NBC captivated audiences with episode 18 of Blindspot. In an exclusive interview with MStars News, comedian/actor Ennis Esmer talks about return of Gord Enver aka Rich Dotcom, Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) and Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton)'s arch nemesis.
As we previously mentioned, Blindspot follows Jane Doe (Alexander), who is suddenly discovered in the middle of Times Square. With no memory of who she is, Jane's only clues are placed all over her body. With the help of FBI agent Kurt Weller (Stapleton), Jane has to figure what each of the mysterious tattoos mean. But is Jane actually part of the conspiracy that Weller and the rest of his FBI Critical Incident Response Group are seeking answers for? Can Jane truly be trusted or is there actually a traitor in the mix?
In episode nine, Jane and Kurt met Rich Dotcom, the criminal mastermind, and stopped him from selling his deadly information to the wrong hands. And now, Rich has returned with an offer no one can refuse. In order to apprehend an international criminal, the duo are forced to collaborate with Rich and take part in his heist. Check out our recap of One Begets Technique here!
From the eighteenth episode, One Begets Technique, of Blindspot, Esmer discusses Rich's grand masterplan, playing a "super-villain" on the show, and being part of the action sequences.
MStars News: You previously worked with Blindspot creator/showrunner Martin Gero in L.A Complex and Dark Matter, tell me how you two met?
EE: I've known Martin for I want to say like 12-15 years, something like that. We met doing improv and sketch comedy in Toronto. It's not something that people say. In the years between 2000 and 2010, yeah I know him from Toronto, him and Brendan Gall as well, one of the supervising producers and writers on the show. He was also doing sketch and improv back then. So I've known these guys for a long time. That's how we met and I was in a movie that Martin directed and co written by my friend, Aaron Abrams. He has also been on Blindspot and Hannibal, also wrote on L.A Complex, was a movie called Young People F*cking and that's how we all got connected in the first place. And I've known Aaron since we were in grade seven.
MS: Tell me what hooked you in when you read for 'Rich Dotcom,' in the first episode of Authentic Flirt?
EE: Just to do whatever he wants and people have to listen to him, so it's like a dream. I never really played like a super-villain before but this is as close as it has gotten in my career. He gets to do whatever he wants and the power kind of slides there by his buddy and the security guards and all the weapons and stuff.
MS: Where do we see Rich now One Begets Technique?
EE: Things are definitely different in the second episode because the context is different. He is in jail now. He wants to get out. He needs some help and he knows he has something that Weller and the rest of the team need. He's definitely like he's coming; so it's definitely different. The first place he's in the castle and he gets to be his ridiculous self. Everyone has to take him seriously, which was a lot of fun to do as Jamie and Sullivan are supervising him and things like that. They have to take him as this dangerous threat. So I didn't have to play that. I could just play this sort of kid in a candy store, you know, talking people into threesomes and saying whatever he feels like.
MS: Rich comes across as Sherlock's Moriarty at times. Does he intend on hurting Jane and Kurt after they humiliated him in the previous episode?
EE: I don't think that's really on his mind, I think he likes to play with people. And I don't think at any point, he at the end of the episode, when he tries to protect Jane and in a the most ridiculous way possible, by saying "Spare this poor hookers life!" I think he has an affinity to them and he likes to see what kind of trouble he can cause. But he sees in the two of them, more of an adversary so to speak. I don't think he is interested in anything malicious happening to them, but if they are a means to him getting what he wants, like for example his freedom, I think he enjoys it. I think he'll use them for whatever he needs. They are the only two people that have somehow gotten to him and invested in him so to speak; so he has respect for them as well.
MS: Tell me about juggling the comedy and drama. Since you've won awards like the Canadian Comedy Award For Multimedia and Best Male Performance, do you feel like the comedic timing is very easy?
EE: I wouldn't say easy, they are just a lot of fun. Like especially the context of something like this. I watched the first eight episodes before I came on. It's a very intense, very story-driven show. There is so much double crossings and some are very intense and serious on the show. It was fun to play counter to that. They didn't give me a direction like, "You know, we want you to mess with people!"
But it was just sort of inherent. It's the character that sort of Martin and Brendan and Alex Berger and the other supervising producers on the show, they gave me the rights to have some fun; so that sort of naturally comes out. It's fun to play someone that everyone is scared of. But that doesn't play the intensity all the time, except when he feels like he is being double-crossed like in the first episode. Parts in the second, in episode 18, where he rejects to play lower status to everybody to get what he wants, he can't do the same. He doesn't have a bunch of armed guards around him willing to kill at any moment. So he has got to kind of play to the rule book a little bit. He has made some adjustments in trying to get what he wants. So it's a more "flies with honey" type of philosophy in the second episode.
MS: You are involved in a bunch of memorable action sequences, do you have any behind-the-scenes anecdotes?
EE: As far as the set, I mean we really only shot the episode two months ago. So as far as action sequences, I've never been involved you know in a parachute hidden in the tuxedo jacket, or harnessed to the top of a building 43 floors above Manhattan. So you know, this is all pretty new to me. According to that experience, it has all been a blast to learn and watch as much as that stuff. You've got Sullivan obviously, he has done a lot of action. Jaimie and the whole cast have been at this for the whole season. So they all have tricks, I am still kind of learning about things, like they have like these squibs, which are little pellets filled with sand that make it look like bullets are being shot.
I'm kind of like, "I'm the new kid." I am brand new at this, so I don't know about that behind-the-scene stuff. But I am watching how carefully they craft all this stuff, especially like the gallery, like that whole day of shooting. It took us over a day to shoot that. Basically Sullivan and I are holding a painting are at the bridge of an explosion, so we can't move while we are watching this two-on-one fist vs. swords fight. That was pretty amazing to watch! It goes super fast and you don't think how much work goes into it. But it took like over a day of shooting to get that scene the best of it!
MS: What can you say about that kiss?
EE: It was also really fun to play a character whose sexuality is fluid and yet is not playing any kind of stereotype, so he's just sort of a pure hedonist voluptuary kind of equally attracted to both Sullivan and Jane and unapologetic; that was also a lot fun too.
— Ennis Esmer (@ennisesmer) April 19, 2016
MS: What other projects are you working on now?
EE: Well I will be going back to a show called Red Oaks that is an Amazon series. It is a comedy set in a country club in the 80's and we shot a season last year It's the same studio that does Transparent, The Man in a High Castle. It's a great show! I get to play the caddy-shack at a country club set in the '80s. It's a lot of fun, a lot of short shorts, and it has a great cast, Richard Kind, Paul Reiser, and Craig Roberts. It has great stuff. It's pure comedy and we are back at it again, this summer in New York. So I'll be going back to shoot that!
Blindspot continues Mondays at 10pm on NBC.