After almost a decade on the air, NBC's "The Blacklist" is still going strong. Despite the fact longtime co-star Megan Boone exited the series in 2021, the series is set to return for season 10 in 2023. James Spader continues to bring life into "The Blacklist" with his acting as Raymond Reddington, and not even that weird live-action/animation hybrid episode that aired near the start of the pandemic could bury the show. Nevertheless, the combination of Boone's Elizabeth Keen and Spader's criminal mastermind always made for quality television. The biggest role in Boone's career thus far, the task was almost too big to handle before she got some much-needed advice from her colleague.
"The Blacklist" is best known for Spader's eccentric and memorable performance, but Boone was always a vital part of the series prior to her departure. Elizabeth Keen's perspective typically grounded the very morally gray activities Reddington was involved in, and the character often had to carry as much of the show as her unorthodox associate. Luckily, it didn't take long for Spader to give Boone a helpful tip when it came to leading the crime thriller series.
'Just Have Fun'
During a 2013 interview with Daily Actor, Megan Boone recalled that while filming the pilot, James Spader taught her a quick, valuable lesson that made acting on "The Blacklist" more manageable:
"Actually when we were shooting the pilot, it was the day we were diffusing the bomb and I was having a difficult time and you know, I was kind of spiraling down this very serious mindset because it's a drama, so you think, you're shooting a drama, you should be very serious about your work. He just came up to me and he put his hand on my shoulder and he looked at me for a good minute. It made me feel like he was going to say something very, very, very serious. I kind of leaned in and he goes, 'Just have fun. It's the most important part.'"
Despite the dramatic and intense nature of the show, I think the fun Boone and Spader had behind-the-scenes translated on screen. Spader was clearly having a ball playing a devious yet lovable criminal, while Boone was never afraid of leaning into the lighter side of "The Blacklist." Their resulting dynamic was actually kind of surprising, considering the fact Spader joined the production just days before filming began. Both balanced each other well, and time will tell if Reddington can keep himself in check without Keen.
"The Blacklist" is big on introducing status quo-shifting stakes to the drama, but it's nice to hear Boone took Spader's advice to heart. Spader has fun with whatever role is put in front of him, even if they are morally abhorrent ("Avengers: Age of Ultron" has a lot of faults, but his eponymous villain is not one of them). As Boone put it, "[If] you're not having fun, then the curiosity dies."
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