LEVERAGE: Dean Devlin Teases 'The Office Job,' Guest Stars, the End of the Season and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LEVERAGE: Dean Devlin Teases ‘The Office Job,’ Guest Stars, the End of the Season and More

December 4, 2011 by  

The LEVERAGE characters have found themselves in a variety of difficult situations over the years, but Sunday night’s brand new episode finds them in an unusual bind — thanks to a pesky documentary being shot, their every move is being tracked by cameras as they work a job. Yep, it’s as if THE OFFICE and LEVERAGE had a warped baby. (And that is a very good thing.)

To get some intel on the episode — plus some dish on upcoming guest stars, the end of the season and much more — I went to LEVERAGE executive producer Dean Devlin to see what he could share…

Was this episode specifically designed to pay homage to THE OFFICE or another mockumentary show? Or were you guys just amused by the genre that seems to have taken over our televisions these days?
Dean Devlin: All of the above. Obviously, there are some very clear references to THE OFFICE in the show, and it is a love letter to the show. But you’re right, it is scripted versus non-scripted in a way. It’s a comment on our culture, how everything has to happen in front of a camera or it’s not real. [Laughs] And it’s a chance to show our characters in character, revealing [insights into their true] character, and that’s always for us, the most fun we can have.

Given how much our guys are exposing themselves in this episode, should we expect eventual fallout from their antics?
DD: Everything that happens over the course of the series are all little deposits in the bank that will  payoff as we begin to realize the consequences of their actions. As the season finale comes, you’ll see how all of these things aren’t random.

Very interesting. I know the last time we spoke, you were getting ready to go up and shoot the two-part season finale. What can you share about that experience and those episodes?
DD: The finale, we always try to end with a big movie each season, and this is no different in that regard. I will say to the fans, for those who really enjoy the show, if they’ve watched episodes — especially if they’ve seen the pilot — there’s a lot of information that comes in the season finale that is especially fulfilling to people who are followers of the show. Characters who we haven’t seen in a long time will return, storylines we’ve forgotten about finally coming to their conclusion and realizing how they interweave. This season finale more than any is a love letter to our fans who have stuck with us and watched the show.

There are a ton of guest stars who are teased for this second half of episodes…are they going to be appearing in that finale or will they be popping up in other places?
DD: Some that are spread out throughout the season like Jeri Ryan comes back in the second half and the character of Hurley comes back in the second half. We get to see a lot of familiar faces and surprising familiar faces. Nate’s father is going to show up. We’re going get to see Wil Wheaton again. Richard Chamberlin is going to make an appearance. So it’s really great to get these characters to show up.

I know that Nate’s father and his ex-wife are both appearing the second half of the season — will they be appearing in the same episode?
DD: That I’m just going to have to let you see. [Laughs]

That’s a big old “maybe.”
DD: Spoilers!

Speaking of spoilers, one of the new people who will be appearing on the show is Emma Caulfield. Details of who she’s going to be playing have been kept underwraps, but what can you share?
DD: I don’t want to give too much away on that episode because it’s  one of my faves, but it’s a really fun episode and it’s one of the episodes that really moves forward the Nate and Sophie relationship.

Interesting. Does she have a past with either one of them?
DD: I’ll just say she is a formidable foe for our team.

That was appropriately vague. One of the people not listed on TNT’s press release of upcoming guest stars was Mark Sheppard (Sterling). Sterling does potentially have a big piece of information for Nate…
DD: I can only tell you this: Mark Sheppard’s character is integral to our show and we haven’t seen the last of him.

You’re being as vague as he is!
DD: [Laughs] That’s why he’s cast all the time. I was once asked the question, “Why don’t you create a show for Mark Sheppard?” I said, “Mark Sheppard doesn’t need a show; Mark Sheppard is on every show!” [Laughs]

You’re not wrong about that.
DD: He’s such an incredible actor, he’s so much fun to work with. Once someone works with him, they can’t wait to get him back.

Will we be seeing Sterling’s daughter again?
DD: Not this year, but maybe in the future.

Have you guys started planning season 5 yet?
DD: We just started. What we do is every season, we go up to Oregon before the season and we do a tour of locations we haven’t shot yet. We’re always worried we’ve shot everything, and every year, we’re always amazed by all the amazing things we haven’t shot yet. So we just got back from the trip, saw incredible places and came up with at least a dozen episodes while we were up there. Those ideas will go into the writers’ room, we’ll see which ones blossom and which ones don’t, but [LEVERAGE co-creators] John [Rogers] and Chris [Downey] are already hard at work plotting out where we go and where we end up.

Obviously the show is doing really well for TNT, but this is a show that theoretically could use a predetermined end date — hopefully many years down the line. Have there been any discussions with the network like, “Hey, we want to run the show X more years, can we start planning towards that?” Or are you content to play it year-by-year?
DD: John and I already know what the very last episode is. And we talk about it a lot. Each year, we always say, “Maybe this is the season that ends with that episode.” But I think for us, it’s really about how long can this stay creatively fresh? The minute we feel it’s starting to get stale, we want to pull the plug. The show’s already run longer than we thought it would, we’re having more fun than ever, the ideas are flowing, it feels fresh and as long as it does, we want to keep making the show. But the minute we start to feel like we’re treading over old ground again, I think we want to start to build up to this climax we know is coming.

Well, if you guys got 12 episode ideas just from exploring Oregon, it seems like you aren’t tapped out yet.
DD: It’s amazing. If you had asked me before I done this, “Can you still be excited about making an episode 77 episodes into it?” I wouldn’t have believed you if you said I would. Everybody — even Tim Hutton (Nate) said to me the other day, he said, it feels like they just started making the show.

It certainly feels fresh for the audience. There have been so many out-of-the-box LEVERAGE episodes this season.
DD: That’s the thing — we’ve been allowed to do some really innovative things this year, whether it was the episode that flashed back to World Word II or the upcoming two episodes that both take place on the same night. Having the freedom to creatively tell stories in unusual ways really frees up the show and allows us to get excited about it and to take fresh angles at looking at it.

Was TNT at all cautious about having the upcoming episodes where one week focuses on what the men are doing on one night while the next week’s hour shows what the women were doing in the same time frame? Sometimes networks can get a bit panicky if you don’t have all your stars in every episode…
DD: You know, the beautiful thing about working with TNT is that the only notes that they ever give us is make sure it stays smart and make sure it stays fun. So to get that kind of support where it’s never about ego, it’s never about the silly note that makes no sense for the show, that’s why shows on TNT are so good, that’s why it’s so much fun to work at TNT. They don’t waste your time with a lot of nonsense. When they come to you with a note, it’s because they really feel strongly about it, and they thought about it and they have a really intelligent point of view. You may not agree with it, but you understand it. And it makes the working relationship a partnership as opposed to having an overlord.

I imagine that is refreshing, because I can’t picture most networks are like that.
DD: I’ve never had this experience before, I can tell you that.

LEVERAGE airs Sundays at 9 PM on TNT.


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