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James Spader Easily Handles the Hero/Villain Role

Posted by Fara Kearnes on October 4, 2005 6:51 PM |

James SpaderBoston Legal's James Spader began developing the sleazy but likeable character of Alan Shore a few years ago on "The Practice" and is still trying to figure out what the character is all about. Audiences as well are conflicted as to whether they should loath or love Shore - which is exactly what creator David E. Kelley intended.

"I didn't really know much about the character at the time, but I had an idea of what Kelley wanted the character to do," Spader said in a rare interview with the Olympian. "He really wanted this very sort of volatile force at this well-established firm on 'The Practice' ... to stir things up."
, Kelley described the arrogant Alan Shore to Spader as someone whose friends would be both drawn to and repelled by him. "Kelley said, 'You know how you will have a friend sometimes who you are very compelled by and who you may love dearly, but they are very difficult to be friends with,' They are sometimes so appalling that you are very conflicted in your relationship with them. ... Kelley wanted [the audience] to be very conflicted about him."

"The most interesting heroes have a bit of villainy to them, and the most interesting villains have a certain bit of heroism in them," Spader explains. "I think [Shore] intends to do the right thing, but his view of the world is very different so, to get to the right place, he sometimes takes a path that goes through a very dark forest."

Spader adds that the writers are able to keep Shore likeable even when he does awful things. "He's a very strange guy. One of the things I like most about doing a television series is that I really don't have any idea what is going to happen," Spader says. "I love that."

Kelley described the arrogant Alan Shore to Spader as someone whose friends would be both drawn to and repelled by him. "Kelley said, 'You know how you will have a friend sometimes who you are very compelled by and who you may love dearly, but they are very difficult to be friends with,' They are sometimes so appalling that you are very conflicted in your relationship with them. ... Kelley wanted [the audience] to be very conflicted about him."

"The most interesting heroes have a bit of villainy to them, and the most interesting villains have a certain bit of heroism in them," Spader explains. "I think [Shore] intends to do the right thing, but his view of the world is very different so, to get to the right place, he sometimes takes a path that goes through a very dark forest."

Spader adds that the writers are able to keep Shore likeable even when he does awful things. "He's a very strange guy. One of the things I like most about doing a television series is that I really don't have any idea what is going to happen," Spader says. "I love that."


Comments

I just miss his 1980s junior yuppie villains. There was nothing better than hating the too perfectly WASP handsome "Steph" or the drug dealer in "Less than Zero."


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