LEVERAGE: day two

Today's on-set report actually begins with a moment from yesterday afternoon that was so unexpected, I'm still wrapping my head around it.

I obviously can't go into any details about the plot or characters, so you'll just have to use your imagination to construct what the set looked like. I can tell you that it was awesome, if that helps.

Just about everyone was assembled for this scene, and I lingered near my mark while I waited for everyone else to get their last looks so we could shoot.

Tim Hutton walked over to me and quietly said, "Hey, did you bring any copies of Sunken Treasure with you?"

I felt like I was going to faint. How in the hell does Tim Hutton know about my books?

"How do you know about that book?" I said, totally baffled.

"I just do," he said. "Did you bring any?"

I was so stunned, I couldn't say anything, and I just kind of watched a little beach ball spin around in my head for a few seconds.

"GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, WHEATON!" My brain screamed at me. "ANSWER THE MAN!"

"Uh, yeah, actually, I did bring some copies with me," I said, at once embarrassed and glad that I'd put five of them into my backpack moments before I left for the airport earlier this week.

I don't remember what he said next because I felt completely overwhelmed. (Pop quiz: how many Academy Award-winning actors and stars of one of your favorite shows have asked you about your books? My answer is, "One, as of about 18 hours ago.") I told him that I'd bring him one today, and that it meant a lot to me that he even knew about the book, much less wanted to read it.

I don't know how he knows I write books; maybe Rogers told him, but … it's weird and awesome, and I signed a copy for him this morning, and he may even read it before the end of the weekend.

Today's work was ultra-painless: I was in 1/8 of a page and was in an out of the set like a ninja. We were shooting outside on a beautiful street up near the hills, southwest of downtown, and during one take a very friendly woman somehow got past everyone, didn't realize we were filming, and walked right up to me during a take.

She asked me a question that I can't repeat, because it would be sort of a spoiler. I noticed that nobody called cut, so I just stayed in character, answered her, watched her walk away, and then finished the scene. It wasn't quite "I'm walking here!" but it was still pretty cool.

I don't think we'll be able to use it in the show, because she was a civilian who clearly didn't know that we were filming, but it was exhilarating to just keep on rolling and keep on acting, even though something totally unexpected happened in the middle of the take.

Making television can be grueling, it can be frustrating, and it can be exhausting. I know how very lucky I am to have worked on a couple shows in the last year that haven't been like that, and I'm intensely grateful to be working on another one right now.

I just love everything about this. I love being on the set. I love the creative collaboration. I love working with people who love doing what we do. I love doing work that I'm proud of.

Mostly, though, I love that I even get to do this. This is awesome.

62 thoughts on “LEVERAGE: day two”

  1. Southwest of downtown Portland, Or.? Wouldn’t happen to be near the OHSU campus would it? I spent a ton of time up there last year while my dad was in the hospital. It’s B E A utiful up there.

  2. That is SO AWESOME! I love that you’re blogging about being on one of my favorite shows. I love that Timothy Hutton asked you about your book. I know you’re geeking out, but I’m geeking out too for you. THAT IS SO COOL!

  3. Congrats on keepin’ it together and rollin’ high on that save. I took some jewelery with me to the last class reunion because people asked about my art work at the last one. I, like an idiot, never had the guts to admit I’d brought any.
    If they won’t use the civilian shot for the show, will they let you post the youtube or equivalent after the show airs? I think that would be hysterical.

  4. Glad that you are doing what you enjoy Wil, not to often can a person say that about a job. Toy though will be seeing many parts come your way, Not because you are still young, and not because you were on such a well pronounced ever lasting television show, but because you are intelligent, witty, and have that personality, and will to do the best. Have a blessed day.(Twitter lew7rch)

  5. I love the show, but Tim Hutton always weirds me out because he briefly dated my mom when I was a teenager. I just can’t see him without remembering that.

  6. Improv background FTW! That totally rocks that you kept your head and stayed in character. ;) And it’s HAWESOME that Tim Hutton asked you about your book! It’s the best feeling ever when someone you respect is curious about your work and wants to see it. I’m really happy for you. :)

  7. I love Timothy Hutton and I can understand your excitement (I probably actually *would* have fainted, ha). But I think that maybe you don’t give yourself enough credit and people respect you more than you realize they do. That said, I love how humble and down-to-earth you seem to be, and how much you love what you do. What an awesome day for you! I wonder what that sweet little lady is thinking right now :)
    Good day to you!

  8. It’s so cool that Tim Hutton knew about your book. I have always loved his work since “Ordinary People”, and was a big fan of his dad, Jim Hutton. It was so sad when Jim died of cancer at such a young age.
    I get such a kick reading your updates when you are on a set, and relating your experiences as they happen. It sounds magical.

  9. Ambiehead has already said everything I was going to say, so I’ll just second it.
    I’m fairly new to your blog, but I’m so glad I found it. I’ve been a fan of yours since I first saw Stand By Me as a 12 year old more than 20 years ago.
    I just read Dancing Barefoot and am looking forward to reading your other books!
    ~Brandi

  10. I’m very happy for you, Wil, that you’re having such a great time. And envious (but not in a bad way) that you get to do what you love for a living… Sounds like you had an awesome day, & I look forward to your next update! :-D
    -Alicia (@AliciaWag)

  11. It’s wonderful you had such an awesome day – yay for Wil!
    As for the “civillian” that walked on set during the shoot … as long as one of the production assistants caught up with her after your interaction and got her to sign a release, shouldn’t the material still be useable? Or does that fall under the guild (AFTRA, SAG, etc) rules because she was speaking? Just seems such a shame to lose so natural a moment because she’s neither union nor a paid extra.

  12. Glad to hear you’re enjoying working on this show so much…I’ve never really watched the BBC show, Hustle, which from what I can gather seems to have inspired Leverage, but remember it was seen as super-cool due in no small part to the presence of Robert Vaughan as Albert Stroller…if he were any more laid-back, he’d be horizontal! Must be nice to have a break from Los Angeles, though, even though you’re away from your family.

  13. Wil,
    Glad that you’re having a great time! I think that excitement comes through when watching you on TV. I know it did on Criminal Minds. I can’t wait for Leverage to start again! One question for you. Do you prefer to do supporting cast roles (ie: Leverage or Criminal Minds), or would you rather have a continuing role as a main character (ie: star trek)?
    -bert

  14. Wil, you remind me of Nathan from Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader (Fox), who was shocked when people in the grocery store knew his name! FYI – You are immensely popular…LOL. And a quick check of your Twitter account shows 750,839 followers. You are a riot and your blog just gets better.

  15. Awe-some. Maybe they can reshoot the woman’s question with another actor and combine that footage with the footage of you really talking to the woman.
    I’m always happy to read about how other people are doing cool stuff and love doing it.
    Timothy Hutton? Cool! Can I safely assume you both did not trade stories about playing the same character at different ages lo these many moons ago, though? (Yes, yes I did just bring up “A Long Way Home” in a comment.)
    I think I love everything about this show. Must find a way to watch it?
    Cheers!

  16. Color me blissfully wrong! :-D Congrats, Wil!
    (Footnote: Oscars aside, my favorites of Tim’s work are as Archie Goodwin in the A&E “Nero Wolfe” movies. I hope he was having as much fun as he looked like he was having, even if he WAS wearing five or six production hats.)

  17. So happy that you are up here and got to be involved. Plus the microbrews don’t hurt!(don’t forget the Black Butte Porter)
    Your last two paragraphs echo exactly what all the extras I’ve worked with on this season and I have felt and thought. VERY well worded.
    From the time we get the call and the instructions from the awesome casting folks, until we leave the sets, everything is so well prepared; the crew are friendly, detailed and professional; and the cast are so well prepared, quick-thinking and creative. I have yet to meet anyone on set that I did not really like. And Frakes was hilarious! The result is that quite a lot of people get together for a short time, create something amazing, then part.
    It is experiences like this that make life so enjoyable.
    Thanks for sharing your tweets and blog!
    Phil Wheeler

  18. Oh, Wil, I’m so stoked for you.
    I’m not a big time writer (yet?) but at a Stargate con a few years ago, a fellow fan and I were discussing fanfic. This fan (who I’d never met in my life and who lives all the way across the country) started going on about a favorite story of hers…and I realized it was mine. I told her as much, and she lost her mind. I mean, she actually squeed. She flailed about and hugged me and gushed about my little story. And I? I understood why performers do it. I was so happy to have brought this woman happiness, if only for a moment. I was so appreciative of her praise. I would write regardless, because to not do so is like not breathing for me, but it really means something to me that someone out there reads my stuff and that it actually has meaning for them.
    To have a personal hero affirm that for you?
    Wow.
    That is one hella moment, Wil.
    Cherish it. Take it home and hug it and squeeze it and call it Vindication.

  19. That incident with the innocent passerby reminds me of a similar incident I’ve heard and read about which occurred during the filming of Star Trek IV (for the two of you who don’t know, that’s The One With The Whales.)
    While they were shooting on the streets in San Francisco, for the “Nuclear Wessels” scene with Uhura and Chekov, one lady actually stops to answer “I think they’re across the bay, in Alameda.”
    That woman was not an extra nor an actress, she was just an innocent (and helpful) passerby who they had to run after to get her to sign a release so they could use the footage in the movie. Leonard Nimoy (who we all know, directed the movie) says, in his book “I Am Spock” that he thought her “performance” was so completely natural and perfect for their needs that he had to keep that bit in the movie.
    So if your “improv” scene works within the context of the show, I hope they keep it in, or maybe at least set it aside for a DVD bonus feature.

  20. I like your style, Wil. Sounds like you’re having a good time with the whole experience. Drink it in!
    I kept a journal while I was in college, and your blog has inspired me to start writing again, even if I’m the only one who reads it. Thank you!

  21. Just curious, Wil. Have you compared these writings, and/or others from your recent acting and reading appearances, those insincere ones from the bad audition experiences that you included in JaG? I think there’s a great learning there – While it’s true that you’ve matured as a writer overall, it’s also true that there is an authenticity of style in the more recent postings that comes through clearly. I think it’s discernable in sentence length and complexity, word choice, and in particular the natural dynamics (think of the musical definition) of the piece, and other ways, I’m sure.
    Anyone else who’s been around a while kinda see what I’m saying? Do you agree?

  22. Your account of being stricken dumb to know that Tim Hutton was aware you’d written books was priceless. What a great day for you, “an exceptional day!” as my friend Britta would say. I know that feeling. When I finally got my first public librarian job after many years of wondering where I belonged, I couldn’t believe that I actually got paid to do what I loved so much! :)
    I’ve been reading you for awhile, and enjoy your honesty and your obvious love for what you do. Thanks!

  23. well wil, I just got your book for my kindle, thought I would read it on set #leverage tomorrow. While I will patiently be waiting in the ” holding cell” with the other extras. I have enjoyed what I read so far of” Just a Geek”, thanks for your blog of #leverage too. I was the stenographer in one scene, and tomorrow I get to be art auction attendant. See you there.

  24. Such a LIFE moment with Timothy Hutton!!! Loved your self-talk! You are a “famous” just a guy ;o) Hopefully someone at Leverage caught the unknown extra to get her to sign so she can be in the episode or at least on the DVD extras. Thanks for day 2 blogging and hopefully you’ll keep it up. All the Leverage talk has me doing a DVD marathon!

  25. First time commenting, but I’ve been a fan of your blog since last summer when I discovered it. Glad to hear you’re enjoying your time in Portland. My daughter’s only on the wait list as an extra tomorrow, but if she goes, I can live vicariously through her experiences maybe seeing you across a set and being involved in a very cool show!

  26. Hey Wil. While you are in Portland you should really try to make yourself available to your adoring public.
    P.S. Typepad is broken w.r.t. OpenID. It should get my nickname etc from the SREG info.

  27. Hi Wil! You really shouldn’t sell yourself so short! You are an amazing actor and author! Why wouldn’t Timothy Hutton know who you are? :-)
    PS: Back in the day, when all the other little girls were plastering their walls with posters of the New Kids on the Block, I was putting up pictures of you (well, Wesley Crusher, but still you!)

  28. Now that’s just odd….gotta wonder if I knew your mom – as Tim was at my HS and part of the same theatre program (I was a techie – and no, I didn’t know him well, but he played a mean Dionysus ;>).
    :>

  29. This was when I was in junior high, so early to mid-80′s. I found out after the fact, not sure who she was hiding from who ;) But it’s trippy to think my mom has one of the same exs as Angelina Jolie.

  30. if you will still be in Portland June 27th and want to see some awesome roller derby action, I’d like to give you VIP passes to the Rose City Rollers Championship game! Actually, I’d give up to 10 passes for Leverage cast and crew but would specifically LOVE to have YOU there!!!
    please email me at linzg88 (at) hotmail (dot) com if you’re interested!

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