Christian Kane talks LEVERAGE
Everyone knows by now that LEVERAGE is one of my favorite shows, since I mention it at least once an update these days. Well, it’s one of Christian Kane’s favorite shows, too, and not just because he stars as Eliot “The Hitter” Spencer. He has a genuine love for these characters and thinks you should, too.
I had a chance to spend some time chatting with Christian last week about why he got involved, what’s coming up on tonight’s episode, and his “little” music career that’s skyrocketing!
I want to start off by saying that I love this show, I’m in love with this show, can’t talk about it enough.
That’s awesome. With MyTakeOnTV it could have gone the other way [laughs].
I’m interested, and I always ask this first – what drew you to the character of Eliot?
There’s there thing, and I’ll give you the B and C – the B and C is definitely Dean Devlin and John Rogers. These are good guys to work with. It’s tough for me to come out of a series like ANGEL with Joss Whedon, who writes for the actor and writes in a way that it’s all fantasy and it’s a kid’s dream to be a part of that show, and it’s really tough to do a series after that, whenever you’re having so much fun playing around on cables, and blowing stuff up, and dealing with demons and angels and all that stuff. I’ve done it. So when you’re a kid, and you’re praying for something like to happen to you, one of the guys you want to work with, obviously, is Dean Devlin – INDEPENDENCE DAY, THE PATRIOT, all that stuff. I’m living the dream right now, just off those two guys alone. To have a writer like Joss Whedon write for you for so long on ANGEL, which was such a great character. John Rogers has done exactly the same thing. That’s very rare in television. And then A, I’m going back to the little kid with his hands in air, praying to be an actor. This is the role that I used to pray to God for, that I could play. I’m living the dream, man. As soon as I saw the fact that Eliot was Eliot, it’s like, ‘you’ve gotta be kidding, I can’t believe I got this job. Their are so many people that would die to play this role.’ And I’m sitting there doing it.
What I notice, too, about Eliot, and all of the characters, is that you kind of learn something new about him with each episode?
That’s true. You’re going to see him be a little more, you’re going to see a breakdown in other characters. These characters, we really are all, aside from Nate, in this for the money, make no mistake, this is what we do. Parker steals for a living, Alec hacks for a living, and I whoop people’s ass for a living. And the sad thing is is that Nate doesn’t realize that he’s started building hearts in all of these characters. It’s getting harder and harder for us to not pay attention.
You’re even starting to pay attention to each other, as a group, too. When you first started, you didn’t know each other, you didn’t like each other, and that’s changing!
That is true, too. One of the funniest stories I tell is the fact that last year, we had to go in, and we didn’t like each other. And I [as Eliot] still don’t like half the characters, to be honest with you. That’s just Eliot, he doesn’t trust a lot of people. It’s hard for us, because we got so close, so fast, we had to remember and remind ourselves that we don’t like each other. Because we all absolutely love each other. We get a long as a cast so well. We stick around, we rap, we stick around to watch everyone else’s scenes. And that’s unheard of in a second season on television.
I talked to Tim about two weeks ago, right in time for the premiere, and he said the same thing – you guys bonded almost instantly.
That’s exactly it – we had to remember right off the bat, we’d be hugging each other, and then it’s like, oh wait, that’s not right, we don’t even like each other. It was literally that. I know that sounds fake, but it’s really not. It’s the truth. It was like, we gotta not stand next to each other, we all really love each other, and it’s tough to forget that we love each other. This season is a little bit different. We’re a little bit closer, we all kind of like each other. I think John Rogers’ way of bringing us all back together was absolutely superb. That’s what’s so great about that. It’s a different season, and there’s some camaraderie in that.
The episode that’s coming up [tonight]. Tell us a little bit about what went into this episode, filming it, because it’s a big episode for Eliot.
That’s an episode that was based around Eliot. I’ve got to fight the great UFC veteran Matt Lindland. Matt is not a chump, he’s literally this UFC master. To me, it was an honor, to be Eliot, to be wrapped up in a fight. To have someone like that come in, and he could probably tear my head off in a matter of 2.5 seconds. For him to let me beat up on him, to play such a great role, it was such a good job of him. He’s got a gym out here called Team Quest that he founded with Randy Couture, another UFC veteran and legend. We went there, we trained. Me and him choreographed that whole fight. It was an honor to work with that guy. Ed Herman is in the episode as well, and I get to beat up on him as well, another UFC veteran. We had the real boys in there for this thing. We didn’t want to put a bunch of guys in that didn’t represent the cage fight, because it’s one of the toughest. It’s the biggest selling sport, ever. We didn’t want to like get a couple of extras, or stunt guys, and have them roll around with Eliot. We brought in the real boys for that, man. To also get their approval on what I did. To work with Matt in the ring, and say “was that okay” and he said “oh yeah, that’s fine” and I would look over at Ed Herman who was in the crowd, and I’d give a thumbs up or a thumbs down, and he kept giving me a thumbs up. That was so great, as a character, to have these guys accept me into their world.
Do you have a favorite con that you guys have done so far?
I always go back to the Bank Shot Job. I thought that because it was on the fly and because people’s lives were in danger, it was one of our best ones. It wasn’t choreographed. We were actually wrapping up another con, and had to come up with a whole con in an hour, from the seat of our pants. That’s where you find out that, all of these guys are professionals. They take care of their own. They are cut off from the cops, and now they have to rely on Nate, Parker, and Eliot. Anytime people’s lives are in danger, and you see us do our jobs, you realize that it’s still television, but it’s real life.
What would you say to someone who hasn’t found the show yet, about why they should watch?
Well, I’m going to go back to the fact that my daddy, my daddy’s always been a blue collar worker, he’s a hardworking man. He’s never wanted, he always put food on the table, but he worked hard for it, and he did his whole life. And here, today, when this man sits down on the couch, and pops open a beer, and he’s just watching TV, he deserves good television. And I think right now, with the economy the way it is. We’re throwing punches at people that people can’t do themselves. This is not for the rich and the powerful, this show. You’re not going to want to watch it if you have a lot money. If you work hard for a living, for the man, everyday, then this is the show for you. That’s middle America, that’s what I grew up with. I grew up with some hardworking mother fuckers. The fact is, this show is for them. A lot of people call it OCEAN’S 11, and I don’t think it’s actually that. I think that is a great thing to do, but they had 4 months to shoot a two hour movie. We have seven days to shoot an hour con. Our writers come up with some great stuff. I compare it to the A-Team. When I was a kid, I used to race from my room, at 7:00 on Tuesday night, into the living room, and I watched The A-TEAM with my dad. That was a measure of a man. This day and age, with the economy the way it is, and people doing the crap that they do to the little man, I gotta be honest with you, this is something that will make you tune in.
It’s funny that you mention it being the perfect show for your dad. My dad’s the same way, and if I find a show that I know he’s responded to, then it’s a show I find myself more interested in tuning into, and here he is, every Thursday, saying “Am, did you watch LEVERAGE”?
My dad’s a little biased, because his son’s on the show, but this is a show my dad would watch ha! I remember watching THE A-TEAM with my dad, and the A-TEAM was always doing the greater good against the bigger guy for the little person, and I remember watching it with my dad. And now I’m on THE A-TEAM. I based my character on BA Baracus. I based it on Mr. T. I did. I was like, this character was described as a Jason Bourne, and I thought, that’s not going to be good for television. I’m a fan of the series, but you don’t want to watch someone just standing there, taking everything, and then kicking someone’s ass and stepping back and not saying anything. It was like, how am I going to get the dialogue, how am I going to say anything, that works in 45 minutes of television, and I said, I’m basing this whole thing on Mr. T, I’m just going to make Eliot pissed off at everything. If somebody runs something wrong, he’s mad, if somebody knocks over a plant, he’s mad.
I want to switch gears really quickly, and chat a bit about your music! Talk to me about your little music career, oh God I’m a smacked ass, not your “little” career ha!
[laughs out loud] Next time we talk hopefully it won’t be my little music career ha! My producers, and I think this is an incredible thing Bob Ezrin and Jimmy Lee Sloas. Bob Ezrin did a lot of albums, but most importantly, he did The Wall. This was his first time coming out of Nashville, and he picked me! For somebody of that caliber to pick me as their first country artist, it’s such a great thing. So on the 22nd, with the MMA episode, “The Tap Out Job”, I will be releasing my first single. I was with someone for a long time, and that didn’t work out, and now I can get some music to the fans, they have been so patiently waiting, and I really appreciate that. I’ve got the best fans in the world.
When I put a call out for questions, a lot of them were about the music – where is he playing, when can we hear more? People are really itching for it!
It has not been fair to them, whatsoever. It’s not my fault, and it has not been fair to them. With the MMA thing, and releasing my first single, which is going to be “Let Me Go” and I am so excited about it. If it tanks, at this point, I don’t give a shit, to be honest with you! At this point, I just want to get it to the fans, and say I have not forgotten about you! Because they show up man. Anywhere I play in the world, they show up. I’m talking, we were playing in Portland right now, we have people fly in from England, from Florida, New York, they drive down from Seattle, all over parts of the world. That to me, you can’t buy that. I’ve been so blessed with the fans that I got!
I can’t see this bombing! Your fans are so supportive AND the music is good!
Half of the people that recorded are Keith Urban’s band, so I’m very fortunate for that, for him to let those guys come and record for me when we recorded the album. It’s unbelievable. This song, thank you for saying that, to be honest with you, hopefully, I’ll hear that the song is great, and the band is unbelievable. Hopefully, we’re poised for success with this single!