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Interview: Megan Boone is key to 'Blacklist' bliss

by jmaloni
Sat, Jan 31st 2015 07:45 pm
`The Blacklist`: Megan Boone stars as Elizabeth Keen. (NBC photo by Will Hart; click for a larger image)
"The Blacklist": Megan Boone stars as Elizabeth Keen. (NBC photo by Will Hart; click for a larger image)

Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni

On Twitter: @joshuamaloni

So what else do "Alias" and "The Blacklist" have in common?

A magnetic main character played by an equally compelling actress.

On "Alias," no matter where Sydney Bristow went, no matter how she dressed or with whom she was conversing (or kicking), actress Jennifer Garner drew our attention and held it like a chokehold.

The same can be said for Megan Boone (Elizabeth Keen) on "The Blacklist."

Sure, James Spader is great as Raymond "Red" Reddington. Brilliant, even. Heck, he's earning award nominations at a time when all the statues are going to cable and Web series.

But Boone is no slouch.

That he was making films like "Pretty in Pink" and "Sex, Lies and Videotape" when she was a toddler makes no difference. She holds her own.

In fact, she makes each scene better, drawing out the best in her co-stars.

"Well, I think that I work differently with each actor based on who they are as an individual," Boone told BTS. "That's something that I think seeds a relationship on screen. I've also worked really hard to develop skills of listening and presence that really can stoke the fire of a relationship on screen.

"And I love them. I mean, I've grown to really love them all. I don't know how they did it, but they managed to cast an entire ensemble of actors who are all actually really wonderful, lovely people. And thank god, because this is such an ambitious production that we're really - we're really in the trenches together on this show. And you just build a bond, and we have.

"And so I'd say, all those things combined, that's my responsibility. I think that they also bring their own special something to the screen that adds to that chemistry. And that can only be accredited to the casting of the show, which is obviously really superior to a lot of productions. The actors that come on the show are incredible."

Spader has three Emmy Awards, a role in the "Avengers" sequel this summer, and is a "household name."

But Boone is a hustler.

"I have more experience than most of the actors in the world, now that I've done this show," she said. "If I, like, could count up all the hours I've acted over the last two years, it's probably more than 99 percent of working actors have in a lifetime."

Producer Jon Bokenkamp said, "It's weird when we go back and look at it. Megan is in damn near every scene. You go through and look at the show ... you know, it is pretty impressive."

Boone is receiving rave reviews for her performances, and honing her skills each episode alongside a "who's-who" of Hollywood greats. She could easily wind up with a career as successful as Garner, or exceed the "Alias" and "Daredevil" star completely. Fame and fortune seem certain.

But Boone really doesn't care. For her, it's all about the work.

"For me, working with the pedigree of actors that have come on the show ... sort of took away the mystique that I had around legendary or award-winning or whatever title you can put on any actor. Because what you're really doing when you do that is you relegate them to a holiday," she said. "(Take) Martin Luther King Day and what we're learning from 'Selma' ... is that's really a relegation of who the man really was.

"And I think that, like, when I meet these great actors and they come and then I get to know them and now dynamic they are as people, I realize that they're even more than I'd ever anticipated and much less intimidating.

"So that will serve me really well in the future if I ever act opposite a Meryl Streep or a DeNiro or somebody whose films I basically grew up on.

"As far as the reviews, I've learned to stay away from reading anything about myself, mostly because, actually, the truth is, is that the media is really harsh on women for the most part. And I found it to be really hurtful. I think that one of the blessings that I have for my work is that I'm extraordinarily sensitive. But it became an extreme curse once I was on the world stage and I had to learn how to manage that. And the best way to manage it for me was to never read anything on the Internet. Never read anything about the show."

So, while it's unlikely Boone will read this article, it's a safe bet you'll watch her work on "The Blacklist" - and be captivated.

"The Blacklist" follows the Super Bowl tomorrow on NBC. It then moves to Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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