Interview With TNT's 'Leverage' Producer Dean Devlin
Starpulse: With two other hit shows on TNT featuring strong, complex and conflicted lead women (The Closer and Saving Grace) do you feel pressure to develop the female characters on the show in order to satisfy female viewers?
Devlin: TNT has raised the bar on characters regardless of gender. So naturally we want our characters to stand up to the very high expectations that viewers have when watching TNT. Our writers did a remarkable job imagining them, but our actors really took each character and gave them life, humanity and complexity.
Starpulse: Do you feel pressure to achieve the quality and awards that other TNT original programming has received?
Devlin: Well, I've never been one to worry about awards and such, but we do feel the pressure of wanted to make the best show we can possibly make. For most of us working on the show, this is a passion project, so we all spill a bit of blood, giving it our all on this show.
Starpulse: How will you keep this show from becoming a formula driven plot-based series like CSI or Without A Trace? Do you plan on developing character-based storylines or will you rely on the "con" to intrigue viewers?
Devlin: I think if we continue to stay true to our passion for the show and what we're trying to accomplish, I think we'll be fine. As I've said, this isn't just a job for most of us, but a real passion.
Starpulse: Mr. Devlin, you're known for big blockbuster event movies. What does the small screen offer that the large screen does not? Were the internet and the opportunity to create an online game part of the appeal?
Devlin: You know, it's all just story telling, regardless of if you do it in a movie theater, on television, comic book, video game, on mobile phones or the internet. Each has it's own challenges, but at the end of the day, it's always about a group of characters going on a journey. If you tell that right, it's always rewarding, irrespective of the medium you're working in.
Starpulse: How do you hope the online game and sweepstakes will influence viewers.
Devlin: We're hopeful that by playing the game they can get into the head space that our characters have to live in. Perhaps these viewers will gain a unique perspective on how and why are characters do what they do.
Starpulse: What process did you use in finding the right chemistry and balance for casting "The Team" which Hutton's character recruits?
Devlin: The chemistry grew organically by itself. We focused on hiring really talented actors and got lucky. But when we went to Chicago to shoot the pilot, the actors ended up spending a lot of time together OFF camera, back at the hotel, out to dinner, at the bar after work...and they bonded in a way we couldn't have predicted. By the time we started shooting the series, they had really developed this chemistry that was a surprise and a delight to all of us.
Catch Leverage on TNT Tuesdays at 10/9c. Find out more and view episodes online at TNT.
Story by Erin MacMillan-Ramirez
Starpulse contributing writer
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