After having spent much of his career as a film actor, James Spader found a new lease on career life in TV with the legal comedy drama, Boston Legal. Further film roles beckoned, but now Spader has once again found himself enjoying great success on the small screen in thriller The Blacklist.
Next Monday, the 22nd September, sees the UK DVD and Blu-ray release of season one of The Blacklist, perfectly timed to catch up before season two begins on UK TV in October. The Blacklist could arguably be considered one of Spader’s best roles, but throughout a long career, he has given many great performances. Here are six of the best.
Steff – Pretty in Pink
Whilst Spader doesn’t enjoy a great deal of screen time as spoilt rich kid Steff, he does have an important part to play to effectively tell the story at hand. When Molly Ringwold’s working class Andie and Andrew McCarthy’s well off Blane start to develop a relationship, the conflict comes from people’s apparent reaction to these two people from vastly different economic back grounds coming together. Our only real evidence of this situation, which is the core of the story, however, is the despicable actions and reactions of Spader’s Steff, Blane’s disapproving best friend.
In his few scenes, though, he is masterful in creating a detestable character who, despite his frequent absence from the screen, looms like a shadow over every moment between Blane and Andie. Steff is reprehensible, and pretty two-dimensional. Spader uses what little he is given, however, to show some humanity, some intrigue as to what exactly it is that has made him so slimy.
Spader’s role in Pretty in Pink, as well as his similar role in Less Than Zero, set him up for a career reputation for playing dark, sinister characters, and this is a testament to his great performance in such an early role. As we will see in the films coming up on the list, whilst his characters are very often dark, his biggest characters were not nearly as slimy as you might first think.