‘Leverage’ Star Aldis Hodge on Getting Back Into Hardison’s Rhythm for the ‘Redemption’ Revival
It’s been nine years since Leverage ended its five-season run on TNT, and it still takes a group of (mostly former) bad guys to stop the rich and powerful who take what they want. So it’s a good thing the crew is back in Redemption, the IMDb TV revival premiering on July 9.
The Grifter (Gina Bellman’s Sophie Deveraux), Hitter (Christian Kane’s Eliot Spencer), Hacker (Aldis Hodge’s Alec Hardison), and Thief (Beth Riesgraf’s Parker) are down a Mastermind (Timothy Hutton’s Nate Ford) but getting some help from a Fixer (Noah Wyle’s Harry Wilson) and Maker (Aleyse Shannon’s Breanna Casey). And with these new episodes, Hodge, who is a special guest star (rather than a series regular, due to his busy schedule), gets to explore something he’d wanted to since the original: his family, with his foster sister Breanna.
“I’ve always been interested in Hardison’s backstory and wondering who he’s connected to, what his basis for his foundation is. What is his reality before Leverage? What are his roots?” he tells TV Insider. “Being able to have Breanna on the show gives us a bit of a sneak peek into that, so I’m grateful for that.”
Hodge tells us more about returning as the crew’s Hacker and what’s changed since we last saw everyone.
Our favorite bad guys are back! Talk about stepping back into Hardison’s shoes. What was the easiest part of the character to slip back into and what was the hardest?
Aldis Hodge: I’d say the hardest part ended up being the easiest part, which was trying to figure out how to catch his essence, to see if I could be the same person, but still, this is 10 years later, there’s growth and maturing that happens along the way. So I wanted to see how to balance that out. Keep the same humor, keep the same flavor, but bring it into this era, this generation. After a couple takes, we kind of got back in the same rhythm. Everybody was good to go and I don’t know, it just kind of gelled. So like I said, the hardest part, which was trying to find the rhythm, eventually became the easiest part.
We watched Hardison and Parker dance around and with each other for most of the original run before they finally got together. How settled are they in their relationship now?
They are together together. They have been running Leverage International together for all this time. So they have grown not only in their relationship with each other but in terms of their purpose in the world and how they share that together.
How well have they adopted each other’s skillsets?
I don’t think Hardison has adopted her skill set by any measure just because he still does not like heights. That is not his thing. They’ve taught each other a little bit here and there, but the thing is that they still maintain their individuality when it comes to what they do.
The original series ended with Parker, Hardison, and Eliot still working together. How much have they accomplished in the years since? Because Leverage International is a big thing now.
It is a multinational conglomerate basically. They have different factions all over the world doing good. So they branched out from their individual team to basically managing hundreds of teams all over the world, so they really just have grown in what they’re doing and how they do it They took the business international.
Let’s talk about the upgrades because the new headquarters is awesome and Hardison has really taken Lucille up a few levels.
They’re always moving around, always hitting new places, and basically having to settle into a new home. The new home base for me was probably my favorite part in terms of shooting because I’m always eager to see what that looks like, especially when we revamp it and give it a new life. The new home base is amazing. I think people are gonna love it.
And then of course the thing about Lucille that is awesome is we get to upgrade Lucille with the advancements of where we are at now, but we also get to hide Lucille in the culture, meaning that we get to show her through a food truck. When we were shooting in Portland, we had food trucks everywhere. For us, it was fantastic. We fell in love with them, especially on the days that we had to break shooting on location and we could just go run to a food truck. We use that. I would like to think that Lucille’s new cover as a food truck is inspired by that.
They are down one member with Nate gone, but they do gain Harry. What’s Hardison’s first impression of him?
Harry might not be able to hang, but he has potential, so he’s just waiting to see or let Harry prove himself. I think as people will see throughout the show, Harry does prove himself.
How would you describe Hardison and Breanna’s relationship? Is it a sibling rivalry we kind of see with her saying hacking’s old school — which has to hurt him so much?
Their relationship is not so much sibling rivalry, but more or less Hardison looking out for his little sister. There’s a lot of love there. I think there’s a lot of admiration on both sides. I kind of base my relationship with the Leverage Breanna on my relationship with my real sister, who’s Breanna. The character in the show is named after my real sister. So for me, it’s Hardison teaching her the ropes and then stepping back to see how she handles it and how she manages. And of course, he’s going to be an overbearing, overprotective big brother at some point, but there’s also the respect that he has for her as a woman coming into her own, knowing that she can take care of things. So he has a lot of trust and a lot of faith in her.
Were there any callbacks you especially wanted to have? Obviously, there’s “age of the geek, baby.”
Yeah, for me, it’s just, “age of the geek, baby.” Maybe a little bit of orange soda. But “age of the geek, baby” is one of my favorites and it’s one of the most memorable lines I’ve ever had the pleasure of delivering in my career, something that people often come up to me and recite. I think it’s really awesome and cool to be a part of something like that that people actually remember in that way.
Leverage: Redemption, Series Premiere, Friday, July 9, IMDb TV