Leverage Season 2, Episode 7, The Two Live Crew Job, Audio Commentary Transcript
Dean: Hi, I’m Dean Devlin, Executive Producer and Director of this episode of Leverage.
Amy: Hi, I’m Amy Berg, Supervising Producer and Writer of this episode.
John: John Rogers, Executive Producer and Co-Writer of this episode. Hold on. [Opens bee.] There we go.
Dean: The beer has been opened.
John: The Guiness has been opened. Amy Berg where did this episode come from?
Amy: Well, I mean, when you have a show about a team of con men sort of- one of the first episodes that you think of is-
John: Yeah, it was like one of the first ones we broke- we talked about last season-
Amy: What happens when they go up against another team of con men? And obviously that's not something you really wanna, sort of, pull the trigger on during season one, so we sort of sat on it for a bit.
Dean: But we talked about it a lot in season one.
Amy: We did talk about it.
John: Yeah. But really you have to have your- part of the fun is having your characters and opposition- of people that make a difference, having the opposition of you need to know the characters really well.
Amy: You need to learn who our people are before we can bring in a new set of people.
John: Yeah, so it was a lot of fun putting together the different combinations and different variations on this- the evil team of evil Leverage.
Amy: Loves it.
John: Why the Gustav Klimt?
Amy: The Gustav Klimpt, now you're testing me and it's been a while, I believe this painting was called Higeia and it was technically destroyed by the Nazis in 1945. And it was sort of a choice to pick a painting that wasn't actually in existence, so we weren’t stepping on anybody's toes, saying that this was a stolen painting.
John: The likeless- the equivalent of likeness rights on paintings is an enormous pain in the ass so as a matter of fact, there's a statue of Lincoln in the park that's in the sequence later that we shot and then we had to get the rights to using that statute, even in the background.
John: Now that's very tricky stuff. Dean tell us about the fun of shooting this.
Dean: Well we wanted to try and keep perpetual motion and show two different attempts. Our team, which tries to do a low tech break in through basically just cutting through a wall through this cheapo office behind the high tech office, and then the daring team that actually chases the bullet head on.
John: Yeah. And there is our villain, Griffin.
Amy: Griffin Dunne.
Dean: I've wanted to work with Griffin my whole life. I remember seeing him in An American Werewolf Through London and just falling madly in love with this guy; I just thought he was amazing. And then when we went to do this episode, it was actually Tim Hutton who said, ‘What do you think about my pal Griffin Dunne playing this part?’ And it was just like a gift from heaven.
John: Oh yeah, we are all over that. And this is a lot of fun and we built a fake wall- And that is Tim's assistant, correct?
Amy: That’s that’s Elle, yeah.
John: That's Elle, Tim’s assistant, in her big screen debut with us tormenting her.
Amy: Indeed. And they're playing detectives Marlow and Archer who, as you know, is an homage to both Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald.
John: That's right.
Dean: And there's fun outtakes from that which will be in the gag reel.
Amy: Excellent. This should have a lot of gag reel footage.
John: It's also- to tell you what's weird is, Archer actually-
Amy: Was the name of Tim Spades partner in [mumbles]?
John: That's right. That's what the original reference was. That’s also Ross Mcdonald.
Amy: But Ross Mcdonald was inspired by that character in order.
John: I didn't know that. There you go.
Dean: Fans of the show In Treatment should know that this actress, Noa Tishby, is actually the Executive Producer of In Treatment on HBO.
John: That's right Noa is an Israli actress, she was in Israel, she saw the original show, she dug in, got the rights herself, brought it to America, and wound up executive producing the American version.
Amy: By the way, that's Wil Wheaton.
Amy: Which is so awesome. And who cast Will Wheaton in this episode, John Rogers?
John: Well I technically cast him, but I believe you had the idea of hiring Wil Wheaton because I'm the one who actually signed the papers.
Amy: Thank you, I appreciate the credit on that.
Dean: And I was so happy because Wil Wheaton and I actually used to play on the same hockey team together.
Amy: That's right.
Dean: And this was back when he was on Star Trek. And I was dumb enough to allow him to play goalie at the time and-
Dean: And [Unintelligible]’s son took a slapshot that cracked his helmet open and gave him 17 stitches across the forehead.
Amy: You helped break Wil Wheaton's face.
Dean: And the producers of Star Trek called me screaming at me and forbidding me to ever allowing him to play on the team again.
Amy: Nice. Dogs Playing Poker, by the way, totally public domain. That’s why we chose that one.
John: There you go, there's a lot of variations of that, too, that’s right. And this is actually our little slam is not a part of the subtle on a lot of the CBS crime shows; just the sort of horrible-
Amy: Yeah, the over the top-
John: When we created Leverage, one of the reasons we did it was because so many shows were chasing serial killers. I think it was Chris Downey who said, ‘You know what? Serial killers are covered. Let’s chase rich white dudes in suits.’
Amy: I think they're done.
John: There's only ever been 10 and they've been caught 100 times. And that was Apollo Robbins. This is a great- this is one of Dean's signature roundy-rounds. And I was saying the other day-
Dean: An amazing steadicam shot.
John: I was saying the other day, we've actually learned in the writers room how to assign dialogue to make this easier.
John: So rather than rewriting on the fly-
Amy: -we write towards the circle track.
John: Cause you can actually see. It goes- it's like triple play: it goes to Beth to Aldis to Chris to Tim and then back around again.
Amy: I love Parker; there’s always- always something secret going on, whether its secret nazis or-
John: Yeah well, we kind of establish it in The Day of the Hunter Job, Parker’s realm of knowledge outside of stealing is not good.
John: Like, anything that doesn't involve stealing, she will believe it if the other team members tell her. Oh this is great. I remember we shot this day. Dean, tell us about this bit.
Dean: Well this was one where we actually went full circle because we came in, we rehearsed it one way and it felt really good, but then we started to feel like, ‘Gosh we're not doing enough.’ And so then we reblocked the entire scene so we could all do more and have more happen, and then we all paused and went, ‘You know, the first one was much better.’
Dean: And that's what we went with.
John: Yup. What I think was part of what was driving that was because I was on set that day, ‘Do not touch the motion sensitive bomb.’
Amy: Thank you.
John: Was the fact that this was gonna be Gina's last episode, full day with the cast- And also, she really dug in on the fact that the character was going to die and it genuinely upset the cast. Like the cast was a little freaked out here; they got way- cause this is a very claustrophobic set, very claustrophobic scene. The way we usually shoot is we shoot longer takes. So we do the whole thing, like we’ve shot entire acts in one take at some point.
Dean: That's true.
Amy: Yeah. By the way, this bit with the pudding, I've known John for two years and this is the only time I've ever turned him on.
Amy: I wrote this bit, and he read the act and he came in and he burst into my office and was like ’hahaha’.
John: Remember you didn’t use it you; had talked about it and-
Amy: That’s true. That’s true. I brought it up in dialogue, but I didn't actually employ it. They didn’t- Parker didn't actually use it.
John: I actually kicked in the door- the only time I’ve yelled at you-
Amy: Yeah, he yelled at me.
John: I kicked in the door and said, ‘How do you come up with instant pudding in a motion sensitive bomb and not actually use it?’ And so we had- and Parker, we had Parker do it. There's a lot of great acting in here, there's a lot of Gina digging in on, sort of, Sophie's past catching up with her. Hardison-
Amy: But this is a scene where it’s really easy to overwrite it, because your instinct is sort of to write to the emotion of this scene like Sophie could die. But the point is to underwrite and let your actors find the emotion between the lines.
John: That beat right there with Chris and Gina.
John: There's a very nice recurring thing we try to do, which is, whenever it becomes something about killing someone, they go to Eliot because Eliot- because Eliot used to do that. And there's a nice moment there. I was actually there- oh look at that look. I love that look. Where-
Amy: Emotion between the lines.
John: Where basically Eliot signs off on the fact that she's probably gonna die and Gina and Eliot worked that out and it's just a lovely moment. Ahhh this is great, now how did we do this?
Amy: Gina just knocks this out of the park.
Dean: So Gina was very pregnant at the time, so we had to do a double for the wide shots, for the running, and Gina for the closeups.
John: Yeah, and then this is a miniature.
Dean: That's right. Well, the building is the actual building we shot at, but the explosion is a miniature that we shot at our parking lot that we digitally composited on top of it. Now at the time, people didn't know what we were gonna do with Gina's character because Gina was pregnant. So when we did this scene and we aired this episode a lot of people were really upset at this point because they actually thought we had killed her off of the show.
Amy and John: Yeah.
Dean: And early Twitters were very upset.
Amy: Were not favorable.
John: Were very angry.
Dean: How could you kill her off the show? But then-
Amy: This was originally intended to be the midseason finale, which in that case, the fans would definitely think for sure she was gonna be gone for a while or forever.
Amy: But we ended up adding two episodes to the end of the midseason run, so we did get to see her again.
Dean: I don't know what it is exactly, but for me, Parker’s performance- or Beth’s performance as Parker in this section here is reminiscent of some of the great comedians.
Dean: Because it's so subtle what she's doing. And a lot of this came out of Beth herself who said -
Amy: I rewrote this scene based on Beth's notes that you were so kind to give me, and it sort of- it made the scene like 10 times better. I don't even remember what it was originally, but-
John: She's trying to remember what her lines are to say as Parker and her eyes roll up like ‘what am I supposed to say’ and then she gets freaked out at seeing Gina dead and loses it.
John: And then she totally spirals out.
Amy: There's a lot going on in, like, 20 seconds; it's pretty funny.
John: And then Hardison having to go up and bail her out. And again, there's a lot of- there's a lot of stuff going on in the structure this year with Gina leaving, and just for that tempering and having us to accelerate that storyline- There's a lot of Hardison/Parker relationship stuff between the lines on all the shows, we just never made it an A plot, but you can actually see the relationship evolve over the course of the season, when you watch the entire season particularly, the second half. And of course Chris is wearing a bandana under his hat because that's when he had slammed his head onto the set.
Dean: In the previous episode.
Amy: Yeah, he’s got a giant scar on his forehead right now.
John: Beautiful cemetery up on a big hill in Portland, nice enough to let us shoot there. Beautiful, gorgeous location. And that's a nice bit of acting, too.
Dean: Yeah, just the little moment of him seeing her and then getting that shock of losing someone that he cares about.
John: Yeah, and just processing.
Amy: So far you've pointed out that your favorite moments are the ones where there's no dialogue, so I'm glad I could contribute to that.
John: Well you wrote- no no, that’s right, I usually go back and write the stage directions, but you do a lot of the-
Amy: This- and so it begins, when John makes fun of me throughout the commentary.
John: I don't make fun of you, just when you take too much credit.
Dean: This is the controversy.
Amy: I was taking no credit!
Dean: In this scene, the gravestone says Cathrine Klive, her actor name, and at the end Sophie Deveraux and a lot of people thought that was actually a mistake, but why don't you address that?
John: Well we were really- it comes up in the end. We really wanted- and this is sort of a meta structural thing - she wants to kill Sophie Deaveraux. She realizes Sophie Deveraux as an identity, as a life, is a dead end, and so she changes the tombstone so that she can eventually give up that identity. And it's interesting because what Sophie is- realized is that she's going down a dead end, and in theory she’s the current criminal and Nate is the honest man. Nate is also going down a dead end, but he's way too obsessive and blind to realize it.
John: And so by the end of the season, you’ll see Sophie is a lot more emotionally evolved than Nate is.
Amy: It's true. This is sort of the beginning of Nate’s spiral where-
John: Yeah, maybe the end of Sophie’s thing.
Amy: His priority shifts and, like, winning becomes more important than servicing the clients.
John: We just sort of tease in 206. Great scene between Griffin and- really that was kind of fun. Once we knew we had Griffin Dunne, a lot of these scenes became, ‘Alright, it's really just gonna be head to head.’
Amy: Yeah, yeah.
John: Yeah. It's just- we’re just gonna have the two of them- And the fact that they're friends was really helpful.
Amy: And this the promise of the premise when you do a crew vs crew episode. What you are promising to the audience is you're gonna have one-on-one faceoffs between the characters and their counterparts.
John: And this is part of the evolution of writing an episode, is when we were breaking this, we had a really hard time getting that up as fast as possible, and that's what you wound up- doing the inner cut break in at the opening. Because even though they weren't facing off at each other, we gave the audience the promise of the premise.
John: And the beautiful Hyundai Genesis. A fine automobile.
Amy: A fine, fine vehicle.
Dean: Beautiful peel out.
John: It was nice. In a cemetery!
John: There was a moment where I was talking to one of the actors, I looked down and realized I was standing on a civil war veteran’s grave. That was a little disturbing.
Amy: That’s classy Rogers.
Dean: I absolutely love the little makeup and hair choices of Gina in this scene, it's so 40’s noir.
Amy: Yeah, yeah the hair.
John: The whole episode she's playing 40’s noir. And it was a really interesting look, and not one we can do a lot because of the characters she's played, but this was interesting; she's not playing a character ever in this episode except in the opening.
John: I kind of liked her in the cop outfit.
Amy: It's one of my favorite running gags in the entire series of the show. Parker just not entirely buying that Gina’s actually alive.
Amy: ‘I'm not dead!’
John: Some part of her brain understands it, but the emotional center is so screwed up.
Amy: ‘I saw her in a coffin, ergo, she must be, in fact, dead.’
John: This is also great, is digging in on the fact that the whole ex-boyfriend/crew/guy who runs the crew she used to be with. And for a while, for like a minute and a half in the room, remember that character was Sophie's boyfriend for the whole first half of the season and this was gonna be the payoff, but we just never knew if we were gonna get the availability for that actor and we just couldn't risk it. And it also seemed a little dishonest she would hide that, so.
Dean: I love the Hardison line, ‘You saw other teams before us?’
Amy: ‘No, just another Nate.’
John: ‘Just another Nate.’ That's- yes, this is a big family beat of looks back and forth.
Amy: Lots of looks.
John: Now how did you- I remember you were very, Dean, very big into designing the other team’s headquarters.
Dean: Yeah, well I really wanted to feel like a mirror of our headquarters. But in a believable way in that they don't have permanent space so they’re in a small space. But I was trying to mirror even screen direction-wise that one team is looking left-right the other team is looking right-left so that we can really feel like these are absolute mirror images of each other.
John: Yeah even the looks left-right and right-left match.
Dean: That’s right.
John: Yeah, no it's interesting. And there's Apollo Robbins, who we haven't mentioned yet.
Amy: Apollo Robbins! Yes, he's our technical consultant on the show. He is a master thief. But not anymore, he's a good guy now. I feel like I should point that out.
John: Yes we should. You can't hire him to do crimes.
Amy: When I say consultant, I mean he's not actually a thief anymore.
John: This is also great; this is also the Mona Lisa scam. Why don’t you explain the Mona Lisa scam since you’re a research freak?
Amy: Oh great, now I’m-
Amy: Yes, 1911 there was a con man, I don't remember his name, but someone says it I think in this scene, where he created six forgeries of the Mona Lisa, stole the original, and then sold the six fakes on the black market to individual buyers as though they were the original and got six times the profit.
John: Some con and heist shows will just do that plot and act like they came up with it. [Coughs] Asshole! [Cough].
John: Rather than mention the fact that this is something that really happened, that you should honor.
Amy: This is something that really happened, that I actually read about.
John: Also used the Doctor Who's: The City Of Death written by Douglas Adams.
Amy: Oh yeah, oh yeah.
John: There you go. This is something else we did a lot of, which was the process of elimination bit with the screens. Remember we did it in Hunter too? And it's just kind of fun because it’s kind of something from my physics background which is all about probability. And the fact that a series of educated guesses- it's kind of like our version of detective work.
John: You know, it's like crime detection, it's a lot of fun. And yeah, and now we're really seeing Nate start to spin out of control.
Amy: But this is what I would call dueling competence porn.
John: Yes it is.
Amy: This, and the third act where the teams are doing their jobs and doing them well.
John: Competence porn, by the way, is a term- I forget how it came about, but it's basically-
Amy: It's just a room bit.
John: It’s a room bit. It’s like, you know what? I just like watching people who are good at their jobs doing it, especially if they're entertaining. A lot of it was from 208 was watching Beth Riesgraf- in 208 there was an entire act that's a break in-
Amy: Oh yeah.
John: That’s Beth breaking into a vault. And when you're writing it, you're like, ‘Gosh, that feels thin,’ and then you're watching it and you're like, ‘I'm watching Parker break into a vault for 15 minutes and this is amazing!’
Amy: I could watch it for 40 minutes.
Dean: This is one of my favorite bullet time shots that we’ve done.
John: Yes, now this is- now remember this is all done not digitally- well we do it really. We freeze everyone in the background and the cameraman walks through it and we digitally speed it up. What is this space? This is the-
Dean: This is an actual museum in Portland that we turned into our space.
Amy: Wasn't there a naked sculpture that you guys put a leaf on?
John: Yes, up in the upper level.
Amy: That's my favorite story.
John: Yeah. And then- yes, this is 4-way; this is not as insane as the one in the season opener.
Amy: But it’s still insane.
John: But this is a 4-way through about 100 extras.
Amy: I don't think Dean understands that we’re making television.
Dean: Well, you know, honestly you don't even attempt a shot like this without a steadicam operator like Gary Camp.
Amy: Gary Camp is amazing.
Dean: He's a serious feature film guy. I mean, that was all one shot.
John: Yeah. That's stunning. And then you bring it back to Parker- and this is also fun, is the fact that we make fun in the show. And this was- even when we did tap out and some people were like, ‘Oh, you're making fun of Lincoln, Nebraska,’ when we had Sophie make fun of the food. We’re not making fun of the locations, we’re making fun of the fact that Sophie’s a little princess.
John: She's not someone who does well with things that- and the van, the van, actually, over the course of the second season becomes a character.
Dean: I love that she's says about how it smells a little whiffy.
Amy: Which is a callback in The Future Job as well.
John: Yes, this is hard work, it smells like hard work. Yeah, Hardison's affection for the van.
Amy: Respect the van!
John: Respect the van, yeah.
Dean: Now this is actually the first scene where we’ll see the teams start to go head to head.
John: Yeah. Split up, call out your jobs.
Amy: This is the promise of the premise act, as we call it. And it's the Van Gogh that they're after, the Cafe Terrace At Night, I believe it’s called.
Dean: And this is a very important moment because it really established who Nate and Sophie were to the rest of the team. Nate being the one that makes the plans, but Sophie being the one who keeps them safe. And that had never been exposited before, and by doing that, it really set it up.
John: Boom! And then the parallel structure over to Hardison's opposite number, Chaos, played by Wil Wheaton, just four vans down.
John: That was really inspired. They’re the most twin of the bunch. Oh, and this is amazing. This is amazing because that's all real time. That wallet never came off. This was this whole section we just gave to Apollo.
Amy: Yeah. He's like, what can you do? And he just basically-
John: And he took Beth aside and they came up with a bunch of- it’s like, you know what? We're just gonna run camera, you just do a bunch of you do you, man.
Amy: By the way, there was no one else we had in mind for Apollo. Even when I was like- when I came up with the concept, and then I also did the outline, I also called the character Apollo, hoping at some point we would actually cast him.
John: But was the Wil Wheaton character originally a girl?
Amy: In fact, she was.
John: Yes, that’s right.
Amy: Yeah, it was- I believe it was a hot Latina-
Amy: -that he was going up against, and then at some point, you know, in the casting process I turned to you and I was like, ‘You know, we've been talking about Wil Wheaton for something. Is this not the prefect role or not?’
John: And Noa Tishby rocking the dress. Noa was actually in the Israeli army. So that was kinda cool as we were looking at a lot of different actresses and Dean had seen her tape.
John: And it was like, you know, I wanna try a different ethnicity. I wanna try a different look, and brought her in. And what's great is she looks like she can take a punch, you know, that's a tough chick. And she really did great in the fight scenes and was a really- we got really lucky in this episode.
Amy: Oh yeah.
John: You know, we usually have to cast one big role; we cast five.
John: And they were all great.
Dean: Now this fight scene was-
John: Ok I'm gonna take credit for this one because nobody else is-
Amy: I wasn't gonna take credit for it.
John: No shadow on this, I had to explain this 9 times.
Amy: Oh yeah, that’s right.
Dean: And this sequence was actually getting directed by Marc Roskin and you, John.
John: Yes, at two o’clock in the morning. But I will give Mark Franco big props for throwing the old 1970’s film look.
Amy: The film reel stuff.
Dean: I love it.
John: That is so great. The Shaw brothers look is that and this is the whole-
Dean: That's how they see- in their minds that's how they see fights, like the karate movies they grew up watching.
John: Yes. And this is based on two things. 1) a great story about samurais- I love that look that Chris did. Great story about two samurai who faced each other, knew each other’s skills so well they fought the entire fight in their head and walked away. And Warren Ellis’ character the Midnighter from The Authority comic book who has sort of the same thing. He does fights backwards in his head. Ah look at that, oh he's a great physical actor, too, it was really- it was nice, cause we cast Apollo, he's never done acting before, he'd never done TV before. And it's the one gamble on the whole show and he was fantastic.
Dean: And he totally pulled it off.
Amy: But he's just so damn charming, it’s like you, sort of, just believed from the beginning that he could do it.
John: Yeah, he's very dangerous.
John: It's really- if he ever turned evil, we'd be in a lot of trouble.
Amy: Oh my gosh.
Dean: This next sequence, outside, while I had done the storyboards for it, Marc Roskin shot the hell out of it. And what we wanted to do was an homage to the great Western movies, you know, the Spaghetti Western.
John: Well this was the challenge, and we talked about this when we were writing it. It’s like, nobody does hacking in an interesting way. There's no way to do hacking in an interesting way.
Amy: Visually it’s- filming it is not effective.
John: So abandon trying to do it with the computers and just do the metaphor, which is two guys pitting each other’s intellects against each other, and make it text.
Amy: And it's much more interesting, look at each other than looking at screens.
John: Oh and that timing is great, look at this, it’s just fantastic.
Amy: This is so nerdgasmic.
Dean: He even had that Spaghetti Western whistle.
Amy: Yeah. I remember the first cut it was only in there subtly and you were like, ‘Hey turn that up, man.’
Dean: Listen, I’m-
John: And look at the little holster move, too.
Dean: I'm all for subtly, I just want a lot more of it.
John: Oh no, Wil knocked it out of the park in this. Did you know that he had been doing a bunch of shows and people have come up and asked him to sign his autograph as this character?
Amy: As Chaos.
Dean: That's great.
John: Somebody came up with the anarchists cookbook and asked him to sign it as Chaos.
Dean: And I love that Sophie can’t use a computer.
John: Utterly useless.
Dean: She just closes it.
John: Well Hardison’s taught Eliot- and the look to the swords. We had so much fun coming up with different props in the scenes. And this was at 2 o’clock in the morning fight fight fight, you win. Fight fight fight, you win. And just- cause they had to learn the routines and we were banging it out in three sizes at a time, it was great. Then we shot the bird.
Amy: So many looks.
John: And this- you could run the entire Parker/Apollo scene without dialogue and you'd know exactly what's going on.
Amy and Dean: Yeah.
Dean: She's a little bit the Harpo. You know what I mean.
Amy: She's the Harpo.
John: She's the Harpo, he's Groucho in that scene, it's very subtle.
Amy: Is that Chase? Was that Chase walking towards the camera? It looked a little like Chase.
John: No, no. And this is, again, one of the rules, one of the hard rules of doing these shows. These shows are very hard, is that it can't be a random obstacle. Whatever is your obstacle heading into the third or fourth act must either be a product of the villains plan which you've already set in motion, or something that the team has screwed up or succeeded too well. And not screwed up too often cause that means they suck. So-
Amy: You make it sound like we did something good on purpose. That’s awesome.
John: Yeah, every now and then. And this is just- I want-
Dean: We almost didn’t do this.
John: We almost didn't do, but this is the punchline to the bit, that they're so locked into each other-
Dean: I'm so glad we did it.
John: Yeah. I actually was ready to bail on it, you were like, ‘Yeah, you know what? Let's make time.’ And the little look, and he gives them a bunch-
Dean: A bunch of crazy idiots.
John: Yeah, exactly. Now this is great, Nate’s totally lost in the need to win at this point.
Amy: Oh yeah.
Dean: I love Parker saying that, ‘The people in this line of work are unstable; we can use that.’
Dean: Completely not realizing that she's in that line of work.
John: Tapping the pad look at that and look at the look Chris- that's another thing.
Amy: ‘I'm totally helping.’ That's it.
John: Gina gives a little smile which I missed the first time I saw this show.
Amy: There's a lot of little subtleties.
John: And again, second season, you start pairing up things differently. Chris and Gina found a nice rhythm for Sophie and Eliot this year that wasn't there first year, just in the pairings. And we wound up working; it was nice. And this is- yeah, she killed a guy with a mop.
Dean: I love Hardison's jealousy about Chaos, the whole ‘ugh.’
John: Cause, you know, and it's a great thing of acting on Aldis’ part, you know he's beat him. You know that Chaos has beaten him a couple times. He's really- he’s not a pleasant loser, Hardison. And the nice little fist tap for the Kobayashi Maru.
Amy: Nice little knuckle bump, Parker.
John: Yup. Well that was another one of the little subtle things, that Parker has plainly sat down and watched like all nine Star Trek movies with Hardison because it was just something he did on a Saturday, you know?
Amy: Well she wants to see, you know, what normal people do.
John: Yeah, Hardison's probably a bad example of that.
Amy: I don't think that's right- the right choice.
John: There's not- you know-
Amy: I gotta say, I love Tim in this scene.
John: Yeah. He’s really mad.
Dean: This one, out of all the cutting back and forth, this was the trickiest because it had to match rhythm, intensity-
Amy: And dialogue.
Dean: -and dialogue.
John: That's right.
Dean: This was really tricky.
John: Line by line. And that was the tricky bit, too. We had to give both of them the entire script for each one so they could know what they were doing to each other. I think- did Griffin come down the first day and watch Tim?
Dean: I actually think this was Griffin’s either first or second day on the show.
John: That's right. Tim came down to watch- yeah, so he would know what he had done physically. There's a parallel structure even with the team. This was a lot of fun. But this is one of those things that looks really elegant, but scripting, it's a little chimpy. It’s like, once you know what you're going to do, this wrote pretty easy.
Amy: Ok, yes, but I'm gonna go on record in saying that this is the best third act we've ever done in the history of Leverage. I just love it so much.
John: Well, you know what? Again, this is something you sorta learn. We- you know what? You learn how to write the show while you write the show. This is when we really where we realize you only need to do one thing an act. We so tried to buff all the people and, ‘Oh look, at the incredible plot twist’ like, you know what? They're fun characters, they're good characters, let them do one thing.
Dean: Yeah, it's fun to watch them do their thing.
John: One thing every act.
Dean: And I love how they all started to get pumped up for it. On both sides, they are gearing up for game day.
John: This is a great act break.
Amy: Nothing about that act I dont like. And I had very little to do with it.
John: This is easily- this is one of my favorite shows of the season. Of both seasons.
Amy: Mine too.
Dean: And beautifully photographed by our great cinematographer, Dave Connell.
John: That's right, because we were shooting parallel; we were shooting inside the museum and outside. You were outside running back and forth.
Dean: Very intense.
John: And this is a lot of fun. All the security guys were great. Portland once again gave us a great, great acting pool.
Amy: Go Portland!
John: And then this was a lot of fun, was setting up the snarky dialogue and Aldis and Wil basically sat and sweated in their vans-
John: -for 6 hours. Cause Aldis is always going, ‘Nobody knows what it's like to work in the van’. That van is hot. So he was very glad to have a playmate.
Amy: Aldis had like one full day of shooting in the van and nowhere else.
John: Yeah, exactly.
Dean: I love the character Tim came up with here, that was great.
John: And Emily is actually the girl I went to prom with. That's where the name comes from.
Dean: Poor Emily.
John: Yeah I’m- hey!
Amy: I said nothing. If you noticed, I stayed quiet and said nothing. I'm learning.
John: And Tim plays drunk, distracting guy an awful lot this season. This- and by the way, the security guard that talks him down is great, he's got a really great comedic beat. This, by the way, is a stunning sequence.
Dean and John: 10 millimeter lens.
Amy: 10 millimeter lens?
John: Down in the basement.
Dean: And look at this steadicam move - down the stairs!
Amy: Running down the stairs.
John: This is a guy walking!
Dean: And then whipping around, that is-
Amy: This is inhuman.
John: It really is.
Dean: For steadicam artists, they will understand how difficult that shot is.
John: By the way, I like the fact that we just locked Beth into the air conditioning system.
John: ‘Are we gonna build one? No, there's one downstairs! Should we put Beth Riesgraf in moving machinery? If she's up for it.’
Amy: Not sure why we had to put the lock it, but that's ok.
John: It's a good look. And oh yes, it-
Dean: I think this is my favorite of all the air duct scenes, this is my favorite air duct scene.
Amy: This is actually-
John: Well like Two Horse- all of Two Horse where she was bitching while having to do it.
Amy: Oh yeah.
John: This is also- we built the most complicated duct system on earth for this.
Dean: Talk about the bird, because you were there for this.
John: Oh yeah, I- we thought the bird would be CG, much like, we thought we’d be on a CG roof the series premiere, instead we wound up in Chicago 40 stories up. Dean went and found a bird-
John: -a North American Kestrel. He said it would be easier to shoot a real bird that was trained, and so if you go on my blog you see pictures of the bird, but that's the last thing we did that night, so at 2 am we had this bird in a box, which was really beautiful.
Amy: No birds were harmed in the making of this episode.
John: No birds were harmed. It was a really beautiful bird. But yeah, the trainer was hiding right off screen to summon the bird to get it to fly across.
Dean: This was actually one of the most difficult fight scenes we've ever shot, mainly because of the small space they were in.
John: How did you get the camera up there?
Dean: We literally locked it onto the ceiling and just let it run for the whole day. And then hoped we had good material.
John: Oh cool. That everybody would hit their marks.
Amy: She's so intense, I love it.
John: And the- him switching back over to Hebrew, this was a lot of fun. Oh and ‘now I’ve got the lasers.’
Amy: ‘No, now I’ve got the lasers!’
Dean: His arrogance was just awesome.
John: The two of them were fantastic.
Amy: He’s almost too good at it.
John: Big thanks to Derek, yet again, for building a great interface that lets the audience know exactly what’s going on.
Amy: Derek’s our graphics guy, he's amazing.
John: Does all our computer stuff. And our security guards, you know, somewhat oblivious, but good guys.
Dean: That's just the oldest gag in the world that I love.
Amy: It flickers only when they're not looking at it.
John: You know what it is, it’s the Abbott and Costello, it’s the candle on Dracula’s coffin.
Dean: And I love that.
John: I love that reveal.
Dean: And he comes in dressed as, and named as, Nate Ford. I mean, that is just fabulous.
Amy: He's with the insurance company, what?
John: It is a great little, ‘Fuck you,’ from that character.
Dean: And Tim’s look at him for doing it, it’s just awesome.
John: But this was the fun of the fourth- and this was really hard when we were plotting. It's like ok, in the fourth act they have to be good, but they have to look like they’re losing. And they have to look like they're losing so bad you come into the fifth act not knowing if they won, and then we have to somehow pull it out.
Amy: Yeah. This, by the way, the scene with the two of them talking with the bird cage, was one of the first images that popped into my head when we were breaking this episode. I just love this.
John: But this duct tape- cause here's the thing, we have to shoot this direction and you have to shoot them crawling off these directions. This thing was huge, a human sized hamster trail. Took up an entire ball room for that one shot. Great fight scene, and we had talked about this, and this is a lot steamier and sexier than originally pitched.
Amy: It's literally steamy.
John: Dean was all over- like ‘I'm going to fight. I'm gonna shoot the steamiest fight scene that we've ever had.’
Dean: I thought it would be interesting to do a fight scene as a love scene.
Dean: And so the fight is actually foreplay.
John: And a dance. It’s really like a dance sequence. We used to always say fights are like dances because of the movement and everything, but you know, you took that very literally and everything, which was great.
Dean: Now, by the way, we've done lasers in several episodes before.
Dean: These are the best lasers we ever did by far.
Amy: It's pretty cool.
John: Yeah, and having them move, that was the key. It's yet another example of something that you think will be really hard, actually turns out to be a little easier and way cooler.
Dean: And way cooler.
Dean: And again, kudos to the effects artists. If you look carefully, you can see the lasers reflecting in her pupils.
John: Reflecting in her eyes. I know, that’s sick.
Amy: That's really hot.
John: That was really great. This is a big ‘they are screwed’ act out.
Amy: Oh my god, look at that!
Dean: That is so cool.
Amy: Why did I not notice that before?
John: And wet people fighting.
John: You know what? We give you everything on Leverage.
Dean: Little sex, little violence.
John: And it’s good.
Dean: And now we were able to take the hat off cause we were able to use the real scar on his forehead finally in the episode!
John: Also kinda cool, Kevin, our stunt coordinator, had them fighting in Israeli military style. That they were both- they had both sort of picked up- we always had Eliot kind of fight in that style, but the fact that that would be her training-
Dean: And I love that these two are standing next to Honest Abe.
John: And that's a great entrance. She's really got-
John: She's got 3 great entrances this year.
Amy: Yeah, she does.
John: One I'm not gonna talk about.
Amy: Cause you haven't seen it yet.
John: You haven’t seen it yet. But the Annie Croy entrance in the season opener was one of my favorite Gina bits, and then that.
Dean: Fabulous. Gina absolutely brought her A game this season.
John: And yup, this is our double just whipping through this.
Amy: That was me.
John: That was you? I forgot about that.
Amy: It's a secret skill. I don’t like to talk about it.
John: And that's the thing, that was footage of the gymnast whipping through those maneuvers with Beth popping up. The special effects people had to put the lasers through those moves to coordinate with- you know, ordinarily, you build these shots incredibly carefully. It was like, ‘No, here's the footage. Make it work.’
Dean: I love this old school crank.
John: ‘Can't hack a classic.’
Amy: More competence porn.
John: More competence porn. Hardison- the staff will tell you the first year we had Christmas together, I got them all wind up radios and flashlights.
John: I'm a big believer in emergency preparedness for the apocalypse.
Amy: He cares! He cares about us.
John: You mock.
Amy: Wants us to live through the world ending.
John: Well, you know. I play a lot of Left 4 Dead. I want to make sure my crew’s ready.
Amy: Alright, cool.
Dean: I love that - Parker not quite good at acting yet.
John: No. This is key, Parker can't do a long con. She can maintain it for maybe 4-5 minutes before her inability to mimic humans breaks down. And there we go.
Amy: By the way, this episode totally screwed my- the way I do story telling now, because I'm thinking as the criminal all the time.
Amy: Like, it's terrible. ‘How would I break into an auction house? Well to control the motion sensors-’
Dean: I love this beat right here.
Dean: Like, ‘Ahh, screw the fight.’
John: Well he knows he's won by this point, so it's just really-
Dean: And she's so turned on by the fact that he did, cause no one else has ever beaten her.
John: Yeah, that was a lot of fun, was the idea that people- it's, again, you respect someone who’s competent. And the hand- yeah the little look after the handcuff-
John: He actually looks a little scared there.
Amy: I know, I know.
John: He's like, ‘I got you! Oh wait, what did I get?’
Amy: ‘Is it over?’
John: This is nice.
Dean: In the original longer version, they originally kissed and then fell out of frame.
John: I missed that! I missed the fact that they banged out a quickie during the middle of the con.
Amy: Uh, no.
John: Alright, fine. By the way, Christian loves the badge on the chain. Anytime he can have the badge on a chain, he’s the happiest man alive. And Hardison-
Dean: A little bit of improv-ing by Aldis Hodge here.
John: Aldis- and again, this pops up in the next episode, Hardison always goes a little too far. He's never able to quite control the- he’s never able to get out without pushing it too far.
Amy: Are you saying that's going to catch up to him at some point?
John: That will catch up to him. The very next episode matter of fact. And yeah, this was a lot of fun driving police cars around Portland at six o’clock in the morning.
Amy: I'm sure no one was alarmed.
Dean: Now young filmmakers, that little move there is to get on the other side of the line.
Amy: Oh yes.
John: What was that?
Dean: So we- after we established them coming out of the building the camera slowly tracks over to the other shoulder on both sides, so now we're on the opposite side of the line and all of their looks have now reversed from the previous scene.
John: You and your looks.
Dean: But this allowed us to now do our car gag, because we couldn’t really blow up a car in this location.
John: At two o’clock in the morning.
Dean: So we had to whip-pan off of a look to a parked car, then later we blew up a model car and replaced it.
Amy: We did two miniature explosions.
John: I love this reveal. I love this look. It’s like, ahhh, it's like Christmas.
Amy: Always knew you were evil, Wil Wheaton.
Dean: And now the evil speech of evil.
Amy: The evil speech of evil!
John: The evil speech of evil! A crucial part of the- well, this isn't really an evil speech of evil. The evil speech of evil is usually when they are-
Amy: Yeah, it’s the evil griping of evil.
John: The evil speech of evil is just: define your behavior. He's straight up monologuing here.
Dean: This is a little bit more of the, ‘I would’ve gotten away if it weren’t for you meddling kids.’
John: Yes, exactly.
Amy: Are you saying this is a Scooby Doo?
John: In the original version of this, he pulls off the Wil Wheaton mask only to reveal he's still Wil Wheaton.
John: But he wears a Wil Wheaton mask. You know what? We should've called Wil for this.
Amy: Oh my god, why didn’t we do that? Now we gotta record it again.
John: I know. Maybe- You know what? We’ll do one on iTunes with him.
Amy: We'll do a special one.
John: And we may be playing Dungeons and Dragons while we actually do the commentary. This is great now. This is tough. And talk about- we had a couple different endings for this episode in this particular scene.
John: Go ahead.
Amy: I don't remember them, I just remember there were multiple endings. [Laughs]
John: We actually, for a couple different versions of the outline, had him lose. Had Nate and the guys lose.
Amy: Oh, that’s right.
John: And then our team conned them about the painting. And the moral was basically our team kinda sitting around, pissed off they lost, but they were still a family while the other team broke up. And it just didn't feel-
Dean: Wasn't satisfying.
John: It was one of those good writer beats- and that's why Dean’s actually a very valuable producing partner, because he's all heart.
John: Seriously man, he’s- and he’s, ‘I don't feel it.’
Amy: And we have none.
John: And we have none, because we’re writers and our blackened little hearts are shriveled away.
Amy: And our dark souls.
John: It's very easy when you're writing a con and heist show to get a little too clever for your own good.
Amy: It’s true.
John: And Dean’s a very good barometer on, ‘You know, do I really-? Am I gonna be happy with this?’ And you know, he’s right.
Dean: I like a little fromage.
Amy: Well what were the reasons-?
John: No, not fromage, but just, you know-
Amy: I think one of the reasons we were gonna have them losing was that this was gonna be episode three or four, and then we had the wild thought that we would bring the evil team back for episode seven.
Amy: And sort of do, you know, ‘We lost the first one, but we won the second one.’
Dean: There's the recall of your Emily story.
John: Yes, that's right, the little go to the dance with. No it's- oh and that's great.
Dean: Again, that was Apollo who came up with that idea.
John: Yeah, that they're picking-
Dean: A lockpicking race.
John: And also Beth tossing the lockpick into the air and catching it? After a week with Apollo, she’d really gotten disgustingly good. I think they're actually picking there.
Amy: Well Apollo has gone on record as saying Beth can actually be a professional pickpocket if she wanted to.
John: She's got soft hands.
Dean: And this is, again, one of those scenes where Christian shows you how good he is at comedy. How subtle he is when he realizes she may be the person who actually shot him.
Amy: Look at that look!
Amy: His eyes widen just like a millimeter, but-
John: Yeah. And that was an improv, I think. ‘Y’all nasty’. He's supposed to just look at it.
Amy: That’s awesome.
John: And Griffin doing the Nate Ford, ‘I'm an honest man’ speech here, incredibly uncomfortably!
Dean: Well, we always want the villain to suffer and this is how he suffers.
John: He’s just sweating it out.
Amy: He's getting more satisfaction out of watching Griffin Dunne lose than he is from getting the painting back to the clients.
John: Which is something wrong.
Amy: Yes, that's not right.
John: Sophie's actually the moral center of this scene.
Amy: This is the episode where they, in a way, sort of switch roles. She becomes the honest thief, and he becomes-
John: They were a lovely couple. God, these actors were nice.
Dean: Just amazing local actors.
John: No, this was a lot of fun. And then, again, giving him just enough rope to hang himself with. And making sure that he's pissed off enough to come back in season three.
Dean: The other part of this scene I like is, it really shows how far Sophie has come, that she’s actually not just doing this, she’s actually, really- she’s drank the kool aid by now. She really believes in what they're doing.
John: To a little bit more than Nate at this point.
John: Yeah. Which, you know, and that- we really took the, ‘You killed Sophie Deaveraux.’ And the funeral was a late addition; that wasn't in the first outline.
Amy: No, it wasn't. That was something that we added later.
John: Yeah it was.
Amy: But that was an element of knowing we were gonna lose Gina and trying to set up an awesome departure.
John: Yup. And that bomb thing wound up being really- Because originally- it was originally a sort of investigatory clue path and then when we lose Gina it's like, alright let's scare the audience a little here.
Dean: How did you come up with this bit of how they tracked-?
John: I think that was some geek bullshit I had in the notebook, I’m fairly sure. Whenever it’s some tiny minutiae of how phones work, it’s you know-
Amy: Good old GPS.
John: Yeah well, you know what? I think at the time there were some protests about the fact that you couldn't turn off the GPS tracking in your phone, and it was- they were talking about a lot in England you being able to do that, so that just kinda stuck.
Amy: Well I imagine all this would-
Dean: There's Chase!
Amy: See, yeah, there's Chase. I knew I saw him at some point.
John: Is this-? Yeah, here we go. All these great local actors.
Dean: And I love the security guard; this woman is fabulous.
Amy: So much personality, only a few lines.
John: And again, this is one of those things where you are trying to come up with a really clever way to screw him and then you suddenly realize, no, it’s just a box full of paintings; there's nothing really subtle about this. You’re just going to jail forever.
Dean: But in a way, this is what makes it work. ‘This is the real one.’
John: We had a couple of different notes, too.
Amy: He lost by winning. Cause what he wanted was the paintings, and we gave him the paintings, but that’s what did him over in the end.
John: Another rule: the villain must be brought down by their own sin.
Dean: Now this, for me, is my favorite scene for a number of reasons.
John: It’s a good scene.
Dean: First of all, just the lighting. We got this at the perfect time of day.
John: Yeah, how'd we get the lighting Dean?
Dean: We accidentally went over that day and somehow went into-
Amy: Oh accidentally?
John: Oh did the director somehow go over in the morning, so we just happened to be shooting at the magic hour?
Dean: It was odd how that worked out.
Amy: Oh interesting.
Dean: That we just happened to be in magic hour to shoot the romantic scene.
Amy: That is so funny.
John: What I love is the fact that you’d never work again as a director for boning your producer that bad, except you’re the producer?
John: No, this scene is stunning.
Dean: They both knocked it out of the park on this day. And for me, it's weird to say it because I directed the episode, but this is the best almost-kiss I’d ever seen before. And it's really the way they did it.
John: Yeah. This was another one where it was like, set up the cameras, let the actors work.
Dean: This was also a callback to what happened in the episode at the school, because-
Amy: Fairy Godparents.
Dean: Cause in the Fairy Godparents that she had never really been honest.
Dean: And here she realizes she doesn't know who she is anymore because she's been so many other people for so long.
Amy: She got dumped because she wasn't being truthful with her boyfriend, and she actually recited all the names of her aliases, and this is sort of the callback to her having to bury them in order to move on.
John: Yeah, she's more attached to fake people than real people and it’s caught up with her. And this is the moment where Sophie Deaveraux becomes a better human being than Nate Ford.
Dean: And that red coat was totally Gina.
John: That was Gina. That's right, she came in with that she and Nadine went hunting for that. This is a great almost kiss.
Dean: Ow! Ow!
John: This was an Italian over. This is- what's that terminology?
Dean: It’s a French over. Rather than being in the front of them, you're over their backs and then this walk away.
Amy: The Italian over is you're drinking wine while you’re doing it.
John: And this walkaway was fantastic with that light right there!
Amy: Through the trees! It's so pretty.
John: You knew what scene was good when we were shooting it because I was watching it on the monitor and I turned around and all the local PA’s were standing behind us watching the scene and two of the girls were crying.
Dean: Yeah. It was awesome.
John: You just really nailed it. And that was going to be the summer season ender, 207, and wound up being still a great send off for that character. And really one of the best episodes of the two years I gotta say.
Amy: Yup, it's one of my favorites for sure.
Dean: For me it's almost like the two part season finale of one, season one, done in one episode.
Amy: Yeah, exactly.
Dean: So thank you for watching.
John: Thank you for watching.
Amy: Thanks everybody!
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