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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Jason Statham Shaw Universal Pictures

It took a lot to get The Blacklist’s ambitiously animated Season 7 finale to come together. Proof Inc. VFX, which did the animation for the show, was working under an intense deadline to get the impromptu season-ender together in time to air. But the company did get a bit of unexpected help. Cue action star extraordinaire, Jason Statham, who keeps giving without even being present.

Okay, so Jason Statham did not help The Blacklist out with its Season 7 finale by crashing through a glass ceiling or doing anything from his Hobbs & Shaw work. Instead, Statham’s contribution was a bit less traditional. When the animation process started, things were in their infancy in terms of what the company had to work with on The Blacklist front.

As The Blacklist’s behind-the-scenes intel has spilled in the past, things were moving “fast and furious” in a way that Jason Statham could appreciate. Proof Inc. VFX’s Matt Perrin explained the process of getting Red and the team animated, during the [email protected] 2020 panel, saying:

At the beginning, when we were building those scenes with you guys ... we didn't have the models. We didn't have anything, so we were having to animate and design the shots at the same time as building the models. Everything looked gray and kind of crummy for a long time.

Proof Inc. VFX’s work in the movie world has included such titles as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games, and the Season 7 finale of The Blacklist ended up taking inspiration from those films and a few others in animating the NBC drama. Due to the team’s initially limited access to The Blacklist’s cast likeness, they needed a stand-in.

This is where Jason Statham enters the story. The actor’s likeness came in as an unwitting stand-in for The Blacklist’s cast as Proof Inc. VFX’s incredible team rapidly animated the Season 7 finale. Red, Liz, Dembe, Katarina, and Ressler were among those to get animated for the impromptu season-ender. On Statham’s role in the process, Proof Inc.’s Adam Coglan told the panel:

I think Jason Statham stood in for quite a lot of people at one point. We've just got a massive library of models of people that we've used in the past, and Jason Statham seemed to come up quite a lot in that episode.

Jason Statham was needed, and his likeness, like the action star himself, leaped into action. The Blacklist’s Season 7 finale featured an array of characters that Red, Liz, Dembe, and Ressler had to go up against. The main antagonists being The Kazanjian Brothers (from whom the episode took its name). Could Statham have stood in for them?

That would be my guess. In a hilarious twist during the panel, The Blacklist’s creator Jon Bokenkamp said that he thought he recognized Jason Statham. And it turns out Statham turned up quite a bit. Proof Inc.’s Matt Perrin provided even more insight, saying:

There was a point where Statham played three characters in the same scene. It was getting really weird.

Jason Statham had to pull triple duty! All in a day’s work, though. I am super curious to see how all of the hours of hard work the VFX team poured into animating The Blacklist’s Season 7 finale rapidly evolved. But ultimately, in an impressive turn, the series did not skip a beat with the season-ender airing right after the 150th episode.

While The Blacklist’s executive producer, John Eisendrath, acknowledged that it was initially a bad idea, it ended up work out remarkably well for it. And to know that Jason Statham’s likeness came in so handy is a fantastic behind-the-scenes tidbit. It would be fantastic if Statham showed up in the flesh when The Blacklist comes back for Season 8.

For more behind-the-scenes insight, check out The Blacklist’s [email protected] 2020 panel. Stay tuned to see if Season 8 pulls off being one of this fall’s premieres. And while you wait for Season 8 to bow, you can check out past seasons of the crime drama on Netflix, along with lots of 2020 arrivals.

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