Leverage: Redemption

Leverage: Redemption star Gina Bellman on Sophie’s return without Nate

When Leverage: Redemption premieres Friday on IMDb TV, Sophie Devereaux will be a different woman. Gina Bellman’s character comes out of retirement to rejoin Team Leverage, and she’s doing it without the love of her life—as Timothy Hutton’s Nate Ford is not part of the Leverage revival.

What was it like for Gina to play Sophie without Nate? What made her want to return to Sophie in the first place? And what is it about Leverage: Redemption that has her excited? She answered these questions and a few more for me ahead of the series premiere. Find out what it’s like when the con is back on!

Brittany Frederick: It’s been most of a decade since Leverage ended. What was your process for finding Sophie again and getting back into the rhythm of playing her?

Gina Bellman: Don’t overthink it was my first thought. I did go back and watch some episodes; I think that it would have been quite scary to jump back in not having kind of checked in. What’s great about Leverage: Redemption [is] where it starts, how it all happens accidentally in the pilot and it’s a big adrenaline rush and they’re just going to have this one adventure. I think that the pilot episode feels [like] we can meet the characters for the first time now as well. We meet the Harry Wilson character, and then we meet the Breanna [Casey] character in the second episode. It feels like a real starting point.

I think that Sophie’s changed a lot in the interim as well. She comes to this as a much softer person. She’s less flightly. She’s less kind of unsettled. I always felt she was kind of unsettled and ready to make a quick exit stage left. I didn’t try to approach it by looking back; I approached it looking forward. Where is she now? Where is she heading? What direction is she going in? I found that to be a bit more helpful.

BF: Sophie returns without Nate, the character she was closest to. What was it like to play her without him after everything that went into that relationship?

GB: I don’t really think of it in those terms, because as an actor you have to be extremely adaptable. You work with different people all the time and that’s part of the job. Especially on something like Leverage: Redemption where it’s the story of the week and so we’re in a different world every week, we’re always adapting to our environments. It’s always been an incredibly inclusive show. I’ve worked on shows before where there’s a little bit of a divide between the regular cast and the guest stars that come in, but for us the shows are about the guest stars. We radiate around them and that’s always been our feeling. Because the world changes every week and we have so many great guests coming in, you just roll with it. There’s a different adventure every episode. 

Leverage: Redemption
Gina Bellman (left) and Beth Riesgraf in a scene from Leverage: Redemption. (Photo Credit: IMDb TV/Courtesy of ID-PR.)

BF: Leverage was also known for its creative plots; the show could really go anywhere and do almost anything. Were there stories in Leverage: Redemption that were particularly fun for you?

GB: The interesting thing about being an actor is that the first script you first get isn’t often the show you end up with. You always have your favorite epsiodes that you read on paper and they don’t always wind up being your favorite episodes that you see up on screen. I tend to gravitate to the ones where I get to do physical comedy and silly voices and really push myself comedically, because that’s my happy place. What I love about the show is it’s got so many dimensions, and I did find that the episodes I really, really loved on paper are not the ones you end up really loving when you’ve worked on them and seen them. 

BF: Speaking of comedy, you in particular got to do a lot of comedic moments in the middle of serious plotlines. How do you strike that balance?

GB: That’s what I really love about the show, is that we do take on these serious themes and the plots are very sophisicated, but we bring this kind of lightness of touch to it. We go into so many different worlds. There’s some really dark themes that we’re looking at this season. We’re doing human trafficking, we’re doing the opioid crisis…One of the things I found quite interesting [is] we did a episode about the wellness industry. I have an 11-year-old daughter who’s just started to look at marketing. The other day I was looking at her looking at food in the fridge, looking at the sell-by dates, going “I can’t eat this, in two days’ time it’s going to be bad,” and I was like “No, that’s marketing.” I found that episode interesting. I’m interested in all the things, actually. I think that’s what’s so fascinating about the show. 

BF: Overall, what does it mean to you to be back and get a second chapter of Sophie’s story? Because that’s not something many actors get a chance to experience.

GB: We’re watching television in a different way now because we’ve been living with our families, we’ve been across generations spending more time together, and I think our rhythms of life have changed. There aren’t a lot of things a family can sit down and watch together. Leverage: Redemption is a show that will resonate to many different age groups and that’s one of the things I love about it. We’re a community of people in the show, but you can watch it as a community of people as well. I think this is a great time for a show like this.

What’s really meaningful to me [is] we’re so grateful to our fans. It feels almost trite to say it, like oh, we love our fanbase; it can come off really cheesy, but actually I think we’re a real example. They genuinely made this happen, they’re responsible for this, and it’s a privilege.

Leverage: Redemption premieres this Friday, July 9 exclusively streaming on IMDb TV.

Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.

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