I’ve harbored a crush on James Spader for so many years now, I think I may have lost count. From the time I first saw him in Pretty in Pink he was always that beautiful, unattainable, smarmy (sometimes) asshole I couldn’t resist. Why would I want the bad boy, you might ask? “Were you never a teenaged girl?” I’d quickly retort. Fluffy, golden-haired, all killer smile and confidence, Spader’s made a career of playing the offbeat, anti-leading man, and to me he’s always seemed the kind of guy who isn’t too far off from who he plays. The more flawed, the more interesting, I always say (well, maybe not always, but often enough to make myself puke), and reading Rolling Stone’s latest interview with the now 50-something actor, I thrilled to every flaw or oddity revealed. Writer Andrew Goldberg is clearly also a fan; even as he makes note of every little quirk, there is admiration behind the words. Gloriously bizarre,” Goldberg writes, and notes the actor’s similarities to “endearing but oddball” characters he’s played.
During the interview, Spader shares that he’s obsessive compulsive, struggling with his rituals and a need for routine. “It’s very hard for me, you know? It makes you very addictive in behavior, because routine and ritual become entrenched. But in work, it manifests in obsessive attention to detail, and fixation. It serves my work very well: Things don’t slip by. But I’m not very easygoing.” During the interview, he remarks on the vantage point of the particular Village Vanguard table he’s chosen, as compared to the other (numbered) tables in the room. And in a jolt that will moisten the lions of every single one of us who swooned over his Mr. Grey, Spader talks up his experimental sexual side. “You know, I had two older sisters, and everybody seemed to be naked all the time, my parents and my sisters,” he says. “Our household was very comfortable with sexuality. There was just a lot of girls around. And guys. I played doctor with both.” Spader’s Secretary co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal notes, “He was always Mr. Grey,” and one gets the feeling it wasn’t just a bit of method acting.
I could blather on and on, of course, but any Spader fan should really go read the whole piece…and any non-Spader fan should go get his/her head examined.
In case anyone forgot, Spader currently appears on The Blacklist, and will appear as Ultron in Avengers: The Age of Ultron.