Exclusive Interview: ‘LEVERAGE’ STAR ALDIS HODGE TALKS
SEASON THREE, CONVENTIONS, WATCHES AND MORE – PART 2
A new episode of the hit series airs tonight at 9/8c only on TNT
By CARL CORTEZ, Contributing Editor
For three seasons now, Aldis Hodge has played the inventive hacker on TNT’s hit heist show LEVERAGE (a new episode airs tonight at 9/8c). When he first joined the team in Season One, he was very good working on his own, but slowly he’s had to evolve into being a team player.
Now, the expert hacker has come into his own in Season Three. He has ambitions of being the head of his own “team” one day, but also getting the opportunity to showcase the deeper side to his multi-faceted character.
Hodge recently spoke to iF, in the second part of this exclusive interview, and talked about promoting the show, how ambitious this season has been, some of his favorite episodes from last year and the status of his self-created watch line.
iF MAGAZINE: The cast has been everywhere this year with promotions, from Con-Con to Comic-Con and more – do you feel you’ve been doing more or has this been business as usual for you guys?
ALDIS HODGE: Like I said, I’m very, very tired and that’s a good tired. We have been very busy this year. I can’t really complain about it. We work to be busy. I call it “work-cation” when I’m in Portland shooting. That’s six months out, we’re filming the whole time, doing our thing and I’m trying to soak it up as much as I possibly can and get as much work in as possible. We have our down time and a hiatus. It’s nice to have a job. When you have it, you have to appreciate it when it’s there, because you don’t know if it’s going to come back again. We’ve been very, very busy and God willing, we continue to stay busy. We’re very fortunate that way. Just shooting the show has even been more ambitious this time around, because we have a lot more to do.
iF: Would you say the show is more ambitious this season?
HODGE: Definitely, but we try to stay ambitious and try to get even more ambitious each season. We understand the machine we’re working on here, and continually try to take steps to outdo what we did last time. Our ambition is there and it’s full force. We work our ass off to the bone, but it definitely pays off. We’ve been fortunate enough to watch rough cuts of episodes as we’ve done the last two seasons, and it keeps us juiced up and excited. We see what we’re doing, we’re happy about it, and we’re excited to go back to the next day of work because we know we’re making a good product and it keeps our energy there. We thank [executive producer] Dean [Devlin] for that too and the opportunity to do something different.
iF: The show has gone a bit global with the cons this year …
HODGE: It means, as a team, we have to work a little harder. It’s not a question of American eyes being on us now. We now have to deal with international criminals. It’s not just big bad American CEO’s doing their own thing – we have international mobsters coming after us and it forces us to broaden our spectrum and we’ve had to gear up a little more this year and fight a little harder and go different places. I know last season we had to travel out for “The Zanzibar Job” and the first season we had to travel to another country for the orphan kids. We’ve dealt with it before, but this season it was more prevalent because we have a running storyline of an international criminal who is shaking it up for us.
iF: It must have been fun to have your brother Edwin appearing on the show in the season premiere.
HODGE: That was amazing and it was great for us. We didn’t have scenes together, and I was like “Oh man,” because I would love to get back on screen with my brother. It was great to have him there and to have him doing his thing. The episode was phenomenal. Hopefully the audience dug it as much I did.
iF: Can you talk a little bit about Season Two and looking back on it now?
HODGE: The best thing for the team was we all got to grow into different responsibilities as far as what we had to do for the team. As far as Hardison, he had to take on a couple of different roles and hats and play grifter, and we got to explore more of his depth as an asset to the team. And Hardison now has a little bit more of an authoritative stance of what he does for the team and what they do for the people they help. He grew up.
iF: What were some of your favorite episodes from Season Two?
HODGE: I was a fan of all last season, but my two favorites were “The Three Days of the Hunter Job” and “The Iceman Job.” In “Iceman” I got to play the grifter, but I also got to throw on a little accent. Hardison had to step outside of himself and outside of what he does naturally. The same thing with “Three Days of The Hunter Job.” I had to step outside of myself. I had to play a crazy war veteran suffering from shell shock. Anything that pushes Hardison’s limits, as far as what he does and what he can do, I love that and I enjoy taking on that creative aspect and challenge.
iF: What did you think of CON-CON: AN OFFICIAL LEVERAGE EVENT? How did it feel to come out with all those people and the love-fest that you experienced?
HODGE: I thought our convention was a great success. It was the first convention for our show. It was the first convention for any show on TNT and for any original series on TNT. I think, also, for a show of our type and demographic, it was one of the first conventions for a show of our type. It was a great success. Our audience came and had a good time and we as a cast had a good time. I’ve done conventions for the last few years for SUPERNATURAL, that’s where I learned the ropes a little bit. On SUPERNATURAL I was a guest star. This is different, because this is my show, my family, my house. The response is different, the love is different and we as a cast had a good time and a great turn-out and God willing, if the success keeps rolling, we can do it again. It was a great party for us and our audience.
iF: How is your watch line coming along?
HODGE: Watches take a very, very long time to make. You can master this, I guess if you’re making cheaper made watch, but my watches, I create the actual watch and the mechanisms that move. It takes a while for the research. I recently put the finishing touches for one design and I shipped it off to Switzerland to see what they will say about it and will go back to the drawing board for the second round. And hopefully when that gets done, we’ll hopefully see that watch show up next year, which would be amazing. Other than that, I’m kicking out LEVERAGE and in the meantime, I’m writing scripts and trying to figure out what to do to keep myself busy during hiatus.
iF: Is there anything you can’t do?
HODGE: I can’t do a backflip, which I’m going to go learn how to do some time later this year.