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Diego Klattenhoff goes from 'Homeland' so Spader series 'The Blacklist'

This publicity photo released by NBCUniversal shows Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler in a scene from the TV pilot of "The Blacklist." THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NBCUniversal, David Giesbrecht

TORONTO - Actor James Spader has infused a creepy charm into many characters over the years, from the arrogant rich boyfriend in the film "Pretty in Pink" to executive Robert California on TV's "The Office" and now, a captured fugitive on the new thriller series "The Blacklist."

But Diego Klattenhoff, his Canadian co-star of "The Blacklist," doesn't see him that way.

"James is a real nice guy. I don't know why people say he's creepy," the Nova Scotia native, who also plays U.S. Marine Mike Faber on the hit Showtime series "Homeland," said in a recent interview.

"You just have to try not to sit there and look stupid staring at him. He's very intelligent and very talented."

"The Blacklist" premieres Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Global and NBC.

Spader stars as notorious ex-government agent Raymond (Red) Reddington, one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives who surrenders and then tries to manipulate authorities into tracking down criminals both he and they want captured.

There's just one catch he'll only give rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone, the inside information authorities need to nab the suspects.

Klattenhoff, who plays an intelligence officer, sought out the project.

"I'd heard about the rumour of this great pilot floating around and I finally got my hands on it and it was a page-turner," he said during a brief chat at a Shaw Media event earlier this summer.

"It was one of those ones that you read and always remember where you're at, and for me, 'Homeland' was the same thing. I called up my guys and said, 'Get me on the show.'"

The series has a "Silence of the Lambs" feel as Red worms his way inside Elizabeth's head with mind tricks and a maniacal laugh.

But Red isn't the only duplicitous character, and even the cast members have been left guessing exactly who's good and bad on the show.

"At this point, I really don't know too too much," said Klattenhoff, whose other credits include the film "Mean Girls" and the series "Mercy" and "Men In Trees."

"They wanted to kind of keep us in the dark. Actors aren't the most tight-lipped people."

The potential for the story to run in many different directions is what he finds most compelling.

"It's kind of the best of both worlds, where it's a little bit serialized where you're trying to figure out from week to week who is Raymond Reddington, who is the FBI agent he's hand-picked to run down the blacklist with him," said Klattenhoff.

"You just have to kind of figure out week to week who they are and what their motivations are, and then you're catching all these bad guys in between."


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