Interview with Marianne Jean-Baptiste from "Blindspot" on NBC - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Interview with Marianne Jean-Baptiste of "Blindspot" on NBC 10/13/15

This is a really good show, and Marianne is one of the many reasons why. She's a fantastic actress that's been in so many wonderful roles already. She's awesome as the assistant director of the FBI, the slightly-shady Bethany Mayfair. I enjoyed this call quite a lot.

Moderator: Matthew Mitchell
October 13, 2015
1:30 pm CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Blindspot Marianne Jean-Baptiste press and media conference call. During the presentation all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards we will conduct a question-and-answer session.

At that time if you have a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator, please press star 0. As a reminder this conference is being recorded Tuesday, October 13th, 2015. I would now like to turn the conference over to Matthew Mitchell. Please go ahead.

Matthew Mitchell: Hi, there. Thank you. Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining todayís call. Weíre really thrilled to have Marianne Jean-Baptiste who plays Bethany Mayfair the Assistant Director of the FBI on the phone with us today. On Monday October 19th weíll air our fifth episode entitled ďSplit the Law.Ē

To start off weíre going to allow each of you the chance to ask a question and should you wish to ask a follow-up, weíll just ask that you please reenter the queue. Just so a quick reminder that this call is being recorded so letís start. Please welcome Marianne and weíre now open for questions.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Hey.

Matthew Mitchell: And weíre all set to go.

Operator: And ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to register for a question at this time, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephones. Our first question comes from the line of David Martindale from Fort Worth Star Telegram. Please go ahead.

David Martindale: Thank you. Hi, how are you?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Good, thank you, and yourself?

David Martindale: Iím good, thank you. Itís a good day. Thanks for doing the call. Iím enjoying the show so far.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Great.

David Martindale: Iíll start with since Iím first Iíll start with a basic one. What was it about the showís premise in general and about your character in particular that turned you on, made you want to be part of this?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Well, I found it a very quick and exciting read. I love puzzles, conundrums, mysteries and so this sort of thing was right up my street. The element of tattoos and Jane being a sort of treasure map sort of, you know, made me very excited about trying to sort of solve those pieces.

On further conversations with the creator who obviously went into a bit more about Bethany Mayfair, I felt that this would be a great opportunity to explore something slightly different. Although I played an FBI agent before, this woman is the Assistant Director and is not at first what she seems to be.

There was a bit of intrigue, there was some secret that, you know, as the show goes on would be revealed so all those elements excited me quite a bit.

David Martindale: Cool, cool. Iím going to follow the rules and come back with a second question. Thank you very much.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Joshua Maloni with Niagara Frontier Publications. Please go ahead.

Joshua Maloni: Thank you, thank you for your time today, appreciate it.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Hello?

Joshua Maloni: Yes, hi, there you are, thank you, thank you for your time today, appreciate it.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you, sorry, I didnít hear at first...


Joshua Maloni: Thatís okay and now let me say I think you are really terrific in this role. Iíve really been enjoying it.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Oh good, thank you.

Joshua Maloni: I want to ask you, you know, NBC has had some really interesting takes on crime and government in the past couple of years, some really high-concept type profile shows and, you know, for whatever reason they havenít worked so well with the audience.

Your show is definitely resonating. Itís, you know, an unquestionable hit at this point in the season. And Iím wondering why do you suppose that is? Why do you suppose that this show is working so well with the audience?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Well, I think they have very cleverly have been able to weave-in great action, you know, you have the overall mystery of the whole thing so those people who love to solve a mystery or a puzzle, thatís for them with the action but also just sort of weave-in some great character stuff where characters are slowly being revealed and I just think itís a really sort of magical combination that hooks a lot of people.

Joshua Maloni: All right, very good, thank you.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Bridget Liszewski with TV Junkies. Please go ahead.

Bridget Liszewski: Hi Marianne, thanks for doing this call.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Hello. Youíre welcome.

Bridget Liszewski: So I think it was pretty surprising that the show has already revealed that Jane is Taylor Shaw and I was just wondering if you guys were at all surprised that the show seems to be revealing secrets rather than keeping them for later on.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Well, youíve got an entire body covered from head to toe with these tattoos so itís like thereís no end to stuff thatís going to be revealed, do you know what I mean, and I think itís great because itís like thereís been quite a quick payoff to some of the mysteries, you know, that are being revealed.

And I mean, at first I was like oh come on, letís string it out a little bit more but I think that, you know, weíve got a great team of writers and that are extremely clever and I just think that they know what theyíre doing, you know?

Bridget Liszewski: As a quick follow-up, does that mean that we will be learning more about what Operation Daylight is sooner rather than later?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Most definitely.

Bridget Liszewski: Thank you.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you so much.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Suzanne Lanoue from TV Megasite. Please go ahead.

Suzanne Lanoue: Good morning. Iím a big fan of yours...

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Good morning.

Suzanne Lanoue: ...since Without a Trace. I loved you on Broadchurch, too, and youíre doing great on this one.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Suzanne Lanoue: You mentioned that the producers talked to you about the back story a little of the character. Did they give you a lot of character history and did they tell you what Daylight is and that kind of thing or are you still in the dark?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes, no, they told us quite a bit. I mean, (thereís not too much) (unintelligible) being granted but I mean, they know where this story is going. I mean, theyíve worked-out the entire thing.

Suzanne Lanoue: Thatís good.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: And you know, on a personal level I love getting (the strength) and going oh my God, you know, and being surprised because I donít always get to see the episodes when they air because itís, you know, I watch (unintelligible) etcetera, so itís lovely to sort of like read them and discover (them). Obviously seeing sort of the character which (unintelligible) to make sure to sort of like give us a heads-up (unintelligible).

Suzanne Lanoue: All right, thank you.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Stephanie Piche with Please go ahead.

Stephanie Piche: Hi, and congratulations on getting more than just a few episodes...

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yea!

Stephanie Piche: ...with, yes, a full season order.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: I know.

Stephanie Piche: Thatís nice, lots of tattoos - well not a lot of tattoos - but a lot of secrets and youíre keeping some secrets.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: I know (unintelligible).


Stephanie Piche: So how close are you to in real life are you to your character because you pull it off amazingly?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes, you know, I mean, (unintelligible).


Marianne Jean-Baptiste: I think, you know, (unintelligible) I take my job very seriously and I want to do well and so that type of thing, you know, where theyíre (pushing) the narrative so, you know, I try and use every opportunity to explore someone who is very unlike me.

Thatís always sort of been my goal so, you know, sheís very well put together and, you know, business and official and in charge and bossy and itís great just sort of step into her six-inch heels every day and do that.

Stephanie Piche: Uh huh, well you do it well.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Stephanie Piche: Youíre welcome, thank you.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thanks.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Joseph Wiesner with Please go ahead.

Joseph Wiesner: Hey Marianne, thanks for talking to us. Iím really enjoying the show so far and Iím liking how much I guess how much more complex your character seems than we may realize with the pilot.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes, yes.

Joseph Wiesner: But I want to ask since you are playing the Assistant Director of the FBI, how if you could talk a little bit about how you prepared for the role? Like did you go over FBI procedures or anything like that?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes, I did, I mean, I kind of did a bit of a refresher because Iíve done it for a show that Iíve done years ago but obviously sheís in a higher position so just sort of like reacquainting myself with protocols and all that stuff but then, you know, you look at the character as a whole and then you have to decide how much attention they pay to that?

Do they slightly bend the rules? I mean, in this particular story that weíre telling, Weller is sort of a bit of a loose cannon at times and she sort of, you know, although against her better judgment knows that heís got a really good gut feeling and lets him do things that she may not necessarily believe is the way to do them.

So yes, I mean, thatís been what Iíve really been exploring with it and trying to, you know, you want to keep it as authentic as possible but still with that sort of creative license.

Joseph Wiesner: Yes, still be able to tell the story youíre trying to tell. Okay, well thank you so much.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Erica Schaaf with Talk Nerdy With Us. Please go ahead.

Erica Schaaf: Hi, Marianne, thank you so much for talking with us.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Hello.

Erica Schaaf: This is probably my favorite new show of the fall.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yea!

Erica Schaaf: And I just I canít believe how cohesive it is just right from the start between the actors, the characters, the setting, the writing. What do you think has made that possible?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: You know, I think Martin Gero is a very clever guy, you know, and itís the perfect combination for me anyway. Heís clever and heís kind so heís sort of, you know, he selected a great group of writers, a great cast, you know, we all get on really well. We go out and eat and all that so when weíre on set itís sort of like thereís already a little shorthand developing in how we work and interact with each other.

The scripts are very strong. I mean, Iím reading them, you know, as soon as they land whether Iím in the middle of an episode or not because I just want to know whatís going to happen next and I know that my other cast members feel the same way and itís where theyíre excited about getting hold of them.

You can only imagine what itís like for the audiences discovering these puzzles every week.

Erica Schaaf: Thank you so much.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen as a reminder to register for a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephones. Our next question comes from the line of (Agatha Kasbrack) with (Oh So Great). Please go ahead.

Agatha Kasbrack: Hi Marianne, how are you?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Hello, Iím good, thank you.

Agatha Kasbrack: Thank you so much for joining us, I mean, itís such a pleasure to talk to you. I love the show.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: My pleasure, thank you.

Agatha Kasbrack: It is one of my favorite shows right now too.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yea!

Agatha Kasbrack: Yea! Where do you want your character to be by the end of the show?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Oh, probably an island in the Caribbean somewhere...


Agatha Kasbrack: Thatís awesome.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: You know, I donít know. Itís very exciting just not knowing, you know, you kind of have a rough overview of things that are going to take place but it, you know, itís a roller coaster ride. Itís sort of okay, sheís doing this, okay, you know, which I totally embrace.

Agatha Kasbrack: Uh huh, thatís really great...

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: And I trust that itís going to be very exciting, you know?

Agatha Kasbrack: ...Iím very excited, I canít wait for the next episode.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes, oh yes.

Agatha Kasbrack: Can I ask another question?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes. Go on quickly before youíre in trouble.

Agatha Kasbrack: Okay, so youíre currently in two shows, Blindspot and Broadchurch and itís a crime drama mystery and Blindspot is a drama mystery thriller and is there any difference in the way you approach a role for an American audience versus a British audience?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: No, you canít think like that. Youíve just to - itís got to - be about the character. It really has to and it has to be about the integrity of the piece that youíre doing. I mean, obviously in your U.K. they take much longer with things. They donít sort of itís not like an eight-day or nine-day turnaround.

Itís like you get for 2, 2-1/2 weeks on an episode but then they will only do eight so there isnít that need, you know, to keep driving it through but yes, I mean, yes, itís great.

Itís great sort of being able to work in that way and just be focused on, you know, you donít look at the big picture, you know, you hope people will like it and respond to it but youíve got to compartmentalize and really focus on telling the story to be the best of your ability and then hopefully the people go I love your show.

Agatha Kasbrack: Yes, thank you so much.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Tiffany DíEmidio with Eclipse Magazine. Please go ahead.

Tiffany DíEmidio: Hi Marianne.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Hello.

Tiffany DíEmidio: Are you ever like astounded by how the difficult the - how intricate and difficult - the tattoos and the puzzles that are related to the clues that are all over Janeís body as part of the story?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Am I every what, sorry, I missed the first part?

Tiffany DíEmidio: Oh, thatís okay. Are you ever like blown away and just baffled by some of how intricate the actual clues are that are placed across her body?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Constantly. I mean, Iím constantly blown away by how theyíre deciphered and what and who is it that has, you know, created that puzzle in the first place. I mean, itís very, very exciting for us, watching how it all unfolds, you know, the cast is going oh my God and there are little tiny ones like the first one in the pilot that was behind her ear, the Chinese writing behind her ear.

I mean, thatís like that was amazing and if you can imagine, sheís got little bits on her elbow, you know, there might be a number here and itís all going to lead to somewhere. Itís all been sort of really well thought-out and planned ahead and itís great.

Tiffany DíEmidio: And I mean, it really is someone creating like ciphers and things like that to create these, correct?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Oh, yes.

Tiffany DíEmidio: Like a puzzle-maker, correct?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes, yes.

Tiffany DíEmidio: Thank you.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question is a follow-up question from the line of Bridget Liszewski with TV Junkies. Please go ahead.

Bridget Liszewski: Hi, I was just wondering why Mayfair feels so protective of Jane despite the fact that she poses a clear threat to her?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Aha, does she?

Bridget Liszewski: Thatís what I like to believe, I suppose with the redacted file and everything.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes, I mean, itís interesting because I think that, you know, the whole show is based on things that seem extreme, very apparent, then sort of being turned on their head and you donít ever quite know for sure what is going on, I think without sort of telling you anything, the story.

Bridget Liszewski: Thank you.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen as a reminder, if you would like to register for a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephones. Our next question is a follow-up question from the line of Erica Schaaf with Talk Nerdy With Us. Please go ahead.

Erica Schaaf: Hi, again.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Hi.

Erica Schaaf: I was just going to ask well last nightís episode, we found out at the very end that the DNA and the isotope did not match but were both conclusive. Are you able to tell us anything about how your character might react to that news?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: I think that Mayfair is very level-headed and will assess all the evidence that is placed before her before making any kind of decision or assertion.

Erica Schaaf: Okay, that was just one of what Iím assuming is going to be many twists, correct?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Yes, I believe so, yes.

Erica Schaaf: Are you finding out about these secrets and these twists as you go along or are any of them ones that youíve been told from the beginning to be aware are coming?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: For the most part, itís a complete and utter surprise but obviously ones that affect the character and, you know, their overall arc, you sort of have to know up-front.

Erica Schaaf: Thank you very much.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Sheldon Wiebe with Eclipse Magazine. Please go ahead.

Sheldon Wiebe: Thanks for doing this today.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Sheldon Wiebe: I was just wondering, there are as many different acting methods as there are actors and they range from very method to Lawrence Oliviaís itís all just pretend. In that range, where does your method fit and how does it work for you?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Oh, gosh, thatís a good question actually. It depends. I mean, Iím somebody who loves - I love - creating characters and being as true to them as possible in the moment. I do not do method really but I like detail.

I think itís coming from the (Mike Dees) kind of school or working with them and his star whereby you find out as much as you possibly can about the person and have as many of their things as you can so that you can move organically through the story that youíre telling.

Sheldon Wiebe: So you find the walk or particular piece of clothing or the way they wear their hair or something and build from that?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: And you build from that, yes. You build from that so you also, I mean, but itís the inner world starts first and then you start to call on the outer accouterments if you like.

Sheldon Wiebe: Ah, very good, thank you.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: And ladies and gentlemen as a reminder if you would like to register for a question at this time, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephones. And there appears to be no questions on the line. Ladies - so we do have a question that just popped in the queue - itís a follow-up question from the line of Erica Schaaf with Talk Nerdy With Us. Please go ahead.

Erica Schaaf: Hi, again.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Hi.

Erica Schaaf: Considering all of the twists and turns and all of the tattoos from head to toe, how long do you think that this premise can be drawn-out season and series-wise?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Oh my God, I mean, I donít know. I mean, you could draw it out for a good like five-six-seven seasons I think but I mean, I donít know. I donít know how, yes, I donít know. I donít know. I just know that there is a wealth of material to clip through and, I mean, are we going to stay with the tattoos? Is it going to evolve in a different area? I mean, I donít know.

Erica Schaaf: Okay, that was my kind of next question was do you think that there is going to potentially come a point where Janeís mystery is figured out, the tattoosí messages run out and the show is still going?

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: It could do because it could lead to something else, you know, something else could show-up that they have to decipher thatís attached to, you know, the tattoos and attached to her so, I mean, Iím stunned each week by the stuff that theyíre having to find.

And Iím only on Episode 10 so itís like wow and it gets bigger and it leads back to this and this, you know, itís actually genius. Itís really clever and really intricate.

Erica Schaaf: Thank you very much.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Operator: And there are no further questions on the phone lines at this time. Iíll turn the presentation back over to you.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you.

Matthew Mitchell: Thank you for taking the time today to participate in the call. Should anyone have follow-up questions or need additional information, please feel free to reach-out to me and Iíll do my best to get you whatever you need.

If youíd like a transcript, also just let me know. Weíll have that within the next 48 hours. At this point I just want to say thank you Marianne for taking the time today and I hope everyone has a great rest of the day.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: My pleasure.

Matthew Mitchell: Have a great day. Bye, everyone.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Thank you. Brava.

Matthew Mitchell: Bye bye.

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