James Spader is fine with his eccentricity

Photo by: CBS

I can’t help myself in the things that I play, allowing my peculiarities to be the peculiarities of the character, to be the thing that is the most compelling and interesting to me.

James Spader

Is there a method to the madness? For James Spader, the three-time Emmy Award Winner best known for his eccentricity, it seems to be the case. It takes a certain level of self-confidence to be eccentric, behave in unusual ways, and not care about public perception – and James Spader does just that.

I’m definitely one of those people when there’s something strange and maybe even disturbing going on down the street I tend to be drawn to it.

James Spader
James Spader Is Fine With His Eccentricity (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)

During his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, they discuss Spader’s eccentric ways and how it affects his personal and professional life. He is gratified that eccentricity is part of his reputation and surrounds himself with friends/family who behave similarly. That strange and whimsical behaviour directly relates to his career as an actor. The roles he’s drawn to, such as Mr. Grey in The Secretary (2002), Robert California in The Office (2011-2012) and Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington in The Blacklist (2013-2022), are characters that have peculiar and unconventional ways. Among others on his impressive catalogue of work, these roles are some of his most accredited and are part of Spader’s brand and what makes him so successful as an actor.

Put in the most chaotic and extreme set of circumstances, he’s quite comfortable in that. And I think that part of it is a lack of fear, which I wish we had more of in our society today.

James Spader, on his character on The Blacklist

Despite the characters he plays, which for the most part are sleazy, sneaky and villainous, Spader is just the opposite in real life. He is kind, friendly and cares about people and leaves Colbert’s audience with a lasting thought; fear of public perception and commentary will keep you from being yourself. Spader doesn’t allow fear to change who he is or how he presents himself. Because of that, his eccentricity is not only very apparent, but it is the attribute he is best known for. It is the critical characteristic in his work and arguably, the key to his success.