TORONTO – The decision last Friday by NBC to order a full 22-episode season of The Blacklist is good news for Canadian actor Diego Klattenhoff.
A native of Nova Scotia’s Pictou County, he stars opposite James Spader in the season’s No. 1 new drama, which airs in Canada on Global.
Klattenhoff, 34, plays Don Ressler, an FBI agent who is part of the team that reluctantly works with Spader’s Raymond Reddington to track down dangerous criminals.
Is Spader as intense in real life as he seems on television?
“Totally. He’s a f***ing weirdo,” Klattenhoff told Global News. “No, I’m kidding. Jokes! Jokes!
“James is a very interesting guy. He’s – I don’t know if you’d call him a legend – but for me, personally, he’s an actor that I definitely admire.”
Klattenhoff only got into acting after giving up on his dream of becoming a professional baseball player. Not long after arriving in Toronto at 19, he found himself with small roles on a number of made-in-Canada TV shows — including Doc, Smallville and Whistler – and movies like Mean Girls and Lucky Number Slevin.
He was back in Toronto last year to play a part in the sci-fi flick Pacific Rim.
Klattenhoff got noticed last year for playing Mike Faber in the U.S. cable series Homeland.
The actor said at this point in his career he will take any part if the story is good.
“Whether it’s an FBI agent or a maid,” he said. “If they want me to wear a pink tutu, I might have a few questions, but I’ll wear it for the sake of the story.”
Now with roles on U.S. shows, Klattenhoff is careful not to have a Canadian accent.
“People are amazed that I’m Canadian and I don’t have this crazy accent,” he said. “In Nova Scotia there are some definite down-home accents and it’s funny because you can go to Sydney and one guy is from North Sydney and you can’t understand a thing he’s saying, or Glace Bay or wherever.
“It’s funny how different the accents are.”
Klattenhoff said Canadian actors working in the U.S. are respected for their solid work ethic.
“Coming from Canada, coming from rural Nova Scotia, you do a lot of different jobs and this isn’t rocket science or working at a coal mine,” he explained. “You do your job and always show up and be as prepared as possible.”
Klattenhoff said he continues to learn about acting from some of the veterans with whom he has shared the screen.
“I’ve been very fortunate to work with these guys that have been around for years,” said Klattenhoff, referring to Spader and Homeland’s Mandy Patinkin. “You watch them and talk to them as much as possible. I’m always trying to steal bits and pieces and pick their brains about things.”
The Blacklist airs Monday nights on Global.