The Hacker (Aldis Hodge) talks LEVERAGE

LEVERAGEIn my quest to talk to as many people from LEVERAGE as possible, I hit actor number three, Aldis Hodge, late last week, to reflect on the episode where he killed it as the conspiracy theorist without a stylist, and to talk about what’s coming up, what con is his favorite, and why you all should be watching!

I just want to say first off, LEVERAGE has quickly become one of my favorite shows on TV, and I try to get everyone that I know to watch it.  And everyone that I know who is watching it, is loving it!
That’s cool, thank you!

Why originally, when it all started, how did you get involved, why did this character draw you in?  Talk a little about that!
What drew me to the character was the fact that I was going to be having an awesome job! A lot of it was the fact that this character, I didn’t oppose this character in any way.  Immediate attraction there.  I had a good time doing it, I got the job.  It turned out to be great, working with the writers.  They give me a lot of creative space, and freedom to do what it is that I do, such as improv-ing and helping to build on the character.  If there’s something else to throw in, to give it a little flava, I don’t feel stifled by it.  I don’t feel like, I gotta play one note, this entire run of LEVERAGE.  They allow me to go wherever my mind tells me to go, and as an actor, that’s the most that I could really ask, in terms of doing a job.  That’s all that I am.  As an actor, I’m nothing but creative energy on the screen, and I’m trying to let that flourish as much as possible.

That’s something I think of a lot when I watch you – especially in the episode that we just saw with Beth Broderick, playing the paranoid conspiracy theorist.  I found myself wondering how much freedom you had to kind of go off the rails, character wise!
With this last episode, with the conspiracy guy, all they told me was, hey Al, you’re going to be playing a conspiracy theorist, and I thought, ok.  I didn’t tell anybody what I was going to be doing. Marc Roskin, who is a co executive producer on the show, he was our director on this show.  I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing because I don’t like to confirm or ask questions, really.  As an actor, you need your creative space, like you can create, so I don’t want, it’s not about validating myself, but I want to be able to do my job.  I said, guys, I got a little something going on.  I want an afro, I want to look torn up, our makeup artist was great.  He added so much with the character.  I was like, I want the afro, I want the beard.  Kill the teeth, I’ve got something I’m working on, and I think it’s all going to work for this character.  We put it all together, and the entire time, we shot it, I knew what I was doing, I did not know what it looked like, so I was not certain if it was selling or not, but we kept shooting, so it meant something good was going on.  I said, this is the choice I made, I’m going to stick with it, and it turned out to work out pretty well.

Oh it definitely did!  As soon as I saw the character come on screen, it was like, are you kidding me?  That’s incredible!
Thank you! [laughs]

What can you tease for us about what’s coming up in this last run of episodes?
Well I just spoke to Jon Rogers, half of the creative team of LEVERAGE, and also one of the executive producers and head writers, and he was giving me some good stuff on the season finale, episode 13 and 14, we have a two part finale.  It’s going to be a wild ride.  We’re in trouble!  We’re in trouble again, big trouble.  Something detrimental happens with the team.  There’s a possibility that we may be using somebody.  Who knows?  You have to stick with it to see what goes on!  We’re in trouble.  There’s a few personal changes that go on. Uncomfortable situations we have to get used to, a new team member stepping in, and we have to figure out how we feel about that.  There’s a few things that go on that change up our entire world, and we’re not comfortable this season!

I talked to Timothy, and I talked to Christian, and one of the main themes that they both mentioned is that you as a cast have so much trouble remembering that your characters really don’t like each other, because you love each other so much!
It was kind of frustrating!  It was a big problem!  We really hung out.  We really enjoyed each other’s company, we hung out.  It was like, wait a minute, they’re not very comfortable with each other yet, so we’re like, how do we figure out how to transfer that on screen?  We took our personal relationship and used it.  We needed that energy.  We felt comfortable enough with one another personally to play on the fact that we couldn’t stand each other professionally.  Christian and I, we’re boys, and that’s cool, but when it comes to screen, we have a lot of fun with one another, pretending that we hate each other.  Same goes for Beth and I.  We have our little awkward moments.  It’s like big sister, little brother with me and her.  It’s fun having the awkward moments, not knowing how the relationship is, and then cutting and we’re back to laughing and joking.  We just figured out how to play off of our own relationship and use it to the best of our abilities in an adverse way.

LEVERAGE_TwoLiveCrewJob_01_BethRiesgraf_AldisHodge_ChristianKane_PH_ErikHeinilaIs there a romantic future for Hardison and Parker, do you think?
Could be!  Depends on what the fans want.  Something’s building, something’s cooking there!  The characters don’t know how far they want to take it yet, but there’s definitely something cooking.  We’re going to keep pressing on that.  We know eyes are open, audience is checking, we might get a little taste of that!

Do you have a favorite con that you guys have done so far, or maybe even one that we haven’t seen yet?
My favorite thus far, episode number 8.  It’s going to bring us back after we break after Episode 7.  Episode 8 is my favorite thus far [it was announced on Tuesday that LEVERAGE will actually air Episode 8 and 9 in the summer run]. You guys will see, when we get to it.  I thought the Three Days of Hunter job was my favorite, but Episode 8 came, and I thought, wow, this is giving that a run for its money.  Episode 8!

Why is now a good time for someone to join the show?
It’s the summer, come on!  It’s time for fun!  Have a little fun, check us out, that’s why! [laughs] It’s a good time to kind of get into the hijinks.  It’s not so far along that you won’t understand who we are, why we are, because there’s a lot of things that we’re still discovering within the show.  You can definitely jump on and get back on because there’s a few things that confuse the characters, so if you’re confused, we’re confused with you! [laughs]  The great thing about our show is that it’s easy enough to understand who we are and what we do.  If you go from episode 1 to episode 9, you’ll understand who we are and what we’re doing.  But I think, jump on early, jump on early, there’s a few things that happen in the beginning of this season that apply to the second half of the season, and people are just going to enjoy watching things unfurl and be explored, so jump on early!

Anything else coming up for you besides LEVERAGE?
Right now, I’m just going to get home, and get back to writing some scripts.  Hopefully, a movie comes along on the hiatus, but I’m working on building a watch company, so you might be seeing a couple of timepieces coming along in the next few years!

Like I said, I love the show, and I think you are doing great work – can’t wait to see more!
Thank you, I appreciate it!

LEVERAGE airs tonight at 9pm on TNT!

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