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Gina Bellman, Leverage: "The Mile-High Job"


Most of this episode of Leverage takes place in an airplane. Tim [Hutton] and I get to sit in the First Class section of the set, which is a big relief, because when filming in a confined space, you want to be as comfortable as possible. We're using a real interior of a plane constructed in the studio. Some shots require the cabin doors to be closed so it's a bit like sitting on a 12-hour flight day after day with the added stress of squeezing past equipment and stepping over cables with hot, bright lights burning into you.


There are a lot of extras playing passengers and crew. Most of the women, including Beth [Riesgraf] and I, are wearing fluffy slippers or flip-flops. It's hot and uncomfortable. It becomes second nature to ask the cameraman before each take, "Are my feet in?" If not, we usually opt for flip-flops over heels.


Christian [Kane]'s bummed that he's sitting in economy class on the plane, but he does have a beautiful girl sitting next to him, which must be some compensation. We all get cabin fever after a couple of days and start playing pranks and acting silly. It seems to entertain and annoy the crew in equal parts. Tim and Beth are having a food fight and Christian and Tim are shaking and exploding soda cans. Aldis [Hodge] comes in just to read "off lines" and join in the fun. All pranks are pretty much instigated by Tim. Both he and Christian bring out the little devil in Beth.


I have a scene with a hockey player, Jeremy Roenick of the San Jose Sharks. I've never watched a hockey game and he invites us to go to one in Downtown L.A. We have amazing seats right next to the ice. I'm surprised that I really enjoy it. I'm amazed by the speed and grace of the game, though I'm kind of shocked at how bashed in the faces of these young players are. The jeers from the crowd are much tamer than at football matches in England. I get into the spirit of it all and start cheering for Jeremy every time he takes to the ice. Tim takes an obscene photo of me and writer Amy Berg trying to eat an enormous hot dog. He emails it to the crew. Thanks, Tim.


It's Beth's birthday and she has a great party at her house. She rented an old-style passport photo booth. Beth, Tim, Aldis, Christian and I all squeeze in. I guess you could say we're pretty close by now. The five of us sitting on each other's laps, pressed up against each other, pulling faces for the camera.


Christian gives me a copy of his new album, which comes out in January. It's great. There are worse ways to get to work in the morning. I drive my convertible Jeep, passing beaches and palm trees along the way, listening to Christian Kane sing. (My car actually makes it into this episode.) The scene where we all walk off the plane was shot in the car park of the studio in front of a special-effects green screen. My black Wrangler Jeep is parked in the foreground. I feel like a proud mum!


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