Leverage returns tonight for its fourth season on TNT - and Academy Award-winning star Timothy Hutton returned to Digital Airwaves to chat about where the show has come and where it's headed. Read on for his insight on filming tonight's season premiere (mild spoilers!) and his favorite moments from cons gone by.
Where is Nate headed in the fourth season? We left him in quite an interesting place...
Timothy Hutton: Well, every season that we started it’s been interesting and challenging to approach Nate and see where we left him when we last saw him. This year, it’s especially kind of rich with various possibilities because of how we left him and Sophie. A lot of what’s happening this season has to do with Nate and Sophie trying to figure out their place in each other’s lives.
Then, of course, there’s the further exploration of Nate, his drinking and how he functions - and there’s actually less of that. The fourth season is much more about Nate on a mission to be clear minded and try not to let his team down [or] become dangerous and put his team in jeopardy. He doesn’t just suddenly not have a problem with his drinking. He definitely has to deal with it. But I think this year you’ll see that he’s starting to realize how it’s affected his life. He’s definitely dealing with it and having to come to terms with how it affects him on a daily moment to moment basis. He’s a more positive, forward-thinking Nate which I think is part of his recovery.
The nice thing about the character is there aren’t a lot of boundaries. He started off in such dire straits that it’s been a lot of fun to play because there are so many possibilities. He’s quite an unpredictable person with a lot of flaws.
Can you talk about filming the season premiere? Its mountaintop setting is so much different from any other Leverage backdrop.
It was great. You know, everybody showed up in Portland, Oregon from different places. Christian Kane came in from Nashville and Gina Bellman from London. I came there from Paris through New York. And Dean Devlin, Beth [Riesgraf], Aldis [Hodge] and the writers [came] from LA.
We all got to Portland and Dean announced that we were all going up to film the first episode on Mount Hood, which is about an hour from Portland and it was pretty amazing to be up there during a blizzard.We were all quite excited. We knew that there was a possibility of a blizzard coming and knowing Dean, we thought, “Well that’s not going to stop him.” And we all had a blast in between the major snowball fights we managed to get some filming in.
Any chance that now we're four years in, we might revisit some of the past cons to see what's happened with some of the people the team has helped?
There’s talk about revisiting some of the people – some of the victims, but there’s much more talk about revisiting some of the bad guys. Having some plot lines where some of the bad guys have decided to get together and form their own kind of super team to go up against the Leverage team because they feel like they were really wronged. There’s been talk about bringing back some of the really bad guys [like] Victor Dubenich [who] was in the pilot, played by Saul Rubinek, and Richard Kind played a corrupt mayor, Griffin Dunne played a grifter, [and] Wil Wheaton - and so there’s talk about having a sort of "best of the bad guys" episode.
Do you have a favorite episode of the series yet?
I like all of them. It’s hard to pick. I like any of the episodes where Nate gets to play a role in the con. Playing different characters like sort of the obnoxious lawyer and stuff like that. I like the season finale in the first year, "The First David Job" and "The Second David Job." And then the second year I liked the last episode, the one on the freight ship where Nate declared, he says, “My name’s Nate Ford and I’m a thief.” Last year we had some fun ones.
And we've got some great ones that we’re filming right now. The first one has Eric Stoltz, and then soon after that in one of the early episodes in the season we have Danny Glover. That episode is quite an amazing one about a lost van Gogh painting that he, and only he, knows where it might be. He doesn’t trust anybody and we get him to tell us a story about how he came across this painting. And when he tells the story it’s done in flashback and the Leverage characters all become the characters he's discussing. The scripts this year I think are better than ever. They’re just incredible.
My thanks to Timothy Hutton for this interview! Get your con back on when Leverage returns to TNT tonight at 9 PM ET/PT.