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Timothy Hutton talks about Leverage's first season

by Debra McDuffee, posted Feb 24th 2009 9:22AM
Timothy Hutton as Nathan Ford in LeverageWhen I sit down to watch television, I want to be entertained. I do not want to be bored, annoyed, depressed or angry. Just give me some good, clean fun. That's why it's been an infinite pleasure watching TNT's new drama, Leverage, a show I have crowned the best new show this season.

I recently had the pleasure of talking with Timothy Hutton, star of Leverage, about the first season of the successful new drama. Oh yes, the charming Tim and I dished about his performance, his co-stars and what season two may bring.

One thing I learned is that the powers-that-be over at Leverage don't tell their actors a whole lot. After being enamored with season one, I was dying for a spoiler of what's to come next season, now that we know Leverage has been renewed (they start filming April 13, in fact). OK, I would have settled for a teaser, even a tidbit, but it seems they're still tossing most of that around in the writers' room. Here's what I did get:

  • On the character of Maggie, Nate's wife, played by actress Kari Matchett: "People really like that character and the actress Kari Matchett is terrific. I first worked with her on Nero Wolfe about ten years ago. As far as Maggie being back, the character, I'm not sure.... but my hunch is we've not seen the last of Maggie."
  • In season two, the team will be "taking on even bigger cases and going after more complicated scenarios and continuing to look to everyday headlines and in our own way kind of expose specific goings-on around us."
  • The mansion Hardison rented in "The Second David Job" will not be the base of operations next season. They'll set up Leverage HQ in a new city, still to be determined, since they'll also be shooting in a new city (the pilot was shot in Chicago and the rest of season one in Los Angeles). The cases will still be all over the globe, though, so we'll get to see the team travel quite a bit again.
  • Hutton says that "Nate's past will always effect his storyline," but in season two we'll learn more about the other members of the team now "because they really become one another's family."
Even though the show is basically a comedy, we've seen a couple of flashbacks now with Nate's son being in the hopsital, dying, and Nate's strong reaction. I asked Hutton what it takes to get to a place like that for such a short scene, and I got a very unexpected answer. It's "not something that's all that complicated, to be honest. when you're on the set and you see this young actor who's playing your son on this hospital bed and you see people dressed as actors and you see the set exactly as it would be in a hospital. All you have to do is surrender to the environment that you're in and it's a very very disturbing sight and you just let yourself go with that and feel that and you're kind of in the appropriate place to do the scene."

One thing about Nate Ford, Hutton's character, is that he is able to show us just how damaged he is by his past while also keeping it light and funny. "I didn't want to be the drunk morose guy. There's something kind of insane about him in a hopefully humorous kind of way when he's playing with people's heads that he doesn't have any respect for...." Some examples Hutton cited were the Glenngarry, Glenn Death" con from "The Snow Job," and Nate's poker-playing cowboy in "The Two-Horse Job." Nate gets right into playing the part, wearing costumes appropriate to these other characters. "The rational behind it for me was that Nate needs to escape himself, so it's fun for him to play other parts."

Mr. Hutton himself has a great sense of humor, as he found it hilarious that when I spoke to Dean Devlin, the creator and executive producer of Leverage a few months ago, Devlin referred to the father-son relationship Hutton and Aldis Hodge had created for their characters of Nate and Hardison. "I prefer to call it older brother relationship... I am 48, I suppose I have to get used to that."

But that relationship came about because all the cast members "get along extremely well ... and we all genuinely really like each other.... people who walk on the set comment on what a positive place it is." Since the writers are on the set, "observing the rapport and chemistry we all had together.... the writers picked up on the group dynamic," developing the father-son thing with Hardison and Nate, Sophie's mentoring of Parker in the acting department, and the Eliot / Nate brother vibe.

You can't beat that kind of working relationship, eh? And it makes for a great dynamic on-screen as well. You can get caught up with Leverage starting at 10 AM ET today; TNT will be airing the entire series, ending with the first run of the finale at 10 PM. Gotta love a marathon!

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Anyone else unable to watch the shows on TNTs website?

February 24 2009 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Considering the current state of the original HQ, a new headquarters, temporary or otherwise, is definitely in order. So I don't see that as a spoiler. I would, however, say that the team moving to another city is somewhat spoilerish, tho well within the parameters of the team moving forward after The David Jobs. So I'm not spoiled, too much. :) Leverage is on my must-see list!

February 24 2009 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love Leverage. Great show.

February 24 2009 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sigh. Spoilers for tonights finale. Would have appreciated knowing that before starting.

February 24 2009 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Gill's comment
Mike Davis

What spoiler?

February 24 2009 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess that Hardison rented a mansion for (apparently) temporary use as HQ.

Yep, I'm spoiled all right :)

February 24 2009 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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