Sullivan Stapleton on Blindspot, Bond and plenty in between.
He’s the Melbourne-born actor who played a drug dealer in Australian film Animal Kingdom and an ex-us commando in TV thriller Strike Back, as well as appearing in Gangster Squad. Now Sullivan Stapleton is starring as FBI agent Kurt Weller in Blindspot, a
“I LOVE WHAT THEY COME UP WITH IN THE FIGHTING SCENES, AND OBVIOUSLY JAIMIE KICKS ASS”
What did you make of Blindspot’s opening scene, where a naked, tattooed amnesiac woman (Jaimie Alexander) climbs out of duffel bag in Times Square?
It drew me into the series instantly. To see them shut down Times Square and her climb out of that bag, it was phenomenal, dude. I couldn’t imagine anything like that – they went to Times Square and it was awesome. They had the square locked off for a little bit, but New Yorkers, they’re tough people. We went back to Times Square again during the series and that was awesome because people knew about it. It was nice to see that excitement and that happiness in people.
What did you think when it was revealed the Jane Doe character had Kurt’s name tattooed on her back?
Yeah, I don’t know. That’s what I still
want to know, because obviously we find out at the end of this season that she’s not who she said she was.
How much did you know about the storyline during filming?
Nothing. So that’s the answer to your next question – I don’t know what’s going to happen in the second season. No, and I don’t want to know.
Was it liberating playing opposite a female character who’s as tough as you – and even saves your life?
It’s awesome, dude. It’s great that throughout the team we fight together. I love what they come up with in the fighting scenes, and obviously Jaimie kicks ass. She had to flip me once – I’m 90 kilos. Audrey [Esparza, Special Agent Zapata], she’s tough as nails, she’s running around with us in heels. They made Ashley [Johnson, Special Agent Patterson] run through snow for two days – she had to escape, she’d been kidnapped – and she did it barefoot. They are tough girls.
You suffered an off-set injury during Strike Back in Thailand in 2014.
Yeah, that was after filming, I bumped my head quite seriously.
Are you still doing stunts?
Yeah, definitely, I think I’d struggle if I couldn’t. Well, I wouldn’t take the role if I couldn’t. I kind of look forward to doing some roles that don’t have stunts or fighting, but if you sat me down and said “You can sit on the bench while the stuntman does all the fun stuff,” that wouldn’t be a good day out.
Do you like the conspiracy angle in Blindspot – plotlines about genetic engineering or surveillance drones?
Yeah, I like the fact that I guess [the writers] are watching the news and they’re putting that stuff into the show. We see that stuff on the news every day, so why not put it in the show?
Do you have any tattoos?
Yeah. [ Shows Thai letters on right inner arm.] It says Animal Kingdom.
Have you seen the US TV series based on the Australian film?
No. I’m interested to see how it is. It’s surprising they did it. I want to know what crimes the family are doing – and more to the point, who’s playing me. I want to see that.
Do you think we’ll find out the identity of Jane Doe in Series 2 of Blindspot?
I don’t know. That’s the great thing about this show – you can draw that out. That will keep the audience [watching], but it will frustrate the shit out of me because I want to know. That’s where we ended the first season so far, so now: what happened? Where is she? Why did she do this? I sort of want to find out as the audience finds out. I don’t want to sit there and know about it too soon.
What’s the chemistry like on set?
I think we get along like it is on screen, we have a lot of fun and they’re a great team, so it makes going to work enjoyable every day. Because they’re gruelling days – they’re really long. We have a lot of fun doing it. Sometimes someone cracks us up on the set. You know, you’re trying to do these intense scenes and someone’s being an idiot or mucking around.
Blindspot also touches on James Bond territory with international terrorists. Would you like to be the second Australian James Bond?
[ Laughs] Umm, I don’t know if I’d think about it and go to plan it. But you’d have to be a fucking dumbass actor if they said “Would you like to play James Bond?” and you said “No, I don’t really want to do that”. I think I’m more suited to Jason Bourne than James Bond. But you know, I look good in a suit, dude.
Blindspot Series 1 is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 3 October. Series 2 airs on Sky Living later this year.