LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION is a sequel series to the 2008-2012 LEVERAGE. Both series are created by Chris Downey and John Rogers, and executive-produced by Dean Devlin.
In the original LEVERAGE, Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton) brought together a team of con artists and criminals to hoodwink wealthy evildoers and help out their victims. That series ended with Nate and his master of fake identities love Sophie Devereaux, played by Gina Bellman, marrying and retiring from the game.
In LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION, it’s been a year since Nate passed away of natural causes. Sophie is joined for this anniversary by her old friends, master hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), master thief Parker (Beth Reisgraf), and master fighter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane). In Sophie’s absence, Hardison and Parker have built up a much bigger enterprise, dedicated to stopping corporate and individual malfeasance and helping ordinary folks on a much broader scale.
Seeing how depressed Sophie is, the gang determines to reunite so that she has something to do. This brings them into contact with bigshot lawyer and bigtime fixer Henry Wilson, played by Noah Wyle, just as he is experiencing the kind of crisis of conscience that makes him an ideal addition to the group. Hardison’s adopted sister and fellow hacker Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon) also joins in on the cons.
LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION premieres Friday, July 9, on the free IMDB TV streaming service (part of Amazon Prime). The series is both set and shot in New Orleans.
Besides her previous five years as Sophie, New Zealand native Bellman is known for feature and television work including KING DAVID, BLACKEYES, COUPLING, the JEKYLL miniseries, EMERALD CITY, and BULLETPROOF.
Wyle, born in Hollywood, California, came to fame as Dr. John Carter on the long-running 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 has also branched out into directing, with one episode of FALLING SKIES, multiple installments of THE LIBRARIANS, and LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION’s “The Tower Job” under his belt.
Wyle and Bellman, from separate locations, join a Zoom call to discuss LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION.
ASSIGNMENT X: Mr. Wyle, were you looking to work again with Dean Devlin after THE LIBRARIANS, or do you know if he was looking for somebody and then went, “Oh, Noah Wyle would be good”?
NOAH WYLE: There were a lot of factors that went into me doing this show. I think he would have called me to come down and direct a couple episodes, even if I hadn’t been asked to come down and play a part. But circumstances were what they were, and they created this new character, and Dean called me and said, “Do you want to come down and play?” And it just seemed like a really great idea, during the pandemic, to go and see all of my old friends, and make some new friends, and do a show that was really positive. I just jumped at the chance, really. I would work with Dean any time he called. He and I have a wonderful relationship, and he puts a lot of trust and faith into me, which I reward by working harder for him than I do for anybody else in my life [laughs].
AX: Sophie starts out in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION coming from a place of grief. Is that interesting to play, is that challenging to play …?
GINA BELLMAN: It’s interesting, because the whole season is about how that grief is manifested. I feel like, in many ways, even though she’s suffered a loss, she’s in a better place than she’s been, because at the beginning of this season, and I really love that they wrote this for her, I get the feeling that she was really happy, she did experience stability, she did experience profound commitment.
In the past, we always felt that she was never settled, that she was always on the move, and always on the run, and always on the chase. And so, I felt that it was a great starting point this season, because I felt her maturity, and I feel like this season, for her, is about where she’s going to land, and finding some meaning, finding a positive direction, and a purpose. And I think that’s why she relates to Harry Wilson, on many levels, is because she recognizes in him that he’s also looking for redemption. He’s on a journey, and she can relate to that.
AX: Harry Wilson is a native of New Orleans. How is it to play that, with the accent?
WYLE: I had various levels of comfort, which may be reflected in my performance. When you’re in New Orleans, and you’re trying on a New Orleans accent, you feel very self-conscious [laughs]. But the longer you’re there, you sort of pick one up through osmosis anyway. I loved it. I find the people of New Orleans to be some of the warmest and most interesting people I’ve ever encountered anywhere, mostly because they live through such hardship annually with these hurricane seasons that they just sort of endure. We had nine hurricanes come very close to hitting us. One finally did, but it caused more work stoppages than COVID by a long shot.
BELLMAN: Was it nine hurricanes?
WYLE: We had nine hurricane warnings, where we had to prepare for evacuation. And then we lost nine days of production to hurricane preparation. But it was the last one, the one that we thought was going to go either to Texas or to Florida, that went right over the top of us. Yeah, that was exciting.
BELLMAN: I usually exaggerate things, but for some reason, I’ve been saying six hurricanes. I feel really like I’ve got it figured out now. Nine!
AX: What would you both like people to know about LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION? How much is it its own series, and how much is it LEVERAGE continued?
WYLE: Well, I think we hit on an interesting distinction about the difference between the last show and this show, in terms of its ethos, and I think it could be tracked to, the first series was a lot about revenge, about payback, for wounds that were really personal, and axes to grind that were really close to home. This [LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION] is much more about justice, however that gets defined in the modern era, for everybody involved, not just the victims, but also the perpetrators. And it has a little bit more positivity and aspirational notes to it than maybe the last series did, but I think that’s more reflective of the times that we’re in, or what we need in the times that we’re in.
BELLMAN: I agree with all of that. I think it’s very pertinent now. It’s got a very hopeful message. I’ve always said I liked the fact that Noah’s character is a lawyer, because I think that’s something that we didn’t need, probably, in the first imagining of LEVERAGE. But nowadays, when we’re all so affected by everything we’re signing away, and data collection, and privacy, and terms and conditions that we’re ticking boxes all the time, I think it’s really important that this show stays current.
And I think what people need now is different. What people need now is to feel part of a community, feel part of a process where a balance can be readdressed, and stop feeling so polarized and isolated. And I think that the show really is about community, in a way. That’s reflected by our fan base, as well, that they’re a community, they’re people that are so responsible for the show coming back, and hopefully that’s the positive message that we’re sending out.
Related: ALMOST PARADISE: Dean Devlin on the Season 1 Finale , the Electric Now app, LEVERAGE 2.0 and more
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION: Stars Noah Wyle and Gina Bellman give the scoop on the new IMDB TV sequel to the heist series