James Spader on Possible Blacklist/Avengers Conflict: 'I'm Hoping for a Smooth Transition'

James Spader Blacklist Avengers Schedule ConflictIf NBC’s The Blacklist maintains its strong premiere numbers and earns a full-season pick-up, it’ll create a slight scheduling conundrum for series frontman James Spader.

Spader, after all, recently was cast as the titular baddie in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron blockbuster sequel, which is set to start production across the pond in early 2014 (specifically March, by some accounts).

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“I’m hoping that it’s going to be a fairly smooth transition, but I don’t know,” Spader told TVLine during a Monday conference call. “We’ll wait and see how long The Blacklist plays.

“If it plays a full season,” the actor continued, “then I’m sure I will be packing my bags in the last few days of our production on The Blacklist in preparation to get over to London and start shooting The Avengers.”

Hour-long dramas that run a full season typically wrap production in April or May, and rarely as early as March.

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In the meantime, Spader looks forward to — gradually — peeling back the layers on The Blacklist’s crafty Raymond “Red” Reddington, a Most Wanted criminal who in the pilot offered himself and his significant services to the FBI with one mysterious caveat, that he only deal with newbie agent Elizabeth Keen.

“That’s going to be eked out slowly over the course of episodes, his sort of overall history,” he said. “Over the lifespan of the show, you’ll discover more and more about him.”

In fact, just because Red is now aiding the good guys doesn’t mean his bad guy days are at all over.

“You do start to see in subsequent episodes him ‘conducting business,'” Spader shares. In fact, tonight at 10/9c, after the particulars of Red’s arrangement with the FBI and DOJ are hammered out, “You see he’s now moving freely, but you get small samplings of him still conducting his nefarious affairs.”

The Blacklist, with Live+3 DVR playback factored in, last week premiered to just shy of 17 million total viewers and a 5.1 demo rating.

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  1. Patrick says:

    How much time will the villain get? I am unfamiliar with the plot, but he might not be needed in the first few weeks of filming. Further, it might be lots of CGI for his character. Only his voice/face might be needed.

    • wordsmith says:

      Ultron is traditionally faceless and all metal, so I doubt we’ll be actually seeing much of Mr. Spader in the finished film. I guess the time commitment depends on whether they use him for the motion capture as well as the voice. I know Mark Ruffalo spent a lot of hours in a dot-covered unitard for his Hulk scenes.

      • Alan says:

        it wouldnt make sense for him to only do voice over, he has to be on set in mo-cap gear to really get everything out of his performance and that the other actors can properly play off him.

      • prish says:

        I assume there will be before and after scenes or flashbacks.

        • Abe Froman says:

          Before and after what?? Ultron is an adroid, not a human who became an android.

          • wordsmith says:

            Exactly – that’s the difference. Mark Ruffalo turns into the Hulk, but it’s not like James Spader turns into Ultron. They don’t need him physically there any more than they need Paul Bettany on hand to play JARVIS. Ultron is probably better if he doesn’t move like a human at all.
            The main reason they would have him on hand is to give the rest of the cast something to act against other than a tennis ball or a prop robot head.

    • Hey, Patrick. He is the main baddie. They will both do motion capture and voice-over when it comes to Spaders work on the movie. He has at least as big, or near as big role as Loki (Tom Hiddelston) in the first movie.

      At least should, but then again it`s hard to tell because the movie dont directly copy a comic-book, just two big story`s into one (Creation of Ultron, and Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver).

    • Dave S. says:

      Well, for Avengers, Mark Ruffalo did his own motion capture as the Hulk. So if they wanted Mr. Spader to do that, he’d presumably need to be on set a lot more.

    • Lola says:

      I don’t see the conflct: he plays a villain in one he could play a villain in the other

  2. angelstorm says:

    The Blacklist better get a full season pick-up ! I’ve only seen one episode but I love it already ! Prob my fave show of the new season so far !!

  3. Cherry says:

    I was worried about Blacklist as soon as Spader was cast in Avengers. I hope they can work something out so he can do both!

  4. Fingers crossed if The Blacklist gets a full season pick-up and should get renewed for a second season by NBC.

  5. David4 says:

    I don’t see the problem. If they don’t start until March finish filming by Feb 28th. Maybe have 20 episodes instead of 22-24?

  6. Darla says:

    Something tells me they wouldn’t have cast him in the role without taking into consideration his prior commitment to “Blacklist”. They aren’t idiots. This just seems like a lot of hype over nothing.

  7. sarah says:

    I am sure the Blacklist will get a full season pickup, so James will be a busy guy next year. I am sure that the show and Joss Whedon will something out. Then in the last summer/early fall he will be back filming season 2!

  8. Ava says:

    The Blacklist and James Spade are awesome. I hope they get a full season pick up.

  9. Kim R says:

    Loved last night’s episode! It is definitely in my top 5! :)

  10. emster says:

    I can’t help thinking of the very first episode of “Buffy” when Cordelia was quizzing Buffy to determine her coolness factor: “James Spader?” “He needs to call me.”…..”John Tesh?” “The Devil.” Nerd-alert on me for remembering that, lol.

  11. Anne says:

    Whatever happens with scheduling .. and we all want him to be able to do both & then some.. im just glad to have him back!! :) thanks james ;)