Exclusive Interview: Michael Gladis Talks About Being a Villain on LEVERAGE

Michael Gladis

One of the best parts in TNT’s LEVERAGE is watching the team take down the bad guy of the week.

In the upcoming Leverage episode “The 15 Minutes Job”, the team will have to take down on none other than former Mad Men, Michael Gladis, who will play the part of Reed Rockwell, a PR specialist who goes after his client’s enemies with less than ethical methods.

Mr Gladis graciously took some time to talk to Daemon’s TV about being the villain of the week, working on the Leverage set and being a “company man”. Check out what he had to say below and don’t forget to tune in to watch “The 15 Minutes Job” this Sunday July 10th 9|8 c on TNT.


So, you’re going to be a bad guy on ‘Leverage’. It must be an honor.

Michael Gladis: It is. It was a lot of fun to do.

What can you tell us about the character that you’re going to play?

Michael Gladis: Reed Rockwell is a PR specialist who goes to great lengths to protect his clients, and often times that might involve destroying the enemies of his clients or character assassination, evil things like that.

What attracted you to the part?

Michael Gladis: There were a number of things. It’s always fun to play a villain and this was a really well written villain and I had a lot of work to do. But especially what was attractive about this character was the way in which he kind of holds a mirror up to Timothy Hutton’s character, Nate. They both operate behind the scenes. They’re both very smart in terms of how they go about what they’re doing, but it’s imperative that they can’t ever be the ones that are recognized for their work.

So, the kind of central issue for the team, and for Nate in particular, is how would he bring himself down. The tool that they choose to use is recognition and fame and they bring Reed out of the shadows and into the spotlight and give him a taste of recognition and a taste of appreciation and fame. That’s the hook that they use to really bring him down.

Do you typically have an overall approach to the characters you’re going to play, or is it just on a case by case basis?

Michael Gladis: It’s on a case by case basis. I’m an actor, and so we always want to be working. You want to try and be selective and find the best work possible, but it’s also important to just keep working. In this case it was just with such great people, the chance to work with Timothy Hutton for a whole day. I spent a whole day filming with just him and that was such an honor. Of course I had to take this role and it was so well written that it was a pleasure.

How would you compare the Mad Men and the Leverage sets? Are there key differences?

Michael Gladis: Every set is different. Every show is different and that goes from the top on down. I mean, the mechanics of it are all the same and that’s familiar. They may use different cameras. We shoot on film on ‘Mad Men’ and they shoot on DV on ‘Leverage’, but really it comes down to the people. The sets are as different as the people who man them.

That goes for in front of the camera and behind the camera, and it’s a unique challenge for a guest actor to step onto an established show and to serve the vision of the people who have been creating this show for forty five episodes, or however many episodes it is already, and to really try and suss out immediately what the tone of the performances are, reading the way that the character is written and the way that they’re filming it and to serve their vision as opposed to kind of imposing your own performance on it.

In this case your character is a PR guy. I’m sure you’ve met all different kinds of PR people. Did you find any inspiration in those encounters for this character?

Michael Gladis: Yeah, I didn’t really draw upon anyone in particular because he’s such a unique kind of PR guy. I haven’t come across yet, and hopefully never will, any PR people in Hollywood that are as kind of bad as Reed Rockwell is. I hope that I’m never on the wrong end of that one.

Do you think there’s a chance this character might resurface somewhere again?

Michael Gladis: Well, I hope so. I was so enamored with both the show and particularly with the people who make the show. I really came away from the experience of shooting this show just really in love with the cast and crew. So, I was begging the creators to bring me back somehow. I don’t know if that’ll happen.

Dean Devlin told that the theme of this season is consequences, that the team is going to have to face enemies that they’ve had in the past. So, you may come back, right?

Michael Gladis: I would love it if Rockwell decided to bend his considerable powers towards taking down the team that took him down. That would pretty great.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you can talk about?

Michael Gladis: I have a few irons in the fire. I did an Adult Swim series called ‘Eagleheart‘ last year that got picked up for a second season. So, hopefully I’ll be going back to do some more on that.

That’s a pretty special kind of series with a very specific sense of humor, isn’t it?

Michael Gladis: Absolutely. It’s bizarre. It’s really out there, but it’s really fun. Then there’s, like, an independent film called ‘Insecurity‘ that hopefully I’ll be shooting in September, and I’ve already done a couple of films this past year that’ll hopefully be coming out soonish. Other than that it’s all about looking for the next job.

If you could guest star on any show which one would it be?

Michael Gladis: That’s a tall order. That’s a tough question because there are so many good shows on TV right now, but I would have to say ‘Breaking Bad‘.

Actors typically answer that question with either ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Walking Dead’.

Michael Gladis: Yeah. I mean, go AMC. I’m sounding like a company man. I’m not really associated with AMC anymore, but hey, they’re doing some of the best work on television and we can step back and say that this is a great time for television in general. HBO is doing great stuff, too, but AMC is just knocking it out of the park.

Are you looking forward to the upcoming season of Breaking Bad?

Michael Gladis: I actually got to go to the premiere of the next season. So, I’ve seen the first episode and it’s incredible. It starts out, as you would expect, with a bang. It is so good.


Check out some photos of Michael Gladis on the upcoming episode of Leverage.

Click Any Photo Below To Enlarge