TORONTO — One of the hottest new shows of last season is The Blacklist, a compelling drama that returns to Global this fall.
The series is centred on FBI agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) and her search for answers from both Tom, the man she thought was her loving husband (Ryan Eggold), and Raymond Reddington, a slick felon (James Spader) helping her track down dangerous criminals.
In Toronto on Wednesday for the Shaw Media UpFront presentation to advertisers, Boone and Eggold sat down with Global News to talk about season one and what might be ahead.
Did you know from the beginning that Tom wasn’t who he appeared to be?
Megan Boone: I knew about the Tom reveal and that made it a very unique experience because when you know all along what’s coming you have to play against that a little bit.
Ryan Eggold: There were different incarnations of Tom. I knew there was something coming and then as the season went on it sort of took shape and was constantly shifting in a great way.
Do you think Tom really wanted to have a baby with Liz or was it only part of his cover?
RE: That’s a great question that I haven’t thought about. There’s two possibilities. One is that he only wanted it as a manipulation to keep her closer, to make their bond tighter. The other thing is that he genuinely wanted it. Both of which are interesting.
MB: It was his job, like he said in one of the episodes. His job was to make Liz feel like everything was OK, everything was going fine. She built a life and he was very cognizant of what kind of life she wanted to build so he catered to that in every way possible.
Do you feel like Liz is a victim?
MB: She’s not a victim at all. Liz played a very big part in that betrayal. She chose to believe things in midst of glaring signs and I know she takes responsibility for that. That’s how she’s going to change — she knows what she did wrong.
A lot of viewers feel betrayed, too, because they really liked Tom.
RE: You invest in this relationship between these two people and the fact that they seem so wonderful together — and then when it’s not true you’re sort of heartbroken a little bit. [Liz] had this one good thing in her life, this great marriage and relationship. If Tom lives in season two, the question is where do these two people go from here? How do they relate to each other now? It’s going to be the first time they relate to each other honestly, which never happened in knowing each other — which interests me a great deal because it’s like, ‘OK, you shot me in the stomach three times. P.S. I’m an assassin. Nice to meet you.’ I don’t know where it’s going to fall, whether he loves her or doesn’t or he’s completely sociopathic and has no feelings for anyone.
Have fans confused you for your character and given you a piece of their mind?
RE: I had this sweet older lady come up the other day. She said, ‘Why are you such a bitch to poor Lizzie?!’ and then she slapped me on the arm. I was like, wow, this lady is awesome. It’s sort of a compliment. People have different feelings about the guy, which I like. I like that he’s sort of a polarizing character. Some people want him to be good, some people want him to be bad. That’s great.
Megan, most of your scenes are very serious and intense. Do you open the script hoping Liz gets to smile and lighten up a bit?
MB: I love the opportunity to sort of break out of the recurring actions of Liz Keen. With the show, you have to be well-paced in your release and movement of the character, so it requires some patience on the part of the creative side to live with a way of doing things for a certain period of time. It takes us two weeks to shoot an episode so we live with that episode much longer than the audience does, so we have to be more conscious of how the audience is experiencing these changes.
Ryan, do you prefer a meaty dialogue scene or a chance to kick some butt?
RE: I was very excited to see I was able to kick some ass because that’s something I have less experience with. The most fun part of the job is learning new things so that stuff is great. I’m game for anything. It’s like the 12-year-old boy in you is like, ‘Yes!’
Are you guys constantly cracking up while filming?
RE: We’re rarely cracking up. I’d say there’s probably a more serious tone on set, although you have to find time for humour and to just relax and be normal if you’re going to be doing scenes like that all the time.
Why do you think The Blacklist has been so well received?
RE: We try to ground the characters’ relationships in something that we can all relate to. We can all relate to being in a marriage that’s not working. We can all relate to the father relationship — if he is or if he isn’t. And then from there it’s just a heightened world of questions of trust and life and death stakes, where the ground is always shifting.
Your co-star Diego Klattenhoff, who plays Agent Donald Ressler, is from Nova Scotia. Has he taught you any Canadianisms?
MB: Diego is a very, very polite man. A lot of the things you see in Ressler is because he’s playing Ressler. The things that people are drawn to — the good nature, wanting to be good and right and all that stuff — that’s in Diego inherently. Maybe that’s a Canadianism, I don’t know. Maybe that’s why all the ladies are in love with Diego… because he’s Canadian.
RE: What’s funny is Diego has like a New York thing in the way he speaks. I’m like, ‘Diego, I know you’re from Canada.’ Diego’s great. He’s sort of the only other dude who’s my age on the show so we have a good time. He’s got the family life going now with the wife and the adorable son so it’s hard to get him out to the bar — but when you do it’s totally worth it.
© Shaw Media, 2014