If you’re not familiar with the Amazon Freevee heist series Leverage: Redemption, you absolutely need to add it to your endlessly long binge list. It blends comedy, drama and action as it follows a group of thieves who use their criminal skills to help people. A continuation of the TNT series Leverage, this follow-up finds the team reuniting to once again take down powerful bad guys and corporations.
Premiering Nov. 16, Season 2 finds the crew taking on everyone from an evil dictator, to a shipping tycoon who’s ruining the environment with plastic waste. Before we jump back into all the action, cast member Aleyse Shannon spoke to The Root about her character Breanna’s relationship with the rest of the team and which co-star’s job she secretly wants.
Breanna Casey joined the Leverage crew in Season 1 of Redemption as Hardison’s little sister and the team’s new hacker. With original cast member Aldis Hodge headed for superstardom after his scene-stealing turn in Black Adam, a new tech expert was needed. Hodge still appears as a special guest star, which allows the audience to enjoy a hilarious sibling rivalry in Season 2. For Shannon, the realistic connection between Breanna and Hardison came from her on-screen big brother’s willingness to trust her with his role.
“Aldis created that chemistry with me because he’s just one of the most gracious human beings on the planet. Not a lot of people in a second version or a revamp of a show get the benefit of the original actor handing off the torch to them,” Shannon told The Root. “It signals the fan base that it’s okay to miss me and love my little sis as well. Him doing that got us off to the right page. And also he’s just funny as all hell.”
While she’s a genius at hacking and engineering, Breanna is new to the other aspects of the team’s work, like grifting, stealing and fighting. The moments where her character is learning new skills from her friends are easy for Shannon to understand, as she says her relationship with her more experienced co-stars works the same way.
“I’m still green and there’s many ways in which a Christian Kane, a Noah Wyle, a Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge truly teach me just actor-to-actor,” she said. “When it comes to relaying those relationships on camera, it’s not different. I stood at all of their feet in different ways, and [was] just honored for the experience. Each of them bring something so clever, so unique, so funny. So yeah, it’s easy.”
What makes Breanna such an interesting character is the authenticity and enthusiasm Shannon brings to her strong, confident performance of the young genius. Of course, despite how brilliant she is, Breanna’s still just a kid finding her way in a crazy world.
“I think Breanna is self assured. I think what she is self assured about switches often,” the Beauty star said. “I relate to only being as sure about myself as I am in any moment and fighting that all the way through. And then giving myself the grace the next day if I wake up and I exist different to fight that all the way down too and just hold space for myself in that sense. That’s what I enjoy about playing Breanna is that as confident as she is about one thing, that she changes her mind tomorrow…and I think our journeys go parallel. That’s been a real joy.”
As much as Shannon loves playing Breanna, she has been paying attention to some of the fun stuff the rest of the team gets to do and she’s ready to jump into one of her co-star’s lanes sometime soon.
“I think I might want to do some of Christian’s fights, but even those are really long and hot days for him,” Shannon said. “But I think Breanna could do it, like if I actually landed a punch. Maybe it’s not within the character, but as an actor, selfishly I think I might want to fight a little bit more.”
You can catch up on the original Leverage, Season 1 of Leverage: Redemption and jump in on Season 2 when it premieres Nov. 16 on Amazon Freevee.