Gina Bellman discusses flawed characters for the Home Entertainment release of Leverage Season 4
Released today on home entertainment, the penultimate season four of Leverage is now available to own on DVD.
To anticipate the release of the penultimate fourth season of Leverage on DVD, The Fan Carpet had the opportunity to speak with Leverage’s Grifter Stacey Sophie Devereaux who away from righting the wrongs on the small screen goes by the name Gina Bellman.
With the term “cancellation” in place of “concluded” doing the rounds we spoke to Gina about the possible abrupt end to the show, why flawed characters are so compelling, the timely nature of the show, and the memories she’ll take away from her five years of playing Sophie Devereaux.
There seems to be a sense of feeling that Leverage was cancelled, in which case U.S. audiences were deprived of a farewell season unlike UK audiences.
We knew that it was going to be the last season. John Rogers always said from the beginning that there were going to be five seasons, and midway through the fifth season we knew that it was ending. You can see from the final episode that it’s definitely a resolution; it’s definitely the finale, the end of an era.
It was a great opportunity to know in advance so that we were able to properly wrap up the characters for the fans. The show has such a big fan following that it would have done them a real disservice to leave it hanging, and not resolve the journeys of how these characters were going to move forward. I didn’t ever get the feeling that people didn’t feel that it hadn’t been resolved. I feel that John sort of gently sent all of the characters sailing off.
So despite the frequent use of the word “cancelled” the show was in fact always planned as a five arch season, and reached its natural and intended conclusion?
Yeah, I think that that was the case. I mean if TNT said we really want… I think there always was or at least we always played with the possibility of there being spin-offs. Then of course everyone did those little solo episodes in the final season. I did that heart to heart Nick and Norah episode with Tim, and there was a sort of possibility, there was a sort of window open to there being spin-offs, but I don’t think anyone ever took it too seriously.
With TV being a well-oiled machine, you cannot take for granted that you will get an opportunity to shape the characters and/or the show. Has your experience with the creators of Leverage been a collaborative one?
You have to get lucky with who creates the show. Fortunately I have had really good experiences. On Coupling we had Steven Moffat who wrote every episode and so that was always sort of intact. On Leverage John Rogers who created the show stayed on for the entire run. When you spend five years on something you definitely start writing to the actors skills. I think he introduced more comedy for me, and you’ve got Christian doing a big hockey episode, and so he did play to people’s strengths. There do tend to be hiccups because new writers come into the room and they are not particularly orientated to what’s come before. Occasionally you’ll get an episode where someone was previously a vegetarian, and a season later they are tucking into a steak. But this was a very collaborative experience because you could always walk into the writer’s room and say, “I don’t think she would do that.” It was a very open process.
Leverage’s cast are a group of flawed characters. What is that makes flawed and anti-heroic characters so compelling for audiences?
I think it is basically what made this show such a success - the on-line audiences and that people want to belong to a family. Also we are all flawed. Some of us are more isolated than others, and some people have better social skills than others, but ultimately you are looking to belong somewhere. Any kind of drama about a group of people coming together is compelling because I think audiences are always rooting for the family unit, and they want people to find their place in the group. So I think that’s what works well with Leverage. You see this group of very flawed characters who have issues with trust coming together and becoming a family, and depending on one another.
Leverage Season Four is out now on DVD