In tonight’s Christmas episode of TNT’s hit series Leverage, Wil Wheaton returns as hacker Chaos to match wits with Aldis Hodge’s Hardison. The two joined reporters on a conference call recently, where it quickly became obvious that any competitiveness their characters have is pure acting.
Wil Wheaton is a fan of the show, so when a question about Hardison becoming more than “just a geek” came up, he was quick to chime in with his own perception of the character: “As an audience member, you know, I’ve watched Leverage since the pilot and it’s been really wonderful for me to watch Hardison grow from the young hacker sort of piece of the puzzle and to see Hardison’s ambition develop. And it’s so clear that he wants his own crew but he’s not ready for his own crew and I think it makes his character and the dynamic between Hardison and Nate so much more interesting and so much more compelling than it would’ve been otherwise.”
Aldis was pleased that his character’s growth was obvious to others and spoke from his own perspective: “He wants to be more than – I mean he’s always going to be a hacker at heart. That is what he does best. That is what he contributes best to the team. But he wants to contribute more to just the team. He wants to contribute to what we’re doing so he’s going to learn what he has to do and he’s definitely gone beyond.”
He also teased that we’d being seeing a little more action from Hardison on the season finale, which airs December 19. He’s already played the grifter role in “The Ice Man Job”, so what might he be taking on next?
Wil spoke about his character’s motivations and perception of the world of Leverage: “He was picked on and he was misunderstood and he was lonely and he was isolated. And rather than take those experiences and turn them into something positive for other people that may be experiencing that, he’s taken all of his abilities and instead used it to just sort of punish people and kind of lash out at the world.”
Both actors agree that Chaos is a threat and that Hardison is likely the only person who can take him down. Wil revealed that Hardison is, in fact, the only person that Chaos respects. “Everybody else is just a jerk and doesn’t even come close. I mean he doesn’t respect Nate. He doesn’t – if he ever encountered Sterling, he wouldn’t respect him. He certainly didn’t respect the rest of the Two Live Crew guys. He really respects Hardison. And I said earlier today, if they were on the same team, the world would really be in a lot of trouble.”
Aldis added that Chaos is more than he appears, which makes him even more of a threat. “I think that what you’ve done with Chaos is bringing out the tactician in him,” Aldis mused. “I think he’s in a sense of being a general, a leader. He’s quite the mastermind himself. And I think that gets quite exposed in the upcoming episode but I think you’ve exposed him in a different light in that way in showing that he’s not just a pawn to be used but he’s pulling the strings.”
Later in the call, the two began talking about crossovers and having fun acknowledging other shows. Wil recalled that his favorite scene from Leverage is where Hardison says, “’Listen, if things go south, I’m going to say the name of one of the Star Trek movies that’s bad so those are the odd numbered ones. And if it’s going well, then I’m going to say something that’s from the even numbered ones.’ And everybody looks at him like, “What?” And then all of us in the audience who are Star Trek fans are cracking up because we totally get that.” (Aldis revealed that it would have been Wrath of Khan, in case you were wondering.)
Will we see more shoutouts to other shows on Leverage? It’s possible. Aldis posited that doing so establishes the characters as real people, and real people who watch the same TV shows their viewers watch. Which opens up a lot of fun new potential for getting to know the characters. I’m betting one of them watches Chuck.
Tune in tonight to see what Wil Wheaton is up to, and how Aldis Hodge will stop him, in the special Christmas-themed episode of Leverage, “The Ho Ho Ho Job”. After the episode airs, join stars Timothy Hutton, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge and special guest-star Wil Wheaton will answer fan questions live via video on the Leverage Facebook page, TNT.tv and TNT’s mobile website m.tnt.tv at 10 p.m. (ET) / 7 p.m. (PT). Fans can submit questions live on either the LEVERAGE Facebook page or TNT.tv and interact directly through webchat with the cast as they answer questions.