Interview with Gina Bellman (Sophie) and Aleyse Shannon (Brenna) of “Leverage: Redemption” on IMDb TV by Suzanne 9/30/21
It was nice to chat with these two women because I had never chatted with Gina before, when she was on the older version of the show, and Aleyse is brand new to the show. Gina’s character, Sophie, is the new leader of the group, and has a lot to deal with this year, since her husband’s death. Breanna (Aleyse’s character) is a breath of fresh air that the show needs. It’s great to have some “young blood,” and to fill in for Hardison, since his portrayer, Aldis Hodge, couldn’t be in the whole show due to other commitments.
Suzanne: How are you guys doing today?
Gina: Oh, good. Thank you. I wish I was [unintelligible] right now.
Suzanne: You wish you were where?
Gina: With that palm tree and the ocean.
Suzanne: I wish I was too. I’m in Arkansas.
Aleyse: Close very close.
Suzanne: So, we heard today about the UK picking up your show in late October. So, how do you guys feel about that?
Gina: I’m so excited. I feel like I’ve been waiting ages. It’s been so frustrating sitting here in London and hearing these little plaintive messages like, “When are we getting the show? When are we getting the show?” and not being able to give an answer. So, to be able to say it’s coming on October 22nd, all sixteen episodes, is just really, really thrilling for all of us.
Suzanne: So, they didn’t get the first eight episodes either.
Gina: No, [not] here in the UK.
Suzanne: Great. They probably are big fan of yours, being in the UK, and that’s probably why, one of the reasons they liked the show. What do you think, Aleyse?
Aleyse: Oh, I mean, it’s great. This show is is a labor of just love, and as many people as possible that can get wrapped up in that love, the better. I hope it’s received the same way; I hope it just brings joy the same way that it seems to have brought joy here domestically.
Suzanne: Right. And Aleyse, you’re new to the show. Can you tell me about getting this job and the process you went through?
Aleyse: Yeah, I worked at Starbucks and was messing up people’s Frappuccino’s. I got an audition. I quit Starbucks saying that I already booked it, and then I booked it, but I did my audition with Beth over Zoom in my mom’s house and kind of didn’t know what I was in for. I got here, and it’s the best thing that’s happened to me, artistically speaking. It’s a dream show that we’re working on.
Suzanne: What was your first day like?
Aleyse: My first day I get an email saying there’s a hurricane coming, actually, now there’re two. So, there’s all this anticipation and build up. I’m like, “Do I know these lines, or do I think I know these lines?” Hurricane comes, you sit down for another seven days, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, all my adrenaline’s gone,” and it kicks back in. But it was good first day. A lot of the players were in, [I’m] sitting there rattling off a monologue going, “Oh my gosh, that is Aldis Hodge, Beth Riesgraf, Christian Kane, Noah Wyle, and Gina Bellman, wow.” It was intimidating, but I got through it and was met with so much love, so great first day.
Suzanne: I never thought of that… filming in New Orleans, of course you’d have to contend with things like hurricanes.
Gina, how was it welcoming new characters into the show?
Gina: It was great. I think one of the things about continuing with an existing show is it’s got to have new elements. It’s got to feel fresh; it’s got to have like new dynamics. You don’t want to ever feel that you’re standing still or looking over your shoulder. You need to be looking to the future. And when I watch a show, I love to discover the characters through the other characters’ eyes, so having their lens on us makes our characters – you know, it sort of informs the audience of who we are, so it’s also really helpful as a device.
Then, we get to meet these lovely new members of our family and develop friendship over nine months, and we’ve all become close.
It’s an interesting thing acting with people, because you’re in a vacuum; you become very, very close, but you’ve become very close in a vacuum. I’ve known so many of these people for many, many years, but they don’t know my friends. I don’t know their friends. So, you have this very intense kind of love for one another, but it’s quite unique. It’s hard, I think, for other people to understand how you can feel that strongly for people that you work [with] in this bubble. Yeah, it was lovely, welcoming both of these [unintelligible].
Suzanne: And even more of a bubble now.
Suzanne: Well, one thing that’s nice about Dean is he seems to repurpose his actors in the different shows that he’s [done]. I think Christian’s been in all of his shows.
Gina: Yeah, I mean, Dean’s best friend is our cameraman and has been from the pilot episode. So, that’s just like one example of how these are real collaborations and personal friendships, which is the dream really, I think, for everyone, isn’t it?
Suzanne: Yeah, it shows his loyalty to his friends as well.
So, with Nathan gone from the show, is it fair to say that he has been replaced by Sophie with the main team and by Hardison, globally, now that there’s a global aspect?
Gina: Yeah, we don’t go into too much detail about the kind of international operations, but yeah, that’s the device. I mean, obviously, we all know that Aldis is an incredible actor who’s very much in demand. You know, we take what we can get, but we didn’t really focus on so much what the other international teams were doing. I think it’s totally fair to say that Sophie’s put into a leadership role, but what I loved about the way it was written and the way it was developed was that she doesn’t just arrive and take that role. She’s waiting for it to be given. Everybody gives it to her; everybody gives her permission, a little bit more permission. That’s part of her journey of recovering from her loss and her grief. They know her so well that they know that they have to give her a purpose; they have to help her on on her way. Then, I think, as the season develops, and going into these final eight, she kind of sees light at the end of the tunnel, and she’s on her path, and she sees her destiny.
Suzanne: I think that the great thing about this show is the you all get to play multiple characters. So, it’s more than just like playing one show. You’re on multiple shows in a way.
Aleyse: Oh, yeah, I mean, you get a script, and there’s just so much opportunity all over it to sort of do something that’s just on your mind, or maybe you’ve seen a show, and you’re like, “Oh, wow, that must be a really cool set to be on,” [and] all of a sudden you have a medieval moment that you’re stepping into; it’s great. I mean, imagination, there’re no bounds bringing ideas; you’re never really shut down. Everybody’s like, “We’ll try it. Let’s see.” Yeah, it’s like 100 different show.
Suzanne: Well, that segues into my other question, which is do they give you any leeway into changing the dialogue at all? Are they open to suggestions and changes about your character? Sounds like they are.
Gina: Yeah, I mean, we riff in like little, tiny ways, and Aldis and Aleyse are the prince and princess of that, of just doing spontaneous little riffs. But I like to kind of really – I’m a very kind of text focused actor. So, I like to rework scenes and try and make them better and reorder things. Also, we like to bring in little physical like improv that will just elevate a scene, make it feel more, you know, present sometimes. You just bring in a little bit of business, and then you’ve got a reason why you’re all sitting around that table. You’ve got a reason why you’re all in that room, and we’re all really good at that, and they’re very open to it.
Suzanne: And Aleyse, your character learns a lot. This half of the season she ends up being more than just the the girl at the keyboard. What was the most challenging physical thing that you did this half of the season?
Aleyse: Oh, I want to say maybe being on ropes dropping through a ceiling. That was kind of hard; it’s because we’re like [at] a dead hang, and it’s through a hole in the ceiling. So, you have to climb on a ladder. But honestly, I think the thing that was most taxing on me is falling like that, but it’s always my choice to fall. I don’t think that the falls were really written in there for me, maybe one, but, yeah, that just becomes challenging, because you’re trying to keep it fresh, and you’re trying to sell the fall, and that would be my thing.
Suzanne: Okay, well, they told me that’s my last question. I really appreciate talk me guys. I’ve talked to all of you now except for Noah, [but] the original Leverage, I got to interview everyone except for Gina. So, I collect them all.
Gina: Thank you. Thanks, Suzanne.
Suzanne: Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy the rest of the day and don’t have too much stress sitting there for hours.
Gina: Not at all, it’s fun.
Suzanne: Thank you. Bye bye.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
In this new iteration, and new world, the Leverage crew have watched as the rich and powerful continue to take what they want without consequence. Grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), hitter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), and hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) have watched the world change over the last eight years. Since their last job, it’s become easier–and sometimes legal–for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way. To address the changes in the world around them, the team finds new blood in Harry Wilson (Noah Wyle), a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’d been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon), Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble.
Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson and Kate Rorick. John Rogers and Chris Downey serve as consulting producers.
Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Noah Wyle, Francis Dela Torre, Jonathan Frakes
Electric Entertainment for IMDb TV
Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aleyse Shannon, and Noah Wyle, Special Guest Star Aldis Hodge
Gina Bellman was born on July 10, 1966 in Auckland, New Zealand. She is an actress, known for Coupling (2000), Leverage (2008) and Jekyll (2007). She has been married to Zaab Sethna since September 2013. They have one child. She was previously married to Lucho Brieva.
|Spouse||Zaab Sethna (September 2013 – present) (1 child)
Lucho Brieva (July 2005 – 2007) (divorced)
Catch Eight New Episodes of the IMDb TV Original Series Leverage: Redemption on October 8
CATCH EIGHT NEW EPISODES OF THE IMDb TV ORIGINAL SERIES LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION
ON OCTOBER 8
REVIEWS EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY, OCTOBER 4 AT 6:00AM PT/9:00AM ET
“Let’s go steal…eight new episodes of Leverage: Redemption.” In an all-new con, the Leverage crew surprised and delighted their fans by teasing the fall premiere of Leverage: Redemption in an exclusive video that dropped on IMDb TV socials today. The teaser video confirms that the IMDb TV Original series Leverage: Redemption will return this fall with eight additional season one episodes premiering October 8. In the brand-new episodes, the Leverage team finds itself up against a rival organization that embodies the system the team works so hard to take down.
Joining the cast in these additional episodes are guest stars Drew Powell (reprising his role as Jack Hurley from the original Leverage series), Ben Thompson, Joanna Cassidy, Jon Fletcher, and Brianna Brown, in addition to the previously announced guest stars James Marsters, LeVar Burton, and Andrea Navedo (continuing her role as Maria Shipp), as the Leverage team must aid a small town librarian, discredit a lifestyle and wellness guru, explore the failing memory of a legendary grifter, and more. Screeners for the new episodes are available now on Screeners.com. The remaining episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption will premiere on October 8 on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.
The first eight episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption and all seasons of the original Leverage series are available to stream now on IMDb TV.
The rich and powerful take what they want, and the Leverage team is back to take them down. Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter), Parker (The Thief), Eliot Spencer (The Hitter), and Alec Hardison (The Hacker) have watched the world change over the last eight years. It’s become easier, and sometimes legal, for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way. The Leverage team finds new blood in Harry Wilson, a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’s been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey, Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble. In this new world, the team will use their collective skills to defeat a new kind of villain – from the man who created an opioid crisis from the comfort of his boardroom, to the couple who prefers to deport workers instead of paying them, to the shadowy security firm that helps hide dangerous secrets for a price. When someone needs help, they provide…Leverage.
Leverage: Redemption stars Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Beth Riesgraf as Parker, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, Noah Wyle as Harry Wilson, and Aleyse Shannon as Breanna Casey. Kate Rorick is the co-showrunner and an executive producer alongside Dean Devlin, and executive producers Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. John Rogers and Chris Downey are consulting producers.
IMDb TV uniquely offers premium Originals on a free streaming service including the upcoming dramedy Pretty Hard Cases, premiering September 10. Spanning drama and comedy, scripted and unscripted, additional IMDb TV Originals include the Untitled Judge Judy Sheindlin Project, a Bosch spinoff; the comedy series Sprung; the Untitled Jeff Lewis Project – a new home design series; On Call from executive producer Dick Wolf; and second seasons of Alex Rider and Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda