NBC’s buzzworthy new action series
Blindspot has one hell of a jumping off point.
One night a large duffle bag mysteriously
appears in the middle of New York’s Times Square, with a note on it to
contact the FBI. The busiest area in the US is completely evacuated as
the bomb squad comes in to see what is in the bag. As they are about to
potentially explode the duffle, it starts to move from the inside.
The zipper opens and a naked woman covered
head to toe with tattoos (played by Jaimie Alexander of the Thor
films) climbs out of the bag. She is completely confused and scared and
has no idea who or where she is. Her memory has been obliterated by an
experimental drug and all of the tattoos have been drawn on her in the
last couple of weeks.
In the series, Australian actor Sullivan
Stapleton plays Kurt Weller, an FBI agent who is drawn into the case
when it turns out that his name is one of the most conspicuous tattoos
placed on her body. Weller is put in charge of figuring out who the
woman (they all refer to her as Jane Doe) is and why she was kidnapped.
As he gets to know her it becomes obvious that she has certain special
military skills and may have been a special forces agent.
This is Sullivan’s second
consecutive American series, Blind Spot is literally starting
right as his Cinemax military series Strike Back is finishing its
fifth (and final) season. Sullivan has also starred in such films as
300: Rise of an Empire, Kill Me Three Times and
after the series premiere, we were one of several press outlets who had
the chance to chat with Stapleton about
So much of the show is about figuring
out who Jane is and what her history is, but Weller’s got his own story
going on. How much are we going to find out about your character and his
back story over the course of the season?
We’ll find a lot out about his past and how focused he is
on his job. Also trying to help solve the case of who Jane Doe is.
Can you compare the action that
you’re going to do in this to what you did in
Strike Back? You got hurt really badly making
Yes, but that was nothing to do with a stunt on the show. You’re going
to see some action, drama and thriller [on Blindspot]. But there
was absolutely a lot more action in Strike Back. It’s a very
different world to play, soldiers as opposed to FBI agents.
Strike Back, were you inundated with different
scripts? If they were, why does this appeal to you the most?
This is an awesome story. It’s been created by [Martin]
Gero, who’s a great man. The premise for the show, it excited me to
actually see where this will go throughout the season. Also, it’s shot
in New York. [The] people that created it and the NBC and Warner
Brothers family, it was an easy ship to jump onboard.
Just in the first episode he seems like
a pretty complex, incredible character.
Yes, it is. And obviously, you find out more about Kurt
as we go on. But yes, it’s interesting to find out what drove him to
become an FBI agent. Then, also, what is the connection between these
two people, Kurt Weller and Jane Doe? It’s a great start.
seen so many FBI characters on TV. Often times they’re kind of
cookie-cutter. I was really surprised at how intelligent your character
was, how compassionate he was, how understanding he was about Jane. Can
you speak to what you like about this character and how he’s different
from so many FBI agents we’ve seen on television?
I love the fact that there is this connection between
Kurt and Jane Doe. What is this connection between these two? Just his
grasp in trying to solve cases. That is what I love about this character
of Kurt. As you said, it’s not the cookie-cutter FBI agent. It’s not
just an each-case procedural. We get to explore his past and this
connection between himself and Jane Doe. You see the drive that makes
this man who he is. He is a very layered man. Very focused at work, but
yet you do see some of the emotional characteristics of him.
How does Kurt feel about Jane at this
point, going into the second episode. He’s been very good to her, but
obviously he must be a little suspicious with some of the interesting
things that have come out of her mouth and out of her fists, so...
(laughs) At first we are quite suspicious
as to why the FBI was directly linked to this case, this target. What
the connection is. Why his name was tattooed on her back. Through
obviously the investigation and the tests they’ve put her through, he
realizes that she’s telling the truth. Therefore I think we do see that
almost caring nature of him. The fact that he does sympathize or
empathize with the fact that she’s lost. [He] obviously understands that
it would be quite hard to lose your identity, who you are or where
You’re supposed to be training her, or
attempting to train her, until she turns the tables in this week’s
episode. Do you see Weller getting more suspicious of her as he starts
to realize that she’s got all these skills?
No, I don’t know about suspicion. I think that just opens
up the door to actually really trying to find out who she is. How she
understands the different aspects of the world we’re in. She understands
weapons and fighting. That just becomes more intriguing for them as
they’re finding stuff out.
What characteristics do you like about
the role you’re playing in the series as compared to other roles?
Well, I like that Kurt is a pretty honest and straight-up
guy. He’s obviously very focused at his job, for good reasons. Something
happened in his past that drives him to try to make the world a better
place by chasing criminals, solving cases. Which in turn saves people’s
lives. I like the fact that he’s got a big heart. That’s how he lives
his life. He’s got things to do. He seems to come from a very positive
seems like from the first episode at least that you and Jaimie have some
really good chemistry that’s really playing well into the show. What’s
it like working with Jaimie? How well do you guys play off each other
She’s awesome. She’s an awesome girl to work with. She’s
good at her job, so that working with that every day and working with
that aspect just makes work easier. Jaimie and the rest of the cast, we
all just get along really well. We do our best to try and make the show
the best that we possibly can.
Strike Back was filmed all over
the world and Blindspot is filmed mostly in
New York. Do you feel more settled filming in one city? What is New York
like as a location as an actor?
(laughs) Good question. I love it. Yes, you’re
right, it’s been nice to settle in to a city for obviously longer than a
few months. Strike Back, we were in and out of places after a
couple of months. So it’s nice here. New York’s a fantastic city. It is
a great place to work. It’s a great character to have in the show. To be
able to see the city and then chase criminals through this town, it’s
Did you meet with any FBI agents or
maybe even go to Quantico to learn more about your character?
Yes, I did. I met up with a couple of agents. We just
talked about how they approach work, really. It was an honor to meet the
men that do this for real. To hear some of the stories they told me, it
was really eye-opening and exciting.
One of the things that I’m really
curious about is your relationship with the rest of your FBI team. As
the season goes on is that relationship going to develop along with your
relationship with Jane?
Yes. We’re great friends, the whole group of us. We all
enjoy making the show. We’re developing this team as being together for
years and so we are quite close and understand each other. I’m sure we
will see these relationships develop throughout the course of the season
and delve into people’s back stories, different connections of each of
we were talking about what you admired about the character of Kurt. As
we know, every actor brings a little of himself to the characters. In
what ways would you say you’re similar to Kurt, if at all?
Yes, I would say I’m similar. I think we’re both very
focused to our work. Even though Kurt fights the wrongs in the world, I
guess I do the same. (chuckles) If something’s not right, I’ll
fight against it. It’s similar in that sense. Then also, the camaraderie
between Kurt and the other agents, stuff that again is very similar to
myself. Working with a great crew that we’re working with and my fellow
actors, I have that sense. I enjoy working as a team to do the best we
If you had a chance to go hang out on a
night on the team, would you rather hang out with Kurt or with Damian or
(laughs) Great question. Well, probably
both. At least you’re not going to get in trouble [with Kurt]. Probably
more with Damian because then you’ll get into some trouble.
The best of both worlds.
Have you had a chance to see [Strike
Back co-star] Philip [Winchester]’s new show The Player?
No. We were working last night and I couldn’t watch it. I
miss the boy. It was a great partnership. I would like to see him again.
I can’t wait to watch his show. It looks awesome. He looks like he’s
having a ball, doing all the stunts himself. So, I can’t wait to see it.
In the pilot you get knocked around
quite a bit. Weller almost gets blown up, almost gets knifed. What was
it like for you to play the guy that for once is getting knocked around
a bit, instead of doing the knocking around? How much punishment is
Weller going to take this season?
Good question. I don’t know. (laughs) Of course,
it’s been fun to do... to explore action in a different way on this
show. It is a bit different. But that’s fine, I don’t mind getting
knocked around. We always seem to end up on the right side at the end of
I was reading an interview with Martin
and he said that each episode is going to revolve around one of Jane
Doe’s tattoos. How long do you think that the show can keep that up? How
much of the season also is going to be spent on trying to figure out the
mystery of why your character’s name is tattooed on her body?
Yes, I think obviously that is one of the most important
[arcs]. Why we connected? Why has Kurt Weller specifically been drawn
into this case? But then, we can put lots of tattoos on Jaimie
Alexander. (laughs) I’m hoping that hopefully it’s going to make
the show go for a long, long time.