Blacklist Announces Hybrid Live Action Graphic Novel Animated Season 7 Finale
During this pandemic, most people have had to give up their normal way of life. Most businesses have taken a hit and that doesn't exclude the entertainment industry. So when faced with the issue of a partially filmed episode, "The Blacklist" executive producers Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath took to a non-conventional solution to deal with it - animation.
"It started sort of as a joke, talking about how we should do it (the episode) as an old-school radio broadcast where we put the image of a crackling fire or a radio up on TV and the actors could voice it," said Bokenkamp. He went on to say, "It's possible that if we knew how much work it took to do an animated half of this episode, we might well have not come up with the idea."
Series star James Spader spoke about the idea, saying, "I was intrigued. I thought that it seemed like the right thing to do, to try and finish the episode in any way that we could, and not only the episode, but to end the season."
Animation only was part of the solution. The cast had to also record their dialogue from their homes. Not an easy feat when one is surrounded by others in a quarantine environment.
"I hadn't yet played Raymond Reddington with my son tiptoeing into the kitchen to get snacks," said Spader. "But you do what you do. You turn the heat off so it wouldn't cycle, you try to remember not to run the dishwasher."
The whole project is on quite a large scale. Bokenkamp described it as a "24-hour process".
"While we're sleeping, London is working, and we'll watch what they sent at night. Then we give them our notes and they quickly start turning them around, so there's people in many different time zones working around the clock to get it done on time," he said.
At the end of the day, it takes an unprecedented team effort to pull off a production like this.
Eisendrath said, "We felt that it was important to do our best in a difficult situation to try and get the episode completed."
"The Blacklist" stars James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Amir Arison, Hisham Tawfiq, and Harry Lennix.
The final episode of season seven is titled "The Kazanjian Brothers" and airs on NBC on May 15 at 8 p.m. The series has been renewed for an eighth season.
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