Mark Sheppard Talks LEVERAGE and Keeping Secrets - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Mark Sheppard Talks LEVERAGE and Keeping Secrets

August 28, 2011 by  

LEVERAGE has been having a pretty fantastic season so far, right? Unfortunately, all good things must come to a (temporary) end, and Sunday is the show’s midseason finale.

The good news? The series will return on November 27 with 8 additional episodes to conclude season 4. The great news? Tonight’s hour, “The Queen’s Gambit Job” is a ton of fun. The best news? The midseason finale also marks the return of Mark Sheppard’s Sterling!

To celebrate the occasion, Give Me My Remote spoke with Sheppard about his reappearance, the Sterling-Eliot tension and the secrets he has to keep…

What can you tease about Sterling’s reappearance in LEVERAGE’s midseason finale?
MS: I think it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Sterling will appear at some point. Their worlds collide on a pretty regular basis. In this situation, Sterling very much has a time crunch in terms of an issue and in the time crunch, needs a group of people that he can rely on. And the best people for that job is the team. They’re the people that he knows and for a change, he brings them something, he brings them a job, brings them a situation where he needs help. It’s a great episode, it’s a really interesting episode. What happens from there is fabulous.

I think the biggest deal between the characters of Nate and Sterling is our relationship hasn’t changed much in the last four seasons. It hasn’t changed much at all. What has happened is that the audience has gotten more and more tidbits of information of where we came from and what happened between us and I think that’s something that’s so fascinating. It’s very interesting to see Sterling need Nate’s help in this situation.

That in itself is noteworthy, because I don’t think any other character has really gotten under the team’s skin to the extent that Sterling has.
MS: Sterling was established early on as someone who could do a lot of damage to Nate and that’s why the team is very protective of him in that way. I think especially for Eliot, Christian [Kane]’s character, his job is to protect Nate, and that’s what his job has been. And Sterling is usually a direct threat to Nate. It’s always fascinating, because Sterling always treats the team like they’re completely expendable. Completely. And the more times we interact and the more times we come back together, especially with Eliot, every time we’re together, it’s becoming harder and harder to hide the antagonism. So it is fascinating. How do you work with someone you really despise? This episode, I will give you a reveal in that Spencer and Sterling spend a little too much time together, I think. [Laughs] Certainly for Eliot’s taste. And it’s always fun. It’s so much fun to play with Christian, it’s a lovely thing that we’ve built back in season 1 that we really carried through to the end of season 2 — that he just wants to tear Sterling apart.

My kids are both fans of the show and we watch the show whether I’m in it or not. And my 11-year-old and my 6-year-old love the show, and their favorite character is Eliot Spencer, which really annoys me. [Laughs] One day, [series creator John] Rogers and Amy Berg, who was writing the show at the time, were at my house and I think we were watching BATTLESTAR [GALATICA], which was on at the time, and [my son] Max went, “Why don’t you have my dad fight Spencer?” And I’m like, “Oh my God, why would you say something like that? That’s ridiculous! What are you trying to get me killed?” And they went, “Hmm. Interesting. How do you get a guy that never loses fighting a guy that never loses a fight?” That was the conundrum. It has been an awful lot of fun to do. I love those guys. It’s always so much fun to go up there and play. It’s so much fun. I’m glad that the character has resonated with the audience and they keep asking. If they keep asking, I’ll probably keep coming.

That’s great to hear, because obviously whenever he shows up, there’s all that history, which is so much fun to play around with. And as you mentioned, with the whole Eliot-Sterling tension, I feel like we’re leading up to the day when those two just have an insane fight. I think Sterling will hold up better than we’d think, but it certainly feels that every time they meet, Eliot is just waiting for the day that they can really throwdown.
MS: Well, here’s the interesting thing — I’m the only one he’s hit who he hasn’t knocked out. Remember that. I fought him back. He usually deals with giant guys that he’s beaten the hell out of, but he didn’t get that way with me. There could be a rematch in the cards, but I think when [fans] see this episode — what fascinates me about this episode is that instead of trying to propel us forward into certain situations which would truly alter our characters’ relationship, they’re trying to discover what brought us to our point. And I think that’s just a great way to go, because Sterling is attached. Sterling is attached to the team. There’s no way past it, because they’re in the same circles in the same world. And so it’s always fascinating to see how it will be managed and what the outcome will be, you know?

Completely. I know you mentioned if they call, you might come back to film more on the show. Can you say whether you’re in any episodes beyond Sunday’s midseason finale?
MS: I could say, but that would be spoiling that for you, wouldn’t that?

Sort of like how you played coy about whether you’ll be returning for SUPERNATURAL right before the Comic-Con panel where they confirmed you will indeed be back?
MS: Well, I was doing my job!

It is your job to tease, so you did it well.
MS: And [SUPERNATURAL] put me in the teaser for season 7! So the situation is what the situation is. My job is to protect it the best I can. We’re fans. We love the shows. If you’re talking about SUPERNATURAL or LEVERAGE or DR. WHO or anything else I do. Or BATTLESTAR or other things. There are secrets to protect, and that’s on us. We don’t want to be spoiled, you know? Though I do believe there is a limit to that. A week after the damn thing has aired, it’s your own fault if you’re trying to not watch it.

And given your penchant for being on shows that require many of their plotlines to be kept insanely quiet, what do you feel has been the hardest for you personally to keep a secret?
MS: BATTLESTAR. Obviously the end of BATTLESTAR. We were pursued! The amount of stuff that came out about what they thought the ending was. What was amazing was the truth is that fans did not want to know. Did not want to know. And that’s a really, really strong lot. And we kept it [secret] for six or eight months? From the time that we stopped to the time that it aired, it was incredible. And that was something we were really, really, really, really proud of.

But I’m just as proud of the reveal at the end of season 2 of LEVERAGE. That last second, which [executive producer] Dean [Devlin] shot — which he said is his favorite reveal he’s ever shot — where just when you think the FBI has cornered them in the building and they’ll shoot their way out and then they turn around and I appear at the last second. I took my name off the credits, because that’s what you do — you hide the secret, you keep the secret. I’ve done it with SUPERNATURAL a few times. And I’ll continue to do it because you have to protect the story. You have to protect the integrity of the story. I love that. The fans have been really good to me, and I have to be good to the fans.

If I say anything too spoilery, I’m probably lying. I was asked in Chicago, is there any show you’d really like to be on? And I said, “TORCHWOOD would be fun or DR. WHO.” I was already booked on a flight the next day to shoot DR. WHO! I can’t tell anybody anything about what I’m doing anymore. It’s all a secret!

Basically you just need to be on a sitcom so there are no secrets to keep.
MS: That’s why [fake SUPERNATURAL spin-off] OH, CROWLEY would be the ideal. Or we could do Sterling. We could do two spin-off shows right now, two half-hour spin-offs: OH, CROWLEY and OH, STERLING.

The LEVERAGE midseason finale airs Sunday, August 28, at 9 PM on TNT. Will you be tuning in?

Follow @GiveMeMyRemote and @marisaroffman on Twitter for the latest TV news. Connect with other TV fans on GIVE ME MY REMOTE’s official Facebook page.

And to be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel at

Filed under #1 featured, Leverage

Comments Off on Mark Sheppard Talks LEVERAGE and Keeping Secrets


Comments are closed.