Gina Bellman, Leverage: "The Miracle Job"
The Leverage crew hail their billboard.
Thank you for all your comments. I'm so excited that people are tuning in and loving the show. Last week, the five of us were all in L.A. for one night. We met up at Tim [Hutton]'s hotel and had a great evening catching up and celebrating the premiere's success. After midnight and a few glasses of wine, we all climbed up onto the scaffolding of our billboard on Sunset Boulevard and had a passerby take this photo of us. Now you can see that we really are goofballs and that we really do hang out and love each other! Have a great holiday season!
Now back to summer, when we shot this episode.
We're working with a really amazing guest director named Arvin Brown. One of the things that takes a bit of getting used to on an American series is having a different director, and often writer, every week. I was in a sitcom called Coupling in the U.K. for a number of years and we only ever had one director and one writer for every single episode of the show. I realize now what a luxury it was, working with people who knew the characters better than you did. On Leverage, I had to learn to safeguard my character to some extent.
Some directors are really strong on action, manhandling you around the set; others are very focused on setting up the camera shots and practically ignore you. You have to get used to introverts, extroverts, directors who clown around for the crew and the odd one who's monosyllabic. We shoot a one-hour episode in 6 to 8 days, so that's a lot of new personalities to get used to. Arvin's an actor's director (our favourite kind of course!). He rounds you up before each scene and talks you through story "arc" and character. It might sound pretentious but, when you're flying through scenes as fast as we often do, it's a huge relief to stand still for a moment and work things through together.
I'm playing a New Zealander in this episode, which is really exciting because that's where I'm originally from. I've never worked in my natural accent, having studied so hard to get rid of it when I moved to England as a child where I was bullied at school for "talking funny."
We've been incredibly lucky with all our guest actors, but I'm having an especially good time with Scott Lowell who's playing "the mark" this week (con lingo). He's hilarious and talented and an amazing improviser. He can go from menacing to endearing in the blink of an eye.
I decide to get up on Saturday to go and support the Leverage softball team. There's a softball league of TV shows mostly made up entirely of crewmembers. The Leverage team, however, boasts almost a full compliment of actors. I'm English and don't know the game so they can't really hold it against me. Christian [Kane] had black Leverage shirts and caps made, and Rob, his stand—in, somehow convinced the whole team to wear fluorescent orange knee socks, so we make a very dapper team. This is our third game of the season and we're two games up. I'm on the bench, having the game explained to me and cheering them on. "Go, Leverage!"
It's Aldis [Hodge]'s 22nd birthday and his friends and family brought cake and a cooler. After the victory, Leverage cast, crew, babies and dogs all loll around together in the sun.