Aldis Hodge, who plays Hardison on TNT’s Leverage, recently spoke to the press about the upcoming season, how he got started in the acting business, and about the possibility of playing baseball legend Jackie Robinson in a movie based on the man’s life. He was as sweet and as personable on the call as his character is in the show, and it was a lot of fun speaking with him. It’s always nice when a celebrity repeats your name at some point when answering your questions. It shows they are truly listening and not just… phoning it in, so to speak.
Check out some of the great questions & answers from Aldis below. Also, if you’re on Twitter, you can follow him: @Aldishodge02. Say hello to him sometime!
On the relationship between Parker & Hardison and what’s developed since last season
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Parker and Hardison – they definitely take major steps as far as, you know, realizing their affection for one another and how they feel. And they’re growing. They definitely grow emotionally. They – their bond of friendship grows and gets a lot stronger this season.
Now as far as romantically, it’s still something that they’re figuring out and trying to test the waters. They don’t know if they should or shouldn’t. You know, it can ruin a lot.
You know, it’s very scary and very new and very exciting but we see them play with that idea more and more throughout the season and it gets juicy. That’s all I can say.
[Note from Jenny: My first question!]
On whether or not Nate’s drinking is going to affect the team
You know I think at this point the team is used to having a drunk and I think they just let him go his way. You know, we’ll see how it plays out. I can’t say anything on it because I want the audience to see. But it does play out a little bit early this season but as far as Hardison’s character, specifically, you know, I think he understands who Nate is and who Nate has been for the past few years.
So he’s, you know, just – he’s always just about look, you do what you want to do as long as we get the job done.
[Note from Jenny: My second question!]
On shooting the premiere episode
That was – it was an amazing time because we actually went to Mount Hood – we were shooting on the mountain and it just so happened that during our shooting time, they had the warning for the biggest blizzard that they’ve had in their history and we actually did – it was going on as we were shooting.
So we had that to deal with. But we had scenes where we were supposed to be coming in out of the snow all, you know, snowed up and all cold and all that kind of stuff and whenever they told us to go get snowed up, you know, like the director and production, they really – when they said that, they meant okay. Have makeup come around, toss some snow on us – a little fake snow and have us go do our thing.
The cast – our interpretation of it was go outside, go jump into the big pile of snow that was like ten feet down on set – you know, the first floor. So we were stuck on the second or third story. I don’t know. And we kept jumping into the piles of snow. We kept having snowball fights in between takes and then we would come in and do the scene. But we would do that every single take.
But we got the job done. We got the job done. And then of course we go and make a video of ourselves jumping about ten feet down and then we show John Rogers, our creator, and he nearly has a heart attack.
So we almost killed somebody but we’re all good.
On his favorite episode or moment to shoot
Well my favorite episode to shoot – I have to say episode 4 or 5 (a bank roll job). I basically got to play young Danny Glover because he comes in. He’s narrating his story and the characters go back in time and we met. We are seen as the character that he’s telling the story about so, you know, I get to basically be the younger version of him which is an honor to because it Danny Glover. It’s like acting royalty right there.
So I was really honored to have that experience and that opportunity but as far as like where – what’s going on with Hardison for this season. I think he’s been forced more than, you know, more than a couple of times to challenge his romantic feelings for Parker and that’s something he’s trying to figure out. I think that, out of all things, is his biggest adversary.
So and not necessarily in a negative way; it’s just something that he’s trying to figure out, you know, whether he should or shouldn’t. So he’s going to keep testing those waters. But as far as him personally, I think he’s gotten himself together and he’s back on track. You know, he’s back doing the same thing. He (doing it) and he’s doing it well.
On whether or not he’s a tech guy like his character
So you’ve got to realize that. But yeah. No, people think that I’m some kind of wiz and you know just I’m not. But you know I’ve learned a little bit along the way. It’s still not enough to be anywhere near the – in competition with my character but I’m getting by.
On how he got started in the business
I started when I was 3 years old in New York. My brother and I we were on Sesame Street for about two years and then, you know, we did a few things here and there. I did a film called Die Hard with a Vengeance and then after that we ended up on Broadway for about two and a half years.
Really I was watching my brother because he’s – my brother, Edwin Hodge, he’s the one who started first and I followed suit and I just kind of learned from and was inspired by him doing it at first. And my mom just, you know, she supported me and allowed me to do – to pursue my dreams.
But I think because my mother made it a privilege and not necessarily a priority, at a young age was why we were forced to make sure that we wanted this because she said look, education always comes first. If you don’t have those As, there will be no acting. No As and Bs, no acting, no auditioning, no nothing.
So we had to really – she made us earn this acting thing. So, you know, it were forced us to actually learn the world we were in, immerse ourselves in the craft of it and try to be our best at it because we wanted it and we had to earn it. It wasn’t given to us.
[My mother] was definitely strict but [she’s] a sweet lady. She’s one of the sweetest ladies I know. She’s the best lady I know. So yeah. She was very much a discipline enforcer though and all about the education.
On the possibility of getting to play Jackie Robinson and why he is drawn to the role
Well it’s the fact that Jackie Robinson is such a pioneer in his day. He had so much going against him in his timeframe; you know, with his ambition. And I think a little bit of that draws me still today for certain types of people and, you know, any time that you are that much of – I don’t want to say a martyr but in a sense, he put himself out there in a world that really was saying hey, you have no chance. You’re going to fail. And he did it. He broke through. He made a change and he contributed so much more to sports and even more to just the way of life and the way people think on a daily basis.
You know, and in a sense, I would say – in a sense of sports, you know, he’s you know like, you know, MLK or Malcolm X to politics. You know what I’m saying?
He pioneered the change and he actually succeeded in doing that. And it was a change for people, not simply just himself. It’s not something that affected him solely. It wasn’t a selfish endeavor. He pioneered a change for people whether he knew he was doing it or not.
So if ever I did get the chance to play such an honorable person, that would – I mean that would be – yeah, that would be like a dream for me. You know, whoever it is.
But man, Jackie Robinson. Man, he’s – that’s the guy.
Don’t miss the premiere of Leverage tonight on TNT at 9/8c. I’ve seen the episode, and it really is a great one!