Finally. The long awaited end to summer reruns has finally arrived as networks have begun rolling-out their fall slate of shows. And as some cult favorites have ended (Breaking Bad) new ones have arrived to try and take their place. Among those most anticipated is The Blacklist, which ran away with last Monday's viewers, drawing nearly twice as many as CBS's Hostages (whose pilot also premiered). The breakout star of the series, Megan Boone, sat down with Marie Claire to give us a behind the scenes look at this "fast-paced mystery that's just plain entertaining," (NY Daily News).
Marie Claire: 12.6 million viewers for the premiere episode – that must feel pretty awesome. And maybe surreal?
Megan Boone: Overall the whole experience has been a little bit surreal and then also very, very real. It's a very real job. A very real – 70 hours a week, things blowing up, stunts left and right, high emotional stakes – job.
MC: [laughing] Of course the action is so intense! That bridge scene in the very first episode – wow! Does that pace continue throughout the season? And are you in the thick of it?
MB: Oh my god I have so many bruises! I actually went to put my elbow on the armrest just now and I had to flinch because I got in this fistfight with this sexy Russian girl yesterday and I am dying here. I think she left choke marks on my neck.
MC: No way, seriously?
MB: I thought [at first] maybe my glands are swollen but no it's definitely from her choking me.
MC: Just a normal day on the job?
MB: Ya you know it's just my 9 to 5.
MC: Ha unbelievable! So tell us a little bit about why you fought for such an intense part. What made you want it so badly?
MB: It's an incredible script. What you saw in the pilot was on the page when I read it.
And it's just like meeting anything or anyone else that's right for you. When you know you know. And with James Spader, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix, Ryan Eggold and everyone it came more to life and became even better.
MC: Speaking of the cast, the central relationship is you and "Red," who is played by the extraordinary, not to mention multiple Emmy-winner, Mr. James Spader. What has that experience been like so far?
MB: It's been an amazing experience working with him. He's obviously an incredible actor but on top of that he's got this professionalism and this generosity on set that is contagious. And we've become great friends.
MC: That's fantastic. But you must have been intimidated going in, at least at first?
MB: I can tell that we both sort of understand that you just work in what you already have and you make sure that's alive in the scene. So if I, Megan Boone, am scared to go toe-to-toe with James Spader as an actor I can bring that into our lives as Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington and let that fear be alive and try to assert myself and try to bring myself to pass with him even though I find it a little bit intimidating.
MC: And how about with Diego, who we know is fresh off Homeland [Diego played Mike Faber in Homeland Seasons 1 and 2], do we see your two characters develop a working relationship as well? [Diego plays Agent Donald Ressler in The Blacklist]
MB: Absolutely. There have been some really beautiful moments between Diego's character and mine. The writers are really handling that very well and Diego and I are having an amazing time playing off of one another because we have tension in our relationship because of professional jealousy and suspicious but then we also have something kindred that we recognize in one another. So there's this duality in our relationship; a tension and an affinity for one another that is complex and very interesting.
MC: Duality seems to be a theme. I mean the mystery behind your on-screen husband, Tom (played by Ryan Eggold), with the box full of money and passports do we find out more about what's going on there?
MB: You get to see how Liz navigates the new knowledge that she has, how she investigates it throughout the next couple of episodes. You'll see her start to try to put the pieces together in a way that is as tactical as she can be in the situation because she's sort of stuck in a difficult situation where if she tells the FBI about her husband then he could go away for life for something that he might be being framed for. If she tells him he might just lie to her so she has to try to figure it out on her own for a while.
MC: Stuck between a rock and a hard place. So tell us, good guy, bad guy, when do we find out?
MB: This last episode that we shot, 105, that one is when things just start to really be exposed and you start to see a lot more detail about their relationship come to your knowledge in 105.
MC: So I guess we'll just have to wait and see then!
Check out the second episode tonight on NBC at 10/9c (where we see - spoiler alert - Liz goes undercover in black tie!)