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SFX Magazine #117 May 2004 - By Joseph McCabe


Andy Hallett - SFX Magazine May 2004 Interview


Monday 12 April 2004, by Webmaster

Extract from an on-set interview with Andy Hallet for the May 2004 SFX Issue 117 with comments from other cast and crew. Spoilers.

Something strange is afoot in the offices of Wolfram & Hart, and Krevlorneswath of the Deathwok Clan - alias Lorne - is on the case. Bright-green and dressed in a stylish, purple suit and alarming, polka-dotted shirt, you might fear Lorne lacks adequate camouflage as he tails the world-threatening super-demon Illyria. You would be mistaken.

For today, as he waits for his quarry in the lobby of Wolfram & Hart, feigning interest in a newspaper, Lorne is hiding behind... a plant.

"Bluebird is in flight," he says, into a hidden microphone. He stands up, nonchalently turcks the paper under one arm, and with a cautious, measured pace, follows Illyria out of the lobby...

After he’s finished rehearsing the scene, Andy Hallett, who plays Lorne, hurries over to us and extends his green-painted hand in a rush of energy and enthusiasm. Angel’s cancellation was announced to its cast and crew just weeks ago, but one could never tell from Hallett’s demeanour.

"Hi guys. I’ve been going since one o’clock. It was just this one scene that I was in today. My line was at the top of the scene, and they’re shooting it in one long shot with a steady camera... They call that a ’one-er’"

Hallett proceeds to explain a little of the plot of this episode [the 19th of this season, dubbed "Time Bomb"], "Angel assigns me to go undercover, like a private eye. That’s why I was tucked into that plant. I’m sure you can barely even see me in that plant, especially with this shirt that I have on." Hallett laughs, pointing to his polka dots.

"So I’m on Illyria’s tail. She’s wreaking havoc, and the gang here doesn’t really know how to take her. Of course, she’s in Fred’s shell, so it’s a weird thing because you look at her, and of course we’re seeing Fred. We realise that Illyria still thinks she’s God of the entire world, and she thinks we’re the little peons. It’s quite a different character for Amy Acker, I will say that. The funniest thing... just watching her a minute ago, we would come out of that scene, I would follow her out behing the stage there, and I was doing this little walk, which [make-up supervisor] Dayne [Johnson] refers to as the ’Host Shuffle’. I was walking back there and Amy - you know how she stands as Illyria, her movements are so stiff - she starts to imitate the Host Shuffle as Illyria. That cracked me up...!

"I just love talking with her. She and Alexis [Denisof] will do this constantly. They’ll repeat... If I say a line a certain way, they’ll just go wild with it. Last week, it was the word ’goldmine’. I evidently said it with a little bit of a twang, ’Oh, it’s a goldmine.’ So Amy will always repeat stuff. She seems like this innocent little angel."

So Amy’s not as shy as she seems?

"My ass," says Hallett. "She has a great sense of humour and she is tremendously witty, very funny. She also has a mouth like a sailor."

Director Vern Gillum suddenly calls Hallett back to shoot the scene, and he promises us we’ll talk later. As Hallett resumes his position, I notice he’s joined not only by Amy, but also by a trio of robed demons and Mercedes McNab, who plays Harmony, Angel’s vampire secretary.

As they prepare to shoot, I check out the scenery. Like most television sets, Wolfram & Hart, located on Stage 5 of the Paramount Studios lot, is smaller than it appears on TV. But by US television standards, it’s still pretty big, consisting not only of the law firm’s lobby, but of various offices and conference rooms, all of which, tonight, feature a bright backdrop to their windows, to simulate daylight.

While the crew continues to set up the shot, I decide to get a better look at the proceedings and head over to "video village" - lawyer Charles Gunn’s office, so dubbed tonight because of the video monitors filling it. I take note of some of the office’s details: toy robots are everywhere, and a couple of kung-fu movie posters adorn the walls. Producer Ben Edlund, this episode’s writer, sits alongside director Vern Gillum, both of them carefully observing a pair of monitors. The scene continues to play out - Lorne and Illyria have left the shot and the Steadicam’s moved over to Harmony as she speaks to the Fell demons. The demons believe Illyria, whom they call "the Holy Vessel", is in Angel’s office, and wish to know why. Harmony offers them some organic cola.

Edlund notices me, says hello, and cheerfully reveals some more of the episode’s story. "This is where Illyria kind of takes her first hit in this world. The story’s about her and her powers. She’s got a human body and this tremendously powerful demonic essence inside it, and the body’s starting to crack apart because there’s so much power in there. Actually it gets to a Slaughterhouse-Five place - she starts living time out of sequence because the powers are time-related.

"It makes superhero logic," he adds, displaying the same sly wit we found in his scripts. "I checked it out on the computer. It’s fine."

A crew member enters video village with a question: the extras playing lawyers are confused about how they should react to Illyria’s presence. Edlund informs him that they notice Illyria but don’t stop whatever they are doing, since they’re used to seeing all manner of demons at Wolfram & Hart.

When the next take commences, Edlund is busy again watching the monitors. Fortunately, Hallett has finished his part in the scene, so I catch up with him and head back to his trailer so he can take off his make-up.

Outside the make-up trailer, I run into Amy Acker, who’s also finished for the night, and has abandoned Illyria’s blue tresses and skin-tight bodysuit for something Fred might wear. When I ask her how she enjoys her new character, Acker sounds very Fred-like in person. But her response is bittersweet.

"It’s fun. It’s like 180 degrees different from Fred, so it’s been a nice change. I mean, before we knew we weren’t going to have another year, I was sort of excited to have something different to play for a while. And with Joss doing the episode where I died, it sort of seemed appropriate. It was a good ending for Fred... But now it’s been fun."

The interview continues with Andy about his stint on Angel and looking to his future.