Friday, December 5, 2008
TV preview and actor video interview: Christian Kane of Leverage
Christian Kane was born in Dallas and has lived here twice since. Which begs the question: why does he keep on leaving?
Any actor who offers the film guy a pre-interview brewski is O.K. in my book. And into this category I can now place Christian Kane, who stars (along with Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf) in TNT's original caper series Leverage - which premieres this Sunday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. Central.
(By the way, in order to keep my interviewing wits about me I turned down the brewski. Just for the record...)
Before speaking with Christian in his Ritz-y Dallas hotel room (he was in town to promote the show), I had a chance to preview the hour-long pilot and the first regular episode - which falls into TNT's regular Tuesday lineup at 9 p.m. Central. It's a surprisingly fun watch, with veteran actor Hutton rounding up a stable of independent operators (a slinky thief, a hunky tough guy, a frustrated stage actress and a hip computer whiz) to get back at powerful and corrupt individuals and institutions who've done folks wrong. Think Mission: Impossible meets Oceans with Robin Hood sensibilities, done with wry good humor.
Delivering a good deal of the humor is Mr. Kane himself, who (though he doesn't particularly care for the designation) serves as the "muscle" of the (surreptitious) team. But instead of seeing him in dazzlingly-choreographed spin-kicking action, we get more of the "before and after" segues in which - in one frame - he's facing a room full of toughs, while in the next he's standing alone amongst the writhing, moaning bodies.
Furthermore, as we discuss during the interview, Christian and the rest of the ensemble cast routinely assume alternate personas (complete with costuming) as part of doing their bad-guy takedown con job thang. Which adds a dose of broad comedy and - in the case of Ms. Bellman, at least - alluring sexiness to the proceedings.
What I appreciated most about the two episodes I previewed was the genuineness of character interaction. It's like this cast has been working together for a while already, with no one seeming out of place or uncomfortable in their roles. Quite unusual for a pilot, or even a first season.
TNT definitely has a winner with this show if they can find their audience. If you want to take a crack at becoming a part of it, tune in.
In the meantime, have a listen to my 18-minute conversation with Christian Kane, who plays Elliot Spencer on the show.