Leverage Chat – Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf

Friday, Sep 2, 2011

Beth and Aldis did a webchat on TNT before The Van Gogh Job episode and answers questions submitted by the fans. Here are the two videos and I’ve included the transcription below the videos.

Aldis Hodge & Beth Riesgraf Live Web Chat

Part One: Transcribed by TBex


Beth: Hello..I’m Beth Riesgraf.  And I play Parker on Leverage.

Aldis: And I’m Al Hodge and I play Hardison.

Beth: We’d like to say thank you for everybody tuning in and joining the web chat. We know, um, some of you are up really late…

Aldis: Like 2 a.m.

Beth: Staying up to catch this. So Hopefully, we live up to your expectations.

Aldis: Thank you!

Beth: And I guess we’re going to start answering questions now, so here’s the first one. I’ll be the moderator.

Aldis: Hm.

Aldis: This one’s for Beth.

Beth: (ahem) Ok. This one’s from Facebook, for Beth. (to Aldis) Do you want to ask me the ones for me?

Aldis: I shall. (dramatic throat clearing)

Aldis: (in gameshow-host voice) Beth, what has it been like playing someone with Parker’s social quirks?

Beth: Well, I’ll tell you what, its been a lot of fun. I really, really love, uh, being able to be quirky and play someone who’s different from your everyday kind of gals. So I’ve loved it and embraced it and I think…I’m actually really thankful because I have fun with  my job  and they always throw different things at me every episode to play and I can pretty much say anything as Parker. It keeps it really exciting. I love it.

Beth: Oh, this one’s for Aldis. From Facebook; do you have real life hacking skills?

Aldis: (Laughing) Absolutely not! (still laughing) Everybody asks me this. I’ve learned a little bit, I’ve even picked up a few books but I’m too afraid to try hacking. I’m not trying to get caught, go to jail, you know. I’ll keep it on the screen.

Beth: Aside from that time you hacked into my…

Aldis: (mumbling secretively) I thought we weren’t gonna talk about that. I thought we grew past that.

Beth: For Aldis. Do people in real life ask you for computer help?

Aldis: Yes they do and I let people down every day. Constantly.

Beth: Could you help with my laptop in a few minutes?

Aldis: What do you need? What do you need? (eyebrow wagging) Yes I can, yes I can

Aldis: This one is for Beth. If you were a character in real life, which item would you steal?

Beth: Oh if I was my char…

Aldis: If you were Parker

Beth: Oh if I was Parker in real life, what would I steal?

Aldis: Yeah, I can’t read that.

Beth: Oh goodness gracious….a lot of things I suppose…um

Aldis: Well tell us about things you have stolen.

Beth: Um…hm…well I might steal this vintage Mercedes that I saw the other day that was really beautiful.

Aldis: Not a bad choice.

Beth: Pretty color. I might steal that and then I’d possibly steal some..yeah I think I’d go steal some art.

Aldis: From my apartment. I see what this is

Beth: I think I’d steal some Avedon, some Versaille, some..yeah I’d steal a lot of photographs.

Aldis: (Pointing) Like that one….That last question was from Facebook, this one is from Facebook as well

Beth: For both of us; Would you guys like to film an episode in Alaska? Heck yeah!

Aldis: Yes absolutely.

Beth: I mean technically the first episode was supposed to take plass…plass Alaska…

Aldis: Plass…plass

Beth: Place in Alaska

Aldis:  Plass in Alaiska

Beth: Yes I would love to go to Alaska. I heard those cruises are great in Alaska. Where you go through those glaciers, I mean it supposed to be…I would love it. Yes.

Aldis: I want to go up there and check out the Aurora Borealis and also, you know, its like 6 months of  sun and 6 months of night. I want to check that out.

Beth: Ok.  Keep sending me your questions, by the way. Bring em on in. I’m supposed to give you that note. Otherwise we’ll be sitting here with nothing to say and it would be really boring. What similarities are there between you and your characters? I’ll let you go first.

Aldis: The sarcasm in my character. That’s something that our writers have been gracious enough to allow me  to introduce and continue to elaborate on with my character. Its definitely that sense of humor, that wit, that quickness, you know. I got a big mouth on me; I’ll say what I feel when I feel it so there ya go. Mm hm..mm hm.

Beth: That right there.

Aldis: What are you tryin to say?

Beth: (mocking hand gesture) namma namma namma

Aldis: Well what about you? Hands!

Beth: My..um I guess I would say, I think I’ve said this one before but I think its true, the tomboy  sort of aspect I guess as much as I’m a girly-girl, I really have always sort of been a tomboy. So I share that with Parker.  And facial expressions, you know… used to get teased a lot as a kid for not being always the cutest girl on the block with my facial expressions

Aldis: Me too.

Beth: So I would say quirks, those physical quirks. I do some of that stuff

Aldis: Yeah that does happen a lot to Parker

Beth: Ok so Facebook question: Does Parker have a last name or is Parker her last name? Its just Parker.

Aldis: For Beth,…Beth, you seem to work a lot in high places, are you scared of heights?

Beth: Actually, that’s a good question. because I never really thought about it before-I’m not afraid of heights-but there have been a few times…we did one episode where I was tethered to the top of this building and I had a 2 foot ledge, even though I knew I was harnessed into the back of the wall, I actually had a little bit of fear kick up like…wow, we’re really high up right now…I had to crawl along the ledge so that was a little scary. But in general no,  I’m not.

Aldis: Like that one time we were up 40 stories

Beth: Yeah that was terrifying…the first episode we ever did. But yeah, no…no fear of heights.

Aldis: Good times. Also Facebook. Glitz and glamour aside, what’s the toughest part of your job?  I’ll let you go.

Beth: I think the scheduling is hard. That’s the hardest part. Our hours are crazy and we  have full time jobs but it’s full time plus I feel like being away from our families and our friends and our homes and the hours. There’s not a lot of predict to what we do so I would say the constant change and the long, long weeks. I mean, we film the equivalent of a feature film every 2 weeks which is kind of insane so yeah I would say that would be my answer. What’s yours?

Aldis: I would say that the hardest part…

Beth: Working with me.

Aldis: Yeah really…certain people (nodding towards Beth) are very difficult to work with

Beth: Sorry, I’ll really let you answer

Aldis: My real answer would be working with Beth. No…being away from my family. Being away from my family is….(to Beth) You got something to say?

Beth: No…quiet

Aldis: No go on…speak your mind

Beth: Talk about how hard it is to work with me.

Aldis: Go on say it…let’s be honest. The hardest part is being away from my family and all my good friends and my dog. Love my dog to death. So it’s a little rough, you know, having to travel but gotta bring home that bacon. Its gotta happen somehow so its all good.

Beth: I’m going to have to go ahead and take a break for a second and give a shout out to Loco32

Aldis: woo woo

Beth: woo woo

Aldis: We’re getting more questions. I dig it.

Beth: How often do you get called by your character name instead of your real name?

Aldis: haha ha well uh…huh…its kind of a mix you know. Sometimes people …it’s weird, people know the character name and they can recall that faster than the can recall the show. Its usually (imitating fan) “hey…you…you…you…Hardiso, right? From uh…uh…uh the show…uh ya’ll steal stuff” (Aldis) Leverage. (fan) “Leverage….yeah it was right there”. Now its becoming a little more prominent for people to call me by my real name which is actually scary. It’s weird, you know, walking down the street “ALDIS!” What!? And I don’t know these people. Man, its weird.

Beth: You get a lot of  that like “hey I know you from somewhere. Did we go to school together? You look familiar”

Aldis: All the time!

Beth: I get called Parker sometimes.

Aldis: Sometimes.

Beth: Yeah the get excited. Kids love saying like “you’re Parker” and I’m like yeah. You know.

Aldis: You realize your name in my phone is Parker. I don’t know your real name….can’t learn your real name. Its just Parker.

Beth: Somebody in Portland named their dog Parker and I got to meet the cute little pooch. So that was, that was sweet.

Beth: Which of your cast-mates do you think is most like the character they play?

Aldis: Can we  tell this at the same time? Ok. 1…2…3

Beth: Which of….

Aldis: Christian


Beth: I thought you meant read the question at the same time! Yes!

Aldis: 1…2…3..

Beth/Aldis: Christian!

Beth: Ok. If you could switch…oh I’m bossing around…

Aldis: no, no, no read it

Beth: If you could switch characters with a cast-mate, which one would you choose to play?

Aldis: I don’t want to switch with anybody! If I HAD to switch I would probably switch with Parker because you get to climb buildings and steal stuff and I secretly have  an affinity for wanting to steal things. So that’s it. You?
Beth: I think I…yeah I don’t want to switch but  um gosh if I had to switch…I’d want to be one of the boys because that’s a total switch right. So I would be um…well…I can’t pick. I’m sorry, that sucks. That’s not really the answer you’re looking for. I don’t know cause I like something about everybody.  (Aldis covers Beth’s face with next question and she laughs) I spend a lot of time with you.

Aldis: Bluesy92 asks…

Beth: Or is that 42?

Aldis: no that’s 92.  (looks away) Is that 42 or 92?

Beth: Doesn’t matter. Because we’ll say both

Aldis: Either way….asks: In the first episode of the season its implied that someone is as smart as Hardison. They ask, does this mean Chaos is returning this season? I can’t answer…..I can’t I can’t tell you. We’re sworn to secrecy

Beth: Yeah..sorry.

Aldis: I mean, if that means you wanted Chaos back…you gotta drop a couple lines at TNT. You  know you could always go on their website …check us out…hint, hint… the producers…go hit  John Rodgers’ blog KungFuMonkey.com

Beth: Oh yeah, kungfumonkey.com…blogspot.com

Aldis: Yeah, blogspot.com

Beth: he always by the way has …I don’t know if you guys all know about this but every week, after the episode airs, he answers questions about the episode. So you guys can submit to John Rodgers….

Aldis: The creator of the show

Beth: …Creator of the show… questions. Which is cool. Um..Ok…so if you could switch characters

Aldis: We did that.

Beth: How much real life training or preparation do each of you have to do for your roles?

Aldis:Well, I went to jail for real, just to see what it would be like. You know, its voluntary, and um, that’s a time I don’t really want to talk about, but, yeah, let’s just say I take my job very seriously and you know, I’m dedicated to the craft.

Beth: I….forgot the question. How much preparation….I would say in the beginning not much because I got cast like 2 days before we started. But you know, it’s been a great process, we’ve all prepped and got to meet Apollo Robbins who’s the show tech consultant when it comes to the world of con men….

Aldis: Thievery

Beth: ….grifters & thieves. He’s been really helpful in the writer’s room and he’s spent a lot of time with us individually so we’ve done our research.

Aldis: Yeah, little bit…little bit.

Beth: Yeah

Aldis: I actually spoke to Mr Mitnik, one of the top- actually THE top- hacker in the world of this time. Was on the top of the FBI’s most wanted list, it was crazy. Now he does good, he’s like us, he’s a white hat hacker now. He hacks for the good. He tests security systems, he protects people now but um…I definitely had some interesting conversations with him. So I’m scared to death of the internet now.

Part two: transcribed by Ali Kat

Aldis: But ah, let me see, next question. What can you tell me about tonight’s episode? Absolutely nothing! Watch the show!

Beth: What are you asking that question for, we can’t tell you!

Aldis: Watch the show!

Beth: That’s crazy!

Aldis: Yeah!

(both laugh)

Beth: We should tell them something.

Aldis: Okay, it’s a um, a group of thieves come together, to help the little man. On a show called Leverage. That’s what tonight’s show is about.

Beth: It’s a departure for Leverage (Aldis busts out laughing) um, that we flash back to the 1940s.

Aldis: Yes.

Beth: He’s just laughing because I was cheating with my answer.

Aldis: You are cheating. You cheating.

Beth: No, Danny Glover stars in tonight’s episode.

Aldis: And he’s amazing.

Beth: He is amazing.

Aldis: You got to spend the most time with him.

Beth: I did actually. I was lucky.

Aldis: You lucky lucky duck.

Beth: I know, I got really lucky. I got some quality time with DG, as I like to call him.

Aldis: What, you’re Twitter pals now? Facebook friends and all that.

Beth: No, but we’re friends.

Aldis: Oh I see, I see.

Beth: He gave me a donut on set, he brought it in fresh donuts for everyone.

Aldis: I got a donut too.

Beth: It was super sweet.

Aldis: It was nice. It was Voodoo’s, authentic.

Beth: And ahh…yeah, he basically comes to us about a missing Van Gogh painting and we sort of help trace, track it down, trace the roots of where it came from and in the midst of it explore a love story in the 1940s.

Aldis: That has a lot to do with the history of the painting.

Beth: So it’s one of my favorite episodes.

Aldis: Its definitely one of my favorites.

Beth: And we should give a little shout out to our costume designer, @NadineHaders…

Aldis: Nadine Haders

Beth: She killed this episode. Everything we wore she pulled from costume houses and everything and was like to the T period.

Aldis: The stuff we wore really came from the 40s.

Beth: Yeah.

Aldis: So she was on her game.

Beth: Yes. She knocked it out of the park.

Aldis: Go ahead Nadine!

Part three: transcribed by Marialba

Aldis: Next list. Oh, so this is—this is—

Beth: “Aldis…

Aldis: Yes.

Beth: What’s the most memorable experience from a fan at a convention?”

Aldis: Oh, my… oh, my… I don’t know! Let me see… I was at a convention in London, and a young lady asked me to marry her. So I brought her on stage and I proposed, and then got the proposal annulled right then and there. But It was cool, you know; everybody was invited to the wedding, but understand, we had it—‘cause, you know, she didn’t know my Mama, I didn’t know her Daddy; I didn’t get the blessing; we ain’t do none of that, but… yeah, she did propose. She asked me to marry her, she did.

Beth: Wow! How did she ask you?

Aldis: (in a really high pitch) “Marry me, Aldis!” (normal voice) I just heard her randomly in the background, and I said, “Well, get on stage!”

Beth: Did she get on stage?

Aldis: She got on stage!

Beth: Oh!

Aldis: I got on one knee—

Beth: You got on one knee?

Aldis: I got on one knee.

Beth: Now you’re changing your story; you said she proposed to you.

Aldis: She said “marry me.” That, to me, is a proposal.

Beth: ( sporfles)

Aldis: That’s a proposal! That’s an old school proposal!

Beth: O… kay. Someone’s a little… oh!

Aldis: ( chuckling) I like this question.

Beth: Aww! “How do you like your siblings being on ‘Leverage’?”

Aldis: ‘Cause her sister was on, and my brother was on.

Beth: Yeah. It was great; it was really fun. I loved it.

Aldis: Yeah, yeah. I actually got to play with your sister on set a little bit, ‘cause I was—Actually, the last episode…

Beth: Why did you have to hit on my sister?

Aldis: “Hit on”—not like that!

Beth: Really? What kind of quality time did you spend with my sister?

Aldis: Me… Me… We cool; we peoples, you know what I’m sayin’? Don’t worry about—your sister be Skypin’, you know, don’t worry about that. It was cool, though, because we had a scene where we got to—I was supposed to be holding up the grocery store… “The 15 Minutes Job” that just aired, and got to improv with her a little bit, you know, and she was good! My brother, of course, was on the third season opener, what was it? “The Breakout Job?” Hehe.

Beth: I think so, yeah…

Aldis: And that was awesome because, you know… it’s my brother. It’s like, you know, I have my best buddy up on set to play, and it just—it was awesome.

Beth: It was fun; everybody was really sweet to them. My sister, that was one of her first… first times, so it was really fun for her and special.

Aldis: And since she had such an amazing acting partner – me – that she couldn’t help but be amazing, you know?

Beth: I know! It’s true; it’s true…

Aldis: I mean, I’m not really trying to be all on my own—you know what I’m saying? I don’t have an ego or anything like that, but I’m so great at what I do—

Beth: You were really great, they way you held that grocery store…

Aldis: Yeah, yeah; I was fantastical, is what I was, so…

Beth: Oh…

Aldis: You’re welcome.

Beth: I will. Mary, if you’re watching, he said you’re welcome. The next one says, “What was your favorite part about working on tonight’s episode?” And look, we have the little note that someone wrote, (in unison) “No spoilers, please!” With the little guy.

Aldis: That one came from our wonderful producers. The favorite part of working on tonight’s episode…  you wanna go?

Beth: I—no, you go ahead.

Aldis: Well, definitely Danny Glover, but—My two favorite things about this episode, Danny Glover and the way that we told the story, because it was so unconventional for “Leverage.” The story itself, I think it’s amazing. Chris Downey, the other co-creator of the show, did an amazing job, but—Yeah, we had, like, a legend on set…

Beth: Yeah.

Aldis: … because, to me, Danny Glover is like Hollywood royalty, and we had great storytelling. We got to play outside of our characters; usually our characters are doing cons, but we’re still us. In this story, we’re not playing, you know, Hardison and Parker in disguise; we’re playing other people. So that’s a really nice difference.

Beth: Okay! So we still have a few more minutes and we’re gonna try to bust through a bunch of these, all right? “Beth, from ‘loladyblack’…”

Aldis: “Lilladyblack.”

Beth: “Lil…” (laughs)

Aldis: I’ve see her on Twitter. “Lilladyblack,” what’s up?

Beth: It’s hard to read the writing, sorry. So… hurry up.

Aldis: “Parker’s emotional growth has been huge. Can you tell us about that?”

Beth: I can! Yeah, I’ve been really lucky; I’ve got some great stuff this season and throughout the seasons—I love that I am on a TV show that allows my character—the characters to actually show growth each season and I had different arcs to play, and I feel great about it, you know? It’s exciting because it keeps me creating and reinventing her, in a way, but… Not reinventing, it’s not the right word…

Aldis: I mean, it could be…

Beth: Sort of creating these new moments for her as she’s experiencing things for the first time in a new way, I get to be part of it too, so I love it. “What do you think Sophie’s real name is?”

Aldis: I think her real name is Epiphany or something like that.

Beth: We actually know what her real name is, but we can’t say.

Aldis: She probably doesn’t have one. She’s probably one of those weird babies born without a name; she lost her birth certificate so she makes up stuff.

Beth: Exactly. “When the show first started, did you have any idea it’d become as popular as it has?”

Aldis: Absolutely! Kidding, no I did not. You?

Beth: You never know…

Aldis: No.

Beth: I don’t know. You hope it will, so that’s good.

Aldis: We had to get past the pilot first, you know? You don’t realize; you shoot the pilot, it takes, like, six months for the network to make a decision. And then those six months you’re biting your nails, I’m like, “Okay, I gotta go work it at Abercrombie & Fitch again…”

Beth: You never know.

Aldis: But no, it’s been a blessing; an unexpected blessing, yeah. “What’s your favorite episode and why?”

Beth: Ooh… I’d actually say tonight’s episode might be one of my favorites, for sure. It’s hard to– I don’t have “one” favorite, but tonight’s definitely one of my favorites. Character-wise, what I get to do; the stuff that we got to do together, I think we reached sort of a new level there, and doing something—I’d never done anything period before, so playing a character in the 1940s was really fun, and I got to work with our dialect coach a bit in the mid-Atlantic sounds…

Aldis: Mary Black!

Beth: …which is a slightly different sound, but it was fun. I got to do some fun things. How about you?

Aldis: Tonight’s episode is definitely my favorite.

Beth: Yeah.

Aldis: I’d say any episode that I am in is my favorite episode of all time.

Beth: You’re in them all.

Aldis: Oh. Okay. No, tonight’s is definitely my favorite episode. You’ll see why when you watch the show. No, that’s a good one…

Beth: Oh,  wait, yeah; sorry. Oh…

Aldis: “What do you think happened to Parker’s biological parents?”

Beth: Well—

Aldis: They showed that in the pilot.

Beth: Those were my foster parents!

Aldis: Oh!

Beth: They split. They split a long time ago. I won’t get too specific with it, but yeah. They split town pretty early, unfortunately.

Aldis: Did Parker’s father skipped out on alimony and child support?

Beth: We’ll talk about that at another live chat.

Aldis: Did they go to a lawyer to try to get the child support?

Beth: Well…

Aldis: Yeah. “You’re an amazing photographer. Any advice for someone trying to get into that profession?”

Beth: Wow, thank you for that; that’s very sweet. I would say just go get a camera and start shooting. Shoot, shoot, shoot. The more you can shoot, the more you develop your eye, your style and your voice and… It doesn’t have to be an expensive camera; got get a used one. Pick up some different types of film, and I know I’m saying film in a digital age, but—

Aldis: I prefer it.

Beth:  I’m a big fan of film, so if you learn the process—I think the New York Institute of Photography has a correspondence course you can order online and study at home, and that’s a great way, so even if you’re working full-time, you can pick it up at night and mess around with the camera. It’s all it takes right there. “Is Chaos coming back?”

Aldis: We can’t tell you that!

Beth: We can’t tell you! Sorry. From Catherine—

Aldis: “Did you guys know anything about each other before you started working together?” No, actually. We met in Chicago, like, the first week—

Beth: We went shopping together!

Aldis: We did go shopping together, we did. That was our first run about; we went shopping.

Beth: And by the way, he was very patient. He waited while I tried on a bazillion things; and he was shopping a lot too.

Aldis: Note to the feds: Patience goes a long way.

Beth: Oh, we gotta wrap it up?

Aldis: Oh, we gotta go, we gotta go—

Beth: Okay, sorry, guys, but listen—

Aldis: Let’s see if we can get one more, one more—

Beth: “Is Christian Kane as hot in real life as he’s portrayed…?” HELL YEAH!

Aldis: I’m not answering that. I’m not answering that.

Beth: Hotter! Hotter, baby! Those blue eyes, that little… body. We gotta—it’s all there, yes!

Okay, well thank you for joining tonight’s chat; we’re really happy you were able to tune in and join us, and if you missed any part of it, you can go to tnt.tv and…

Aldis: Check us out.

Beth: We’re gonna start tweeting answers in a few minutes, so keep ‘em coming and we’ll go that way.

Aldis: Check the episode, I hope you enjoy it. Let us know what you think about it. Thank you, I hope you guys had some fun.

Beth: Thanks a lot, guys. Bye.

Aldis: Peace!

2 Comments on “Leverage Chat – Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf”

    1. On Leverage, his costumers were chosen by their costume director Nadine Haders. In personal interviews, such as this chat, they would have been most likely picked out by Aldis himself.

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