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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Aldis Hodge (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Aldis Hodge understands the acute dread of working retail

The Leverage: Redemption actor tells us about making watches, his favorite NYC restaurant, and the worst job he ever had

Aldis Hodge (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Graphic: Natalie Peeples

In 11 Questions, The A.V. Club asks interesting people the same 11 interesting questions.

Aldis Hodge has been keeping busy. Like, really busy: In the last year, he’s already appeared in three films and a TV show, and this month, Hodge will reprise his role as smooth-talking computer whiz and grifter for good, Alec Hardison, in the reboot of Leverage. The series’ last episode, “The Long Goodbye Job,” aired in 2012, but the cult show is making a comeback thanks to IMDB TV. And it’s not just Hodge’s Alec who will back: Fan favorites Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), Parker (Beth Riesgraf), and Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) will all be returning. Along with Leverage: Redemption, Hodge will also be back for another season of City On A HillShowtime’s crime drama series starring Kevin Bacon. And next summer, we’ll get to see Hodge on the big screen as Hawkman, flying archaeologist and reincarnated prince, in DC Comics adaptation Black Adam.

With Leverage: Redemption set to hit IMDB TV on July 9, The A.V. Club asked Hodge our current list of 11 Questions ahead of its release. The actor talks about how he got through quarantine with a couple of new businesses under his belt, gushes about his love for buttery seafood, and gets real about just how awful his retail job was (stars, they’re just like us….).

1. What is the best trip or outing you remember as a kid and what made it great?

Aldis Hodge: We went to Disney World. We went to Florida, it was an amazing time. I was probably 12 or 13, so my little sister was like two or three. I still have pictures from that time. And for me, personally, those are my favorite pictures that I have of my little sister. Me and the whole family, we really enjoyed ourselves. It was a really nice time.

2. What’s something that’s considered a basic part of your current career that you struggled to learn?

AH: I would say self-confidence. I say that just because people think it’s about learning lines and learning how to act and do all this stuff on TV and all that, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to have self-confidence. Sometimes people are so ready to please other people as opposed to just pleasing themselves. So I would say: Keep your mind open to learning, but also be confident that you know exactly what you know and how you should do it. It’s all about who you are as an artist. And confidence is a huge part of knowing how you should handle your business, strategize, and move forward.

3. Did you pick up any new skills, hobbies, or get into something you hadn’t before during quarantine?

AH: I didn’t pick up any new skills, I wish I had. But I definitely started and initiated quite a few different businesses, so I’m happy about that. Yeah, I finally initiated production on my flagship watch model that I’m producing. And I started a company with some friends, an art studio called 9B, for which we are currently working on many jobs which I’m happy about. I also started working with my brother on a film that we’re currently producing now. So, yeah, the new skill is probably time management.

4. What restaurant do you not live near, but make a point to hit every time you’re in the right town?

AH: The Dirty French in New York City.

AVC: I’m from here, and I haven’t heard of it!

AH: It’s pretty awesome. Great chicken. The bread is great. Great potatoes. Everything’s great…

5. What futuristic technology that doesn’t exist now would you like to have?

AH: Hmmm. Okay, a way to block myself from being tracked—by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

6. What famous person that you’ve met has lived up to or exceeded your impression of them?

AH: I would say Regina King completely exceeded my expectations. I mean, I already held her in high regard. I thought she was a wonderful performer, actor, and also just a good human being. But as far as my working experience with her, when it came to One Night In Miami..., it was next level. Just because of how she handled herself and what she did with that particular project, and what she did with the actors. She really is truly superlative in many ways. And I still hold her in high regard. So I would say Regina King, absolutely.

AVC: It’s nice that she’s as amazing as she seems.

AH: Definitely.

7. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

AH: [laughs] I don’t know if I could say.

AVC: Diplomatic. Okay, that’s fair. But can you at least tell us what was awkward about it? Was it the hours? The environment?

AH: I was working retail. A clothing store. And the thing I couldn’t stand about the whole thing was—I mean, the hours were okay, the pay was crap, but I didn’t care, you know, it was a job. I was grateful to have a job. But what sucked was the treatment. Sometimes I’d spend hours trying to fold a whole display table of clothes and people come by and tear it up in two seconds. And then they treat you like servants. “Hey, get me this” or “You do this,” and it’s like “I’m here to help you. I’m not here to serve you, so figure it out.” So eventually I got to a point where I started working in the back folding clothes. And, you know what, that was cool. But it just wasn’t my purpose. It wasn’t my ambition. I was like, slowly dying there. So I yeah, I really want to say what it was, but nah, I can’t.

AVC: Working retail is one of the things where it’s a really formative experience. You learn how to treat people nicely when you go out shopping or dining, because you yourself have been treated so badly as a worker.

AH: Yeah, I mean, you’ve got to always treat people who work in those stores well. Like, they’re here to help you so, you gotta give them respect off the top. Why are you going to go in there acting like you’re Mr. Fancy Pants, you know what I’m saying?

8. What fictional family would you like to belong to?

AH: Damn, that’s a tough one because I grew up on shows like Family Matters and The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.

AVC: The classics.

AH: You know, I’m going to have to go with Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.

AVC: You’d get to be in that fancy-ass house! That’s a really great house. It’s formative. I would pick that one, too.

AH: You know what, it is.

9. What’s the first piece of art or earliest piece of media that inspired you to go into your field?

AH: I would say the first piece of art, or just an artist himself, rather, was my brother. My brother, going on auditions and doing print work and all that kind of stuff was what inspired me to become an actor. Aside from that, I would have to share that space with Batman, just because I wanted a Batman toy [as a kid]. So if you consider a Batman toy a piece of art, then there you go!

AVC: Oh, for sure.

AH: So, it’s between my brother’s art and Batman toys. That’s what it was. That’s what made me want to become an actor.

10. Who is the funniest person you know personally?

AH: The funniest person I know and the person that makes me laugh the most is a friend of mine.

11. If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?

AH: What would be on a sandwich named after me… I’m trying to think of deli meats.

AVC: Or it doesn’t even have to be deli meats. You could get really creative. What kind of toppings are on your favorite sandwich?

AH: I mean, you know, give me a crab cake sandwich.

AVC: Loving this already.

AH: Two crab cakes as the patty, put some shrimp and some lobster between them with a little reduced brown butter and I’m good to go.