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Creators Of The Blacklist Fought With James Spader On An Iconic Show Detail

James Spader has always had a fascinating career. Despite his good looks, he never seemed interested in playing stereotypical, dashing leading men. He originally began acting in teen films as morally dubious figures, such as the drug dealer in "Less Than Zero." Spader eventually pivoted however to eccentric, even sexually ambiguous characters, such as James Ballard in the Cronenberg erotic thriller "Crash" and a neurotic, controlling boss in the unconventional romance "Secretary." His characters could be genuinely kind-hearted, as with the nerdy scientist Daniel in "Stargate," or cruel, but Spider made them all feel a little strange and mysterious.

This made him a great fit, of course, for the main character of master criminal Raymond "Red" Reddington on NBC's "The Blacklist." Showrunner John Eisendrath explained to Collider why he felt Spader was perfect for the part. "It's hard for me to believe that he's never played a master criminal before because he has the ability to be mysterious, dangerous and mischievous, in a way that seems perfectly suited to playing someone where you don't know whether he's good or bad," he said.

However, Spader did argue with the show producers over one aspect of the character.

Spader insisted that Red should wear a fedora hat

John Eisendrath did admit to Collider that he and Spader disagreed over parts of Reddington's wardrobe. Spader thought Reddington would usually wear a hat, but the producers thought this would make the character look silly. "He was very insistent that his character would wear a hat," the showrunner recalled.

However, Spader turned out to be correct, as Red's fedoras proved to be a natural trademark of the sinister character. Eisendrath admitted as much in the interview. "And he was totally right," he said. "I love the hat now. That was an example where he just had such a great feeling for how to bring this character to life, in ways that we couldn't imagine, that were really enjoyable to see."

It was a great performance choice, but it did have an unforeseen consequence for Spader: he can't go anywhere in public wearing Red's hats. The actor confessed to Today in 2014 that "It seemed eminently practical, but of course now it's ruined fedoras for my life. I've always worn hats, but I've had to put my fedoras on the shelf and pull out my homburgs and caps." He also explained why it makes sense for Red to wear a hat on "The Blacklist," telling the outlet that the character has to adjust to various climates and locations, on top of how he "doesn't have any hair."