Monday, January 6, 2014

Prime Time James Spader

This is not at all intended to be a jab at someone putting on a few pounds.  Heaven knows I've never been People Magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year.  As far as stockiness goes, a cannibal tribe would point at my thighs and shout, "Buffet!"

But...remember when actor James Spader had the ultimate look -- and talent -- to play just about every yuppie you wanted to slap in a 1980s movie?  He was the perfect choice to play the backstabbing yuppie corporate co-worker in the comedy, Baby Boom, opposite Diane Keaton.  He just had the right look for the Young Urban Professional role.
He was the slappable yuppie in Pretty in Pink with Molly Ringwald.

With that lean body, those Anglo looks, that full head o' hair and the aloof attitude,  he perfected that character through the 1980s in films such as Wall Street and Less Than Zero.  By 2002's Secretary, James Spader was a Hollywood master at playing the irritating, self-absorbed, privileged, pompous ass.  He was the guy you loved to hate.

Then came ABC's Boston Legal in 2004.  This TV series let him exercise some different acting muscles and he did a mighty fine job as the lawyer you liked.  I watched the series, totally digging his chemistry with William Shatner for four seasons, and thought to myself, "Hmmm...that show must have a really terrific caterer on set for lunch breaks."  Spader was maturing and body chemistry was doing its thing.  He had less hair and an extra inch or two around the waist.  This happens when we hit middle age.

He made the change in his looks work in his favor like a champ.  He was a knock-out in a small supporting role in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.  At first, I didn't recognize him.  Spader has ripened into quite the skilled character actor.
Now on NBC, he delivers another excellent performance as the lead character on the crime series, The Blacklist.  It's a smart show airing on Monday nights.  Spader plays the mastermind criminal whose high I.Q. can help solve crimes.
From Pretty in Pink to NBC's The Blacklist -- his looks may have changed since the yuppie days of the 1980s, nevertheless James Spader has remained very interesting to watch.  I think he's even more interesting to watch now.  He embraced his mature changes and challenged himself in some colorful new roles.  He's a good actor.

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