The character of Eliot Spencer on Leverage is miles away from the role that made Christian Kane famous -- lawyer Lindsey McDonald on Angel -- but it's apparently right around the corner from Kane himself. A former wrestler from Oklahoma, Kane has found his dream role in the ex-special-ops master of hand-to-hand combat, and he got to return to his roots in this week's episode, "The Tap-Out Job," in which he and the Leverage crew take on a crooked mixed martial arts promoter. We went ten rounds with Kane about why he hated his initial Angel run, why Dean Devlin calls him "Wolverine" and when we can expect the next single from his country music band, Kane.
TWoP: I just watched the next episode, where you infiltrate a mixed martial arts league...
Christian Kane: They gave you that one? You got to see that shit?
TWoP: One of the perks of the job.
Kane: I guess so, dude. I haven't even seen it, so that's awesome.
TWoP: Do you enjoy watching yourself in the episodes?
Kane: I do! Last year we filmed 12 episodes, then all of us went our own ways, because we lived in Los Angeles and we filmed in Los Angeles. So it was strange after the fact, talking to the other cast members on the phone, talking to Tim[othy Hutton], talking to Beth [Reisgraf], talking to Aldis [Hodge]. This year, it's strange to be able to watch it -- like, last time we all went to a bar and had a cocktail and watched from here [Portland], and we were all together. There's more of a sense of camaraderie, because we're all in this together, and we love the show so much, we love the characters so much that we're sitting there praying for ratings. [Laughs.] And it's weird to be going through that with your best friends, instead of solo like last year.
TWoP: Did you have to undergo any extra fight training for this episode, where you take on a bunch of MMA fighters?
Kane: Yeah, I did. You know, I grew up wrestling, so this was my niche. I'm from Oklahoma, and there's only three states that are really known for wrestling: Oklahoma, Iowa and North Carolina. And Matt Lindland, who I fight, who's a veteran of the UFC fight game, was like, "You used to wrestle, so this is gonna be easy for you." Obviously it wasn't, but having the basis in wrestling helped, because Matt was a wrestler for Nebraska. He was so great with me; we went to his gym, TeamQuest, which is a local gym here in Portland, and we trained for a couple of days. We came up with that whole routine, and I'm just gracious that he let me go in there and hammer on him like that, because those guys don't let that kind of stuff happen to them, and he was really cool about it. And they brought Ed Herman in from the UFC, from The Ultimate Fighter Season 3, so it was really cool for me. It's all smoke and mirrors with Eliot, but these guys are the real deal. So I got to beat up on a UFC legend, and not a lot of actors get to do that, and Lindland popped me in the face once, and not a lot of guys live through that, and he complimented me on my double-leg [takedown]. It was fun, man, it's an adrenaline rush. And then I've got 85 extras over here cheering me on in the ring, and I don't know how these guys do it, because I almost threw up.