Actor Name: Joshua Close
Julian is complicated. He is a doctor. He works most in the neurology field and because the character was originally written, maybe even a decade older than me, there is, maybe, a bit of a whiz kid in Julian Powell, a bit of Doogie Howser. He got into the field early and had some acclaim early and was on the fast track to becoming a knowledgeable doctor. He is a bit on the spectrum and can’t stop learning and taking it in.
Q: Who was your character, and what were his or her crimes?
A: Julian Powell. I feel like I knew him in high school and I am glad I didn’t. Julian is complicated. He is a doctor. He works most in the neurology field and because the character was originally written, maybe even a decade older than me, there is, maybe, a bit of a whiz kid in Julian Powell, a bit of Doogie Howser. He got into the field early and had some acclaim early and was on the fast track to becoming a knowledgeable doctor. He is a bit on the spectrum and can’t stop learning and taking it in.
He has a tragedy, they said 10 years ago in the script. I think it was a little less. He was with his wife. He was driving and there was an accident. His wife was severely brain damaged and became a bit of a vegetable. She exists solely on a physical level, emotionally and mentally she is gone because of damage to the front of the frontal lobe. It is like a stroke; she is just kind of locked in.
He was driving, so he feels guilt and that takes him off whatever he was working on in a peripheral field, but he becomes obsessed with this and locked-in syndrome. He is one of those people who wants to go back and fix his mistake and unfortunately he develops a sociopathic tendency to try to save his wife this many years later, and does it through human experimentation, taking people with similar ailments and experimenting on them.
Q: As a doctor he has access to similar patients?
A: He has hired unsavory types to go and kidnap them. He has become a bit of Dr. Frankenstein.
Q: Does he have his own lab?
A: Absolutely! He is being funded by a man and he didn’t mean to take it this far into human trials. He wanted to be a part of something to make a mark and his is more personal. As the episode begins he has become murderous. He has killed these bodies he is experimenting on. I’d say he is pretty murderous at this point. There is no real justification for that.
He is a complicated dude.
Q: Why do you think Reddington has targeted your character?
A: I think Reddington is basically trying to target my character, truth be told. I have been a bit of gypsy for the last year, so I do not always have a TV. Reddington's motives are woven into past episodes as to why he wants to find someone who can cure memory loss and frontal lobe damage. And through the episode he realizes Julian Powell is not advancing as quickly and proficiently as Reddington has liked for his own reasons. He has made an agreement with Megan's character to help him out. Once he finds out he has a use for Julian he can dispose of him or turn him in. Reddington’s motives start out personal and become a little more professional. I am a super fan now after working on it.
Q: How did you prepare to portray this villain?
A: Just to have a base, I will just kind of pull as much information as they gave in the episode. There is a type of jellyfish that is immortal and he is trying to integrate the jellyfish DNA into humans. And what happens with this jellyfish is they have to pass a point of maturity to regress and regenerate. Then just go from there and learning your lines and trying to empathize with the character, and how you can make that personal or use your imagination.
Q: Do you think anyone will ever be able to outsmart Reddington?
Not at this rate. The guy is light years ahead of so many people. He seems to be three steps ahead of everybody at all times which is what makes him a fascinating character to watch.
Q: What is it that appeals so much about playing a villain?
A: It is so much more fun to playing a baddie. I don’t know what it is. Me growing up, it was much more complicated emotions and more conflict you get to deal with, and I just think it is a darker part of the psyche that maybe we don’t have and cracks open the imagination a little more. And for me it was always more interesting watching what the bad guy would do next. In a lot of stories, without the bad guy, there is no good guy. It is fun material to work with and leave at the office. It is just a fun world to explore without going there or actually being this person.
Q: What is it like working with The Blacklist cast?
A: It was amazing. I had worked with Megan before on “Law & Order: L.A.” She is wonderful and professional and Diego is amazing and I have known about Diego’s work, and we’re both from Canada. I have been a fan of his work and it was good to see him work. And James Spader is obviously a legend at this point. He has so much precision as a person. He is quite eloquent. He has a lot of admirable traits and to see the way he can put things together so quickly and efficiently because television is a lot of last minute it was a beautiful lesson. I enjoyed it. We had two scenes together and I took a lot from it and to see him take control on the set because he is so enmeshed in the world and knows how to get the best quality. It kind of feels like a dream because it happened so quickly. It was almost two weeks in total. I got called in L.A., and put on a flight the next morning. And I was in wardrobe and sitting next to James Spader two days later
Q: What was your experience like on set?
A: It’s like seeing a sports team who played together for years to know where they are going to be and pass the ball; they are all in synch. And my job going in is to not disrupt that momentum and help them get what they need. It feels like a guest at dinner, do your best and be polite and really easy and be sweet and nice.
Q: Can Julian Powell come back?
A: I wish.
Q: Does he die?
A: He does. Isn’t there a zombie episode? I pitched it to the creator but I don’t think he bit.