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“THE OREGONIAN” Article on Leverage

June 19, 2010

‘Leverage’: Timothy Hutton talks about his role in the show’s third season

By Kristi Turnquist

http://www.oregonlive.com/movies/index.ssf/2010/06/leverage_timothy_hutton_talks.html

Previously on “Leverage”: When last we left Nathan Ford, the insurance investigator-turned-ringleader to a gang of latter-day Robin Hoods, he was in a pickle. The character, played by Oscar-winning actor Timothy Hutton was bleeding from a stomach wound. And rather than allow his team of reformed grifters, thieves and con artists to be arrested, Nate surrendered to an Interpol agent and was apparently bound for the pokey.

We would be worried about poor Nate. But since he is, after all, the leader of the gang, he’s not likely to be locked up for long. When the third season of “Leverage” premieres Sunday night, we find Nate behind bars. But wouldn’t you know it? The prison has some powerful men abusing their authority — exactly the kind of target the “Leverage” team loves to take down.

And that’s only the beginning. We spoke by phone with Hutton to get an idea of what to expect in the new season — shooting on location in Portland.

Q: Nate Ford was in a tight spot as Season 2 ended. What happens to him?

A: Nate was left in a kind of precarious state there, bleeding from the gut and about to be carried off. The third season opens with him in jail, determined to get out, but on his own terms. There’s something going on within the prison and, Nate being Nate, if someone is doing something bad, even within a jail system, he’s going to get involved. The team wants to bust him out, and they’ve got a really good plan, but he says, “Not so fast, I want to stay.”

As far as Nate being in a bad state, Season 3 is all about a man on a mission, taking on even bigger cases. He has these big ideas that he’s not exactly sharing with the team. So there becomes a conflict, with them wanting to know more and his whole approach is a “need-to-know” basis. As it goes on, there’s less of him being sort of this self-destructive person that we’ve come to know and more focused. He’s fearless.

Q: In the Season 2 finale, Nate tells the authorities that he’s a thief. He hadn’t said that before. Does this mean he’s fully accepted the idea that he’s part of this family of bad guys who do good things?

A: The family aspect is going to be in play quite a bit. You see this dysfunctional group of people who realize they’re all they have. As far as Nate embracing himself as thief, he goes at that with great relish.

Q: What develops in the relationship between Nate and Sophie (the grifter played by Gina Bellman)? Do these two ever get together?

A: Nate’s relationship with Sophie is just as difficult and unresolved as it ever has been. They talk quite a bit about what to do based on the kiss on the ship (in the second-season finale). There was a kiss, but there was also a slap, if I remember correctly. So they need to work out what it is — and what it could turn out to be.

Q: You’ve been filming Season 3 in Portland. What can you tell us about that experience?

A: Portland lends itself so well to our story. Portland is doubling for Boston, but so far we haven’t done an episode where we say that the team is actually in Portland, Oregon. We have to put Massachusetts license plates on the vehicles. There are so many places to shoot in Portland, so many different looks and amazing buildings. We filmed in Vancouver, too, and all over downtown Portland, out in the woods, and at our studio in Clackamas.

Q: Do you have any off-work time to explore?

A: We don’t have a lot of time off — every day is a minimum of 12 hours. We have weekends off, but very often those are used to work on the next script we’re doing, or rehearsing. But sometimes we get over to Manzanita, or Cannon Beach. And a few weeks ago, I went skiing up on Mount Hood.

Q: Do you know if you’ll continue to shoot in Portland?
A: We still don’t know if we’re going to do a fourth season. We premiere June 20, and usually they need four or five weeks to see how the ratings are. So we’ll probably hear if we’re doing a fourth season later this summer.