Noah Wyle in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

Noah Wyle in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION has now released the second half of its first season. All sixteen episodes are now streaming on Amazon Prime’s free-to-everyone (including non-Amazon subscribers) service IMDb TV.

In LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION, Noah Wyle plays Harry Wilson, a New Orleans corporate lawyer looking for, well, redemption after years of acting as a fixer for big-money bad guys. Harry finds a way to start making amends when he joins the LEVERAGE team of good-guy grifters. Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, and Beth Riesgraf as Parker all reprise their roles from the original 2008-2012 LEVERAGE. Aleyse Shannon plays Harry’s fellow newcomer to the group, hacker Breanna Casey, foster sister of recurring lead Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison. Both LEVERAGE and LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION are created by Chris Downey and John Rogers, and executive-produced by Dean Devlin.

In addition to playing Harry, Wyle directed three episodes of this season of LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION, “The Tower Job,” “The Unwellness Job,” and “The Golf Job.” A native of Hollywood, California, Wyle played Dr. John Carter on all fifteen seasons of ER. Since then, he’s starred in a number of films and television series, including FALLING SKIES and LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION’s exec producer Devlin’s THE LIBRARIAN telefilms and subsequent series THE LIBRARIANS. Wyle also directed one episode of FALLING SKIES, and multiple installments of THE LIBRARIANS.

Wyle gets on Zoom to talk about acting in and directing on LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION.

ASSIGNMENT X: You directed three episodes of LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION. I think you had said earlier that you initially thought you were just going to be a director before you knew you were going to be playing Harry Wilson.

NOAH WYLE: I don’t remember which came first, which chicken or the egg. Dean may have talked to me in theory about coming in as a director, because obviously, he liked what I did on THE LIBRARIANS. But very quickly, during the pandemic, right at the beginning, we started talking about this new character of Harry, and whether I would be interested.

Beth Reisgraf, Aleyse Shannon. Christian Kane, Gina Bellman, Noah Wyle in LEVERAGE - REDEMPTION| ©2021 Electric Entertainment

Beth Reisgraf, Aleyse Shannon. Christian Kane, Gina Bellman, Noah Wyle in LEVERAGE – REDEMPTION| ©2021 Electric Entertainment

AX: Can you tease what’s new for Harry’s journey in the second half of the season?

WYLE: I think what we see in the second half of the season is, now that Harry’s been part of this team, does the luster fall off the rose a little bit? Was he just sort of playing at redemption, or is this going to be something he can see through to the finish? Because the realization begins to set in that he’s really never going to be a master thief, and he’s never going to be a master con man, and he’s never going to be a hitter, and he’s never going to be a hacker. He’s never really going to be a team member.

He was a really, really good lawyer, and that temptation, to go back to your strength, I think is present in the second half. And so, we get a sense of whether or not he’s going to stay the course with this, which world he’d go back to or towards. I think he’s sort of a fish out of water when we meet him again. And then, in the last two episodes, some things are revealed that show how he’s been motivated all along.

AX: In the next-to-last episode, “The Muddy Waters Job,” there’s a cast member named Auden Florence Wyle, playing Harry’s daughter Becky. Is Ms. Wyle a relation of yours?

WYLE: Yes. My daughter, who has had acting aspirations for the last several years. When this character came up, I was curious to see how big it would be, and how much it would work, and when I saw what it was actually going to be on camera, I said, “You should audition for this. I can’t give you the job – they have to give you the job – and if you get the job, I can’t think of a better baptism than to play my daughter on this set, where you’ve known half the crew since the day you were born. And if you don’t get the job, I can’t think of a better life lesson than to not get the job of playing your father’s daughter to start you off on a road in Hollywood. Like, them’s the breaks, kid.”

So, she was game, and she put herself on tape, and submitted herself, and she got it. That’s the easy part, in some ways. Then doing the job is a whole other thing, and what I saw was a very poised, very professional, punctual, fifteen-year-old actress who came in and nailed her part. If anything, I felt like I was the one that was having trouble staying in character that day [laughs].

AX: You obviously have a very different relationship with your daughter in real life than Harry has with Becky …

Noah Wyle, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Aldis Hodge, Aleyse Shannon and Beth Reisgraf in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

Noah Wyle, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Aldis Hodge,
Aleyse Shannon and Beth Reisgraf in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

WYLE: Well, we have a very different relationship in life, they have a very different relationship in life, but also, Auden and I have never had that relationship with each other before, where we were coworkers together. In that moment, I was no longer her father, and she’s no longer my daughter – she’s my fellow actor in the scene. And it was very cool to look across the table, and look into the eyes of an actress playing her part, and to realize that we’ve now opened up a new chapter for us, in how we can relate to each other. That was very cool.

AX: To ask about another relationship of Harry’s on the series, there seems like there’s a little bit of a flirty vibe between Harry and Sophie. Is that what we’re meant to be getting there?

WYLE: I don’t think she could help it. She just looks into my eyes and gets lost. [laughs] Just kidding. That relationship was really about two people finding healing. She needed to get past her grief with Nate [the original LEVERAGE character played by Timothy Hutton; Nate and Sophie married and Nate died of a heart attack between the original series and LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION] or put it in a place that was manageable, and Harry needed to find some redemption and get pieces of his soul back, so he could go on and feel good about himself.

And leaning on each other, being challenged by each other, and learning from each other, those two characters did effect exactly the change that they were hoping for, and arrived where they wanted to get to. Whether or not there’s romance underneath that, or whether or not there’s the possibility of it, it’s stuff that we talked about, and it popped up now and again, but that’s not the way I classified it. I didn’t see these two people as destined to be together or really romantically linked, so much as an affection for entering each other’s lives at a pivotal time, and having a profound effect on each other in a way that sometimes is difficult to categorize.

AX: In one episode, Harry is in a doctor’s coat. Had there been discussion in other roles you’ve done for Dean Devlin, or done for anybody, about getting into a doctor’s coat? Because that’s an unavoidable visual shoutout to your ER days …

WYLE: You know, it’s low-hanging fruit in some ways, and precious coin you don’t want to spend too often in your career, but this is a show that not only enjoys planting Easter eggs, but they don’t really hide them that well, and sometimes they kind of throw them at each other, too. So, I thought this would be fun, and Harry, with his irrepressible need to be a performer and go undercover, it would be funny to watch him try to do it, and it would be fun for the audience to see. So, I was intrigued, and then I had a ball playing in a lab coat, and I loved being silly again.

AX: With the episodes you directed, “The Tower Job” was a fairly heavy Harry episode. Did you have any trepidation about going, “Gee, I have to be onscreen and feeling out my character a lot, at the same time that I’m directing”?

WYLE: I think that’s probably why I was overly prepared. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t schizophrenic, that I had a really good, prepared plan, so that I could focus on both. I have the benefit of never really having directed anything that I haven’t been in, so I don’t have a real frame of reference for not having to be part of the narrative as an actor, which is probably good. So, I’m not intimidated by it. But “The Unwellness Job,” I was really light in, and I really probably was most relaxed as a director because I was so light in it as an actor.

Noah Wyle in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

Noah Wyle in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

AX: Is “The Unwellness Job” any kind of a reaction to the bleach and the ivermectin and all of the unhealthy stuff being promoted online?

WYLE: Oh, that’s an interesting parallel. You know, we were sent a lot of memos from our bosses to make sure that we weren’t making any reference to a very popular actress who has a line of healthcare products, and so that was the directive – “Don’t make it seem like we’re sending up anybody in particular, or anything in particular. Please make it seem as if what we’re going after is the new modern snake oil salesman who’s rebranded as a wellness guru, and selling things that may be efficacious, and may be actually dangerous, all within this umbrella of pseudo-science.”

And then, underneath that, they’re making a commodity of people’s information. As these people would apply to get this stuff, or ask questions, they’re revealing vulnerable aspects of their personalities, that then go into these marketing companies that use them to target people at their lowest points, which is really quite nefarious. So, it was a good, complex, contemporary storyline that has only become more resonant with the ivermectin, with these pseudo-treatments for COVID. Junk science.

AX: With “The Golf Job,” there’s a lot of golfing in the episode. Do you golf?

WYLE: Oh, God, no. Neither does James Marsters [who guest-starred in the episode]. I don’t know if you could tell, but that’s a lot of movie magic going on in “The Golf Job.” [laughs] Christian Kane is an exceptionally good golfer, and Drew Powell [another episode guest star] is also a very good golfer. So, the two of those guys were having a lot of fun. And James, who I’ve worked with before, Christian’s worked with before, he was kind enough to come and play with us, told me on Day One, “Hey, man, you know I don’t play this game at all.” And I said, “Don’t worry! We’ll figure it out.”

AX: When you’re directing yourself, do you have any trepidation about not having a different person as director to comment on your performance?

WYLE: Well, that’s the nice thing about this group, and I think Beth [Riesgraf, who directed two episodes] found this to be true, too. The cameraman, Gary Camp, and I have been working together since the very first LIBRARIAN movie. I’ve worked with Gary more than any other cameraman in my life, including the ones that were on ER. I’ve worked with Dean now for seventeen years, and the script supervisor, and the a.d. staff. The d.p., Dave Connell, and I have worked together now for fifteen years. There are so many people whose opinions I respect that when you do a take, if everybody feels like energetically that it was good, then you sense it, and if it feels like there’s something that was missing, you can sense that, too. I put a lot of trust in the crew.

Noah Wyle at the 39th Saturns Awards | ©2013 Sue Schneider

Noah Wyle at the 39th Saturns Awards | ©2013 Sue Schneider

AX: Of the episodes you’ve directed on LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION, do you have a favorite?

WYLE: I think this was a really big learning year for me in a lot of ways, and I’m really grateful to Dean for giving me a chance, and to give me the keys to his train set to play with his toys as a director. The first one I directed, I really was fixated on style and pace. “The Tower Job” has got some really good transitions in it, but I was very tight-fisted in a lot of ways, in wanting to prove myself to the cast, and have them appreciate me in that capacity. The second one, “The Golf Job,” was really just like, “Let’s see if we can tap every ‘80s comedy CADDYSHACK reference/funnybone joke we can come up with on one side of this really horrific human trafficking storyline.” So, that was just fun, to get out and play with those guys.

And then the third one, “The Golf Job,” I felt like I was the most relaxed. I felt like it was exactly where I hoped to be the next time I direct, which is with a really good, solid plan, and then enough confidence to improvise on the day, or throw the plan away if the situation doesn’t allow for it, and find something even more elegant. I really enjoyed that one a lot. I enjoyed them all, but I think the third one shows me at my most relaxed.

AX: Do you have any other projects going on that we should know about?

WYLE: To be perfectly frank, I’ve been sort of hoping that we’d get the call from Amazon to go back and play a little bit more in New Orleans. I signed a one-year deal with LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION, to get the show up and running, and let Harry have a one-year arc, but I wanted to leave the door open to come back. I’m weighing how much fun I had doing this against just about everything else [laughs], and it weighs favorably.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about the second half of LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION Season 1?

WYLE: Well, I think the [episodes] are better than the first half. Some of it I think had to do with setting the table. Getting the show established again takes a lot of screen time. But I also think that we as professionals started to hit our stride and our rhythm at the midway point in the season, and so the second half of the episodes feel better executed to me, and a little bit more fun.

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Article: LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION: Star and director Noah Wyle on the second half of the season

 

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