Megan Boone of The Blacklist Q&A: Star Talks Dancing, Krav Maga and Working With James Spader
She plays intense FBI agent Elizabeth Keen on NBC's The Blacklist, but Megan Boone is naturally humorous off-set, she tells Us Weekly in a recent Q&A. The Michigan native, 30, gives Us the scoop on what it's like working with James Spader, how she trains for the show's action-packed scenes, and what to expect from upcoming episodes.
US: What a hit! Now that it is back, what can we expect in the coming episodes?
Megan Boone: You've got a lot that you're going to find out in this season, for sure. They are going to focus a lot on Tom’s relationship and on Red’s. [Elizabeth’s] past is very much intertwined with those story lines. And then a lot of new questions are going to come up as well.
US: We can’t handle new questions!
MB: If there are no new questions, there are no more presents to open!
US: Fair enough! You had previously said that the first time you ran lines with James Spader you started choking on your popcorn! Tell Us about that experience.
MB: Well, what happened was the writers and creators had changed so much material last minute that the pages didn't get to me in time. I was going to go do my first scene with James so tensions were high, I was very nervous. I went back to my trailer [to rehearse] and started munching on popcorn to alleviate some of my nervous energy. A PA was helping me learn the lines for the scene. Then, I hear a knock on the door and he says, 'It's James.' When I heard him say his name, a popcorn kernel lodged itself in the back of my throat. He cleared the room and he's having this long discussion about our characters and so forth, and meanwhile I'm choking on this popcorn. I'm trying to hide it from him; I don't want him to know. [Laughs.] But he put me at ease, he actually said, 'You know, whatever you need, I'm here for you, we're going to be a great team.' The popcorn ended up dislodging from my throat, and I ended up shooting the scene where Elizabeth stabs the pen in Red's neck.
US: The show deals with such dark and intense material. How do you guys lighten the mood on set?
MB: A lot of dancing.
MB: I mean, sometimes. That's what I've been doing to keep warm [in NYC] when we're shooting our winter exteriors. I think that we're just naturally humorous people. A lot of the reason why the dark material works for people as a form of entertainment is because we're just humorous and we approach the drama with a sense of humor.
US: You can totally see that in James Spader's character.
MB: He doesn't take anything seriously, where as my character is the one that is going through very difficult things. Liz is always getting into a new struggle. I think people can relate to that.
US: Absolutely! You don’t know what to expect in every scene. When did you guys know this was a hit?
MB: You never know something's going to be a hit until people watch it and you see the audience's response to it. I feel great to be a really important part of a very good team of people. They're smart and talented.
US: Before Blacklist, were you a fan of the other crime shows like Law & Order?
MB: No! [Laughs.] I do not like procedurals for the most part, and I've done a few in my life. I didn't really enjoy the work because the characters themselves don't have stories. They are there for the sole purpose of solving the case of the week. On this show, we have the case of the week, but that's not the most engaging element of the show- it's a very character driven procedural.
US: And then along with that, on the show there's bombs going off, car crashes, you're being shot at, have you had any on-set injuries?
MB: I've had bumps and bruises. It's a really physical role, and I prepare for it. I maintain a certain level of health so that I can do this job. If I didn't I might be more prone to injuries.
US: What do you do to train?
MB: I hit the gym and I've been doing Krav Maga. I have always been athletic. I just had to turn it up a notch for this part. To be Elizabeth, I felt it became more about putting on muscle and weight training and getting really strong. When I'm not working, I like to switch it up. I think that's important for the body to always try new things and just reach beyond your comfort zone.
US: And after that, how do you unwind?
MB: I love to see theater- it fills me up with inspiration and having a glass of wine with friends. I also go to the Russian baths for Platza – a treatment they do.
US: What’s that?
MB: It’s a lot of heat that brings the blood to the skin and flushes out all the toxins. [After playing Elizabeth], you've got to do an intense reset button over the weekend, that's what it's all about.
US: Definitely sounds worthwhile.
MB: You know what I really want to do more of though? I want to go dancing more.
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10 p.m. Eastern time.