Interview with Christian Kane of “Almost Paradise” on Freevee by Suzanne 6/28/23
It’s always nice to speak with Christian! Unfortunately, he was having technical difficulties, so we had to do an audio interview instead of a video one. He was very sweet about it and offered to do another one any time. I hope you enjoy the little slideshow video I made from the audio below! Don’t miss season 2 of “Almost Paradise.” It’s a really fun show on Freevee. That’s the Prime Video streaming service that’s free! Lots of other enjoyable shows on there.
Suzanne: My first zoom call ever was with you and Dean (Devlin) back in April 2020.
Christian: Oh my gosh, what were we doing – “Almost Paradise?”
Suzanne: Yeah. First season.
Christian: Yeah, that’s Right. Exactly. Oh my gosh. That’s so crazy.
Suzanne: It seems like a long time ago now.
Christian: That might have been my first Zoom call as well. I gotta be honest with you.
Suzanne: Yeah. And I think we had a few difficulties with the sound on that one. So, I guess now we’re even.
Christian: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us and talk to me about this. I appreciate your help, man. I’m really proud of the show. So, the more people that can know about it, I just love it.
Suzanne: Oh, yeah. I love it, too. It’s great. I’ve only watched two episodes so far of the new one, but I’m enjoying it.
Christian: Oh, fantastic. That’s fantastic. Yeah.
Suzanne: So, what are some new challenges that Alex faces this season?
Christian: Well, the fun thing about Alex is that, you know, he always thinks he’s right. When the season opens up, you see that he’s pretty proud of himself. He’s walking around with a little pep in his step that he didn’t have first season, because he was sick, you know what I mean? And he thought it was physical. But when you actually think about it, it was more mental than anything else. So, now he feels like he’s overcome that. So, I mean, he’s back in business. He’s the Alex of old. And then, you know, it doesn’t take very long for him to get right back into trouble where he was. And that’s the funnest part about watching this show and more or less watching Alex Walker, is that he always thinks he’s got everything under control. He never has anything under control. And I’ve sort of said this before, but, you know, it’s really fun, and I think this makes good television. There aren’t a lot of shows out there like that. I’m very fortunate with the writing they give me, but it is so much fun to root for someone to do well, at the same time really rooting for the fact that he messes up so he’s in a pickle, you know? And that’s just the beauty of this show, that you want him to do well, because you’re a fan. But, man, isn’t it a better show when when everything goes wrong and he messed it up? It’s just so great.
Suzanne: Yeah, I think similar to Eliot, on the other show, is it. They’re both at their best when they’re fighting, because they have a little trouble handling everything else.
Christian: That’s exactly what it is. That’s exactly when they shine, is in situations like that. That’s funny that you picked that up. Yeah. And it’s really crazy, because I’ve tried to differentiate between both of those characters in the fights, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job. I mean, Alex is more of a bar brawler, and Eliot’s a precision fighter. But once I get into it, and these guys move fast, especially in the Philippines. They’re really good at what they do. And when they start moving so fast that I’ve just got to move fast, and I turn right back into Eliot, but I don’t think anybody cares about that as long as you can tell the difference between the two characters, which you can.
Suzanne: Right, right. And are you still doing your own stunts?
Christian: I’m still doing my own stunts. Yeah. I’m doing my own stunts. I’ve let a little bit of the choreography go. A guy I worked with for a long time on Leverage, Lex Damis, has come out as the stunt coordinator. I just didn’t have time on Leverage to really be involved that much. I’ll change some things, but he’s really good at what he does. And he’s one of my best friends and has been for over 10 years. He’s my golf partner. I trust him with what he’s doing, which is why I brought him in on Almost Paradise. I’ve got no time at all. I literally worked six months straight. I didn’t have one day off, and it’s not “Woe is me.” I prefer that. Idle hands are not good for me, and I love to work, because I really feel like I’m on vacation when I’m at work, no matter where I’m at. And I just did not have time to do it. So, we had Rodney – Rodney Cook came in, and Julian, and you know, these are ex military guys. They’re really good at what they do. And I’ve kind of realized at this point in my life, I’m still doing my own stunts, nobody fights for me. Nobody does stunts for me ever, but I just I don’t have time to fight anymore, and it just takes up too much of my soul. So, I would rather just go and learn the fight and fight and I think that helps out a lot as well, because I’m starting to listen to some other ideas other than stupid Christian Kane being Eliot Spencer.
Suzanne: And did you get injured at all this season?
Christian: Which season? Season of Leverage or season of – no not on Almost Paradise. I mean everything hurts. You know what I mean? This is bone to bone. I mean this is not jumping off a building onto a mat. This is going literally bone to bone with people. So, everything always hurts, but I don’t mind it. I don’t mind it. You know me, I’m a Steve McQueen fan and a big Tom Cruise fan, and as long as they let me keep doing my own stuff, man, it just is exhilarating for me. I love to say to people, “Slow it down, and see if you can catch me not on there,” because they can’t.
Suzanne: And you say it took six months to film the season?
Christian: Six months, yeah. It was six months in New Orleans for Leverage. And then I had one day in Los Angeles, literally one day to pack my bag and get on the plane for another six months in the Philippines. And like I said, I’m not complaining, I’m blessed. I would not trade it for the world.
Suzanne: So, overall on the show, are there any big changes in the second season? You know how sometimes on TV shows they they change things from season to season?
Christian: You know, some people do. I mean, there’s no big changes. We love the storylines. The storylines are all new. The stakes are a little bit higher, which is great. As long as your stakes get higher every season, that’s the show that you’re doing. That means you’ve got a successful show. And we did that this year. You know, I’m coming [from] Dean Devlin school, you know what I mean? Which is, you know, how many seasons did I do Leverage? How many seasons of The Librarians were [there]? We’re on season two of Almost Paradise. You know, if it’s not broke, he doesn’t try to fix it. The shows that we do, you know, it’s not a comedy; it’s not a drama; it’s not an action movie. It’s all three of them rolled into one. That’s why, you know, we’re never going to be up for an award where it’s the best drama or the best – you know what I mean? The only awards we win are when we win the People’s Choice Award, because people love the show, you know? So, he doesn’t change it that much, because there’s kids watching it. There’s adults watching it; there’s families that watch the show. So, he does a really good job of not changing it too much to where you’re just blown out of it.
Suzanne: Yeah. Okay. I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but can you name any of the fun guest stars this season?
Christian: Well, I’ll tell you what we did. We did an episode where Lisa Brenner, who is Dean Devlin’s wife, she comes into play my wife, my ex-wife, which was a lot of fun, because I’ve known her as long as I’ve known Dean, 2007. And all we do is argue, and then when they say cut, we start laughing at each other. And we didn’t have to shake hands and introduce ourselves and go, “Hey, I’m playing Alex Walker…[unintelligible] it was like, first scene up was in a car, we had a huge argument scene, and we did it, and then we started laughing. It was fun not to have to learn who somebody is. You already know who they are. So, that was a lot of fun coming in. Let’s see. I don’t know. I mean, I just don’t know when this is coming out. I’m not sure if I’m gonna get in trouble.
Suzanne: Well, I’m not gonna put it in until like the day before the show starts.
Christian: Okay. I mean, we’ve got a good guy coming in. I don’t see how it’s not going to be seen, but I mean, Dante Bosco comes in. He was on Hook, everybody’s favorite kid on Hook. It’s fun to see him in the light that he’s playing. That was a lot of fun to to have him coming in. And then the cat’s already out of the bag on this guy. John Story comes back and does such a spectacular job on a couple of episodes. And he played Lockhart first season and became a fan favorite. And so to have him back this year, was just tremendous.
Suzanne: Right? And I know Reese Richie is going to be in the first episode as the priest.
Christian: Yeah, Reese was so great, man. He did such a good job. My friend Maureen comes in as for a little role, who’s Asia’s Next Top Model. She did such a great job. Yeah. She was a friend that I invited in, and she said “yes,” which I thought was very nice. You know, it’s the usual suspects, man. Some of us are a little older, but we all still play just like a family, man. It’s been really incredible.
Suzanne: So nobody from Leverage.
Christian: Christian Kane comes in from Leverage.
Suzanne: Nobody else.
Christian: No, no, nobody else, man. But I tell you what, you know, after the time that we took off we had – Well, John Story was on Leverage, but it was awhile back, and Lisa Brenner was on Leverage. Pretty much Dean regurgitates people all the time. But it’s funny, because we had so much downtime because of COVID, because of the pandemic. And I love talking about this. When we went back to Leverage, it was like a second didn’t go by. I mean, Dean Devlin was very smart. He put all of us a huge scene with all of us in in the same room, and it just took two seconds to go back into character. We all knew our characters, and we all knew our dynamic with each other. And I didn’t know if that was gonna work on Almost Paradise, because I don’t know them as well, but it absolutely worked. We touched down. Everybody got into character. And we did the first scene and it was like, “Wow, we’re back.” And that, just normally, it takes a little bit on a television series, well, just entertainment in general, and it didn’t at all. I was so proud of these guys. It made job so much easier, and I think it comes off on screen too. You can see it.
Suzanne: Yeah, watching season two is just like… it just took off from season one, and there was no break at all. Are there a lot of differences between filming in the Philippines and in the US?
Christian: Oh, my God. It’s night and day. You know, we were filming “Leverage” through the pandemic. I mean, we filmed it through the pandemic, and you couldn’t even go back to the Philippines at that point. They would not let you in. Right before we were getting ready to shoot, a typhoon came in and leveled the Philippines. I feel bad about talking about us when it actually took lives and homes, but it completely took our stages out. So, we had to build stages miles away, just to be able to go. The heat is something that’s unlike anything. But I’ll tell you, half of the people that got stuck there during COVID, the first time they were there for three to four months after the first season. Not one of them didn’t come back. They all wanted to come back. We have such a good family. And I tell you, it seems easier to film in the United States, but there’s a family out there that I have that made it so incredibly easy to film in the Philippines, because we all just absolutely love each other. It’s a different vibe out there, man. These people have really become become part of my family. So, there’s a camaraderie there that that sometimes you don’t get in the United States. Everybody just wants to go home. These guys just want to hang out. And you know, we’re all giving each other hugs and celebrating and laughing and it’s so much fun.
Suzanne: That’s nice. And the food is great there.
Christian: Well, the food’s great. Not only that, but the fact is that we have breakfast together. We have lunch together; we have dinner together. We don’t go home; we all sit around. When we wrap, we all sit down and have another meal. We don’t do that in America. It just builds camaraderie like you’ve never seen. So, the food is great. The food is plentiful. There’s always a lot of food.
Suzanne: Yeah, I have a friend who’s married to a Filipino lady, and also I lived in Hawaii for a few years and there’s a lot of Philippine people. They throw great parties.
Christian: Yeah, I mean, it’s just it’s incredible. When we throw a party we – and the great thing about it is in the Philippines, when we film a party, we actually cater it, and as soon as we’re done filming that scene, we all go through and eat whatever we had onset, which is fantastic. So, we have parties once every two weeks.
Suzanne: That’s great you got to do all that, all those fights and all that training, because otherwise you’d be 200 pounds, right?
Christian: Listen, man, I gained 15 pounds in New Orleans just because, I mean, well with COVID you couldn’t go to the gym and everything there was fried. I went to the Philippines, I ate whatever I wanted, and I lost 10 pounds. I mean, pig, I’m eating rice. I’m you’re eating rice at every meal. It’s just crazy. You’re eating – it was spam. They call it something else, but it’s basically spam. You know? Hawaiin/Filipino, and I lost weight, man, because you’re just sweating all day. You’re doing fights. And so it was paradise for me – almost.
Suzanne: I see what you did there.
Christian: You like that? Yeah. It’s just been a blast, and I’m so excited about this season. And I really would encourage people – we come out on Freevee on the 21st of July. I really hope that even if you’ve seen it, you go back through and take a gander at it, the first seaso. Freevee’s also been nice enough that now Almost Paradise the first season’s on Freevee. So, you can watch that and then gear up for the show. And I just really don’t know if I’ve ever been this proud of something coming out. I really enjoy what we did on this thing.
Suzanne: I have two questions for you that you probably don’t know the answer, or if you do, you can’t say, but let me ask them anyway. One is, do you know anything about what’s going to happen on Friday as far as the actors?
Christian: I don’t know what’s going to happen with that. It’s a little discerning, because the writers strike is not over yet. So, I figured that if the writers sort of made some leeway there, that there might not be something that we have to do. So, I really honestly don’t know, and I don’t honestly know where I stand on it either. I wish that I was more informed of actually everything that the writers or the the actors are trying to shoot for. But I feel like now watching what the writers are going through, there’s a possibility that the actors could strike.
Suzanne: Okay, and the second question is, have you heard anything about Leverage: Redemption season three?
Christian: I have not, because of the writers strike. I mean, everybody, like everyone just had to hang everything up. You know what I mean? I’ve heard ideas. I’ve heard some really good ideas about a season three. Dean went over some storylines with me, and it’s just fantastic. It’s really honestly, like, fantastic. It’s where Leverage needs to go. And it’s very exciting to the point where it could be our best season yet, just because of where we’re starting and where we have to go. But you know, then of course, it’s over, and they can’t talk about it, and they can’t even get together. I mean, they can’t call each other and say, you know, “What about this?” So, we’re sort of in a holding pattern right now as well as everybody else.
Suzanne: Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you. Those are better answers than I thought you might have. Better than saying, “I don’t know.”
Christian: Yeah, exactly.
Suzanne: And you own a chain of sushi restaurants called Sunda?
Christian: Sunda, Sunday without the y. Yeah, there’s one in Chicago, which I don’t own. My buddy Billy Deck owns [it]. Billy was the security guard I fought. I gave him a little roll. He was a security guard I fought a couple of times. It was a brutal fight on Leverage last season. Billy owns it. He’s really good friends with David Schwimmer. He was on Friends, you know, stuff like that. But he owns the restaurant. I’m an investor, but I get to say that I own it, because I do own some of it. And it’s one. There’s a Sunda in the Gulch in Nashville. I just got back from there. It’s so beautiful. We just won number one restaurant there, number one in Chicago. We’re opening another one on Chicago. I’m not familiar with – I love Chicago. I’m not familiar where the A train [is], but it’s somewhere like A train ish, I don’t know. But next week one opens up in Tampa, Florida. So, we’re really, really excited about that. And I do have a piece in all those.
Suzanne: Oh, great. Yeah, I think I’ve been to Tampa once or twice. They have some great restaurants there.
Christian: They do. Look up Sunda when you get there, because I think you’ll be really, really impressed. I’m biased, but the food is incredible. And Billy’s half Filipino. So, it’s this Asian fusion. So, it’s really Japanese. There’s some Chinese, but it’s really Japanese. But there’re like six or seven things on the restaurant that are completely Filipino, and people don’t know what it is, because they’re not familiar with Filipino food. So, he snuck them in, and people are absolutely loving it now.
Suzanne: So, it’s not just sushi.
Christian: It’s Asian fusion.
Suzanne: Okay, good. Good.
Christian: You can get noodles. You can get – He brought in one of the best guys out of Japan for Chicago, and he came to Nashville for two years to instruct their guy. So, you can get straight up sushi, and you get your Filipino food.
Suzanne: Wonderful. Sounds wonderful. We’ll have to try it.
Christian: Please do.
Suzanne: If nothing else, next time we’re in Chicago… because we usually go there in April every year.
Christian: Yes, absolutely. I mean, he literally just won the number one restaurant in Chicago.
Suzanne: Oh, nice. Wow. Okay. Well, thank you. I appreciate you talking to me today. And I hope we get to where I can see your handsome face next time.
Christian: Let’s do that. Let me know when you need me.
Suzanne: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Christian: You got it.
Our other interviews with Christian Kane:
- Christian Kane and Beth Riesgraf of “Leverage: Redemption” on IMDb TV 9/30/21
- Dean Devlin and Christian Kane of “Almost Paradise” on WGN 4/2/20
Here’s an exclusive video clip of the season!
Video clip from Episode 206 – Episode description: Ernesto tries to convince Alex that death is not the end.
Almost Paradise Season Two With Christian Kane Premieres July 21 on Amazon Freevee
Art Acuña and Samantha Richelle return as series regulars
CULVER CITY, California—June 12, 2023— Amazon Freevee has released the official trailer for the second season of Almost Paradise and announced it will premiere July 21. All 10 episodes from the season will be available on premiere day exclusively on Freevee in the U.S. and UK. Christian Kane returns to star along with returning executive producers and co-showrunners, Dean Devlin and Gary Rosen.
Kane is Alex Walker, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent forced into early retirement. The combination of his partner’s betrayal and a life-threatening battle with hypertension has sent him as far from the madness as he can get—to a small tropical island in the Philippine archipelago. He now runs the gift shop in the island’s luxury resort hotel, which attracts the rich, powerful, and sometimes criminal elite from around the world. Despite his best efforts to transition from Jason Bourne to Jimmy Buffett, Alex is pulled back into a world of dangerous people and deadly situations—either through his friends in the local police, Kai Mendoza (Samantha Richelle) and Ernesto Alamares (Art Acuña), or encounters with people from his old life. And the problem is that he likes it.
Almost Paradise was shot entirely in the Philippines. Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment executive produce alongside co-showrunners Devlin and Rosen. Mark Franco co-produces.
The first season of Almost Paradise is available now on Freevee for viewers looking to catch up on Alex’s adventures.
About Electric Entertainment
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Electric Entertainment is an independent studio headed by veteran producer Dean Devlin along with his partners Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson. Electric Entertainment also houses acquisitions and sales divisions, with domestic sales headed up by Steve Saltman and the international division headed by Sonia Mehandjiyska. Electric also has a satellite office located in Vancouver, Canada.
Among Electric’s hit television series are “Leverage: Redemption” the spin-off continuation of “Leverage,” which ran for five seasons on TNT. Both series are currently streaming in the U.S. and the U.K. on Amazon Freevee. “Leverage: Redemption” premiered its second season in November 2022. “Almost Paradise” is currently streaming on Amazon Freevee after having premiered on WGN America. Season 2 of “Almost Paradise” will premiere July 21 on Amazon Freevee in the U.S and UK. Electric’s new series “The Ark” premiered February 1, 2023 on SYFY and has been green-lit for a second season. Other Electric series include “The Librarians” which ran for four seasons on TNT, and “The Outpost,” which premiered its 4th season on The CW in 2021, and is now streaming on Amazon Freevee.
Electric’s Feature Films have included “Bad Samaritan” starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, the award-winning film “Say My Name” starring Lisa Brenner and Nick Blood, the critically acclaimed documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?,” and most recently “The Deal” starring Sumalee Montano and Emma Fischer. Electric also acquires, distributes and sells worldwide rights to Electric’s produced and acquired content, as well as theatrical films from around the world, including “Blood On The Crown,” starring Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell, “Heavy,” starring Sophie Turner and Daniel Zovatto, Rob Reiner’s historical biopic “LBJ,” starring Woody Harrelson, and “Book Of Love,” starring Jessica Biel and Jason Sudeikis. The company’s domestic distribution division, headed by Steve Saltman, is a full-service operation serving all significant outlets with various rights to films and series including: TVOD, EST, AVOD, SVOD, PTV, Linear Basic Cable and Broadcast.
About Amazon Freevee
Amazon Freevee is a streaming video service with thousands of premium movies and TV shows, including Originals and free ad-supported (FAST) channels, available anytime, for free.
- Expansive Catalog: Amazon Freevee offers viewers ambitious Originals, including Bosch: Legacy; Emmy-winning court program Judy Justice; coming-of-age drama High School; docu-comedy series Jury Duty; performance special Monumental: Ellie Goulding at Kew Gardens; reality design series Hollywood Houselift with Jeff Lewis; comedy series Sprung; music documentary Post Malone: Runaway; heist drama Leverage: Redemption; spy thriller Alex Rider; and the sports docu-series UNINTERRUPTED’s Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers. Combined with an always updating library of broadly appealing hit movies and TV shows across a wide selection of genres, and a catalog of more than 250 FAST channels, including Judy Justice and Crime 360, Amazon Freevee delivers customers the content they would expect to see on a paid service.
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Proofread and Edited by Brenda