Krysten Ritter Interview
Q: Could you describe your character and her crimes?
A: I play a girl named Rowan and she seems innocent and passes lie detector tests. She is being accused of being a Blacklister and a criminal who has been targeting people working for big companies to gather data, to search who is Googling travel or trips or gambling addictions. She is being targeted because she has access to that kind of information, it turns out that the FBI thinks she is doing something that she has absolutely no awareness of.
Q: Is there more than one of her?
A: It is not until later we find out she had a twin sister who died and she was the evil twin. The bad sister was very badly abused and molested when she was young, and she always envied the other sister, who did not have to suffer from this abuse. The evil sister murdered the good sister and took on her identity. As a result of the guilt and the trauma, she has developed a dual personality. People are familiar with multiple personalities from television.
Q: Is it a fun acting challenge to play two characters?
A: It is very complicated, and in terms of an acting role, that’s candy for an actor. For me it was an easy thing to say yes to, and I want to be involved with and jump on. It is “The Blacklist” and James Spader is a legend and a great actor.
Q: How did you prepare to portray Lord Baltimore?
A: I really start with whatever jumps out first with me. In this case she has a nervous tic and plays with her thumb ring. For me it could be anything, it is project to project. This girl is not extraverted. She is very internal she probably holds her body in a more protective way. Then I go to wardrobe and I am always very specific with how I want to look because that informs the physicality. I worked very closely with Christine (Bean), the costume designer. Playing two people. Sometimes I had to be in the same outfit. I watched stuff on YouTube and worked with my acting teacher and talked about what that process looked like. People with multiple personalities have triggers.
Q: What is it that appeals so much about playing a villain?
A: For me it is always fun to be bad. It is just a blast to be able to do things you wouldn’t do in real life.
Q: Why do you think Reddington targeted your character?
A: I am on his list. I am Lord Baltimore.
Q: Were you familiar with show before going on?
A: I was because I am an actress and I keep up with what is going on, on television. It was such a big flashy show last season I even got the pilot early and there was so much heat around it. I loved the pilot. The structure is so genius, it is a procedural but it can go on and on and on.
Q: Do you think anyone will ever be able to outsmart Reddington?
A: He always seems to be one step ahead of everybody I don’t know. How he is able to read people almost like ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ how he gets inside people’s heads.
Q: What is it like working with The Blacklist cast?
A: I had a great time on the set. It was very different for me. I have done a lot of comedy, different kinds of shows. This is very seedy crime scenes and dark interrogation rooms and obviously sets the tone. For me it was all educational. I always buddy up with the girl. Megan and I are now friends. And it was their first episode back and everyone was excited and getting ready for the grind once again. They shoot really long hours and a drama is no joke. It is about endurance and being able to maintain your health and maintain your lifestyle.
Q: Do you develop a backstory for the character?
A: You have to invent a certain amount for yourself. There is a lot on the page, which was great. There were scenes that would start after some information was revealed; you have to invent a lot of that for yourself.
Q: Are you killed at the end or can you return?
A: I am not killed at the end. I don’t know how that works on their show.
Q: Does this sort of story make you anxious or do you leave it at the studio door?
A: Years of doing this you learn how to leave things at the door. If you have been through something or do an emotional scene over and over, it takes a toll on you. You have to learn to leave at the door.
Q: You mentioned James Spader, the legend, did you work together?
A: I didn’t get to work with him at all, and I didn’t process that until I got the script. I never even met him. He is a meticulous, strong scene partner. It would have been nice. I wish I had a scene with him.
Q: Where do you think it all leads with The Blacklist?
A: I have no idea. I guess the series ends when the Blacklist is all checked off I guess.
Q: Would you like to add anything?
A: It was great for me to be able to play two different characters and who knows how to work a submachine gun versus a girl who is victimized.