How did that affect your planning? EISENDRATH: In the beginning, we thought, “Everybody’s going to do this. TVLINE | I’m really intrigued by Liz’s decision to fully side with Katarina at the end of this episode, especially how easily she embraces a darker side of herself. But they had only shot half of its scenes, and out of order — how to salvage the material? Executive producers Jon Bokenkamp and J… Rather, we are referring to Liz’s new look as a graphic novel character, resulting from the series’s decision to animate parts of its She's just drawn that way. They recorded their dialogue into their phones, through an app, and uploaded those lines to our post team in L.A. We had animators working in London and Atlanta. KEEP READING: Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Takes a Sinister Turn with Tiago's Family We made some slight adjustments to the script, mostly trying to expand concepts that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to execute on our tight production schedule. The whole thing was a very virtual experience, but I was really impressed at how quickly and seamlessly the team pulled together to get their specific job done. By Lynn Elber The Associated Press Posted May 6, 2020 10:08 am. The show has a slightly alternative graphic novel feel to it that’s baked into what we do week to week. May 15 2020, 5:59 PM PDT, RELATED STORIES Zero. We’ve always talked about The Blacklist being a bit of a comic book. And obviously it will affect the story going forward. Our postproduction team sent microphones to the actors in Massachusetts, California and New York, and they recorded in closets, bathrooms, God knows where, trying to get quality audio. Another example, we had a scene between Red and Liz where he gives her the case of the week. They considered various ways to finish the episode — audio-only scenes, static comic-book-style images — before landing on a solution. BOKENKAMP: It really was 24-7. But when we realized we were animating things — that we hadn’t shot that scene yet — we thought, “Why not move this scene to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.? The producers charged Proof with creating about 20 minutes worth of action in five weeks — a “ridiculous” request, Eisendrath said — and at the end of that time, “The Blacklist” had a completely revamped hybrid finale. That’s within the rule book.” Comics can do thought bubbles. It turned out, fortuitously, that the large action sequences had yet to be filmed, and we were able to make those considerably larger. I don’t want to spoil anything. Liz isn't dark. In mid-March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut New York City down, television production came to a sudden halt, sabotaging whole seasons for some shows and postponing season finales for others. In live action, that would have been shot with green screen and we’d be lucky if we ever popped outside of the car. These are edited excerpts from the conversation. “The show is sort of a graphic novel to begin with,” Eisendrath said. Let’s see the Capitol Building in the background. If you like TVLine, you'll LOVE our weekly newsletter. In a move that initially seemed to take Liz herself by surprise, she chose Katarina; by the end of the hour, though, she had completely accepted this new alliance, even revealing to her comatose grandfather (the late Brian Dennehy, in his final appearance) that “anyone who is in [Katarina’s] way is in my way. The Blacklist: Laura Sohn Promoted to Series Regular for Season 8 (Exclusive) How 'The Blacklist' Pulled Off the Last-Minute Animated Finale … Proceed with caution! As John and I were talking with the animators, we started thinking, do we do super close-ups, and then all of a sudden big wide shots? A rogues’ gallery of criminals each week. The finale airs Friday night. The Blacklist, a show that managed to last longer than I realized, is about to air its seventh We see a few of these folks in the end of the episode, and there are many more behind the scenes, but they really are the best in the business, and one hell of an incredible family. EISENDRATH: We were a little nervous. JOHN EISENDRATH: Yes. The Blacklist Airing Partially Animated Season 7 Finale Due to Coronavirus James Spader and Megan Boone will be partially animated to finish out The Blacklist season… ‘Blacklist’ season finale partially animated as teams work from home during lockdown. So that did change. Substantially has been designed (rightfully) about the quarantine-induced final decision to comprehensive the fifty percent-completed episode with “graphic novel”-style animation and speed up some of the plot Did you want to channel the comic-book aesthetic specifically? That was the last scene, and we changed it once we heard the terrible news. The showrunners John Eisendrath and Jon Bokenkamp decided that if they couldn’t make it to the season-ending Episode 22, the narrative in Episode 19, which they had already begun shooting, would work as the Season 7 finale. The Season 7 finale airs on NBC Friday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Linger on Red’s hat, or behind him? Why Blacklist Season 7's Cartoon Ending Didn't Work | Screen Rant EISENDRATH: Maybe we should keep the thought bubbles when we go back to live action! We didn’t have a narrative reason to make it half-animated, and so we decided not to pretend that we did. The Blacklist used graphic novel-style animation to finish the Season 7 finale after production was halted because of the coronavirus, and it was … Eisendrath’s brother-in-law, Ron Frankel, is the president of a previsualization (previz) animation house called Proof, which has worked on “Wonder Woman,” among other blockbusters. We jump outside the car to see the vehicle careening through the streets, cars whizzing past, horns blaring. How did you figure out a new visual language to account for what this style of animation could and couldn’t do well in an accelerated time frame? Big, sweeping, wide shots.” Most of the changes we made to the script were adjustments to open up the visual palette of the show and make things bigger and more fun. Once you knew that you could use animation, what story elements did you revise? Blacklist fans, what did you think of the half-animated finale? Check out the new The Blacklist S07E19 exclusive sneak peek starring Megan Boone! The Blacklist joins Pop TV's One Day at a Time in extending its season using animation. The Blacklist Bosses Preview the Half-Animated Season 7 Finale TVLINE | As you were putting this finale together remotely, did you hit any big production roadblocks? During the episode, Liz was forced to officially pick a side between Reddington and Katarina Rostova, after the task force’s latest case put her smack-dab in the middle of those two. Maddie Tolliver?” In live action, you would have been able to read more of the emotional wheel turning in her head. Beverly Hills Officials Shame Italian Restaurant La Scala For…, NBA's Christmas Lineup: Five Games of Big Names to Entice…, 'WandaVision' Trailer: A Retro Kathryn Hahn Breaks the Fourth…, How Ellen DeGeneres Inspired 'The Masked Dancer' and Why Paula…, A Great Rolling Duffle Bag Will Stuff Like A Duffle And Roll…, Copyright © 2020 TVLine Media, LLC. I think it’s best to simply acknowledge that, yes, things are going to change in a really compelling way. EISENDRATH: Originally, the episode was going to end with the grandfather waking up out of his coma. Well, since no one was actually driving the helicopter in animation, we were able to throw the papers up, and it looks amazing. Well, keep in mind, Liz has been on this journey for seven years and gotten no real answers from Red. That includes you, and that includes Reddington.”. One, we address head on that we were doing this because of being shut down. I think she’s reached a tipping point. His doc prescribed new meds for the hand tremors, but he also urged Red to be more honest with Liz about his medical concerns. That appeared to be the point of The Blacklist Spader and the rest of the cast recorded their dialogue “in closets, bathrooms, God knows where, trying to get quality audio,” Bokenkamp said. I guess all that is a way of saying that I think Liz is justified in crossing this Rubicon. The Blacklist bosses Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath told TV Guide about how the unexpected and unprecedented half-animated Season 7 finale came together, from idea to execution. We’ve got a criminal anti-hero at the center of the show. 'The Blacklist' Season 7 Finale Review: Liz finally embraces her darkness with a brilliant animated screenplay. 'The Blacklist' Fans Were Left Divided by Show's Animated Season … But what it does do a great job [with] is conveying a larger feel. The London animators would work while we were asleep. First, Katarina was willing to race Reddington to his secret medical facility, and she saved his life when she could have captured him. Plus, she allowed the wire transfer to go through, essentially giving Reddington information about her whereabouts. BOKENKAMP: We can be looking down the cord of the light bulb that’s hanging over this dimly lit room. The editors were working on their editing bays at home. Meanwhile, Red’s ongoing health issues — cerebral edema, Red’s doctor told Liz — took a turn for the worse, prompting him to collapse mid-conversation. And in the beginning, we didn’t think that the mouths of these characters were going to move — we didn’t have enough time — so we were partly trying to hide the mouths. JON BOKENKAMP: Not to be a downer, but it has been far more work than most of our episodes. We still haven’t seen the final mix, and it airs Friday. In some cases, the animation was more effective than the live-action scenes at creating a foreboding atmosphere. Can you shed some light on why Liz went in that direction? In the script, the villain throws some papers up under the rotor blades of a helicopter, and we were told we would have to rewrite that, for safety reasons. BOKENKAMP: As we started embracing that, it sort of flipped a switch: “Wow. In the beginning, all the scenes had these featureless avatars that didn’t look like anybody. So there were a few magic tricks to finish up those elements. We realized that as we went along that we should take advantage of every comic book trope that we could think of, to help the viewer. BOKENKAMP: Brian was a big part of the show. The Blacklist's season 7 finale is set to mix live-action footage with animated scenes due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing on-location production to shut down. The cast all recorded their lines remotely on microphones that were sent to them wherever they were quarantining. The forehead is too narrow. That was sort of a light bulb moment for us. The Blacklist almost never receives credit score for its weirdness, but it’s possible this episode, the Period seven finale, will be the a person to flip the tide. “The Blacklist” cast and crew were four days into shooting Episode 19 of Season 7 when coronavirus brought their New York set to a grinding halt. She mentioned the Sykorski Archive. And she saw Katarina sacrifice herself not once, but twice in this episode. We just got some final shots [on Wednesday]. I’m surprised at how intricate it is. While you were in the middle of tweaking this episode, one of your actors, Brian Dennehy, died. Let us know what you think in the comments below. EISENDRATH: That to me conveyed a stark, intense, dangerous feeling better almost than we could have done in live action. The Blacklist Season 7 Finale Recap: A Very Animated Liz Chooses … The Blacklist Season 7 Finale: 6 Shockers I Cannot Get Over - … I think we realized that we had more of an opportunity to rework some scenes. We did accelerate certain elements to build a better forward throw into Season 8, to create a little more of a cliffhanger. TVLINE | Did you have to make any tweaks to the script in order to accommodate the animated scenes? The truth is, I think we all welcomed the distraction from what’s going on in the real world. Originally, this was to be filmed on our stages in Red’s secret apartment. TVLINE | How did you land on graphic novel-style animation for this episode? Rebecca Iannucci / Why not try to animate it?”. After the COVID-19 pandemic shut down production mid-episode, 'The Blacklist' crafted a Red appoints the FBI with the case of 'The Kazanjian Brothers', who could lead him to the truth about Katarina … BOKENKAMP: It’s not dramatically different, structure-wise. It’s just a totally different language. 'The Blacklist' sets animated season finale due to coronavirus EISENDRATH: In the middle of the shootout, Liz is standing fairly close to the Kazanjian brothers and she says, “Katarina Rostova, know her? #TheBlacklist is going to be more animated … She only did this to protect Liz, again sacrificing herself for her daughter. Anything that you simply couldn’t make work or had to cut because you were working from home? Animation companies might not even be available.” We had no idea how much time and effort this was going to take. Can you speak to how the show might change next year, given this big shift for her? But as we were considering animating that, we didn’t know what these characters were going to look like, let alone how they could emote, so we turned to Proof and said, “Get us out of that car.” So in that scene, you’ll notice that we’re covering for what we can’t do by leaning into what the animation does really well, which is cars whizzing past, running red lights, close-ups of the tires, shots of people’s eyes in rearview mirrors. TVLINE | It feels like Liz’s decision to support Katarina instead of Red would alter the fabric of the show quite a bit. Below, series creator Jon Bokenkamp shares how the half-animated finale came to be, while teasing how that final scene sets up the previously announced eighth season. But NBC’s “The Blacklist,” which follows James Spader’s Raymond “Red” Reddington as he helps the F.B.I. The showrunners for the NBC thriller discuss how and why they hired animators to finish the season after the pandemic brought production to a halt. The following post contains spoilers for The Blacklist‘s Season 7 finale. The Story Behind 'The Blacklist's Animated Season 7 Finale - TV … We really didn’t. That’s the kind of thing we would never have been able to do where we shoot in New York City. One of my favorite scenes is when Red is talking to these Kazanjian brothers, and you drift up behind his almost jet-black silhouetted frame and look in one of the bad guy’s glasses, which are reflecting Red. By Believe me, the Sykorski Archive will come back into play next season. The Blacklist Season 7 Finale Gets Animated in Exclusive Sneak Peek + by Laura Prudom Posted May 14, 2020, 5 p.m. As one of countless TV productions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the producers of NBC's The Blacklist decided to get creative to help wrap up Season 7. EISENDRATH: I would say that there are two distinct ways in which it’s different. Nancy Drew Kicks Off Season 2 With a Grim Discovery — 2021 FIRST LOOK, The Magic School Bus Rides Again: In the Zone, Why Miracle on 34th Street Isn't on TV This Year, and Where You Can…, Does Bridgerton Queen Steal Scenes? So maybe people didn’t do it as much as I thought they would because they knew how difficult it would be! We had other elements like that, which we had to take apart and reconstruct, like one side of a phone conversation where we hadn’t shot the other side. She’s always feared making this leap, but finally, after seven years, she knows that embracing this darker side of herself is inevitable. We’re really opening up the visual scope of the show to compensate for what we can’t say with the actor’s faces. All rights Using animation enabled the show to pull off things it couldn’t have otherwise, like an elaborate scene involving a helicopter. BOKENKAMP: We realized, “Oh, wait! For example, there’s a scene with three characters in the back of a car, racing through the city. The Blacklist Exclusive Animated Finale Sneak Peek: ‘Put Your … Is animation a way forward for other shows to try in a pinch? The Blacklist's Early Finale to Mix Animation With Live-Action … We didn’t necessarily think that animation would be able to access her inner thinking, so we added a chyron. Should we expect those to loom large in Season 8, as well? And two, we took liberties that we would not have been able to do in live action. If you're curious to see what The Blacklist might look like in animated form, NBC has released two new images from the Season 7 finale. Less dialogue, longer pauses, anything like that? However, with animation — and working with [visual effects company] Proof — we realized we had an opportunity to open that scene up. “It has a larger-than-life antihero and Gotham-style side villains. The Blacklist season 7 finale airs May 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. No need to worry that your screen is glitching as you watch The Blacklist's The chin is too big.”, BOKENKAMP: It’s not only, “What does James Spader look like?” but, “Let’s get him into the fedora. It’s terribly sad to lose him. (AP) Expect the cast of “The Blacklist” to be a bit more vivid during its season finale. BOKENKAMP: The footage that we used of Brian was salvaged from a previous episode. We had people in all kinds of time zones working around the clock, just to get a full assembly of the piece. The Blacklist stars James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix, Amir Arison, Hisham Tawfiq and Laura Sohn. I suppose it’s fair to say that whatever is wrong with him — it’s something that Red is avoiding or denying, yet something serious enough that people in Red’s life, like Dembe, are legitimately concerned about it. Not that it’s not a reason to do it in the future, but it has been a totally different process, in terms of time and the way we use resources. I do think it’s a viable alternative to fill out the parts you were unable to fill out, and because it’s cool and people will enjoy it. Is she really as anti-Red as she seems to be in that final scene, or is she perhaps trying to convince herself that she is? Transplant: NBC Acquires Season 1 of Canadian Medical Drama. bring down the world’s most nefarious criminals, soldiered on. TVLINE | What can you say about where Red’s health issues are going? For the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19), including how to protect yourself and … It’s absolutely something we plan to explore next season. Red’s not a weak guy by any means, but these health issues aren’t going to go away, and he won’t be able to continue to deny them. The showrunners for the NBC thriller discuss how and why they hired animators to finish the A reflection of James Spader, as seen in the season finale of “The Blacklist.” After the pandemic stopped production, the show used animation to complete the episode. Was that driven by the show’s existing comics, or did it seem easiest from a technical perspective as opposed to other animation styles? This episode really highlights what an incredible family we’ve built over seven years. Our review of The Blacklist Season 7 Finale reveals what choice Liz finally makes when forced to decide between backing Red or Katarina in their neverending battle. EISENDRATH: Animation can’t approximate the small, intimate, emotional moments, like when you see Spader’s face. BOKENKAMP: There was a bit of a learning curve: How can it look and feel like “The Blacklist”? We’ve hinted at Red’s health issues for a few seasons now. Editors, the sound team, and our composer were in Los Angeles. The season finale of "The Blacklist" will be part live-action, part animation. The Blacklist EP Reveals How the Show Pulled Off Its Half-Animated Season Finale — Plus, Grade the Episode By Rebecca Iannucci / May 15 2020, 5:59 PM PDT Courtesy of NBC Then with only a couple weeks left, we started getting images of one character at a time, and we could say, “The eyebrows are too thick. reserved.PMC Entertainment. The Blacklist fans saw a completely different side of Elizabeth Keen on Friday — and we’re not just talking about her decision to side with Katarina Rostova and embrace her inner darkness. Dirty frames? Since the coronavirus pandemic cut The Blacklist‘s seventh season short — turning Episode 19 (out of 22) into the season finale — Friday’s episode was not only a makeshift conclusion, but an hour of television that jumped back and forth between live-action scenes and animated sequences. This is a big lead — one that offers the first real glimpse into who Reddington is and why he entered Liz’s life. Cast your votes in our polls below, then hit the comments with your reactions! [Laughs], ‘The Blacklist’ Draws Up a Novel End to Its Season. How…, The Blacklist: Laura Sohn Promoted to Series Regular for Season 8 (Exclusive), Transplant: NBC Acquires Season 1 of Canadian Medical Drama. the Blacklist fans saw a completely different side of Elizabeth Keen on Friday – and we’re not just talking her decision to side with Katarina Rostova and embrace her inner darkness. Did Mando Forget Something? The purpose of that, we learned, was to block the scenes. We can do whatever we want here.” There is a scene in a car — in the live-action version, we’d be on the soundstage with green screen. Let’s get him into the trench coat. Rather, we’re referencing Liz’s new look as a graphic novel character, which resulted from the show’s decision to animate the parts of its finale that couldn’t be filmed when production shut down. Maybe pop the collar.”. To make an episode of television like this, in five weeks, with everyone working from home — from our writers and editors, to our composer, to the sound team and visual effects crew and animators we only just met — we really couldn’t ask for a better team. And Katarina has tangible truths about Reddington that she’s unearthed. In a phone interview, Eisendrath and Bokenkamp discussed the episode, which premieres Friday night, and the new possibilities animation opened up for them. James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington in ‘The Blacklist’ So when we started kicking around ideas for how to complete the season, we looked back at the comic books written by Nicole Phillips, and an animated approach felt very organic. It’s as close to doing live television that I feel comfortable participating in.