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Wil Wheaton Interview

Fan favourite Wil (Wesley Crusher) Wheton is back on Leverage , and here he tells us what it takes to be a TV geek.

Wil Wheaton: “Well it’s important to know why Chaos is the way he is. He’s obviously very smart. He’s obviously very motivated and very, like, committed but where he could very easily use his abilities and his talents for good, he instead chooses to use them for evil.

“And I had to make up a reason that was really meaningful for why that is. I built a background story for him that’s, you know, not too far removed from my own experiences as a young geek. He was picked on and he was misunderstood and he was lonely and he was isolated. And rather than take those experiences and turn them into something positive for other people that may be experiencing that, he’s taken all of his abilities and instead used it to just sort of punish people and kind of lash out at the world.

“And whenever I get to work on Leverage , it’s very important to me to make it very clear that Hardison is the only guy in the world that Chaos respects. Everybody else is just a jerk and doesn’t even come close. I mean he doesn’t respect Nate. He doesn’t. If he ever encountered Sterling, he wouldn’t respect him. He certainly didn’t respect the rest of the Two Live Crew guys. He really respects Hardison. And I said earlier today, if they were on the same team, the world would really be in a lot of trouble.”

But how did he manage to fit the guest spot it, considering how busy his schedule currently is?

Wil Wheaton: “Well I lucked out. My schedule which has been unbelievably busy and complicated had a nice big Leverage -sized gap in it last summer. And I was able to go up to Portland, my favorite city in the world, and work on the show again.

“And, you know, John Rogers told me when we did ‘Two Live Crew Job’ that you don’t create a crew like the crew Chaos is part of if you don’t plan to bring some or all of them back in the future. And I think the way that we all related to each other was so fun and so rewarding to the audience that it was really not a question of if but when we would all get to come back and go head to head again.”

Does he actively seek out geek roles?

“You know, it’s more about the character than it is about the genre. And I have settled into these characters that you kind of love to hate. And it’s been so much fun for me and I am really grateful to everyone that’s given me an opportunity to work on these shows and create these characters and keep playing them because it’s really, really a lot of fun. And it’s sort of like being in the middle of a no-hitter. Everything is really working right now and I just try not to think about it too much and just keep going out there to the mound every inning and just try to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

“I think whenever you work on a genre show there are such passionate, devoted, core audience members that are so invested in, you know, not just our show but other shows that are a little bit outside of the mainstream. And it’s always wonderful, you know, most of these shows are run by people who are also fans.

“And it’s really wonderful to give a very subtle and very clever wink to people in the audience who know what you’re referencing. And then everyone else on the couch with them who maybe doesn’t watch the other show has no idea and it doesn’t stand out like, ‘Well that was a weird thing that came out of nowhere.’ It’s something that people who know get it. It’s like a dog whistle; some people will hear it and some people won’t.

“One of my favorite moments ever on Leverage is where Hardison says, ‘Listen, if things go south, I’m going to say the name of one of the Star Trek movies that’s one of the odd-numbered ones. And if it’s going well, then I’m going to say something that’s from the even-numbered ones.’ And everybody looks at him like, ‘What?’ And then all of us in the audience who are Star Trek fans are cracking up because we totally get that.”

Leverage airs on Sundays on TNT.

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.