Exclusive Interview: Mark Sheppard is Back As Jim Sterling On LEVERAGE

Mark Sheppard

This sunday, Leverage fans are in for a treat. Jim Sterling, Nathan Ford’s eternal rival, is back in the lives of the Leverage team and he has something very important to ask. Daemon’s TV had the opportunity to steal some time with Mr Sheppard during which he shared a little more about the upcoming episode, his love for his character and much much more.

Check out what he had to say below and don’t forget to catch him in the upcoming episode of Leverage “The Queen’s Gambit Job” which airs Sunday, August 28, at 9/8c.

On why Jim Sterling is back

Mark Sheppard: Sterling has a problem, definitely a time crunch problem, something that needs to be taken care of very, very quickly. It’s a very serious matter and a very important matter, and the best person that he can take it to which is outside the scope of the technical legality that he needs to comply with is Nate. That’s the first person he’s going to go to and is probably the only person he trusts in that situation. He brings his problem to Nate and to the team and the question is will they or won’t they get into bed with him in that context and what will happens as a result.

On having fun scenes with Chistian Kane (Eliot Spencer)

Mark Sheppard: Well, in this episode I can say that I think Spencer gets to spend a little more time than he would like with Sterling. I think it’s always fun to do. What a problem we’ve created for ourselves there, the two characters really have a very, very interesting relationship in that way and every time that they reconnect there’s going to be an issue, one way or another. Something is usually going to happen in some shape or form, but it’s so much fun to do. Christian [Kane] is just a great guy, a lovely actor and so much fun to play with. I think over the course of the years we’ve managed to create a definite vibe between Spencer and Sterling.

On selecting characters to play

Mark Sheppard: Sometimes they select me which has been the great honor. Things like this and ‘Battlestar’ and there’ve been a lot of other shows where stuff was either written for me or with me in mind, and for that I’m very happy. I’ve been treated very, very well by some wonderful writers. Those things that I have thrown my hat in the ring for have turned out very well. I’ve been very lucky with ‘Supernatural’ and the other shows that are around there. The characters have seemed to resonate with the fans and I’ve been very lucky in that way and that’s why I guess the character is coming back.

On why he loves to play Jim Sterling

Mark Sheppard: I love the characters that I’ve been gifted with by these fabulous writers. I mean, you look at ‘Leverage’ and it’s a journey that started a long time ago. It’s not hard to define Sterling in this way. The writing has been so excellent and in this episode especially. It’s a very, very strong Sterling episode. The thing that I’ve been saying, and I think it’s absolutely true, in a lot of shows you’d be expanding the relationship between Sterling and Nate. You’d be moving the relationship forward, that they would start to become friends. There would be something that would drive their relationship forward in that way, and what’s actually happened over the last four seasons, I think, is that it’s quite the opposite. They’ve stayed in a stasis in some ways and what’s happened is the audience, through the writing and through development, has discovered more and more about what brought them to that point. I think that’s what makes it fascinating. It’s a very different way of looking at a character.

On working with Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation), the director of the episode

Mark Sheppard: It’s a tough job and Frakes is one of the high points of that because he is somebody who believes that you should create a place where magic can happen and should happen. He’s great and he loves actors. He adapts and moves to what’s around him and he tries to get the best out of everybody and everything that he possibly can.

On which cancelled/ended show he would have loved to guest star on

Mark Sheppard: I would’ve loved to have continued on ‘Firefly‘. That’s the one that we should really say. I think that’s what we should say more than anything else. There are so many good shows. ‘Hill Street Blues.’ I would’ve killed to have been on that show. Greatest piece of television ever. I would’ve killed to have been on ‘The Wire.’