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.