James Spader

James Spader

James Spader portrayed Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Significant roles

  • Keith Butterfield in Endless Love (1981)
  • Steff in Pretty in Pink (1986)
  • Ken Arrenberg in Baby Boom (1987)
  • Rip in Less Than Zero (1987)
  • Graham Dalton in Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
  • Michael Boll in Bad Influence (1990)
  • Max Baron in White Palace (1990)
  • Chuck Marlin in Bob Roberts (1992)
  • Jack Pozzi in The Music of Chance (1993)
  • Stewart Swinton in Wolf (1994)
  • Dr. Daniel Jackson in Stargate (1994)
  • James Ballard in Crash (1996)
  • Lee Woods in 2 Days in the Valley (1996)
  • Ronnie Stover in Keys to Tulsa (1997)
  • Jason "Stanky" Hanky in Seinfeld (1997)
  • Nick Vanzant in Supernova (2000)
  • Dr. Roger Klink in Speaking of Sex (2001)
  • Mr. Grey in Secretary (2002)
  • John Parker in The Stickup (2002)
  • Daniel Ellsberg in The Pentagon Papers (2003)
  • Alan Shore in The Practice (2003-2004)
  • Alan Shore in Boston Legal (2004-2008)
  • Mr. Black in Shorts (2009)
  • Robert California in The Office (2011-2012)
  • W. N. Bilbo in Lincoln (2012)
  • Raymond "Red" Reddington in The Blacklist (2013)


  • "I have spoken to Joss Whedon about it. And yes, actually, just this weekend I went in for them to take very extensive photographs, head scans, body scans, and all kinds of things in preparation for figuring out how the hell I’m gonna fit in this Ultron character!"
  • "I think it'll be a lot of fun and it's incredibly nostalgic for me. When I was a kid my best friend had trunks of comics and I didn't have any so I used to love going for sleepovers at his house. Also I have three sons and two of them have a great interest in comics so they're excited I'm playing the role."
  • "Well, I had met with Kevin Feige a couple of years ago and just told him that I would love to come into that world, at some point, if the circumstances were right. It was for a lot of reasons. There was a time in my life where I used to go over to my friend Will’s house when I was kid and I never had any comic books in my house, but he had trunk loads of them. I used to go over there & bury myself in his room with his comics & devour them. Then, I put that down in my life. I have three sons & a couple of them, along the way, have shown a real keen interest in that world. So, before it was too late, I wanted to try to see if I could be part of that."
  • "One of the great luxuries, as an actor, is that you’re able to participate in projects where the process of making the thing or the world you’re entering is so foreign to you, and that foreign world, in many cases, forces you to work in an entirely different way. The challenge becomes so different, and I was intrigued by that. I’ve been doing this a long time, and it seemed like it would be great fun to do something that I have no frame of reference for. So, the right thing came along and Kevin Feige called me up and said, “I found the thing.” And Joss Whedon gave me a call and said he really wasn’t thinking about anybody else for it and he thought it would be great fun to do. So, here we go."
  • "I'm Ultron, eight-foot robot. We finished the season of Blacklist, and two days later I got on a plane and flew to London to shoot The Avengers. And then right after that came back here to New York and flew immediately to Comic-Con. And then flew back from Comic-Con to start shooting the second season of Blacklist. But Comic-Con is the most insane…have any of you ever been to Comic-Con? Oh, my god, you brave, brave souls. It is crazy. I mean life really can’t get strange enough for me, but I mean it’s the craziest place I have ever been. But Comic-Con it’s all anticipation. They’re not getting a performance in any way, shape or form. It’s a tease, because it’s all anticipatory. It’s like foreplay for hours and days. It’s three days of foreplay. But what you don’t realize, it’s not like at the end of the three days you get that, it’s going to happen. They’re anticipating an event that’s not going to happen for six months or a year."
  • "Ultron takes abrupt turns in scenes. Red isn't psychopathic but Ultron is. Yes, he is psychopathic. He's really batshit crazy!"
  • "There's a humorous aspect to him, which is something that drew me in from the very first conversation I had with Joss. In many ways he's a child, this character, because he's a brand new being who's just come to be. And yet, through artificial intelligence, he has an incredible capacity for knowledge. So he's a very powerful, smart child."
  • "When you first meet Ultron, his physicality is very different to what he evolves to. It was in the script but we arrived at the metamorphosis of him on the set. In practice, in rehearsals. We were able to create the physicality of the character on the motion-capture stage. They would dot me up and I was wearing a helmet that had two cameras on my face, and they could live stream it to a monitor so we could try different things. Then I'd go and shoot the scene with the other actors and they're recording all of it, including my voice. 9 times out of 10 they were not using ADR [additional dialogue recording] after the fact."
  • "If you wanted to add something, or change something, you had the opportunity to do that. I just loved it."