The Blacklist’s Ryan Eggold Covers BELLO mag Fashion July 2015 Issue

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RYAN EGGOLD: Sympathy, for the Devil – Featured in BELLO mag Fashion July 2015 issue #75 – Download BELLO App for free

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Ryan Eggold has taken the character of Tom Keen to new heights of audience adoration on NBCs breakout hit The Blacklist. What could have been just another detestable TV cad has been injected with a certain humanity, due to his layered portrayal. In doing so, Eggold has effectively created a swoon-worthy heartthrob out of what is basically a lying sociopath. No easy feat. But one can’t help but wonder if it were another actor, would any of us care so much about the outcome of our beloved Liz and Tom? Or insist that the character continuously return for our own selfish entertainment, even if involves him murdering perfectly innocent people while resembling a terrifying Neo-Nazi?

It appears Tom Keen, a.k.a Jacob Phelps, a.k.a Ryan Eggold, has entered that exclusive “no matter WHAT!” club in which the audience is willing to accept anything he does as long as we can have him back for just one more episode. Is that borderline mass obsession? Or just good acting? Congruently, Ryan Eggold should be praised for a job well done…and for unintentionally making monsters of us all.

As always, as in the case of our interview, the devil is in the details.

“Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste…”
– Mick Jagger, Sympathy for the Devil

“Did I mention I’m currently living in a small closet?!” Eggold exclaims, leaving me unsure of how firmly his tongue is placed in his cheek.

This is the description of his current residence in New York City, a metropolis notoriously famous for its tiny urban abodes. The Blacklist is shot on the East Coast, so he recently relocated to a place he’s wanted to live for a while: “At this point in my life, I think I do prefer New York a little. I love California, and I’ve lived in L.A. for many years, and I may end up back there at some point in my life, but for now I am very happy here ” He coughs due to a recent tonsillectomy, but he remains genuinely playful: “I love New York. It’s getting warmer now, the moods are improving, and the clothes are coming off. It’s all very exciting.”

“Use all your well-learned politeness, or I’ll lay your soul to waste…”

Yes, Ryan Eggold is devilishly handsome, but there’s a slightly darker sense of fun just under the surface. A more wicked charm than most perhaps, or maybe an intelligence that makes you fully aware that, if you were to fumble, he could verbally destroy you. Not bad for the self-proclaimed “theater nerd” that studied at USC. For that reason, I tread a little more carefully. The actor brandishes a familiar wit — Russell Brand and Eddie Izzard come to mind –that you don’t want to Tango with. He seems the sort who would enjoy a good argument and win. As for bantering, well, that should be safe enough.

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“Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name.”

On the subject of the sudden fascination with Tom Keen (the character’s beard has his own Twitter profile, @TomKeensBeard!), he feels immensely grateful: “It’s a real gift from the writers I tell you. Such great stuff, some very polarizing characters involved. I hope the writers get all the credit in the world.”

Eggold has grown quite fond of the orphan Tom: “Wait, wait, technically he’s not a psychopath, he’s a sociopath.”

“Are you sure?” I inquire.

“Oh yes, 100 percent. This,” he continues, “is what makes him unflinching and at times incredibly violent.”

“And he kills people,” I remind him.

“There’s that too,” he admits, laughing loudly, “but what I hope I’ve achieved with Tom…is to humanize him.”

“So if you meet me, have some sympathy.”

The other thing that keeps us addicted is the secrecy surrounding the show. Fortunately, by the time this is published the second season finale will have aired. “Finally, I can purge! Normally, I can’t discuss ANYTHING!” he laughs. “Okay, if I need a hug, catch me if I fall. Yes, he does have feelings for Liz, feelings he probably doesn’t fully understand. She’s the closest thing he ever had to normalcy. No family, no love, no honest relationships, then he fakes one for two years, and it’s the closest point of reference he has to a real experience. And it kinda feels good, you know?”

“But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.”

I feel immediately comfortable with Ryan (he’s genuinely friendly), but then that underlying wit does make him seem a little bit dangerous. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s proved to serve him very well on the show, allowing him to hold his own with the force of nature that is James Spader. On working with Spader, he explains how he approached it: “I forget that this is the person I watched and admired growing up. He’s so good, it’s a joy working with him, but I have to focus on the scene at hand. This job is strange sometimes in that way; you have to divorce yourself from how you saw actors you admire. Does that make sense? It’s a vision of a person from a separate life. If you don’t, you will get distracted. I make an active effort to see him as a co-worker, which is odd, as I LOVE all his movies.”

5 QUICKIES WITH RYAN:

Personal style?

Easy, comfortable and lazy… generally.
You don’t seem the sloppy sort. I imagine you dress like a smart teacher.
I dress nothing like Tom! Nothing! (Laughs)

What did you last binge-watch?

In Romania, five seasons of Game of Thrones in a week or two. Was devastated by the Red Wedding episode. SPOILER ALERT: he gets an arrow through the heart and just says, “mother.”

What did you listen to last on your iPod?

It sounds odd, but Bach. People-watching in New York while listening to Bach is kind of amazing.

What don’t we know? Are you good at carpentry?

I AM. I am amazing carpenter! No but I can do accents and impressions. (*He does an impression of Eddie Redmayne that is actually a spot-on Mick Jagger!)

What do you do that has nothing to do with your job?

I write songs, I sing. Well, I did before I had a tonsillectomy. That’s really messed with my voice. I play guitar and piano. I put a song out for fun, from Lucky Them….I wrote another one called “Love Song.” I really liked that. It was folksy, you could say. But, I need to go back to the Bach question: I also like listening to Dylan and the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger was a lightning bolt of strange talent sent from above. Please don’t make people think all I do is walk around listening to Bach. You could just put Ryan also listens to “very cool” music.

Catch Ryan in the upcoming star-studded film Fathers and Daughters and on The Blacklist this fall on on NBC. Follow him @Ryan_Eggold.

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_____________________________
photographer TREVER HOEHNE
Words by Falene Nurse (@FaleneNurse)
stylist LISETTE MORA
groomer MELISSA DEZARATE at Exclusive Artists using Kevin Murphy
Special thanks to HQ AVALON STUDIOS

About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

2 Responses

  1. The Blacklist’s Ryan Eggold Covers BELLO mag Fashion - Photography of P Michael PerezPhotography of P Michael Perez

    […] Ryan Eggold has taken the character of Tom Keen to new heights of audience adoration on NBCs breakout hit The Blacklist. What could have been just another detestable TV cad has been injected with a certain humanity, due to his layered portrayal. In doing so, Eggold has effectively created a swoon-worthy heartthrob out of what is basically a lying sociopath. No easy feat. But one can’t help but wonder if it were another actor, would any of us care so much about the outcome of our beloved Liz and Tom? Or insist that the character continuously return for our own selfish entertainment, even if involves him murdering perfectly innocent people while resembling a terrifying Neo-Nazi? Read more… […]

    Reply
  2. The Blacklist’s Ryan Eggold Covers BELLO mag Fashion – OHLALAmag

    […] Ryan Eggold has taken the character of Tom Keen to new heights of audience adoration on NBCs breakout hit The Blacklist. What could have been just another detestable TV cad has been injected with a certain humanity, due to his layered portrayal. In doing so, Eggold has effectively created a swoon-worthy heartthrob out of what is basically a lying sociopath. No easy feat. But one can’t help but wonder if it were another actor, would any of us care so much about the outcome of our beloved Liz and Tom? Or insist that the character continuously return for our own selfish entertainment, even if involves him murdering perfectly innocent people while resembling a terrifying Neo-Nazi? Read more… […]

    Reply

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