Wil Wheaton and Aldis Hodge Talk About Leverage

Posted by at 3:09 pm on December 10, 2010

The fine folks over at TNT invited us here at TOT to be part of a conference call with  Wil Wheaton and Aldis Hodge about the up coming  Christmas-themed Leverage episode – The Ho Ho Ho Job.”   Wil Wheaton  will reprise his role as “Chaos”, the  direct hacker nemesis for Hardison, played by Aldis Hodge.

Wil might have earned the rights to the Cameo King Crown, besides Chaos on Leverage, he has been playing Evil Wil Wheaton on The Big Bang Theory, Fawkes on Season 4 of The Guild and Doctor Isaac Parrish on the upcoming season of Eureka.

What is Leverage?

For those of you who have not seen Leverage, you owe it to yourself to see the show.  It features  former insurance investigator Nathan Ford, played by  Timothy Hutton,  he and his team act as modern-day  Robin Hoods, pulling elaborate cons targeting the greedy and the corrupt who have deceived their working class clients.  The cast also includes  Gina Bellman  as Sophie Devereaux -“ A British actress and  grifter;  Christian Kane  as Eliot Spencer -“ highly skilled martial artist, weapons expert and self-described “retrieval expert”; and  Beth Riesgraf  as Parker -“ expert thief,  cat-burglar  and  pickpocket.

The “The Ho Ho Ho Job” episode will air this  Sunday, on December 12 at 9:00 pm Eastern and Pacific.

The Q and A Session

Who has most computer knowledge? Asked by Lena from LenaLamoray.com

Will Wheaton won this one.  “Well, in my late teens and early 20’s I subscribed to the Phrack Newsletter and I’ve read 2600 since I was in ninth grade.”  – Will

Aldis followed up, “Yeah. You’re – yeah, Will has that one. He’s got me beat on that. I’m new to the hacking world. I’m still in my 20’s trying to figure out this hacking thing, but I did hack into my mother’s computer; got passed her password one time. Yay. Actually, no, that’s not right.”

What would you hack? Asked by Lena from LenaLamoray.com

Aldis –  I think – I said that I would probably get myself put in my jail – Aldis

WillI am existentially interested in hacking what – hacking the system and gaining root access to sort of the fundamental operating system of the world. So, I mean, I’m aiming high.

Not to be topped, Alids followed up with, “Well, I’ll top you on that one. I want to hack the Federal Reserve and the government’s financials just to see where all of our money goes, where all our tax money goes, because I’m sick of paying taxes.”

Aldis How do you fell about the development of your charter, Alec Hardison,  and what do we have to look forward to from him? Asked by Lena from LenaLamoray.com

I think the hardest is taking a more authoritative stance. I – as far as his role in the team and his responsibility to the team, he understands now more of what he’s capable of and his value. And I think because, as it was stated earlier in the season, that he wants to run his own crew someday.

Now, he’s more in – he’s very playful, very, you know, very much a kid and having fun and is loving his job and enjoying his job, but he’s grown up in the sense of just being a bit more focused on the world that he’s now become a part of. Because he, you know, he needs to learn a few things to start learning – running his own (camp) one day.

Oh, and as far as upcoming episodes, I don’t know if I can tell you too much about that, but he has some exciting things going on for those of you who pay attention to.

How do you make the Christmas episode special? Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of TV shows Christmas episodes are kind of filler. Asked by Doug from takesontech.com

Aldis – Well, I don’t – do we – we get to steal stuff and blow stuff up on our Christmas episode, so I think that makes it a little special.”

Wil follows up with,Yeah, this is – this particular episode is – it’s a classic Leverage heist put within the context of a mall at Christmas time. It’s not – it completely avoids the trap of taking a Christmas theme and forcing a show to work within it. In this particular case, the story and the characters are as important to what happens as the setting.

So Wil, you guest star in a lot of things, how was it to do Leverage and how do you approach it differently than, let’s say, guest starring on a short forum project like The Guild. Asked by Doug from takesontech.com

They’re very different practically. The filming experience is very different. You know, on The Guild we have a very small budget and we’re – we never have enough time, and we’re all working as hard and as fast as we can to get the story done. Leverage is different because Leverage has the backing of an enormous network and a studio and you know, we have a bit more time to go and bring the whole show together.

Where they’re very similar is they are both shows that have tremendous writing and an extremely talented cast, and I do just my very best not to mess up. I want to honor what I’ve been given, I want to rise to the occasion, and I don’t want to be the guy that everybody has to keep slowing down to, you know, pick up. So, I work just as hard on everything. You know, all – every job I work on, I work as hard as I can and as professionally as I can to make sure that I rise to the occasion.

Aldis, how do you learn to interact with guest stars so quickly since they might only be for an episode or two, compared with the cast being there day-in and day-out for a 13 episode season? Asked by Doug from takesontech.com

Well, a great guest star is like having gold on set because we as a cast, we need guest stars to fill our stories to keep things interesting for the audience and push us throughout the season. So, whenever we need that – a really good guest star who comes in, does their job well, finds their comfort zone easily, and meshes well with us that’s always – it’s very lucky, because sometimes it can be rare.

We introduced Wil as a direct nemesis for Hardison, so I was very excited about it; very excited to see who I was working with. And we played off of each other so well, I think much more – much better than I had anticipated or anybody else had anticipated.

So, it was very much a treat because for us, you know, it’s a staple of any good show. You can have a great actor that’s amazing, but you need good guest stars to keep things interesting for the characters.

We already have a history there, the audience loves it, they’re anticipating it, and they’re waiting for it. So, it creates great, great rhythm for our production in general, and it’s just – it’s very typical to have a very solid actor who knows how to do their job.

And yeah, Wil, you came man, you, you know, you just fit right in, you played along because you – sometimes it can be sticky trying to get a nice relationship right off the top with new actors, and he came and he did his thing. He was very comfortable, made us feel very comfortable, we try to make him feel very comfortable, and we had a lot of fun playing. And I’m pretty sure this is, you know, at least I hope this is not the last time that we see Chaos.

Wil added

You know, any show is – the – any cast, it’s like a family and the family dynamic, you know, there are functional families and there’s dysfunctional families, and Leverage is a very functional family. And as a guest star it is a double-edged sword for me.

I get to work consistently without being tied to one particular character and one particular story style, but at the same time I get to work on a show like Leverage where I instantly love the cast, I instantly feel at home, I instantly feel like I’m part of the family, and then eight days later I go back to my regular life or I go back to a different show.

And it is a – it’s a real wonderful gift that I get to work with great material, but I also get to work with actors who really make me feel like I am part of their team. And it was such a good time to do The Ho Ho Ho Job. Like I really, really, really hope that we’ll get to come – that I’ll get to come back in the future so that, you know, so that we can go head-to-head again.

Aldis, there been  kind of hinting at Hardison/Parker relationship, but it has been inconsistent.  How you feel about that; where it’s going? Asked by Libya El-Amin from whedonopolis.com

Well, something that – I – that’s just one I’m anticipating myself because the two characters has been figuring out what their relationship is since day one. And they’re getting to the point where they’re just about ready to earn it, you know? The – and the audience is also earning it as well because we can’t give it to you all and serve it up on a silver platter too quickly, because where do we go from there?

But, I think these two characters because they’re both crazy in their own way, Hardison’s team’s a little bit more stable, but really when you think about it he makes his living off of, you know, digging into other people’s privacy, so a little crazy to me. So, these two characters they sit and they work in the most obnoxious way, and I think that once we actually get there, because believe me they will get there, once we get there it’s going to be a beautiful thing and it’s going to be very interesting and quite fun.

In the season finale, we don’t give it to you all, but it’s definitely another step and we give you something to look forward to in Season 4.

Hardison is the super geek of the crew and I was wondering are you a geek yet? Asked by Libya El-Amin from whedonopolis.com

I am in my own little way, except for – well, I’m a geek in the mechanical sense, as opposed to the technical sense. I’m becoming technically savvy, but I’m more (gear) savvy.

I grew up designing homes and architecture and cars, frames, and right now I’ve made a business out of designing watches. I love gears, I love the interworkings of things, and I like to get my hands on them and physically take them apart and put them back together, whereas my character gets his hands on them virtually and takes things apart and reassembles them.

So, I am a geek in that sense. I do love my sciences. Math is a whole different deal, but I love design. And math is married design, so I’m (thoughtful) in it.

Aldis, Are all the geek references all the writers, or do you get to throw in a couple yourself? Asked by Libya El-Amin from whedonopolis.com

I do improv a ton when it comes to this, but usually the geek references come from mainly John Rogers and Chris Downey. That’s the geek soul of this character. It usually comes from those two. John and Downey, I mean they’re the generally just intelligent in a way that I can’t even fathom. And I learn more just sitting there listening to those guys than I could learn, you know, in a whole semester at Harvard, so that I attribute to those two.

And also, we have a great staff of writers that also contribute much as well, great staff of writers. I mean, you know we have – we – in the past few season we’ve had Albert Kim, Christine Boylan, Amy Berg, Jessica Rieder, Melissa Glenn. We’ve had amazing, amazing cast writers, and now we have Geoffrey Thorne who’s a great writer. I really love his work.

Both characters are  hackers, is there a    jealousy thing going on at all between the  characters? Asked by Angela Schuch from Scifichick.com

Aldis –  I think there’s – there was a bit of jealousy established between our characters and, Wil, you can definitely jump in on this one if you – I think in the first episode that we did together when Hardison was kind of beat for the very first time. And of course he doesn’t like Chaos, but there’s a general respect for his skill level because there’s nobody else in the world as good as Hardison.

I mean, Hardison can go work for the FBI, who has the best hackers in the world working for them, so he chooses to do his own thing. So, I think there is a bit of jealousy established. And I think that Chaos, once he got beaten himself, had to give us his crown, his thrown; his pride was beat down a little bit. And, you know, I think there may be a little bit of jealously on his end.

So, I think because of that these two are going to continually go back and forth, back and forth for seasons to come. Hopefully they do because it’s such a fun ((inaudible))…

Wil –  Yeah, these guys are – they’re Holmes and Moriarty. It’s Superman and Lex Luthor. You know, it’s Kennedy and Khrushchev. These guys are complete nemesis to each other and I think if you asked Hardison who the greatest hacker in the world is he would say, “Well, it’s me of course.” And if you asked Chaos he would say, “Well, it’s me of course.” And then, who’s the second best and each would probably say the other.

And that’s what makes it really fun to bring these guys to life and have them clash, because they probably – I mean, if you were to make them characters in a role playing game and build out their stats, they’re probably really close. They’re maybe separated by one point in either direction in a few different places. And they, you know, they are both, from their point of view, without peer. And the truth is, these two guys, you know, if they were on the same side the world would really be in a lot of trouble.

Did We Miss a Question?

Well you are in luck, since the cast and Wil Wheaton will chat  Live Online Sunday, Dec. 12, at 10 p.m. (ET) / 7 p.m. (PT). Click Here to learn more  about how you can ask a aquestion.

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