Sullivan Stapleton can’t catch a break. Literally.
The star of NBC’s new drama Blindspot — which launched to the highest adults 18-49 demo rating of any new network series in premiere week — has been working almost nonstop in 2015. After filming the Blindspot pilot, he flew to Europe to film the Luc Besson‘s latest film, The Lake, due for release in summer 2016.
Now, he’s back in New York working the grueling hours of a network drama lead. It’s a high-class problem for an actor, Stapleton acknowledges, and he says he’s on “a great team” with Blindspot. He talked to THR about the show’s mysteries, the workload and what drew him to the show.
What drew you to the series?
The script that I read was great, and it was a great story. But it’s not just a weekly procedural because it’s [centered] on this woman [Jaimie Alexander] who has all these tattoos on her body that are all messages. That instantly opened my eyes to the fact that this show could go any way. That’s the exciting part about it.
Then the team — [creator] Martin Gero, [executive producers] Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter — it was just a great team to be part of. And it’s been a great job to jump on board of and explore. …. The cast are great actors, and also a great bunch of people.
Your first scene in the pilot isn’t really connected to the main story. Is it meant to give us a glimpse of how Weller approaches his job?
Yes. He’s obviously a very focused man, and he’s doing the best he can on the job to do better for the world. Just solve cases and stop people from doing evil things. He’s a very focused and serious agent when he’s at work.
Which is kind of all the time, right? He doesn’t seem to have much of a life outside work.
Yeah. (Laughs.) That seems to be the way. I think that is the kind of man he is. Obviously as the series builds, stuff comes up from his past. He’s got a sister, his father — you meet his family. But yes, he is very focused in his job.
How will the relationship between Weller and Jane develop? They seem to understand each other, but it’s not exactly a romantic spark.
That’s the enjoyable part of this show — we don’t know why they are connected, why my character’s name was tattooed on her back. Then obviously there are some things that are brought up from the past. … And there’s a character-based storyline throughout these scripts. It’s an awesome way to work. It’s exciting to discover what all of their stories are. You don’t know how they’re connected. It’s an exciting way to go. We’re filming the seventh episode now, and I just can’t wait to get the scripts and find out where we are going to end up.
How does the workload on this show compare to what you had on Strike Back?
Longer hours, mate. (Laughs.) In Strike Back, obviously we filmed all over the world. That was great to explore different cities, different foods, things like that. But here, it’s actually nice to settle down and settle into a city for some time — hopefully a long time. It’s kind of comforting to just put my head down and just do the best work I can for this show, and in between that explore the lovely city of New York.
How was working with Luc Besson on The Lake?
It was a dream job for an actor, and especially to meet that great man. I had done the pilot here for Blindspot, then flew off [to Europe] to do The Lake, then came back to restart the show again. To work for Luc Besson, playing Navy SEALs, we spent a lot of time in the water and underwater. It was one of those jobs — I was like an excited little kid playing dress up. … It was an awesome experience.
So you’ve barely had time to take a breath in the past several months?
Not much, mate. Not much.
How are you handling the physical rigors of all that?
It is grueling hours, but as I’ve said, it’s exciting. The support we’ve gotten from NBC and Warner Bros. [has made it] a nice way to work. It can be tiring, but that’s the way it goes when you’re a working actor. It’s not a big problem for me.
Check out an exclusive video from Monday’s episode below:
Blindspot airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.