this is going to be a great episode. And I went down to Electric Entertainment last week to see a screening of it and it exceeded my already high expectations. Like everybody gets to do something cool in this episode. And the story that ties all of these wonderful individual moments together is a really good, really solid, fun story. And you know even if I wasn’t a member of this rival crew, I would really want to see these two crews go head to head again, to see how things change.

On whether he has ever hacked anything

Wil Wheaton: You know the extent of my illicit hacking activity probably starts and ends with the Activision video game Hacker on my old Macintosh in like 1984 or 1985. I was heavily involved in bulletin board culture before the Internet existed. I spent a lot of time on my 1200 baud acoustic coupler modem making connections to bulletin boards and things like that.

I was never a contributor but I read Fark religiously in the late 80s and right until the early 90s and it was not an especially long distance that I had to cover to get from myself to becoming Chaos. But I’ve never really engaged in anything that would, that would bring you down on the wrong side of the law. I knew a lot of people who probably grew up to be the modern equivalence of Chaos in Hardison now.

On whether he considers himself a computer geek

Wil Wheaton: Yes, I spend a lot of time online. I would consider myself an early adopter of a lot of the Internet technologies that a lot of people take for granted these days. I’ve been a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation and I’m a vocal advocate for network neutrality and users rights and I’m one of the loud voices in the Anti-DRM movement. I love my computer. I love the Internet. I absolutely love technology and, and it’s still a very, very big part of my life.