ByD.C. Fenoff, writer at
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D.C. Fenoff

It's been quite the journey for Dutch-born actress, . During her exciting and varied career, Janssen has brought some incredibly strong, complex characters to life. Starting next week, she'll continue to do so with her starring role in the action-packed Blacklist spinoff, .

Before the debuts next Thursday, Janssen sat down for an interview with The New York Times to discuss her unique career, her exciting new series, and that constant struggle she and other women in Hollywood have to face every single day.

Becoming The Ultimate Antihero

Credit:  The Blacklist (NBC)
Credit: The Blacklist (NBC)

Janssen's character, Susan "Scottie" Hargrave was introduced during the third season of . The show was also utilized to air a backdoor pilot for the upcoming spinoff which revealed some rather juicy and intimate details about the original series' character, Tom Keen, played by Ryan Eggold. The episode revealed that Tom was actually the son of Susan Hargrave, whom most believed to have been murdered over 30 years ago.

The new show is set to explore Tom's journey into figuring out what exactly happened to him and why someone lied when confessing to his murder. This will require getting close with his mother, without alluding to the relationship Reddington (James Spader) warned he must keep secret.

Janssen spoke a little of her role and how we should expect the character to develop over the course of the show's first season:

“Scottie is a woman with a lot of layers, and as the season progresses we’ll unravel some of those. Her son went missing, and that is the biggest mystery in her life and also what defines her ultimately.”

A Long History Of Holding Her Own

Credit: Hemlock Grove (Netflix)
Credit: Hemlock Grove (Netflix)

Janssen's TV career is almost as distinct as her career in film. She had her first major television breakthrough as manipulative transgender life coach, Ava Moore, on the hit FX series, Nip/Tuck, from there she landed a starring role in one of 's first original series, Hemlock Grove, and then she landed a guest spot as a powerful attorney and Viola Davis' former lover on ABC's . Janssen spoke about her career and how she looks back on what it took to get her where she is now:

The big thing that put me on the map was the Bond movie, and it catapulted me in a very specific direction. I worked very hard against that for years on independent films with Woody Allen and Robert Altman, only to come back to the “X-Men” series to play Jean Grey. So my career has been defined by these very big, strong, powerful women. I thought, well, if I just am going to go against type, it will pay off over time. Whether it really has or not, I don’t know.

So what was it about Redemption that drew Janssen into her first starring role on a major network show?

One of the deciding factors was New York City. The fact that I get to stay at home and sleep in my own bed is such a luxury after working all over the world. And the character of Scottie is unpredictable in a way that I like. She can take a detour and start talking about her insecurities and anxieties in the middle of an interrogation.

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Keep Fighting For Equal Rights In Film

Credit: X-Men: The Last Stand (20th Century Fox)
Credit: X-Men: The Last Stand (20th Century Fox)

Janssen has been an outspoken advocate for women's rights in film for many years now. She spoke out against FOX refusing to bring her back as an older Jean Grey, Russell Crowe telling older actresses to accept their fate, and making the strong case for having more women behind the camera. When asked what the solution would be to see more change in Hollywood, Janssen, rather eloquently, put it like this:

People like Geena Davis are doing incredible things to bring awareness to how we can start changing things by simply putting more women or girls in the background, or by changing the lead from a male lead into a female lead. You need to start somewhere. I think it’s just going to take time and a lot more women behind the camera. But each and every one of us can never give up. We have to continue to fight for our rights as women in the film business.

Crossing dangerous territory, the interviewer dared to ask Janssen her age. Being the strong woman she is, she didn't back down and she didn't get aggravated. Instead, she answered the question, but she didn't let Hollywood off the hook and strongly made her feelings about the backwards casting system known.

I’m 52. The reason why I’m saying that is because I never had a problem with my age. I’ve been very open about it, never lied about it. [But] you don’t talk about Denzel Washington and say how old he is. It’s not attached to his name. With women, they always do it, but then they don’t say she looks [younger], so she could play [younger]. They say she’s that age, so she can’t play anything else. So it really hurts us in the end, and it shouldn’t be that way.

The Blacklist: Redemption debuts Thursday, February 23 on NBC. Will you be tuning in?

[Source: NY Times]


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