Press: ‘Leverage’ Cast Reunites for Table Read Ahead of Revival Series

Thursday, Aug 6, 2020

TV INSIDER – They’ve successfully stolen a revival, and it’s all coming together.
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As was previously announced, IMDb TV is reimagining the TNT crime drama Leverage, with original stars Beth Riesgraf (thief Parker), Gina Bellman (grifter Sophie Deveraux), Christian Kane (hitter Eliot Spencer), and Aldis Hodge (hacker Alec Hardison) all returning as their characters alongside new cast member Noah Wyle. And with the first table read comes a look at the stars reunited and a few teases about what to expect.

Bellman posted a photo of herself with the rest of the returning cast members, all wearing masks. “STAY SAFE,” she wrote alongside it. “Protect others and take care of your gang!”

Kane shared a photo of himself and Hodge on August 1 with the caption, “The boys are back in town… the boys are back in towhowaahahaan. the boys are back. Oh and a couple of girls you may know and love. It’s real people.”

Original series creator John Rogers (back as a consulting producer with co-creator Chris Downey) was the one to note that they’d had the first table read on Twitter. “Completely surreal, everybody’s right back in the voices,” he wrote. “@BethRiesgraf @AldisHodge @ChristianKane01 and our old Librarian pal Noah — but you’re not ready for the heat @Ginabellman brings, people.”

In a follow-up, he added, “She pulled off the ‘I’m not sure this speech works I have to trust Gina’ moment and made the room tear up. So good to be working with actors who started off great 12 years ago and have only gotten better.”

In a subsequent tweet, Rogers answered a fan’s inquiry about Wyle’s new character with one word: “Conflicted.”

The series follows reformed crooks who use their unique skills to right the corporate and governmental injustices done to common citizens.

“While Leverage centered on a crusade to avenge the death of a child, this series is propelled forward as a redemption story of misdeeds that need amends,” returning executive producer Dean Devlin has teased.

Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson, and Kate Rorick will also executive produce.

The original Leverage premiered in 2008 and ran for five seasons.

Gallery: Photoshoot and Magazine Scans

Tuesday, Jul 7, 2020

Oh my gosh, a new photoshoot and interview! These are so much overdue. Its a great shoot. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the HQ versions soon and possibly some outtakes.

 

 

Gallery Links:

[Photo Shoots] > Session 034

[Magazine Scans] > 2020: Wingman Magazine – Summer

 

Happy Birthday Christian!

Saturday, Jun 27, 2020

I just wanted to wish Christian a very happy birthday. I hope he is able to get out and have some fun {even if he has to wear a mask) or some fun comes knocking at his door.

 

Also, don’t forget Kaniac Day, the marathon on ElectricNow in his honor – The Librarians and Leverage all day!!! Which is a gift for us!

Gallery: “Almost Paradise” 1×09 and 1×10 Screencaps

Friday, Jun 12, 2020

 

 
Gallery Links:

[Television Career] > Almost Paradise > Season 1 > Screencaps > 1.09 “A Wedding to Die For” Screencaps

[Television Career] > Almost Paradise > Season 1 > Screencaps > 1.10 “Something Walker This Way Comes” Screencaps

 

Press: Almost Paradise’s Alex Walker is a refreshingly different TV hero

Friday, Jun 12, 2020

 

Almost Paradise took Alex Walker on a memorable hero’s journey.

There’s no TV crime drama like Almost Paradise, and no hero like Alex Walker.

When creating the protagonist of the WGN America series, Dean Devlin and Gary Rosen crafted a character who’s different from the genre pattern, and Christian Kane delivered one of the best performances of his career in bringing that character to life.

On the surface, you might think you know Alex: a former DEA agent who retired to the Philippines to get away from the various issues in his past. He’s got issues with his ex-partner, his family and his health. And yet when he comes to Cebu, he ends up working most of those issues out.

TV cops or ex-cops with issues aren’t new. Neither are characters who get away from something only to find what they’re looking for wherever they end up, usually in the form of a surrogate family or a new love interest. Audiences have seen those arcs to death.

But Devlin and Rosen didn’t rely on them. They didn’t follow the blueprint. They had that framework, and then the deeper that audiences got into the character of Alex Walker, those presupposed expectations actually served to highlight what made him stand out—because he’d start in a familiar place and go in an unfamiliar direction. Not unlike the whole theme of the show.

So many shows have tried the quirky crime-solving hero before, many of them great. USA had a whole stable of them for years with Psych, Burn Notice and White Collar. With Almost Paradise, the character of Alex has that same charm but the writers were also not afraid to make him a bit of a mess. He never had his stuff entirely together, and sometimes that could lead to him being a pain in the butt, or get him into further trouble. Alex was allowed to be falliable, to be vulnerable, and what we saw over the first season was him growing.

What audiences have to remember is that Alex’s entire self-image is changing over the season, not just his world. He never expected to end up on an island in the Philippines; he thought he’d be working for the DEA. That’s part of what drives the show: he can say he’s retiring, but he can’t turn off the instincts to be the guy that stands up. He had everything figured out, only to realize that he didn’t have anything figured out, and now he’s having to put the pieces together all over again. With each episode, he might screw up a little, but he learns a little more—about the island, about the people in his life now, and most importantly about himself.

The Almost Paradise season finale, “Something Walker This Way Comes,” was the planned endpoint from the start. It made perfect sense: the whole point of Alex coming to Cebu was for him to move on with his life, but emotionally and mentally, he would never be able to move on unless he dealt with the betrayal that had sent him there in the first place. In order to go forward, he needed to go back. Which he did in spectacular Terminator-style fashion.

Alex defeated his ex-partner Todd Carpenter and ensured he’d be doing a long stint in prison. He also made peace, or the start of it, with his estranged daughter Evelyn. Everything that had been on his shoulders was lifted in that last episode. Now Alex can be happier and build something new for himself, and viewers are happier for him and can’t wait to see what that something will be.

Because knowing Alex, it’s going to be something a little bit crazy.

Dean Devlin had Christian Kane in mind from the start for the role of Alex Walker, and it’s easy to see why from how Christian has knocked the part out of the park. Almost Paradise has given him a lot to do, both comedy and drama, and that is not an easy balancing act but he hasn’t missed a step in the first 10 episodes.

So much of the humor in the series comes from Alex’s reactions to what is happening around him, and the reactions that he prompts in everyone else. That’s not something that can completely be scripted; it comes from Christian Kane’s facial expressions, the tone with which he delivers a line, and the rapport he’s able to build with his co-stars and guest stars.

But there also has to be some weight underneath the jokes. There needs to be depth to the hero, a reason for fans to invest in him, and to care about what he goes through. Alex had to have gravity to him, especially since his starting point in the show was coming out of a difficult place. That pain and that introspection had to be honored, and Christian has done a wonderful job of weaving that into each episode.

He didn’t turn Alex into a caricature just because he was no longer a crack DEA agent; he kept that very serious and very intense part of the character simmering just underneath the surface. That’s not only been great for Alex, but great for the entire show, because it gives the show a credibility that it needs—it’s not just light entertainment. What happens on Almost Paradise matters and it all starts with Alex Walker.

What’s great about Alex, too, is how human he is. He’s not an archetypal hero; he feels like an ordinary guy who just happened to become a hero. He can be snarky and neurotic and a little bit much at times, and then compassionate and thoughtful and a true badass at others. Alex will always do the right thing; he just doesn’t always do it the conventional way. And that not only is fun as a viewer to watch, but it’s easier to identify with because he doesn’t feel too perfect or like we’re looking up at him.

The finale was Alex Walker in a nutshell: he busted a corrupt ex-federal agent and saved his daughter, but he did it with guns he kept in a fake fish and by staging a criminal accountant’s death. And we could see and understand every emotion he went through while he was doing it, including that sense of accomplishment when it was all over.

Hopefully there will be an Almost Paradise season 2; if any show deserves a sophomore pickup, this is it. That’s because while Alex’s journey might have gotten off to a shaky start, it blossomed as the season went on. Now with Alex having put the past behind him (or in handcuffs), there’s no limit to what he can do next—and we as an audience want to see him flourish too. While the finale ended one chapter in his life, the real story of Alex Walker is just beginning, and it’s going to be one heck of an adventure.

Press: ‘Leverage’ Reboot Starring Noah Wyle Ordered By IMDb TV; Original Series’ Team, 4 Cast Members Set To Return

Friday, Jun 12, 2020

DEADLINE – Dean Devlin, John Rogers and Chris Downey’s cult 2008 crime drama series Leverage is coming back with a new lead. IMDb TV, Amazon’s free, ad-supported streaming service, has ordered a Leverage reimagining, headlined by Noah Wyle in a reunion with Rogers and Devlin after their collaboration on The Librarian/The Librarians franchise. It marks the first major original series for IMDb TV, whose content team recently moved under the Amazon Studios umbrella.

The reimagining will include new characters, including one played by five-time Emmy nominee Wyle, who also will direct two of the 13 episodes. He will be joined by original cast members Beth Riesgraf, reprising her character as “Parker” and also directing an episode; Gina Bellman as “Sophie Devereaux”; and Christian Kane as “Eliot Spencer”– who will all be series regulars — as well as Aldis Hodge, who will return as “Alec Hardison” in a recurring role, subject to availability from his Showtime series City on a Hill, whose Season 2 will likely be filming at the same time as Leverage.

The one original Leverage cast member not returning for the reboot is lead Timothy Hutton, who recently faced sexual assault allegations.

The Leverage sequel is a fresh update of the original concept, about reformed crooks using their unique skills to right corporate and governmental injustices inflicted on common citizens.

The original series’ EP/director Devlin of Electric Entertainment is spearheading the followup series. He is executive producing the revival, with Leverage creators Rogers and Downey returning as consulting producers. Additional EPs for the reimagening include Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson and Kate Rorick.

“Since the day it was cancelled, I’ve longed to return to the world of Leverage. The show, the characters, the cast and the people who made it happen all hold a very special place in my heart,” said Devlin. “Our new series with Amazon Studios and IMDb TV is a re-imagining of the original premise. While Leverage centered on a crusade to avenge the death of a child, this series is propelled forward as a redemption story of misdeeds that need amends. I could not be more excited and fired up about returning to the world of Hitter, Hacker, Grifter, Thief!!”

The original Leverage series ran on TNT for five seasons from 2008-2012. It was a rarity at the time — a high-end drama series on a major TV network financed and produced independently by Devlin’s Electric Entertainment. “I’m incredibly proud of the show and what we’ve accomplished,” Devlin wrote in a letter to fans ahead of the Leverage series finale.

The pickup of a new Leverage installment follows the success of the the original Leverage series on IMDb TV, where it has been a popular title since its July 2019 launch.

That is an approach Devlin and Rogers took with The Librarians, the TNT series follow-up to their successful The Librarian original movie franchise for the network. The films’ star Wyle executive produced, directed, wrote and recurred as his Librarian character Flynn Carsen on the series, which ran for four seasons. Other cast members from the movies also came back as supporting players on the series, alongside a new ensemble led by Rebecca Romijn and Leverage‘s Kane.

Devlin’s Electric Entertainment has the upcoming Season 3 of the CW’s summer fantasy adventure series The Outpost as well as WGN America’s new drama Almost Paradise.

IMDb TV, available as an app on FireTV and a free channel within the Prime Video and IMDb apps across hundreds of devices, currently features a range of TV and film library titles and has no direct link to Amazon Prime Video originals. In addition to Leverage, its offerings include TV shows such as Chicago Fire, Schitt’s Creek, The Middle, Desperate Housewives and Friday Night Lights, and movies like Blade Runner 2049, Scooby-Doo, Spider-Man, The Smurfs and Spotlight.

I hear Wyle has a one-year deal to star in the new Leverage. Filming is tentatively slated to begin in late June-early July in Louisiana following safety protocols to protect the cast and crew from the coronavirus pandemic.

Following his 15-season run on ER, Wyle headlined the TNT sci-fi drama series Falling Skies, which ran for five seasons and where he made his directorial debut. Through Slippery Moon Productions, his new production label with Zach Luna, Wyle is working on several projects including a limited-series adaptation of the 2016 Hungarian Oscar submission film Kills on Wheels. Wyle is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Gersh.

Hodge, who plays the co-lead opposite Kevin Bacon on Showtime’s City on a Hill, recently starred in the hit horror movie The Invisible Man. He is repped by Paradigm and Priluck Company.

Riesgraf co-stars on Paramount Network’s 68 Whiskey, which has done well and looks promising for renewal. I hear an arrangement has been made for her to be a series regular on both 68 Whiskey and Leverage. She previously did an arc on The Librarians. Riesgraf is repped by A3 Artists Agency and Silver Lining Entertainment.

Bellman is heavily recurring on Season 2 of Sky’s Bulletproof. Also known for her starring role on BBC’s hit comedy Coupling, she is repped by Insight Entertainment, KMR & Associates and United Agents in London.

Kane currently headlines another Electric Entertainment series, WGNA’s Almost Paradise. He is repped by BRS / Gage Talent Agency.

Press: Almost Paradise: Season Two? Series Not Returning to WGN America But …

Thursday, Jun 4, 2020

TV SERIES FINALE – On Monday night, WGN America finished airing the first season of the Almost Paradise TV series. Tonight, the show’s creator, Dean Devlin, shared with his cast and crew that series won’t be returning to the cable channel for another season. However, that doesn’t mean that the series has been cancelled either. The possibility for a second season is still alive.

A crime drama series, Almost Paradise stars Christian Kane, Samantha Richelle, Arthur Acuña, Nonie Buencamino, and Ces Quesada. The series revolves around a former DEA agent, Alex Walker (Kane), who’s been forced into retirement. He moves to the Filipino island of Cebu and purchases a hotel gift shop, planning to live a tranquil and less stressful life. Unfortunately, the island’s luxury resorts attract rich, powerful, and sometimes criminal elite from around the world, often on a collision course with Alex.

Devlin has already discussed some plans that he has for the second season but first, the show must be renewed. Tonight, Devlin said, “A lot of people have been asking about season two so I want to tell everybody what’s happening with our show. Just so everyone knows we will not be back on WGN next year. WGN has decided to change into an all-news network [in primetime]. We are grateful to WGN for launching our show and for getting us up and running and giving us a place to show the show to everyone. So, thank you for that opportunity. But, we will not be back next year with WGN but that does not mean that we will not be back.”

He continued, “I can’t name the platform yet because the ink isn’t dry on the contract but, this July, all of the original episodes will appear in a new place and that place will be for free so everyone will be able to watch it for free.”

“And, they have sworn to me that, if we do well enough, if we perform really well in those first couple months, they will pick up season two and continue the show. We will announce at some point where that new platform is,” Devlin said.

“If we do well, we will be back for season two and nothing would make me happier. I can’t imagine any show that I’ve ever worked on being more fun than this one. Again, thank you, everyone, for a wonderful season,” he concluded.

Gallery: “Almost Paradise” 1×01-1×09 Screencaps

Friday, May 29, 2020

I’m very sorry I haven’t been updating. Due to technical and health issues, I wasn’t online much at all and didn’t get to do any fansite work. I’m trying to catch up all my sites but I wanted to get these posted as soon as I could. Monday’s episode’s screencaps will be posted next Monday with the finale. I haven’t been able to track down the HQ copies of episode stills but I am still working on it.

I love this show so much. Christian is so great in it plus I adore Ernesto and Kai. The three of them make a great team. The photo above is a screencap from 1.08 “The Lone Wolf”. It was so beautifully shot that even the screencaps are beautiful. Plus I love his smile.

 

 

Gallery Links:

[Television Career] > Almost Paradise > Season 1 > Behind the Scenes

[Television Career] > Almost Paradise > Season 1 > Episode Stills

[Television Career] > Almost Paradise > Season 1 > Screencaps

 

Press: Christian Kane Is Trying to Avoid Stress in ‘Almost Paradise’

Monday, Jan 20, 2020


TV INSIDERChances are, if you’re trying to escape something, that’s the last thing you’ll be able to do.

Christian Kane’s Alex Walker learns that lesson in Almost Paradise, and TV Insider has an exclusive first look at the new WGN America action series premiering in March.

In the preview, Alex’s doctor warns him that “stress is a silent killer,” but he insists that won’t be a problem where he’s heading. Unfortunately, that doesn’t last very long, as one of his cases gets messy. Let’s just say, those who liked Kane as Leverage’s hitter will be getting plenty more of that from him in the trailer above.

The new series follows Alex, who used to be the DEA’s most resourceful undercover operative, but has since been forced into early retirement. After his partner’s betrayal and a life-threatening battle with hypertension, he’s getting as far from the madness as he can — to a small tropical island in the Philippine Archipelago. He now runs the gift shop at the island’s luxury resort hotel, gets his disability payments at the nearby US Air Force base, and generally manages his transition from Jason Bourne to Jimmy Buffet.

However, the island’s resorts attract the rich, powerful, and sometimes criminal elite, which often puts them on a collision course with Alex. And he likes that he gets pulled back into his former world of dangerous people and deadly situations, both through friends in the local police departments and people from his old life.

The series comes from award-winning writer and executive producer Dean Devlin. He and Kane previously worked together on Leverage and The Librarians.

Almost Paradise, Series Premiere, Monday, March 30, 10/9c, WGN America

Press: Christian Kane Made Jensen Ackles Sing Karaoke in a Rowdy Supernatural Episode

Friday, Dec 6, 2019

 

TV GUIDE – If there was ever a doubt that Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) have the worst luck, look no further than this week’s Supernatural, which found the pair dealt another set of blows. On the upside, they might stand a chance against Chuck (Rob Benedict) if what Sam believes is correct.

The rowdy hour kicked off with a hungover Sam and Eileen (Shoshannah Stern) greeting Dean with a full breakfast spread that included eggs, pancakes, and real bacon. Dean, both happy to see real meat on the table and his brother having a good time, couldn’t help but smile and tease Sam before heading out the door. Sam thought Dean was going out for a drive, but in reality he was taking on a case by himself.

It was hard for Dean to resist the compelling story of a young woman who believes her friend has been “raptured” somewhere in Texas. Dean headed over to the lone star state and right to a local bar which happened to be owned by his hunter friend Lee (Christian Kane).

Though they hadn’t seen each other since Sam was in college, the old friends got on like no time had passed. They were drinking, laughing, and catching each other up on their lives over the 15-year gap: Lee took on one last case before quitting the hunting game altogether and buying a bar. Meanwhile, Dead said, “it’s been a rough decade” for the Winchesters. Truer words have never been spoken, Dean. Realizing his friend could really use a break, Lee brought Dean on stage to sing the extremely on-brand Dukes of Hazzard theme “Good Ol’ Boys” by Waylon Jennings. Yes, this episode not only gave us Happy Sam, but also Karaoke Dean and it’s not even Christmas. Hallelujah!

Back at the bunker, Sam and Eileen did some much-needed researching, and by that, I mean they pretended to read while exchanging cute glances with each other. But as Sam swooped in for a kiss, Cas (Misha Collins) burst through the door like the Kool-Aid Man because good timing was never his forte. To be fair, Cas had a great excuse for the interruption: experimenting with Sam’s wound no matter how dangerous that was. OK, that was a terrible idea, but Sam went with it because they’re pretty desperate at this point. Sam really should have listened to Eileen, who was against this reckless plan, because Cas attempting to heal Sam’s wound resulted in Sam being thrown against the wall and knocked unconscious… yet again. Shouldn’t he have a traumatic brain injury by now?

Continue reading Press: Christian Kane Made Jensen Ackles Sing Karaoke in a Rowdy Supernatural Episode