Fans of Fairly Legal will get to see more of the character played by Baron Vaughn, who drops some clues to Faridul Anwar Farinordin
“IT’S a sibling relationship” this time around, said TV actor Baron Vaughn, who plays Leonardo “Leo” Prince, trusted assistant to the lead character, Kate (played by Sarah Shahi) in the legal drama, Fairly Legal.
At a recent interview with a group of journalists in Vancouver where the show is filmed (Vancouver doubles as the bay city of San Francisco where the show is set), Vaughn explained how things have changed.
“At the end of Season one, Kate was fired. In turn, I became an assistant to her stepmother Lauren (who owns the law firm Reed & Reed). When Kate comes back, fortunately I get to go back to her. Kate and Leo know they need each other, maybe more so than last season. Leo also plays a bigger role this time — he gets to use the skills that he has learned in working on cases, even pointing out one or two things in the cases that Kate and Lauren are working on.”
A new character, Ben Grogan, is introduced in the show’s new season which aired last Tuesday. Played by Australian actor Ryan Johnson, the new lawyer and partner at Reed & Reed sees things in dollars and cents as compared to Kate’s strict moral compass.
What about Leo?
“Leo doesn’t like him,” Vaughn said, adding “we are very much at odds with each other because he is very much more of an ego maniac — a narcissist. While Kate may display similar tendencies, at least she works for the truth and finds good in people. She helps people find what they want. Everybody gets something at a deeper level whereas Ben sees everything as an opportunity for the firm to make more money”.
While viewers didn’t get to see much of Leo’s love life in the first season, the new season may offer something more.
“A little bit more, yes. We had a character last season called Kim who was in two or three episodes who isn’t back this year. I guess it didn’t work out. There’s a character this year called Ashley who is very different to Kim — a little bit more of an indie punk style to her. In the episode that we are actually shooting, she’s written a kind of a comic book and I use my mediation and law skills to get some rights back for the comic that she wrote. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future with that character, but she exists.”
Oh, viewers will also see Leo sporting a new hairdo in the new season.
“A barber I went to, who had nothing to do with the show, asked me if I wanted to keep it a certain length and he just didn’t listen (laughter). I went to the show going ‘yeah, this is my hair now’ and what I got was ‘oh, you should have waited.’ But now I kind of like the idea of the show being defined by Leo’s haircuts. I want it to be like ‘that was the season he had dreadlocks’ or ‘season six is really interesting because that’s when he had the Mohawk’. People can think of the seasons by the haircuts.”
On Leo’s fascination with comic books and collectibles, Vaughn said it is to a certain extent, an extension of his own personality.
“The things that I have a lot of are books — mainly non-fiction. I’ve got a lot of ties and maybe 40 pairs of sneakers. There was a time in New York — I lived in New York for nine years — and there’s a spring and a fall, so like Leo, I liked wearing a collar shirt, a tie and a sweater. So I had a lot of ties for accentuation. But I dress like Leo on the top, but on the bottom I’d wear jeans and sneakers.”
In his own words, who is Leo?
“Leo has a very strong moral compass as does Kate — and what Leo responds to so much in Kate is that she risks so much pursuing what she believes to be true. She says many times ‘not everything is black and white and there are so many shades of grey’ and the surface and appearances can be deceiving. To give someone the chance to explain themselves and to see it from someone else’s point of view is valuable.”
Vaughn, who named Don Cheadle, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman as well as Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and Daniel Day Lewis as his favourite actors, said Leo possesses a strong moral conduct.
“I think that in his everyday life he likes to keep to himself and is a little bit more of an introvert who spends a lot of time with people who like exactly what he likes. I think he compartmentalises his friends.”
Describing more on his character, the comedian who performs at stand-up gigs said: “Maybe he’s the kind of person who doesn’t like his food to touch the plate which is different from me. I think he probably washes his hands a lot too.
That’s something that I really do, too — a little too much!”
In September last year, he released an audio recording album of his stand-up excerpts, called Raised by Cable.
“I would like to do more drama. Comedy is more comfortable because it’s the exercise that I’ve done a lot of — my comedy muscles, if you will, are quite honed. I can build those muscles like Popeye, but I would like to do more drama.
A lot of comedians are good at drama in my opinion. People sometimes get stuck in the earnestness of a serious scene, and it can come off a little severe.”
He continued: “I would like to explore more drama but when I get the opportunity remains to be seen. But there’s always going to be comedy in something. There are jokes in Death Of A Salesman if you look at it. There’s some release every now and then, but it’s a balancing act.”
Fairly Legal Season 2 is aired every Tuesday at 9pm on Diva Universal (Astro 702)