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Christian Kane

Christian Kane - "Leverage" Tv Series - 411mania.com Interview

Wednesday 22 July 2009, by Webmaster

Christian Kane just began his second season starring as Eliot Spencer in the TNT action-drama Leverage. He appeared in the Emmy winning mini-series Into the West, was a regular on the first season of CBS’ Close To Home, and was best known previously for his role as Lindsay McDonald on Angel.

Al Norton: Have there big any big changes between the pilot script you read that made you want the job and what we’re seeing now in the second season, either in the character or the show?

Christian Kane: I actually get to win a lot more than the other characters on the show because John Rogers kind of wrote this with me in mind. He had me in the picture in his head when he was writing it so this character is probably more true to form than most. Obviously we were trying to find characters and see how they reacted to each other but I am one of the fortunate ones because John had me in mind when he put it together. I’m basically just playing myself (laughing).

Al Norton: How far along in the casting did you come on board or were you there from the outset?

Christian Kane: I didn’t get to read with anyone because they were still trying to figure it out. When I got cast I new Tim Hutton was cast, and then I was the second person cast. I was in Nashville at the time that I got the call from my agent that John Rogers wanted to see me. I had to win (executive producer) Dean Devlin over, which is no simple task, so I flew back to Los Angeles for a day and I believe I did that. Well, obviously I did that (laughing)…and the role was mine. What a fantastic situation I was put it; it was so cool. I was cast right after Tim so I was there pretty much from the beginning.

Al Norton: So when you walked out of the meeting with Dean Devlin, you were pretty sure you had nailed it?

Christian Kane: It’s Hollywood, baby, so you never know anything, but I walked out of the meeting feeling really, really good. John Rogers caught me on the way in and said, "dude, just be you." One of the great things was that Michael Wright was in the room –he’s one of the heads of TNT – and I had done Crossheart Trail, which was the most watch cable television movie of all time, and I had done Into The West with Spielberg, and I was on Angel, so every morning at 6 and 7 I am on TNT…I was no stranger to them and it just kind of all melded together.

Al Norton: It must be incredibly flattering to have a part written with you in mind.

Christian Kane: From John Rogers, absolutely. I was on Angel for five years and when Joss Whedon writes for you, which he did for me, it’s going to be really hard to fill those shoes, and John Rogers has done it tenfold. How do you go back to television when you played a superhero on a show full of superheroes? Angel was a big part of my life and I developed most of my fans from it. How do you follow up something like that? But here I am and it’s such an amazing feeling to have.

Al Norton: Everyone I talk to says the love the people they work with but to viewers it really did seem like you gelled as a cast immediately.

Christian Kane: It did, it really did. The sad thing is we had to keep reminding ourselves that our characters weren’t friends (laughing). We got together so quickly, we absolutely loved each other. And we still do. Second season of television and we still laugh and stick around to see each other’s scenes. That just doesn’t happen with other casts, I don’t care who tells you different. I’ve been around a lot of TV shows and it just doesn’t happen. But it happens on this show. Tim Hutton, Academy Award winner. He’s got a little gold man in his back pocket and he sticks around.

The first season it was weird because we had to remind each other things like, we can’t stand this close to each other because we don’t like each other. This year we all realize we can’t survive, can’t be happy, without each other. It’s more fun this year because we’re a family. Last year we a family but not on TV, and this year we’re still a family and a family on TV, which is really kind of nice.

Al Norton: If I were watching a gag reel for the show, whose responsible for breaking up the most scenes?

Christian Kane: If you were watching the gag reel you’d be watching Parker do her little antics. She does so many different takes, with different stuff each time, and she’s probably the clumsiest one so she’ll probably trip on something. You’d get a good kick out of that. If you were watching the gag reel you want to watch Ellis Hodge because he takes so many different approaches to his character with so many different lines. He’s really good at the ad-lib stuff so that would be fun to watch.

Dean Devlin told us all something at the start, that in Independence Day (which Devlin wrote and produced), all the stuff between Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith that you see on screen is pretty much what happened after the scene. They just ad-libbed and it was so great. Dean gave us this big knife in our pocket that we can pull out and it was great. At the end of the scenes on Leverage, most of the stuff you see is just us hanging out afterwards and creating stuff, acting off of each other. It’s unbelievable writing and the bones are there, but the little stuff you see right before the scene breaks is all us. Thank god we’ve got writers that have big egos but not big enough to shut us down. As an actor that’s so refreshing and one of the things that makes the show so much fun.

Al Norton: You’ve done a number of TV series now, is there stuff you learn from each one that makes the whole pilot process any easier?

Christian Kane: Yes and no. I’ve been in this business for 12 years and god has blessed me with really not having a lot of down time. You always learn from a character. This character Eliot is everything I’ve ever done wrapped up in one person; it’s Lindsay McDonald from Angel, it’s Peter Prentis from Just Married…It’s all the stuff and you wrap it up into one character and hope that it goes well. Other television shows, and even movies, you get done with it and you wipe your hands. This one, we’re holding on to it. We’re really holding on to it. I don’t want these characters to die, and neither do the fans. This is the character that I moved to Hollywood to play. I’ve got to be honest with you, I’m not sure if it’s ever going to be any better. For me, as a guy, as a guy from Oklahoma whose just a beer drinking redneck (laughing)…

We’re holding on a lot harder than you do in a normal series. I was talking to Dean Devlin last night, I was sitting next to him watching the pilot, and we were talking about how we’re all praying for great ratings, that everyone accepts us and where we’ve gone as a television show. We want a third season. Eliot is the character I’ve always wanted to play and I’ve been so fortunate to get it.

Al Norton: Angel fans were obviously very saddened at the news of Andy Hallet’s death earlier this year. One of the things that struck me when reading a lot of the fan sites was how many people singled out the scene with the two of you in the finale as not only one of their favorites of the series but one of their favorites of all time. Do you want to say anything about Andy and did you know at the time how powerful that scene was?

Christian Kane: It’s hard for me to talk about. Andy was a great friend of mine. We went all over Europe together. He was a good friend and a really good guy…It’s hard for me to talk about, I get really choked up…He was such a great guy and I really hate that he passed…Give me a second…He didn’t like the scene. And I’m not going to candy coat it because he’s no longer with us; he’s a great friend of mine but I was pissed off because I got killed by the gay karaoke demon (laughing)…Joss tried to kill me so many times before but I didn’t let him do it. When we got canceled we were filming the episode where I am getting my heart cut out in the dungeon, so it was me, Joss, David Boreanaz, James Marsters, and my boy J August Richards. We were all walking out of the building and I asked what we were going to do and Joss say, "well, I’m going to kill you" and I was like, "at this point, ok." Andy killed me and I don’t think I could have been killed by a better person. I wanted to be there for the final fight and I’ve always been pissed off that I wasn’t there for the final fight because I think Lindsay should have been there.

Andy was having a really hard time that day because he had to shoot me and he didn’t like the gun, he didn’t like the fact that he had to kill me. It was an ending for his character because that’s the last time you see Lorne on screen. It was a really emotional scene and we shot it at 6 in the morning so people wouldn’t know what happened. He was having trouble with the scene but we got through it and he was brilliant. I miss him a lot. We lost a really great, great friend.

Al Norton: Thank you for sharing…I know I’ve got to wrap this up soon so can I ask you about this week’s episode of Leverage, which is a little more Eliot-centric than usual?

Christian Kane: Sure. It’s an MMA fight and we didn’t horse around or get some stunt guys from LA, we got real MMA fighters to fight me. It was a really big compliment to me that those guys would let me into their world; those guys are the real deal, they don’t play around. They allowed me to enter their world and do an episode.

Al Norton: How sore were you after filming?

Christian Kane: So sore it was ridiculous (laughing). I spent about five days soaking in the bathtub after it was done. I was a wrestler growing up in Oklahoma so I had a decent knowledge of the grappling that was going to go on but being older know, you’d be surprised how many muscles that you used back then that you really don’t use anymore in day-to-day life. I’m sore after every fight. I’m getting too old for this shit (laughing).

Don’t miss Leverage, Wednesdays at 9 pm on TNT.