Aktuelles Interview mit James Spader zum Start von „The Blacklist“

am 23. Februar, 22.15 Uhr startet die erfolgreiche US-Serie „The Blacklist“ bei RTL in die dritte Staffel (22 neue Folgen). Zum US-Start der dritten Staffel im Oktober 2015, haben die beiden Hauptdarsteller, „Emmy“-Gewinner James Spader (Rolle: Raymond „Red“ Reddington) und Megan Boone (Rolle: Elizabeth Keen) im September 2015 für ausführliche Interviews zur Verfügung gestanden.

Hier das transkribierte Interview von James Spader für Euch…

James Spader stars as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington in Sony Picture Television’s action thriller The Blacklist. Spader’s extensive career includes award-winning performances in Steven Sodebergh’s Sex Lies and Videotape, David Cronenberg’s Crash and Steven Shainberg’s Secretary as well as his record breaking three Emmy Award winning performance as Alan Shore in The Practice and Boston Legal, when he became the only actor to win consecutive Emmys playing the same character in different series. We asked him about the shocking end to season two and the high adrenaline start to season three of the Blacklist that sees Red on the run with his FBI protégé Liz Keen. We started by asking if the show’s new storyline provided an energy boost…

JS: I don’t know if I have a boost of energy or not but season two ends with Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington on the run and real divisions in the task force. All the balls are in the air – where they fall will be the fun of it, I think. I’ve seen the first two episodes now and the divisions in the group are really my favourite part. I thought that the show had a vast array of paths that they could take when I first read it. I’m excited by that. It’s a thing to look for in a television series – at least for me… something that can sustain your curiosity and interest for over the long term, so I’ve been very happy.

I: It feels like the third season is about the story of Red and Elizabeth in a more serialised way than before.

JS: In the first season the network and the studio wanted to have a balance between a serialised show and a procedural show simply so that an audience could filter in more easily. If you’re building an audience it’s just easier for people to access the show at different times in the season if it’s not too heavily serialised. It has become more and more serialised as it’s gone alone.

I: So how do we see their relationship developing?

JS: I think Reddington’s very conflicted about what’s happened. You saw it in the last episode of the second season. He didn’t intend for this but… it happened. So now they’re on the run and he doesn’t necessarily have all of his resources around him all the time. Also, things go wrong a lot but I think he’s comfortable with that. If you start with a premise of a character who is really willing to cross any threshold, regardless of what might be on the other side or even if he can make it to the other side, you can throw a lot of stuff at him and he’s going to find a dance step that’s allows him to stay on his feet. Although he is certainly back on his heels quite a lot in the season.

I: There are lots of questions about the relationship between Liz and Red – like is he her father, for one. How many of these questions get answered and how many do you know the answer to?

JS: A lot. A lot more questions and a lot I know that you don’t.

I: You know part of the end game that we don’t?

JS: That’s right. I don’t have any expectations that by the third season everything’s fulfilled. If it is then I have no interest in the fourth season – so I don’t want my expectations to be filled until the end. So far I’m doing all right in terms of that.

I: It seems that The Blacklist mirrors contemporary fears about government conspiracy. Is that deliberate?

JS: I think that elements of what’s happening today in the world is certainly something we draw on for the show. But it’s not at the core of the show. There are other shows that do that very successfully and we’re not in that competition. It’s a parallel universe that takes just enough things from real life to make the show have the appearance of being something that’s somewhat believable. But in terms of the sensibility about government and the intelligence community being purely contemporary – I beg to differ. I think it’s always been a little grey. It depends who your friends are.

I: If there is a conspiracy at least it means someone somewhere knows what’s going on in all this chaos.

JS: Hmm. Yeah, that’s certainly a discussion. Although maybe that would be cold comfort. I think the advent of television, so many years ago, was the key change. After television, you have the advent of terrorism – because when you want to affect change in one location you can terrorise in an entirely different place. That could only happen with television.

But listen, from a personal point of view, I think Reddington is perfectly comfortable with chaos, which I think in the world around us gives one an advantage. I think it would be great if people thought that they could control the chaos in the world but I’m not so sure that’s possible. I guess as humans we like to dominate and therefore we are going try to continue to do that, but there’s a certain human failure in that area. It’s a foible of humanity I think.

I: Why do you think that people are so fascinated with heroes who are a little bad – like Jack Bauer…

JS: I don’t know that character.

I: He’s in 24.

JS: Oh, I never saw that. I can only speak for myself and I like to see things that are difficult and that are unfamiliar or that are something that I’m curious about. When I see a character who responds to a given set of circumstances in a way that I’m not sure I’m capable of, that’s interesting to me. I think Red says things that other people may want to say or do but don’t. He’s not afraid of the things we try to avoid in life, he embraces those things and yet I think that there’s something that’s very familiar about him by the same token.

I: Do you think Red would be more of a villain if he were in an ‘80s show?

JS: Red’s a bad guy. Don’t have any illusions about that. Although he is nice to old ladies (laughter).

I: A lot of actors say they don’t judge the person that they’re playing but you’re okay with saying he’s bad. Can you play him and judge him at the same time?

JS: Yes, of course. You’d be an idiot not to have a sense of when he’s behaving very badly.

I: Does that explain many of your career choices? You tend to choose those dark and more complex characters.

JS: Yeah, I like dichotomy certainly. I remember the first time when I read Secretary and I thought, God, this is great. What a great idea to have this sweet love story in this incredibly masochistic, sadomasochistic relationship, you know? It was really the sweetest love story I thought and I love that.

I: Do you have a favourite Blacklist Villain Of The Week?

JS: I’m not good with questions that require absolutes in the answer.

I: Sorry.

JS: No, don’t worry about it. Honestly. I have to take it on the chin because I have a bit of an obsessive-compulsive issue and when I’m given a question where the answer is an absolute it’s very, very difficult for me. I could spend forever deciding.

I: It’s interesting that you’ve chosen a character you describe as comfortable with chaos then. Is there something about playing someone who’s fine with chaos that’s liberating for someone who’s got OCD issues?

JS: Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe… (pause). That’s nice if so.

I: Is there any way in which you’re becoming more like him, or him more like you?

JS: I don’t really think about myself when I’m working in any way. I’m always just thinking about that guy I’m playing. I couldn’t really care less how it relates to me or doesn’t relate to me, you know? I have a very full and vital life outside of work so I don’t really need life fulfilment from work – I work to earn a living (laughter).

I: Would you like to be more like him in real life?

JS: Oh no, I don’t think I would like that very much. I’m not over keen on putting my life in terrible danger. Although, with the whole me and Red thing, I will say that I do try and inject humour when I can within the script, and whether it has anything to do with myself or not I don’t know. I mean I’m trying to do something that’s appropriate for the story and the scene and the circumstances. But I don’t know whether Reddington has the same sense of humour as I have.

I: Why do you try to inject humour?

JS: I was very lucky the last time I was on a TV show for any length of time – in Boston Legal. It was very hard to categorise the character that I played and even the tone of the show was constantly shifting. And so when I was looking for another show I was looking for something that had the possibility for a lot of different tones. I mean, I work on it all year. I like to have a mix of things.

I: The writers have said that you have a very good sense of Red and what he would or wouldn’t do.

JS: Well, yes, I am very careful when I read a story outline and there might be something in there where I think that he’s shooting the wrong person or he’s doing harm to the wrong person or doing harm at the wrong time. I voice my opinion in terms of that. I do have an investment in terms of what his code of ethics is, how he believes he should live his life and certainly how he would take someone’s life. Most of the people whose careers in the military or whose experience of fighting wars that I respect the most are the most reticent about taking military action.

I: You were ahead of the curve moving in to TV – everyone’s doing it now. Was that a bit of smart future gazing?

JS: No, no… God, no. I never even gave that a second thought. First of all I have a tremendous capacity to delude myself. I don’t have any sense of a career at all. I’m not a very good planner in terms of things like that and I don’t reflect on it really. I was very lucky on Boston Legal. It was actually the last year of its predecessor The Practice that I started on. When I met David Kelly he knew I’d never really done a great deal of television and he knew I might be apprehensive about it. He said “Listen, I’ll guarantee you a year but you don’t have to sign for longer than that and if you hate it… well, I know you have to sign the contract but I promise you if you absolutely can’t bear it I’ll let you out.’ How can you refuse that? I was like oh, okay. (Mimes signing the contract whilst shrugging carelessly).

When they asked me to sign for Boston Legal the network makes you sign for seven years but I just thought – oh, it’s the same thing. I can leave any time. Then TheOffice did the same thing. Come, visit us for a year. I said okay, great, can you let me leave in the fall to shoot Lincoln? They said sure. So when The Blacklist came along I just thought I was going do the same thing, labouring under this delusion that I could get out without losing my house (laughter).

I: The show has a lot of younger viewers – has it opened up a new audience for you?

JS: You know what? That started in The Office. All of a sudden the age of the people coming up to me in the street had dropped. When I’m doing movies that fluctuates – although in the past there haven’t been that many movies I’ve made that younger people could watch (laughter). The Lincoln film was shown in lots of schools so that gave me a very young crowd all of a sudden (laughter). If I’m going base it on who comes up to me in the street – and I live in New York and I like walking, so everybody comes up to me in the street – there’s no age group, no economic strata – it’s seemingly completely democratic and inclusive.

I: What about The Avengers?

JS: They had to hear me speak to know I was in The Avengers.

I: You do have an incredibly distinctive voice. How important has that been in your career?

JS: I mean, I guess that’s turned out well for me. But for being a performer of any kind, your voice is one of your strongest tools. I haven’t had formal voice training but I do have a good ear and very, very good hearing. I got that from my mother. She had the most incredible hearing… I mean, so good we had to be cautious. Maybe there’s something to that, but I’ve tended to think less about that in terms of work and more in terms of my life with my seven-year-old (laughter).

I: But more than lots of actors your voice can go from terrifying to soothing in an instant. Do you think it’s a Boston thing?

JS: No.

I: No?

JS: Probably not. I’m sorry (laughter). I think the most interesting change or challenge for a voice is working on the stage. After I finished Boston Legal I did a David Mamet play for a year on Broadway. The nuances and the modulation involved in that… Although, it must have gone OK. I talked to the producer last night and he said he had another play for me.

I: Have you said yes?

JS: To the play? I haven’t read it yet but we’ll see…

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