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Interview: Oscar Winner Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman on TNT’s New ‘Leverage’ Series

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CHICAGO – After hearing comical interpretations of leverage from HollywoodChicago.com readers – including “taking someone’s pet hostage,” “having goons, paying them well and feeding them well” and a “push-up bra” – Academy Award-winning actor Timothy Hutton jumped into his “Leverage” character and said it’s just one matter-of-fact word: “power”.

Academy Award-winning actor Timothy Hutton is photographed in Chicago on Dec. 2, 2008 in this exclusive HollywoodChicago.com portrait for the TV series Leverage, which premiered on TNT on Dec. 7, 2008
Academy Award-winning actor Timothy Hutton is photographed in Chicago on Dec. 2, 2008 in this exclusive HollywoodChicago.com portrait for the TV series “Leverage,” which premiered on TNT on Dec. 7, 2008.
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

“I say at the end of the first episode: ‘You’ve just had this terrible thing happen to you. You’re going through a hard time. But don’t worry. We’re here. We provide leverage,’ a mellow Hutton said in a Chicago interview with HollywoodChicago.com critic Adam Fendelman about the new TNT series. “In our show, leverage can mean a lot of things, but really it comes down to power.”

Hutton added with more specificity: “It’s the strategic application of power to gain a favorable result. That could go right in Webster’s Dictionary.”

But does Hutton – who has made a career out of supporting roles and won such an Oscar for 1980’s “Ordinary People” from director Robert Redford – have the star power to lead a TV series in the way Kyra Sedgwick is the closer in TV’s “The Closer”? That’s the bet by series directors Dean Devlin and Jonathan Frakes (who played William T. Riker in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”).

Hutton himself doesn’t think he was necessarily the one man for the job, though, since the inception of the series. He feels he evolved into the role over time.

The Leverage team from left to right: Aldis Hodge, Beth Riesgraf, Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman and Christian Kane
The “Leverage” team from left to right:
Aldis Hodge, Beth Riesgraf, Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman and Christian Kane.
Photo credit: TNT

“As time went on, we (referring to himself and “Leverage” star Gina Bellman) eventually fit. I don’t know that either one of us was the immediate likely person,” Hutton said. “I am happy they asked us because it’s a really great script. Once this team comes together, we get to do so many different things to carry out the con or sting operation. That’s very appealing to all of us.”

All the while, Hutton’s Nathan Ford character is experiencing his own character evolution and inner conflict. He initially disowns the concept of being a criminal – like his “Ocean’s Eleven”-like teammates – and views himself in a very different light from the rest.

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