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'The Blacklist' actor Ryan Eggold: I am not badass

Ryan Eggold, who returns to 'The Blacklist' after disappearing for a season, talks about the fun in doing a negative role, enjoying female attention and passion for music

Q. The last the audience saw of Tom (Keen, his character in Blacklist), he was getting into a boat and sailing off. But it looks like he’s coming back.
A. He’s coming back very quickly in season 3, but not in the first episode. He returns for Liz. She has been framed for a murder and is on the run; she is the only person that he has ever loved, so he comes back to help her.

Ryan Eggold
Ryan Eggold

Q. How is it playing a grey character?
A. I am not badass, but it is really fun to step into those shoes. I love working on the fight choreography. The goal with acting is to not act and to just let it be as real as it can.

Q. Do you get a lot of love from the ladies?
A. There’s a lot of love on Twitter, which I am happy to engage with. I have never wanted to be the hunky guy. I don’t mind trying to do a sexy thing once in a while. I look up to guys like Michael Fassbender or Tom Hardy who can be sexy but complicated or sexy but ugly.

Q. Do you think male actors have as much pressure to look a certain way as actresses? Do you worry about ‘no shirt’ scenes?
A. Women definitely have it harder in this industry. But, I think these days there is a bit of a pressure on men to be very muscular and ripped. Maybe, it’s the superhero movie influence. All I demand is a heads-up. Just please give me four weeks’ notice, I will hit the gym and later, go back to donuts, ice cream and beer.

Q. You had said that you would like to shoot Blacklist in India. Any progress on that front?
A. It would be ideal, and they did want to do something there, but nothing clear-cut as of now.

Q. Do you get to give the writers your feedback and contribute to your character development?
A. Sure, there is some give and take with the writers. They have a strong idea of what they want to do, but, at times, the road will divert a little bit. There is a nice interplay, which I am up for as I would love to be a writer in another life. Or, this one, maybe, if I have the time.

Q. Let’s talk about Megan Boone (who plays Liz). How do you get on with her?
A. Megan is probably my best friend on the show. She is a sweetheart. It would suck if you didn’t like the person. Sadly, many actors show up on set, but don’t talk to each other in real life.

Q. How about James Spader?
A. He’s an accomplished actor. Although mostly actors don’t give each other notes, he has this way of giving you a thought — ‘I like that but try this…’ And because he has been doing it for so long, I’m happy to hear it.

Q. You are a musician too. How does that fit in with acting?
A. It doesn’t. Music is very much like a life saving therapy away from the acting stuff because you can do it alone in your room at 2.30 am. It’s very much for the soul. It’s nice to overlap the two sometimes — I’d love to do a music bio.

Where did Keen go?

Eggold’s character, Tom Keen is a covert operative, whose wife, Elizabeth, shoots him and stages his death, but keeps him prisoner on a boat for several months in order to extract secret information. As she is nearly discovered by the harbour master, Tom saves her by strangling him to death; Liz lets Tom escape as a token of gratitude

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