‘Leverage’ scoop: Danny Glover guest stars; Hardison & Parker “get juicy”

Thursday, Jun 9, 2011

(Includes SPOILERS)

June 9th, 2011 11:37 am PT

By Danielle Turchiano


The season four premiere of Leverage starts with a big bang. A big, snowy bang actually, which is a bit odd considering it is premiering in the summer months. To those of us watching at home, escaping the scorching heat of the outside world, the snow and ice on-screen may radiate well enough to keep us cool. For series star Aldis Hodge, though, the snow was so much more than just set dressing; it was a way for the cast to bond and keep things fresh and interesting, even after having been on this job for a number of years now.

“We actually went to Mount Hood [to film “The Long Way Down Job,” the season premiere]…and it just so happens that at the time they had one of their biggest blizzards in their history,” Hodge offered some behind-the-scenes tidbits about filming. “So we had that to deal with, but we had scenes where we were supposed to be coming in out of the snow, and the snow’s all cold and all that sort of stuff, and whenever they told us to go get snowed up, the director and production, when they said that, they meant ‘Okay, have make-up come around [and] toss some snow on us– a little fake snow– and have us come do our thing.’ The cast– our interpretation of it was go outside, jump into a big pile of snow that was like ten feet down; we were on the second or third story so a bit higher up…Have snowball fights, engage, and then come in and do our scene, do a couple of takes. We did that every single time. But we got the job done!”

That season premiere episode may have been all fun and games off-camera but once they were clicked on and rolling, things got a bit more serious. The episode has the team venturing into the world of mountain racing games to recover some crucial evidence about a corrupt financier after the not-as-accidental-as-it-seems death of his business partner. The weather isn’t the only thing the characters have to brave, and that surely breeds moments for select few to get closer. Naturally, we meet Hodge’s Hardison and Beth Riesgraf‘s Parker.

“I think he’s been forced more than, you know, more than a couple of times to challenge his romantic feelings for Parker, and that’s something he’s trying to figure out,” Hodge shared with LA TV Insider Examiner Hardison’s main conflict this season.

“I think out of all, that’s his biggest adversary…Whether they should or shouldn’t. They’re testing those waters. But as far as him personally, he’s got himself on track; he’s back together; he knows his place in the team; and he’s doing it well.”

In the season premiere the two have a cute moment at the end where they kind of look at each other and simply say that they’re glad they’re okay, but their faces seem to hint at much more to come. When pressed for more details, Hodge continued:

“They’re taking baby steps, but they grow; they’re definitely growing emotionally, and that bond and relationship grows. It’s a lot stronger this season, but as far as romantically, they’re still figuring it out…It’s scary, but we see them play with that idea more and more throughout the season, and it gets juicy, that’s all I can say!”

What also gets juicy this season are stylistic developments for the show, especially in the upcoming fifth episode, “The Van Gogh Job,” an episode Hodge called out as his favorite to film thus far. In that story, the show travels back in time when they uncover some gritty details surrounding a lost Van Gogh painting and learn that at one point in history it was at the center of a taboo romance between a WWII African American soldier and his white heiress lady love.

Hodge gave us even more of a preview of that episode by spilling the beans that Danny Glover is a guest star!

“I basically got to play young Danny Glover because he comes in and he’s narrating his story, and the characters go back in time, so we’re seeing the characters as he’s telling the story. I get to basically be the younger version of him, which is an honor to me because not only is it Danny Glover; it’s acting royalty right there! I was honored to have that experience and opportunity,” Hodge told us.

But what he wouldn’t say was whether or not he really got to take on any fight sequences or big stunts (though he did admit there is no more violin playing– at least not right now. “I’m thinking we might have to revisit that, if it’s what the people want!” he laughed). After all, he didn’t want to ruin the fun and surprises of just watching the show unfold on screen.

“[As far as in “The Van Gogh job”], there’s a lot of running, I can tell you that,” he laughed. “You gotta watch; you gotta watch, but there is a lot of exciting stuff!”

We don’t doubt him for a minute.

Leverage returns to TNT on June 26th at 9pm. If you want even more of a preview of the season premiere, stay tuned right here, as we have one coming atcha in the week prior to air. You can also catch Hodge at the upcoming “Leverage Con Con” fan convention, which he is proud and fortunate to be a part of, noting that the fan response to the show, and to his character, has been “amazing.”

“There’s one who goes by the moniker ‘Ali Kat’ online, and she has made a fansite for me…she’s done it out of her own time, her own free will, and it blows my mind! I always used to see it happen for all of these celebrities and stars and all of those kinds of people, but to have somebody do that for me is truly mind-blowing.”

Hodge is too humble to consider himself a big celebrity, but he is more than worthy of the respect, praise, and support. After all, he is a part of a team– a cast and crew– that is creating something unique and fresh and fun, and something that entertains but has something to say, too. Though he may still be somewhat surprised by the reaction; he shouldn’t be. He puts in the hard work, and it not only shows, but also pays off!

“I think because my mother made [acting] a privilege and not necessarily a priority, as a young age, we were forced to make sure we wanted this,” he reflected on his earliest days in the business. “She said ‘Look, education always comes first. If you don’t have those As, there will be no acting. No As and Bs, no auditions, no nothing.’ So we had to really– she made us earn this acting thing. She made sure we learned the world we were in and immersed ourselves in the craft of it.”

Source: Los Angeles TV Insider | Examiner.com

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