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

LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION is streaming the first half of its first season on both Amazon Prime and the free IMDBtv service, with the second half coming on October 8.

In LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION, four of the do-good con artists from the original 2008-2012 LEVERAGE – both series created by Chris Downey and John Rogers, and executive-produced by Dean Devlin – reunite, along with new team members Henry Wilson (Noah Wyle) and Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon).

The group was originally brought together by Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton, who does not appear in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION) to bamboozle rich bad guys and aid their victims.

Christian Kane, one of the leads in LEVERAGE, reprises his role as expert fighter and former military man Eliot Spencer in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION. Like his cohorts, master thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and super-hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), Eliot is worried about their old friend, Nate’s widow Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman). Everyone comes together to engage Sophie in a new con enterprise, which introduces them all to formerly callous, now repentant lawyer Henry.

Kane starred in executive producer Devlin’s Philippines-set action series ALMOST PARADISE, which aired on USA last year. Prior to that, Kane spent four seasons and five years as one of the main characters, Jake Stone, on EP Devlin’s THE LIBRARIANS, which also starred Wyle.

In a Zoom call, Kane talks about LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION, with special emphasis on the second part of the title.

ASSIGNMENT X: Were you actively propelling LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION to go forward, or did Dean Devlin just call you up and say, “Okay, we’re doing it,” and you jumped back in?

CHRISTIAN KANE: Nah, I didn’t really want to do it again – I’m just joking with you [laughs] There was never a time where we wanted to hang it up. As a matter of fact, we never really got to say goodbye to everybody, because we thought we were going to keep going. So, the great thing about this is, now we don’t have to say goodbye anymore. We don’t have to say it at all, because we’re back, and we’re so fortunate, and I know that me, Beth, and Gina, and Aldis, we’re all just so happy. We love it so much and we never wanted to say goodbye in the first place.

I was actively, nonstop talking to Dean about bringing this back. The great thing was is that I’ve worked with Dean now from 2007 and never taken a break. We did THE LIBRARIANS together after LEVERAGE, and then we did ALMOST PARADISE, and then we went right into this. So, fortunately, I had a little inside scoop, because I was working with Dean so closely that if anything ever happened with LEVERAGE in the process moving forward, he would tell me about it. We’re friends, so I heard stuff. At some point, you’re just like, “Now I want to stop talking about it.” Because I’d get my hopes up so much. We were in the Philippines, filming ALMOST PARADISE, and he told me that it was a go. He literally said, “Stop cutting your hair.” And when he said that, I knew exactly what he meant. It was a really great, unbelievable surprise.

Christian Kane and Aleyse Shannon in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

Christian Kane and Aleyse Shannon in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

AX: Has Eliot changed much since we last saw him in LEVERAGE? Everybody else seems like they’ve gotten maybe a little bit mellower. I mean, Parker at least is open to a stable romance if nothing else. But Eliot seems, if anything, maybe even angrier than he used to be.

KANE: I’m glad you said that, because I really didn’t know if that was going to come across or not. If Eliot is madder, it’s maybe because he’s getting older. But the problem you have with Eliot Spencer is, let’s use the word “redemption.” Let’s use the word “redemption” on LEVERAGE. LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION. Noah’s character has a lot of redeeming to do. Everybody has their own way of redeeming. The thing with Eliot is, he’s never going to be able to wash his hands clean. They’re never going to be clean. Everyone else has done some really bad stuff. Everyone else has broken the law, everyone else has done stuff to other people. [But] Eliot’s killed people. He killed people for the government, and he killed people for private contractors. So, there’s no way that he’s ever going to have redemption. All he can do is keep striving to be the best he can be, and help all these other people. So, Eliot is the one character that doesn’t really get to evolve. He has to stay within his uncomfortable zone, so that he reminds himself he has a lot to pay for.

And so, it was very funny, because Nadine Haders, our wardrobe person, she came in with all these great looks for the new characters, and where they’re evolving, where they’re going, and she came in with me and there was just a single picture of Eliot from 2009, and she set it there on the board, and she said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And the whole room erupted laughing, and they all agreed. I wore some of the same clothes that I wore the first time we did this. My character doesn’t evolve, and I feel like I am the constant on this show, which I enjoy. I like this guy so much, where he’s at, where he’s always been, his turmoil that he’s going through, his sadness, all that kind of stuff, that I didn’t want to change him. And I’m pretty proud that my character doesn’t stray from the norm.

Christian Kane in ALMOST PARADISE - Season 1 | ©2020 Electric Entertainment/WGN America

Christian Kane in ALMOST PARADISE – Season 1 | ©2020 Electric Entertainment/WGN America

AX: Any word on what’s going on with ALMOST PARADISE?

KANE: We don’t have a green light yet, but all good stuff. And again, it’s because of the fans. The fans are really speaking out there, they’ve shown up and helped us out so much. And I want to go back so bad [to the Philippines], it’s ridiculous. I just love that show, I love the character, and I think at this time right now, in life, with everything that’s going on in the world, I would love to go back out there and show Asian people in such a really great light. The Philippines has been filmed as poverty porn for so many years, and it’s not like that. These are some of the best people in the world. This is my family now in the Philippines, and I want to go back and show them that all their hard work was not lost, and we made a really good TV show in a time that was in the pandemic. I want to show the world the colors out there, I want to show the backdrop, I want to show how great these actors are, and I want to show the love and especially the mabuhay [welcoming spirit] of that whole place. I hope we get to go back, to really represent these people the way they should be represented, which is in the best light.

Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge in LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION | ©2021 Electric Entertainment

AX: Can you talk about the different group dynamic between LEVERAGE and LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION? On the original LEVERAGE, there was a team leader, which was Nathan Ford. Now, he’s gone, and there doesn’t seem to be a team leader. It feels more like a democracy.

KANE: Sophie really needs some redemption, she needs some peace, she needs all this other of stuff, and so I believe Parker, who has been running the show, who’s keeping us all in check, she’s allowing Sophie to come up. Parker wants Sophie to sit beside her and do this. Because we’re trying to save Sophie, we’re trying to save Harry, Noah’s character. But [Parker] was doing a pretty good job. We’ve got a lot of teams out there, in different parts of the world, that are doing okay, that have been doing fine. It’s not that we need [Sophie], it’s that we want her. And we also need her to be a part of us, because she needs it.

And the only thing I can say about the Nate Ford aspect of everything is that Nate taught us well. We all paid attention when Nate Ford was talking, when Nate Ford was working, when Nate Ford ended up tricking us all sometimes into doing what was the right thing to win the game. And so, over those years, we took from him. And now, we could pretty much, probably any one of us, take the helm at any time, because we learned from Nate Ford.

THE LIBRARIANS soundtrack | ©2015 Varese Sarabande Records

THE LIBRARIANS soundtrack | ©2015 Varese Sarabande Records

AX: How is it being reunited with Noah Wyle after THE LIBRARIANS?

KANE: It was fun. Here’s the gig with me and Noah. He’s a very good friend of mine, he’s one of my brothers. He was my mentor on THE LIBRARIANS, and I’m the apprentice. And that’s the dynamic. Now, he comes in, I’m the guy up here. So, it’s a really strange transition for me and Noah. And I don’t think a lot of people could have done that if he wouldn’t have been as strong an actor as Noah is. Noah is freaking brilliant. And I’ve learned a lot from him, I’ve learned a lot from a lot of the other people that I’ve worked with, which enabled me to make that change. Not a lot of people can make that change, because when you work for four years with somebody, and the dynamic is different, and then you come into something new – I already knew the character [of Eliot], and he’s [was written] be the low guy on the totem pole starting off, it was strange, it was fun, he’s written so well for me in the past, he’s directed me so well on THE LIBRARIANS, and he directed me very well on LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION, he directs two or three [Season 1 episodes], and so it’s a good dynamic to have, and if he wouldn’t have been as professional as Noah Wyle is, I’m not sure we could have done it. I’ve learned a lot from him, so it helped me as well.

TImothy Hutton, Aldis Hodge, Christian Kane and Beth Riesgraf in LEVERAGE - Season 4 - "The Boiler Room Job" | ©2011 TNT/ Erik Heinila

TImothy Hutton, Aldis Hodge, Christian Kane and Beth Riesgraf in LEVERAGE – Season 4 – “The Boiler Room Job” | ©2011 TNT/ Erik Heinila

AX: And how has it been reuniting with all your LEVERAGE colleagues?

KANE: Oh, it’s fantastic, it’s like a day didn’t pass. We’ve been a strong family for a long time. I’ve been on a lot of different TV series, thank you [God], and I’m very fortunate, very lucky, in this business. It doesn’t always work out like that, to be honest with you. We were a family. We would work thirteen-to-fourteen-hour days in Portland, Oregon on the first season, and then go out to eat for another five hours before we all went to bed to get up the next day to do it all over again. That just doesn’t happen. You need space from people. We never really did that. We always wanted to be a family, we always wanted to be around each other. So, it was just like that, getting back together. I think two years ago, Gina Bellman came into town [in Los Angeles], every single one of us that was on the original LEVERAGE went to a restaurant, and we all sat down and had dinner, and it was like never a day had passed. And that’s exactly what it felt like when we got back together. The first two minutes of filming, Dean Devlin – again, very smart guy – put us all in the same scene, first up, and just let us play. It was so much fun.

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